Scroll saws are often used for hobby woodworking, as they are excellent at cutting out intricate patterns in soft materials. A scroll saw is similar to a jigsaw in that it uses a reciprocating saw to cut through material. The scroll saw, however, is mounted on a rigid arm. The work piece is moved around the saw in order to cut out a pattern, unlike the jigsaw that is moved freely around. In this regard, a scroll saw is significantly simpler to use, as it is easier to see the cut being made.
Hobbyists commonly use the scroll saw to easily achieve fine cuts and intricate patterns that would otherwise be very difficult to follow. A jigsaw is of course capable of doing the same work, but since it moves freely, it is much more difficult to maintain a smooth cut throughout the work. Scroll saws are commonly pedal operated, making them even more convenient than their jigsaw counterparts. Their general operation is very simple, although it may require significant practice to acquire a professional appearance on curved cuts.
There are a couple of important points to keep in mind when using a scroll saw. Avoid cutting any wood that is wet, and allow any moist wood to dry out before beginning work. To prevent wood from potentially burning as you work, cover the wood in packaging tape, which will lubricate the blade as it passes through. Be sure to cut slowly and deliberately, as it is very easy to make damaging mistakes that are impossible to recover from on wood. If you feel yourself becoming tired or weary of cutting, take a break and return to the work when you are more alert.
As with any power tool, be sure to wear eye protection while working. Gloves may also be a good idea, as you will be working closely around the saw, holding the work piece in position. Be careful to maintain a good blade on the scroll saw as well, as blades tend to wear down quickly after heavy usage. A typical scroll saw blade will last just 30 minutes when used heavily. Keep several replacements on hand and do not forget to replace the blade once it begins to dull.
Dremel offers an affordable scroll saw at $204.93 for the 1830 120V 18-Inch Scroll Saw. Higher end models include the $439.00 DeWalt DW788 20″ variable speed scroll saw.