What Is a Scroll Saw Used For?

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A scroll saw is generally preferred where precise cuts are needed, especially when tight angles and alternating curves come into the mix. Its assembly sees a thin blade set on a stationary table, and you move your workload around it.

In the long lineup of saws, such as circular saws and table saws, scroll saws rank highly where safety is concerned.

With that said, here’s a brief look at how scroll saws work. It has parallel arms that you insert your blade between. A knob at the saw’s top helps you to lock things in place.

When ready to cut, put both the pattern that you want to cut and your workpiece on the table, and you lock them both into place using a clamp that prevents sliding as you work.

As you push your material and pattern through, the blade moves up and down. There isn’t a standard blade for a scroll saw, so you want to evaluate your workload to ensure that you’re using the correct one.

While the incorrect blade may work, you may find difficulty making the sharp angles that you may want. You should also note that it is very much possible to make interior cuts using the scroll saw.

Doing so requires you to poke a hole into your workpiece, insert the blade, and then lock things in place.

So, now that you know how a scroll saw works, what do people use one for? Well, here are a few applications that the scroll saw is known for.

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments differ by composition and purpose. There are percussion instruments, woodwind instruments, brass wind instruments, and stringed instruments.

One constant element though is excellent craftsmanship. Without proper construction, musical instruments can be way off base with the sounds that they make. 

Considering that the scroll saw is as adept as it is at precision angles and curves, it makes the perfect tool to achieve the kind of cuts you need to create great harmony. You would be surprised to know how many stringed instruments owe much of their incredible functionality to the use of scroll saws.


If you’ve never heard of intarsia before, just know that it’s older than you are. It’s an ancient crafting style that uses various wood types and other materials put together in a way that forms intricate shapes. What you get at the end is quite the illusion of depth. It takes some experience to make these pieces, but even the newest of scroll saw users can pull it off with a bit of dedication and practice.

The most challenging part of this is that the various wooden pieces must fit together precisely for an intarsia project to work. Of course, based on the description of the scroll saw you’ve seen so far, it is greatly suited to the creation of tight-fitting joints.

Before starting things though, take some time to think about the different kinds of wood you want to use for your project. Remember that the intention is to create a visual stunner, so your ingredients must complement each other well.

Additionally, this is one of those projects that is highly affected by blade selection. Remember that you are using different kinds of wood, which may mean different blades work well.

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Many cabinets have scroll saws to thank for their joints. Carpenters often opt to use them for the best results. Dovetail joints, for example, are among the most common that tend to be made by these saws. They are appropriate since they allow a carpenter to easily glue two perpendicular pieces of wood in place.

Joints are not the only things that benefit cabinets where scroll saws are concerned. Remember that these tools are also excellent at creating standout patterns. Also, remember that inlay patterns are great for making cabinets visually stand out. Therefore, you may want to think about using a scroll saw to create such patterns.


Whether via media or real life, you’ve likely seen fretwork before. If you know what it is, then you can probably already see why a scroll saw is appropriate. If you are not sure what fretwork is, do a quick search with your favorite search engine, and it should hit you like a ton of bricks.

The easiest way to explain it is as the set of geometric patterns you often see on metal and wooden decorations. When done well, fretwork looks less like its base material and more like delicate lace.

Like intarsia, fretwork may seem intimidating, so much so that you may abandon trying it and do something else altogether. However, the discipline is straightforward when you have a scroll saw at your disposal. Again, proper blade choice is important, especially since fretwork can make use of various materials.

Here’s a fun fact for you. There is no other power saw that can manage fretwork with the same level of detail, precision, and output that the scroll saw can give.

Toy Crafting

It’s quite impressive how commonplace this one is. It seems as if many people, upon getting a scroll saw, choose to attempt making toys with them. Puzzles, for example, tend to be some of the main initial creations.

It stands to reason though, considering that the scroll saw boasts excellent pattern creation skills. What better way to experiment and learn by creating puzzle pieces that are meant to fit right into each other.

The funny thing is, even if you do mess up when creating a single puzzle piece, you can recover quite intuitively. All you need to do is modify other pieces to fit the shape of the messed-up piece.

Of course, creating toys goes way beyond just creating puzzles, but it’s a simple example to work with. Still, feel free to go wild in making things that you or others you care for can play with when you’re done. That’s where some of the real satisfaction comes in.

Final Remarks

Certainly, you can see that scroll saws are incredibly versatile in what they can help you create. Make no mistake as the items covered here are not exhaustive. For example, working with nonmetal materials or even creating home decor are disciplines that fit right up the scroll saw alley.

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s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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Itamar Ben Dor
Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.