Scrollsaw vs laser - is scrollsaw doomed?

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Forum topic by Skiedra posted 05-30-2013 05:58 AM 14467 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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259 posts in 3634 days

05-30-2013 05:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: scrollsaw laser

I visited one large city fair this last weekend. There were quite a few people selling plywood creations – from wooden lamps to stands for earings and things like that.

Apparently all of them were laser cut. Given that lasers provide accuracy, speed of production and general convienence, is regul srollsaw doomed? The only thing is for laser cutters to become cheaper… what do you think?

39 replies so far

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 3690 days

#1 posted 05-30-2013 09:39 AM

With a bigger shop I could see a CNC router, or CNC laser in my shop, I don’t see scroll saws going away. Part of scrollsawing or even working with wood in general is for relaxation. You don’t get that same thing from punching buttons on a computer. Heck, I get to do that enough all day long. ;)

Something else to think about, while I would say a majority of woodworkers today use power tools for most things, there are those who still use nothing but hand tools. Those people have skills that I simply can’t math with my shop full of power tools. :)

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 5038 days

#2 posted 05-30-2013 01:20 PM

There is not much woodworking skill with laser cutting. all you have to know is how to set it up, a lot of art shows here are not letting laser cut products in their shows. A laser would not work on the things I make.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View jeffswildwood's profile


4992 posts in 3319 days

#3 posted 05-30-2013 01:22 PM

I too became a victim of power tools. Lately I began using hand tools. Trying things like box joints and even bought my first plane. I found that there is an art and a skill in the old ways that take a long time to learn. I’m trying but have a long way to go.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4208 days

#4 posted 05-30-2013 01:24 PM

There is no way that scroll saws are going away. Not all woodworkers are into mass production work. Don’t get me wrong, laser machines have their place and I am even considering one.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View TheCook's profile


39 posts in 3462 days

#5 posted 05-30-2013 02:15 PM

Scroll saws are totally doomed. I haven’t used mine since I got access to a laser.

View woodworkerforchrist's profile


168 posts in 3199 days

#6 posted 05-30-2013 02:37 PM

Well heres my 2 cents. I dont think scrollsaws will ever be doomed for the hobbist. I really enjoy it and wouldnt enjoy cutting on a cnc or laser. Also cnc’s and laser’s are very expensive. As far as making items to sell yes a cnc or laser is much faster and easier and you could sell more for less…the scrollsaw cant compete with that. But many people still appreciate hand cut items that are each unique. And again a scrollsaw is fun and a way to express creativity and you dont get that from a computerized machine. I will always be a scrollsawer:)

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

View Skiedra's profile


259 posts in 3634 days

#7 posted 05-30-2013 06:03 PM

Scrollsaw is definetly a tool for relaxation ;)

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 3807 days

#8 posted 05-30-2013 07:24 PM

Got my shapeoko (small format cnc) in the box on the doorstep. Cant wait to get home and start setting it up. 249 for the kit, i had motors and electronics. A 800mw laser is 100 bucks on ebay, so that is in my near future.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View madts's profile


1959 posts in 3682 days

#9 posted 05-30-2013 10:15 PM

The tools you guys are talking about are for relaxation. Prop engines went away for jets. Most hand tools went away for electric. We are left with the way we want to ply our hobby/ work.
Be happy with the way you do it and make yourself proud. I have done it both ways and enjoy both.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2921 posts in 4264 days

#10 posted 05-30-2013 11:49 PM

I do not know….can a CNC machine do inlay work? Fretwork…sure but I do not do fretwork.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View muleskinner's profile


941 posts in 3778 days

#11 posted 05-30-2013 11:52 PM

Yep, scrollsaws are doomed to go the way of chisels, hand planes and back saws.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


5475 posts in 3330 days

#12 posted 05-31-2013 12:45 AM

I do not think the scroll saw is doomed at all. Yes, you can make some things faster with a CNC or laser. However, for things like Intarsia or one of a kind projects, the scroll saw will be there.

I have often wondered about the general attitude toward the CNC or laser. I am certain that they have their place for some folks but not me and I do not begrudge those who use them.

There are some who believe that woodworking should be with hand tools. I like the hand tools and the feel that they provide. Unfortunately, arthritis prevents me from using them very much.

I am not doing woodworking to make money. I do it because it represents a challenge and the journey is an important part for me. I started with a scroll saw about a year ago and have been doing Intarsia and some puzzles which you could not do on a CNC or Laser.

The great thing about woodworking is that one can do it any way that makes them happy.

View oldnovice's profile


7769 posts in 4710 days

#13 posted 05-31-2013 12:54 AM

Even though I believe in advancing technology I do not believe that the laser will replace the scroll saw!

A scroll saw can almost cut any thickness while a laser need more power to cut thicker material and in some cases the dark edges are undesirable!

It comes down to the same argument about CNC routers replacing hand carving; they both exist and will exist and neither will replace the other.

Let’s advance to the 3D printers that are printing with wood resin will they replace carving? I sincerely doubt it!

I think Dave has it right in #11 ”Yep, scrollsaws are doomed to go the way of chisels, hand planes and back saws.”

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View scrollsaw's profile


13030 posts in 5196 days

#14 posted 05-31-2013 01:26 AM

When I go to a craft shows and see laser work I show them my scrollsaw work they look at me and say laser cut and I say no cut it out on a scrollsaw by hand.Then I say I am a Artiest not a machine operator.

-- Todd

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4726 days

#15 posted 05-31-2013 01:44 AM

I believe that a laser that can cut any real thickness of wood will always be too expensive in my lifetime to replace a scrollsaw for the average hobbiest so in my opinion there is no way it will replace it. Besides that, there is the fun and relaxation factor along with the satisfaction of making something with a tool where your hand/eye coordination is what gets the job done and you can’t replace that with a CNC machine.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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