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Models, Setup & Features
Scroll Saw Blades
Patterns & Layout
Speeds & Feeds
Basic Techniques
Pad Sawing
Piercing Cuts
Bevels & Chamfers
Solid Wood Inlays
Raised or Recessed Inserts
Small Pieces & Thin Stock
Cutting Metal, Plastic, & Other Materials

Tip #51
Shopsmith Scroll Saw
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In many ways, the scroll saw is the ultimate piece of equipment for “fancy” woodworking. It can make straight or very complex curved cuts in a variety of materials including hard or soft woods, plastics, non-ferrous metals, ivory and mother-of-pearl. It's also one of the only machines which can make piercing cuts--like a donut hole-in the center of a workpiece.

These capabilities make the scroll saw ideal for cutting intricate scrollwork or making tiny models and miniatures. It's perfect for inlay, marquetry (inlaid veneer) and intarsia (wood mosaic). And with the proper blade installed, it even cuts finely enough for ornamentation or jewelry making.

Many woodworkers are confused about the difference between a jigsaw and a scroll saw because the terms are often used almost interchangeably. In fact, the scroll saw can do just about anything a jigsaw can do, but it does it better! That's because of differences in the way the two machines operate.

A conventional jigsaw powers the blade down through the cut and uses a spring to pull it back up. Since the spring is seldom fast enough to keep pace with the lower power cylinder, the blade tends to bend in the middle which produces a rough cut and leads to premature blade breakage.

With the scroll saw, however, the blade is suspended between two parallel arms. These arms move up and down with the blade, so the blade is under constant tension during both the up and down stroke. This reduces blade bending and breakage-and the slight forward and backward motion of the blade allows the teeth to cut smoothly, so sanding is often completely unnecessary.

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