If you’re just starting out woodworking, one of the easiest things to build is a woodturning project using a scroll saw. That’s because it’s easy to learn the basic steps and have a large number of options when it comes to design and type of wood to use. However, if you’ve never built a scroll saw before, there are some things you should know about scroll saw patterns and designs. This information will help you choose the right one for your particular woodturning project.
The first thing to know is that most scroll saw patterns are designed to create a smooth, flat edge on the end of the saw blade. The flat part of the blade is called a “chisel,” which is how most scroll saw blades are named. The most popular saw blade design uses a chisel with a concave curve to produce a more gradual curve on its reverse side. Most saw woodturners prefer the straight edge of the back of the saw blade for their scroll saw patterns.
Depending on the level of experience you have with woodturning, you can decide what kind of scroll saw patterns you’d like to make. For example, if you haven’t turned in wood in years, you may want to consider using a “drawing blade.” This is a smaller version of the large, back-cutting blade you see on many scroll saws.
A “fluted” scroll saw blade, on the other hand, is the same size as a standard woodworking blade but has a rounded tip on one or both sides. When this type of blade is used for cutting hardwood, its ability to cut soft woods is increased. Also, its teeth are closer together than usual, which makes it easier to catch and rip knots. It does, however, sacrifice maneuverability. Most woodturners who use this kind of scroll saw prefer it for cutting very small pieces of wood (or wide panels of wood, such as in a pop up picture frame) and not for making intricate designs. The small size of these blades is what give them their most versatility.
A “cantilever” scroll saw is a type of scroll saw with its own tapered scroll feature. Unlike the beard style scroll saw, the cantilever has a blade mounted on a fixed, stationary piece of equipment. Instead of having the blade moves up and down along a vertical plane as with the beard style scroll saw, the cantilever moves horizontally. A cantilever scroll makes very intricate patterns – such as tree and flower patterns – very easy to make. Like the beard scroll saw, the woodturner who uses a cantilever scroll pattern must use a finer scroll saw blade than he would if using a beard style scroll saw.
A cross-cut scroll saw resembles the scroll saw that is most often found in wood turning shops. Instead of having two separate blades, the cross-cut scroll saw has one blade that is cut perpendicular to the other. Because the cross-cut scroll saw has only one blade, it is much more versatile than other scroll saw styles. Cross-cut scroll saw patterns are used most often for intricate, decorative scroll work on lighter stock. This style is also used on some of the more heavy-duty scroll saws.
A hybrid scroll saw is just what its name implies. Two scroll saw blades are brought together in one saw, with each blade working in a different direction. Some saws have a unique configuration that allows a cross-cut pattern to be made. Other saws combine both beard and cross-cut scroll saw styles into their scroll saw blades. The combination scroll saw allows for greater versatility and a greater variety of designs. Some of the more unique hybrid scroll saw patterns include scrolls cut in an S or Z shape and cuts that cross or start to intersect at the edges.
There are many other types of scroll saw patterns, some more common than others. The most common is the regular, double-sided scroll saw that is most often found in wood turning shops. A saw with this design is called a traditional scroll saw and is most often used to make small bowls, figurines and various small projects. Another form of scroll saw is the offset scroll saw. It has one blade that is slightly offset from the other, resulting in a cross-cut pattern. Some offset scroll saw designs are used in industrial applications and have become popular as scroll saws for demolition purposes.