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Choosing The Best Scroll Saw Blades For The Job

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scroll-saw-uses

Image Credit: Popularwoodworking.com

If you’re an occasional scroll saw user choosing the right blade for the job can often be confusing. Not only are there a wide range of scroll saw blades available, they also differ in purpose and overall quality.

So how do you pick the best scroll saw blade for your needs? To help you sort through the different varieties we have come up with this little guide.

In the table below you will find our top pick scroll saw blades based on tooth configuration; for an in depth look at how to determine the correct blade for your project, keep on reading.

Related: In Search of the Best Scroll Saw (A Top 5 Review Round Up)


Recommended Scroll Saw Blade Types

PRODUCTNAMETYPE / BEST USE
Proxxon 28745
Pin End Scroll
Saw Blades
Fine Toothed
Standard Blade

General scroll saw
fine cutting
Olson Saw
FR49400
Skip Tooth
Scroll Saw Blade
Assortment
Skip Tooth Blade

Smooth cuts
with reduced
burn
Pegas
Double Tooth
Woodworking
blades, 12 x Size 5
Double Skip Tooth

Ultra smooth
slow cut
Reverse Tooth
Flying Dutchman
Scroll Saw Blades
6 different sizes
Intro Pack
Reverse Tooth

Smooth cut
both top and
bottom of
material
Olson Saw
PG49802
Precision Ground
Scroll Saw Blade
Precision Ground

Sharp, durable
high performance
Pro use
Pegas
Spiral Woodworking
Sawblades
5" Pack
of 12 Size 8
Spiral Blades

Best for
intricate work
6 Dozen Olson
Crown Tooth
Scroll Saw Blades
Variety Intro Pack
2/0, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9
Crown Tooth

Smooth, slow
cut. Reduced heat
great for
plastics

Things to consider when buying the Best Scroll Saw Blades

There are a number of factors to keep in mind when choosing a blade saw. The type of material you are cutting and the intricacy of the job in hand, are all important variables.

Let’s take a closer look

Material to be cut

material-being-cut

Image Credit: TheSawBlog.com

It is a clear point to make that when cutting a thin piece of soft wood, you will need a different type of blade that when cutting through a thick, chunk of oak.

The same applies when cutting through aluminium or plastics. It is the blade’s measurement that determines its suitability for use on a material.

When buying a scroll saw blade one of the specifications you need to pay attention to is its size. They range from as high as #12 to sizes below #0.

A blade with a higher number will be thicker and wider in dimensions. Because of this the number of teeth per inch (TPI) actually ends up being lower.

A good rule of thumb to remember is that higher numbered blades, (i.e thicker and wider) are more suited to thicker and wider materials.

However, you still need to consider the intricacy of the cut.

The type of cut

scroll-saw-projects

Image Credit: Dustymars.net

The type of pattern you wish to cut is another issue that will determine the type of blade you should use. An intricate pattern will clearly be difficult to achieve with a large scroll saw blade.

The blade that you use has to get in all the nooks and crannies that the pattern requires. This means it must be able to turn within the radius of the sharpest corner. (However, you will still want a blade with the capacity to cut through the thickness of the material being used.)

As you will see when we discuss blade saw types below, teeth configuration is also an issue that needs consideration depending on the nature of the pattern.

Stamped or Precision Ground

scroll-saw-blade-types

Image Credit: Youtube.com/User: The Hungarian

Another factor to consider is manufacturing technique. This can make the choice of blade even more difficult as you will often experience different results depending on the brand that you use.

Here, trial and error is often the way forward. By experimenting across a range of brand/series of blades over time, you will discover what works best for you.

Stamped blades and precision ground (PGT) blades are two different types where performance can differ. PGT blades generally stay sharper for longer when compared to stamped blades, however they are also more expensive.

Scroll Saw Blade Types – Compatibility

There are in fact 2 main types of blade compatibility. One is plain end blades the other is pin-end blades.

Let’s take a look at the difference

Plain-End blades

plain-end-blades

These are totally flat and are fixed into the scroll saw by small clamps. (One of the clamps is situated beneath the scroll saw work table. The top end of the blade is clamped above).

For this configuration, the blade is threaded through a cut in the table. The saw then powers the blade so that it reciprocates up and down for the cut.

Plain-End blades are the most common blades available and generally considered the standard for modern day scroll saws.

Pin-End blades

pin-end-scroll-saw-blades

Pin end blades are fixed to the saw utilising a tiny cross pin on each end. These pins are attached inside a hook-like holder within the saw. This system makes for faster blade changes.


Recommended Scroll Saw Blades

scroll-saw-blades

As mentioned earlier in this guide, tooth design is an important consideration when choosing the right blade for your project.

Where the table above will assist you in selecting the correct size based on the material being cut, the list below should assist you in deciding the correct tooth configuration.

Standard/Regular tooth blades

The simplest tooth design can be found on standard blades. The teeth along the sharp edge of the blade are the same shape, size and appear one after the other across the blade.

You will find two major types of standard tooth blades; one is designed for cutting metal, the other is designated wood cutting blades.

The difference between the two comes down to size of teeth. When compared to wood blades, metal blades have smaller teeth with less space between them.

Recommended: Proxxon 28745 Pin End Scroll Saw Blades, Fine Toothed

The Proxxon set of 12 pin end 5-Inch scroll saw blades are very versatile indeed. Made of high quality steel, they are durable and will abely cut through non ferrous metals, Plastics, Plexiglas and wood. They feature a standard fine toothed configuration with a total of 25 TPI.


Skip-tooth blades

Skip-tooth blades are very similar to standard. The main difference can be understood just by looking at the name; the skip tooth means there is a much wider space between the teeth.

The result of this is a lower teeth per inch. This in turn leads to a smoother cut with less chance of burn. Skip tooth blades are great for beginners because of this higher tolerance.

Recommended: Olson Saw FR49400 Skip Tooth Scroll Saw Blade Assortment

Olson do a wide range of skip-tooth scroll saw blade sizes. Starting at the very fine FR40000 (#3/0) size for cutting thi materials right up to the FR410DZ for coarser cuts. These cut fast and provide good chip clearance with a smooth finish. Our most recommended skip-tooth blades on the market today.


Double skip tooth blades

If you are after a very smooth finish, double skip tooth blades are generally the way to go. The tooth configuration here is the same as skip-tooth but with a gap between sets of two teeth. The reduced number of teeth does make them cut slower however.

Recommended: Pegas Swiss Made DoubleTooth Woodworking Sawblades 5″ Pack of 12 Size 5

This particular size double skip tooth blades are best with softwoods. Manufactured in Switzerland these are a popular blade due to their fine finish, with the skip adding the benefit of effective chip removal.

Dimensions come in at .007″ thick, .026 width, with plain end fixture. There is a total of 25 teeth per inch on the blade and you get 12 blades per pack.


Reverse tooth blades

If one was to generalise, (as there are many factors at play here) the reverse tooth blade design offers the user the best overall cut.

Featuring a skip-tooth configuration with the added design bonus of having the last inch of teeth pointing in the opposite direction, the reverse tooth blade can cut both on the up and down stroke of the saw.

The end result is a much smoother cut. Tear out and splintering is minimised on both sides of the material surface.

Recommended: 6 Dozen Reverse Tooth Flying Dutchman Scroll Saw Blades 6 different sizes (FD-SR Scoll Reverse) Variety Intro Pack

The Flying Dutchman blades are manufactured in Germany using high-quality steel. Cut to precise tolerances, the performance is very good, (a notion supported by the amount of glowing reviews on Amazon.com)

This Reverse Tooth intro pack contains six different sizes 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12’s! They are also separated and labelled within the package to make selection easier. Perfect for beginners, all the blades in the pack are 5 inches long and pinless.


Precision-ground tooth blades

Precision ground blades are skip-tooth blades with small, razor-sharp teeth. The difference here is the fact the teeth are ground from the finest carbon steel.

They are generally more expensive to buy, however the more robust construction means they outperform and last longer than normal blades.

The blade provides a cut that is fast and smooth and excels with both straight and radius cuts. However, due to the sharpness and speed of the cut, they can be difficult to use for beginners.

Recommended: Olson Saw PG49802 Precision Ground Scroll Saw Blade

These are a very accurate scroll saw blade with sharp, durable teeth. Stated to have up to 4 times the cutting life, the double tooth performance is great for hardwoods.

The reverse teeth configuration allows for a clean finish with sharp edges on the top and bottom of the material surface. Highly recommended for serious scroll saw users.


Spiral blades

Spiral blades are exactly as you would expect; shaped into spirals. Here the manufacturers twist normal blades so that each of the blade has teeth.

The benefit of this design is that the blade can cut in both directions without the user needing to spin the work piece material. They are best used on intricate portrait patterns.

Recommended: Pegas Swiss Made Spiral Woodworking Sawblades 5″ Pack of 12 Size 8

These spiral blades provide high performance intricate cutting. They are designed for wood, plastic, ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, bone, wax and other light materials. Dimensions come in at 024″ diameter with 48 teeth per inch.


Crown-tooth blades

The crown tooth blade is similar to the reverse tooth design in that it is able to cut on both the up and down stroke. Furthermore, as the name suggests, the teeth are shaped like a crown, (with a gap in the blade between each crown).

The crown tooth design is best suited to those needing extra-smooth and chip-free cuts in plastics, acrylic or Pexiglas. This is because they cut slower and with less heat, reducing the chance of melting the material.

Recommended: 6 Dozen Olson Crown Tooth Scroll Saw Blades Variety Intro Pack 2/0, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9

These blades cut a little slower for more control making them ideal for delicate fretwork. As stated above, the two-way cutting action helps to prevent melting of materials during the cut.

Best suited for working with plastics including acrylic, lexan (polycarbonate), fiberglass, and plexiglas.


Finding the best scroll saw blade

As you can see there is a wide range of scoll saw blades to choose from. If you still need guidance after reading the above, we recommend taking a look at the Olson website, where you’ll find a handy Scroll Saw Blade Identification Chart. Another good resource is the scrollsawer.com forum.

In our opinion, one of the best ways to get going is to do a little research and then test out the blades. Only by using a particular type of scroll saw blade will you be able to determine if it is the correct grade for your needs.


Image Credits: The Saw Blog, Popularwoodworking.comDustymars.net, Youtube.com/User: The Hungarian