ScrollSaw Information and Resources #26: Additional Tools to Accompany a Scrollsaw

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Blog entry by jerrells posted 05-06-2012 11:09 PM 1153 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 25: Additional Tools to go with a ScrollSaw Part 26 of ScrollSaw Information and Resources series Part 27: A Good Day in the Shop - Kinda »

I posted the forum topic here, and on other forums, and really did not get an answer. Perhaps it is not that easy to answer. Perhaps I misstated the question. Perhaps it depends on the type of scrollsawing one does (which in my case is mostly fretwork). Well after lots of conversation and thoughts I will attempt to answer my own question even if only for myself. In doing so I will make no mention of brands of tools but only types.

First of all I think you will need tools to reduce stock to usable sizes. That could be a tablesaw, bandsaw, jigsaw, or the scrollsaw (itself). All of these types of tools are very useful in reducing larger stock to manageable and usable sizes. There are no doubts that space limitations and budget will play a large part in this.

Secondly, I feel that you need tools to help in the final shaping of your wood pieces. These could be a router, handheld, or table mount. You could use some drilling accessories like a hand drill, or drill press, or plunge router to name a few.

Third, some types of items to help in the final preparation of the surface of the wood. A planer comes to mind and in most cases is very useful. Also, some sanding accessories. A power orbital sander or some hand sanding items. Of course a vacuum is always useful in all stages.

I suppose a large level of my frustration is that there is not a large amount, or any, or these items scaled for most scrollers. At least I have not found them. Bench top or table top items are great but we scrollers could use, in most cases smaller still units. Sometimes these units are available but made of plastic and thus reduces there usefulness, in my opinion. It would seem that some manufactures would see a market and come out with a line of tools scales for scrollers. If you know of any I would like to review them. Thanks for looking and reading.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

3 comments so far

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2886 days

#1 posted 05-07-2012 01:10 AM

I’m not sure I agree with you on a need for smaller equipment for us scrollers. I think many of these tools can’t really be scaled down much further and still be of much use. For re-sawing, you at least need a mid-sized bandsaw with moderate power to be able to re-saw wide boards for scrolling. For planing, I suppose we could use a smaller benchtop planer but the 12” models are already fairly reasonably priced, and I don’t know how much cheaper it would be for something smaller. They do already make small, cheap table saws which are quite limited in their usefulness.

I guess I am fortunate to have a friend with a full shop and I don’t face this problem that many starting scrollers have to work around.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 05-07-2012 02:16 AM

Thanks Keith for the reply and O YES thanks for the great article on the different type of woods.

I suppose part of the question still remains, “what equipment”.

Second, most of us do not have a ready equipped shop, so what to purchase.

I tend to agree on the Horse Power issue.

We will see if we get additional responses.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2808 days

#3 posted 05-08-2012 01:37 PM

I don’t want smaller scale tools.
I want larger ones.

Drill Press
I have a large, floor model drill press. Still though, it is only seven and a half inches from the point of the 1/16” drill bit (my most often used) to post that the drill press head mounts too. This creates a problem for some of my larger projects. When discussin this with people at the hardware store for suggestions, they often say, just use a hand drill. Then I get into the whole problem of trying my best to explain to them why, in scrolling, I need holes that are perfect and have no side to side deflection. I would love to own one of those huge drill presses with large capacity reaches to the quill.

Table Saw
I have two table saws now, a Ridgid and an old 50s era Craftsman. Both get the job done, but this is one of those tools that I have learned that I’ll never think what I have is large enough.

I have several routers, including a little palm router. I have tried, unsuccessfully I might add, to use a router on my finished scroll work. I’ll stick with sanders on that one. I’m scared to death now of the shrappnel that a router produces from hitting the cross grain of thin finished scrolled pieces. I’ll stick with sanders for finishing the edges of scroll work.

I use three sanders mainly for my scroll work.
I am perfectly happy with my random orbit sander. It is a Ridgid brand hand held and does what it is supposed to do.
I also am happy with the Ridgid spindle/belt sander combo I have. It does a good job, without burning the wood, and I find it has a perfect sized table for my purposes.
The last sander I use is sanding disks and such in a dremil type tool. Mine is a B&D brand. It is a good tool. It must be since I now have bought another one so I can keep drill bits in one without haveing to change over for sanding operation. My only gripe with it is the variable speed setup. It has a high, medium, and low. Sometime low is too slow and medium is destructive. I would absolutely love to have actual adjustable speeds between the high, medium, and low settings.

I have a 13” lunchbox planer. It does what it is supposed to do, but I always felt it was essentually useless for much besides wasting stock, which brings me to my next entry.

I built a huge 16” bandsaw just so I could resaw wood instead of running it over and over through my planer, wasting stock. I would still love to have a bigger one and may build one someday. I often use stock that is larger than this bandsaw or my planer can handle. On those cases, I’m stuck with plywood choices, which I hate.

I have a huge 40×50 shop and don’t necessarily worry as much as some about dust collection. My main use for a vacuum in scrolling is sucking all that tiny sawdust out of the tiny fretwork holes I’ve cut. This is one tool that I agree with you on that I would love something smaller, if it had enough power to do the job. Currently, my Ridgid 16gallon vacuum sucks. No, I mean it really sucks, in a good way. It gets the job done. It is also large and a pain to lug out sometimes when I’m only wanting to take care of a few small parts of a larger project.
I have, combined now, about two hundred bucks invested in three different “handheld” vaccums. They aren’t worth crap for scrolling, in my opinion. They just don’t have enough suction to create much usefullness for the average scroller.

Ok, these are my opinions on a lot of the tools I use. Of course there are more that I use. In every case though, I always like bigger tools. I do large projects though. Someone just doing small projects probably has an entirely different view on the subject I’m sure.


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