“What is a scrollsaw?” is the question I’m usually asked when I mention that scrollsawing is the area of woodwork that interests me. Although very popular in The United States where they often have entire woodworking shows devoted to scrollsawing, in the UK they are not so well known.
Essentially a scrollsaw is very similar to a band saw in that you push the wood up against the blade to get the desired cut. The big difference is the type of blade used in the machines; the band saw has a blade on a continuous loop, and the scrollsaw has a reciprocating blade which is only 5” in length and much finer than any band saw blade allowing for a much more precise cut. This of course has its drawbacks! Too much pressure on the blade, tension of blade too high, speed of blade too fast etc. etc. and the blade will break! The key, as with any craft, is practice and then one day it all comes together and you find yourself discarding a blade because it has become blunt, not because it has broken.
The blades used vary in thickness and design giving the operator plenty of opportunity to match the blade to the type of pattern and wood used.
Scroll saws are used for intricate cuts. This type of work would be something like an elaborate sign, a wooden toy, or jigsaw puzzle. Computer software is available to convert photographs into a pattern so its possible to reproduce in wood a portrait of a family member etc.
The club has one scrollsaw in its inventory (a Hegner Multicut 1) which is controlled with a foot pedal so that the user can employ both hands to guide the wood that they are working on making it a very safe machine.
We have a number of pre-prepared patterns for beginners to learn the basics of the craft; more experienced members are free to bring their own patterns to cut.
The Lead for scrollsaw group is James Sharpe