Tool Guide: Choosing the Perfect Scroll Saw to Add to Your Garage
How can you choose the perfect scroll saw for your workshop?
Being handy around your home can be extremely rewarding. There is nothing quite like building something with your own hands or fixing a broken bit here or there. While it’s quite satisfying, you need to be well prepared with the necessary tools to tackle such tasks. Your garage should be equipped with each and every tool necessary to work around the place, from screwdrivers to portable drills. If you’re going to do a bit more intricate jobs, you need some specialized tools, though, like the scroll saw. It can help you make clean cuts and carve out any details you need with precision and ease.
So, how can you choose the perfect scroll saw for your garage?
Why do you need it?
This is the first—and most important—question you need to ask yourself before getting it. Why do you need the scroll saw? The last thing you need is getting one and finding out it won’t help with the kind of work you want to do, so you’d have to return, sell, or just bench it. You can get one to do basic woodwork and simple yet intricate cuts in the piece you’re handling. Or you can pay a little extra to get a scroll saw capable of more complex fretwork, which will need the wood to be pierced. Whatever the case may be, figure it out before buying one, and it will help you narrow your options down.
Not all scroll saws are created equal, and you will find a variety of products based on your budget. So, it’s best to set one early on so you don’t lose yourself and spend too much money that you don’t even have. On average, you could get a pretty good scroll saw for $200, and it will do most basic cuts you need. But if you’re looking to do some intricate designs in your garage, you will need to pay a little extra.
Scroll saws also vary in designs, though the basic features are similar. The typical blade of a scroll saw moves up and down, and its teeth usually face forward. It’s the mechanism of the device itself that varies from one device to the other. You have the c-arm type, which is one of the most popular and commonly used forms of the scroll saw. It basically comes in the form of an arm with a “C” shape, and the blade is attached to the end of the arm. You use this design to make deep cuts that are arc-shaped.
There is also the parallel arm scroll saw, which is possibly the oldest design of this device, dating back to the late 1800s. In this one, two arms are placed parallel to each other with blades attached to the ends of each. The blades move up and down, using the two pivot points that are the feature of this design. The latest design is the double parallel link arm, which also relies on two parallel arms going back and forth. It converts this motion at the end of each arm to a vertical blade motion.
Like with anything else you are about to buy, it is best if you read up on what other people think of the scroll saw. There are plenty of models and designs out there, and you need to make sure you’re getting a good one. Looking through user experience and reviews are always the best way to go, and as far as these reviews go, the best brand for you on the market will depend on several factors like your budget and just how experienced you are with scroll saws. This is why you need to do a little digging and check reviews by experts to guide you to the most appropriate one for you.
Type of blades
The kind of blades on the scroll saw is also one of the most important factors you need to consider before getting one. You will most likely be choosing between pin-end blades and flat ones. The thing is, most scroll saws only use either of those options—you actually can get one to handle both, but they’re quite pricey. So, you need to be specific in your needs in order to get the right blade type for you. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and you need to be aware of this before buying anything.
The pin-end blades are easier to change, much more so than the flat ones, but they easily break when you’re making tight turns while cutting. There isn’t much variety in blades, too, with this type. The flat blades, on the other hand, come in different shapes and have quite the variety, and they’re pretty good in tight areas, which gives you more options. But they are not easily changed, which might be a problem for some people.
How fast can the blade go?
Speed is another thing you have to take into consideration while getting a scroll saw. The average one will have a speed between 400 and 800 SPM (strokes per minute), and you can, of course, get ones with higher speeds of up to 1,800 SPM, but they are much more expensive.
So, why is the speed of the saw even important? It matters because different kinds of materials will require varying speeds. If you’re cutting softwood, you are going to need a different speed than when you’re working on hardwood or metal. There are scroll saws out there with the option to adjust the speed according to your current project, but they may be out of your budget. This brings us back to the importance of determining why you need the saw, as it will point you to what kind of speed you’d be working with in the future.
A scroll saw is irreplaceable in any tool collection, and it’s a must-have in your garage. It will help you do more accurate work than anything you’ve done before. But the trick is in getting one that suits your needs and is within your budget range. So, do a little research first before going off and buying the first scroll saw you find.