Things You Didn’t Know about the Scroll Saw

Introducing the Scroll Saw

Deriving it’s name from the scroll head designs it traditionally were used to create, the scroll saw is often used to cut delicate and complex curves and joints. The saw is extremely adept at such type of cuts and performs them with great accuracy and precision. Traditional models of the scroll saw were usually hand or pedal-operated. The modern variants of the same are electrically operated. The fine blade of the saw allows more delicate cuts as compared to a regular power saw. As has been the trend among the modern models of power tools, the scroll saw now comes with modern intarsia (wooden inlaying) which increases the scope for decorative purposes.

Some Facts about Scroll Saws

Historical Context

The first design of what could have led to the advent of the modern scroll saw was made in Germany during the 1500s owing to the rise of fretwork – a form of complex woodcuts. The modern scroll saw was first developed by Andre Charles Boulle. However, the complex construction of pivot joints and casting made sure that the modern scroll saw as we see today was not made until the mid-twentieth century.  


While many of you may be aware of the six different types of blades that a scroll saw usually employs, namely skip tooth, double skip tooth, crown or two-way, spiral blades, metal-cutting blades and diamond blades; there is also a seventh type of blade which is not commonly used. The reverse tooth blade is a subtle piece of innovation that involves a different approach to using the scroll saw. On a typical reverse tooth blade, the bottom of the teeth faces points up (hence the name). While this arrangement of the teeth may help in reduced splinters, the blade does not efficiently clean out the resulting sawdust. This in turn, leads to the entire process of cutting to be slower and due to friction, production of more heat. This heat may in turn, scorch the woodwork. These types of blades are extremely useful while making cuts on softwood and plywood. ‘Ultra-reverse’ – the latest model of these blades are much more efficient than the reverse blades.


Saws are some of the most dangerous industrial tools around. Lack of adequate safety features and faster factory production have often led to industrial accidents where the worker may have lost his arms or fingers. However, the scroll saws as when compared to other types of saws are usually safer and even if there is accidental contact between the blade and the operator’s fingers, there won’t usually be a fatal injury.


While the earliest scroll saws models date back to the mid 18th century, initially they were only produced in two countries – Germany and France. Hobbies Limited, a British company was the first to mass produce scroll saws. However, the subsequent boom in production and the rise in popularity of the scroll saw have led to a widespread production of scroll saws in numerous corporations in various countries. The most notable among them being Hegner and Notable in Germany, Eclipse in the USA, DeWalt and Excalibur which were initially produced in Canada but now are made in Taiwan, and Delta, Bosch, Ryobi, Craftsman in various parts of Asia


While scroll saws have remained immensely popular for nearly five centuries, the coveted title of the most popular scroll saw is attributed to the parallel link system design, which consisted of either two or four pivots.


I can absolutely bet on the fact that even you didn’t know all of the facts posted above. Indeed, that an instrument as small as a scroll saw can have such a rich and interesting history, not to mention cultural implications is worth seeing to believe in.

  • December 19, 2016
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Johnny Barrentine - May 5, 2019

Upon replacing a blade, my scrollsaw arms, upper and lower, upon starting, move and stop. i push off knob and repeat with same result. What is wrong? i have experienced this before and unit eventually starts and works properly,until the next time. Please RSVP asap. Thank you in advance.


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