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Blog entry by stefang posted 12-11-2014 09:20 AM 2110 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One present almost every family would enjoy is a scroll saw. Younger kids can use them too with a little instruction and supervision. Every one in the family can use it and make a lot of great projects from 1/8” ply or solids. There really is no limit to what you can do with them. They are great for making models, boxes, chess pieces, Holiday stuff and much much more. They are also wonderful as a supplement as a tool to make detailed stuff for regular woodworking projects. It is a tool that can release a lot of creativity in the family and also be a great opportunity to share some quality time with your family.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

7 comments so far

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 1647 days

#1 posted 12-11-2014 03:12 PM

That’s on my to-get list. There’s a Hegner on Craigs List for $800 that I’m waiting to come down to Earthly levels in price.

How old should a child be before they can be considered responsible enough to use one? My Little Brother is seven, and I am not sure he could be trusted around any power tools, even with my supervision.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3387 days

#2 posted 12-11-2014 04:38 PM

I started my grandkids when they were 9 or 10. I think it somewhat depends on the child as some can focus better than others earlier on, but I do think most can start younger, maybe at 8 years of age. There is really no danger if they learn to keep their fingers away from the blade. That is really the only critical safety rule they need to remember. In my opinion it would not be easy to sustain a serious injury on the scroll saw unless you were almost trying to hurt yourself. I would make sure though that the machine couldn’t be accessed by them without supervision. I got my first knife at quite a young age, and that is probably a lot more dangerous than a scroll saw. The best way to find out is to let them try it and assess whether or not they are ready. Just give them a little time to get used to it before you decide.

If they start with some easy projects and learn how to keep downwards pressure on the workpiece while moving it into the cut things should go well. The arm moving up and down is a little scary, especially in the beginning, but that is a good thing which keeps them very mindful of the moving blade at all times. I taught the kids without using a pressure foot to hold down the workpiece. If they have to hold it down themselves, they will be more in control of the whole process and they get used to it very quickly, but it is a constant reminder to keep them focussed. That said, some kids don’t have enough strength in their small fingers and may need a pressure foot anyway.

Another point is that the person supervising should know the basic techniques themselves before teaching/supervising others. Scroll sawing is very easy to learn and even to master. A good scroll saw hand book like the one from Patrick Speilman will teach you all the basic cutting techiques, appropriate blades, safety rules, and also give a very good idea about all the different types of work a scroll saw is capable of. There are also lots of pattern books available and you can also use coloring books.

Starting with a good quality saw is a big advantage as they usually have quick blade change, variable speed control and use pinless blades. Hegnar is an excellent quality machine, but it would be good to know what features it has or doesn’t have before you buy. Personally I would recommend an Excalibur if you can afford one. That’s what I have and they are super, especially because if you do any angle cutting you don’t have to tilt the table because the saw arm tilts up to 45 deg. on either side and very precisely leaving the table flat which makes it very easy to control the workpiece. There are lots of other reasons for buying an Excalibur, but you can look into that online and compare with others. That said, there are plenty of other less expensive and good quality scroll saws on the market.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CFrye's profile


10282 posts in 1893 days

#3 posted 12-11-2014 11:46 PM

Mike, I hope to maybe get my son on the scroll saw this coming year(he is in his 20’s!). Eventually, maybe, grandkids…I really liked your project parties you mentioned in your last post.

-- God bless, Candy

View doubleDD's profile


7487 posts in 2096 days

#4 posted 12-12-2014 03:12 AM

Hi Mike. I just finished cutting some letters on the scroll saw. I will agree with you that for all power tools, this is more on the forgiving side that most. Still can cause some damage and or crying (little ones) if there is a slip, but I guess you have to start somewhere. It’s been awhile since I used it so the results were not to satisfying at first, but in short time yuo get the feeling and the tool is quite easy to use. With that said, Bring on the grandkids.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20756 posts in 3158 days

#5 posted 12-12-2014 06:00 AM

Yes, Mike. they are very handy machines for a variety of projects!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3387 days

#6 posted 12-12-2014 08:52 AM

It is a great way to bond with the kids and they are very proud of what they make. My wife has several small projects done by the grandkids in her office/sewing room and others in the family have some on display too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jakeprater's profile


90 posts in 1642 days

#7 posted 12-12-2014 11:26 PM

Yep, need to get one of these!

-- All this sawdust.......wait........ what happened to my board???

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