Break-down of How You Cut Small Pieces On a Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a handy tool when you have to cut a piece with a lot of curves on it. It allows you to move your piece while the saw does its work to achieve the desired cut. But it is not as easy as it seems otherwise anyone could design intricate pieces on their scroll saw. Not only does it require a lot of practice but you also need to have good control of your hands. So in this article, we will be giving you a breakdown of how you cut small pieces with a scroll saw.

In order to cut small pieces on a scroll saw, you might want to draw out your pattern. If the pattern requires it, use a drill bit to make a hole for the blade to fit in. After that, gently push your hands and let the saw blade do the work. Lastly, if you want, you can use a masking sheet on your wooden piece to give it strength to avoid splinters and tears.

Scroll saw blades are very thin so they tend to break easily. The one mistake that most people make when using a scroll saw as a beginner is that they push the piece of wood too hard. If the tension on the blade is too high it might break the blade if pushed too hard against it. Instead, let the blade do the job while your job is to guide the wood piece gently. Use one hand as a loose pivot while you use the dominant hand to guide the blade on the pattern.

Steps and the Right Technique to Cut Small Pieces on a Scroll Saw

While it is all about practice, some steps you take will help you achieve the desired cut with ease. These are specifically useful to make cuts on a small piece of wood, where there isn’t a lot of space to move around.

Step 1 – Drawing Out Your Pattern

Whether you are cutting a straight line or one with a lot of curves, first you need to draw it out on the wood. You can stick a piece of printed paper on the piece of wood if that helps you out better. The lines you will use to draw out the pattern will be your guide on your scroll saw journey.

Step 2 – Drill Holes (Optional if Pattern Requirement)

If your pattern requires you to insert the scroll saw in the middle of the piece, then you should drill a hole in it. By using a drill press make holes where you need to insert the blade of the scroll saw and then cut from there. One way to avoid tearing from the back end of the piece is to use another piece to support it from underneath. This gives it strength and does not cause your wooden piece to get torn from underneath when drilling. 

Step 3 – Starting Your Cut

You need to understand that you can’t rush this process, you need to be extremely careful and steer the piece of wood with great care and precision. As we said before, don’t force it, and let the blade do the job as you guide the piece with your hands. Use your non-dominant hand as a pivot for your dominant hand to help steer the piece. 

Step 4 – Finishing Your Cut

When it is time to finish make sure you clean off the piece, as the shavings can hinder your scroll saw. After you are done you should turn the scroll saw off and then remove the piece.

Bonus Scroll Saw Tips

  • When making sharp turns, always pull against the back of the blade.
  • You need to make the turn while the scroll saw is running so be careful.
  • It is always a good idea to keep your saw blade at minimum speed when working with small pieces of wood. Putting it at fast speed is just a disaster recipe for your piece and the blade of the scroll saw.
  • When making cuts on a small piece it is often a good idea to keep cleaning the piece after every small cut.
  • Use the correct blade for the job to give you the most efficient result.
  • Make sure your blade is true and adjust it in case it is not.
  • Choose the tension of the blade which best suits you, but make sure it is not too tight or loose.
  • Always take care of your fingers when feeding wood to the scroll saw. Safety measures should always be taken when using any power tool with a blade.
  • Use goggles to avoid getting any sawdust or flying splinters in your eyes and to ensure that you have good eye contact with the piece you are working on.

Best Blade for Your Scroll Saw to Make Small Cuts

One of the best blades in the market for any scroll saw is the Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse #5 which prevents any piece from breaking, splintering, or tearing from below. The reverse blades mixed with the blades pointing downwards prevent the piece from getting splintered when the blade cuts down.


Is a scroll saw good for cutting large pieces of lumber?

No, a scroll saw is typically used to cut smaller pieces of lumber and create intricate designs. For larger pieces, we would suggest a bandsaw.

How much speed is ideal for a scroll saw to cut small pieces?

Medium speed is ideal when cutting small or bigger pieces using a scroll saw. At high speed, the blade just gets abused and it should only be conserved for projects that require that kind of speed.

How much tension should the blade of the scroll saw have?

The tension should be ideal for you, but it shouldn’t be too loose that the blade reflexes a lot and not too tight that it does not have space to have a reflex at all.

Final Thoughts

A scroll saw is a great tool to have when you plan on creating intricate pieces of art using wood. With the right mindset and practice, you can avoid any issues when cutting a small piece with a scroll saw. Just make sure to follow the instructions in the article and you will be cutting small pieces with your scroll saw with ease.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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