straight cut using a scroll saw

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Forum topic by truethinker13 posted 12-25-2015 04:50 AM 1257 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 304 days

12-25-2015 04:50 AM

A lot of the stress for me is thinking everything’s right then messing up a good piece of wood and not knowing why it happened.
I know the teeth on a scroll saw blade have a bias to them. I know if I hit the blade at an angle even slight it wil distort the blade to a point then the blade rights it’s self. So, I want to go straight on to the blade, not hit it at an angle. HOWEVER, a little compensation IS needed because the blade is biased.
How much compensation is needed, and how can I find out what it is without wasting a lot of wood-wood is money! There certainly a lot of lessons to be learned aren’t there!

Your friend truethinker

11 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


4028 posts in 1619 days

#1 posted 12-25-2015 04:54 AM

All blades are different – there is no one answer. Pressed blades will have more tendency to veer than ground ones though. Only use will dictate how much you need to compensate, and trying on a scrap will get you an idea. Otherwise, go slow and make small adjustments. Straight lines are the hardest thing to do on a scroll saw, but with practice, you will get there. Also… if your blade is ‘distorting’, then it sounds like you don’t have enough tension on the blade, and that will make it almost impossible to follow a line, straight or otherwise.


PS: That is one reason I really enjoy doing portraits – very few straight lines :)

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View TheFridge's profile


5676 posts in 906 days

#2 posted 12-25-2015 04:59 AM

Very hard

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Fettler's profile


200 posts in 1417 days

#3 posted 12-25-2015 05:51 AM

Sound hard. Specially if you have shaky “I need my egg nog fix” hands. I’m definitely not that good with the scroll saw.

I imagine if there is a bias it could be the blade doesn’t have uniform set. Maybe you could setup a fence. Maybe more teeth ? No clue.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2098 days

#4 posted 12-25-2015 08:00 AM

When I need a long straight line, I use a spiral blade and run the edge of the board against a straightedge. I’ve never seen anyone else do it but it works for me.

View Redoak49's profile


1819 posts in 1408 days

#5 posted 12-25-2015 12:32 PM

It is difficult to cut a straight line on a scroll saw. I have to go slow and concentrate on splitting the line I use a good magnifier light. Another factor is the wood grain as it will tend to push the blade in another direction at times. As always a new blade works better…the blades can dull quickly

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 596 days

#6 posted 12-25-2015 12:54 PM

When I bought my first scrollsaw the salesman told me that a lot of blades had a burr on the back edge and if I removed that burr the blade would cut better. This allowed him to sell me a diamond stone to deburr my blades.

Experience has shown that he was right. If I have a blade that is not wanting to cut correctly I round over the back of the blade and it cuts better.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View CharleyL's profile


190 posts in 2784 days

#7 posted 12-25-2015 04:45 PM

Try some Flying Dutchman blades. While I can’t guarantee that they will work perfectly for you, I have found that they cut more reliably straighter than any other brand that I’ve tried. They also stay sharp longer and break less for me. Strong wood grain will cause problems with any blade as it cuts through between the hard and soft areas. Choose wood with very little variation in hardness across the grain and your saw will cut straighter.

I have no connection to Flying Dutchman. I’m just a very satisfied user.


View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2342 days

#8 posted 12-26-2015 10:52 PM

I do a lot of cutting with scroll saws. (I have three) I also like Flying Dutchman blades. As already mentioned a perfectly strait line is difficult to cut with a scroll saw. The best results will be achieved with new blades, high tension on the blade, slow feed rate, and of coarse proper technique. Scroll saw cutting is the slowest cutting done in my workshop. MUCH slower than a band saw. The blade should “Ping” when plucked if it has enough tension on it. The way to guide the wood on the line is to move the wood left and right a very little bit and very often. Think of steering a bicycle or an automobile. Constant left and right inputs will help a lot. Slow speed of the saw will also help.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View TiggerWood's profile


271 posts in 1026 days

#9 posted 12-26-2015 11:41 PM

Jim pretty much said it all. In my experience, with my cheap Performax saw, the blade always cuts about 15 degrees to the right. I could flip the blade over or change blades/brands and it still does this. It’s beyond my imagination why. The jaws are perpendicular and the blades are straight and 90 degrees but the cut wants to steer to that side. If I need to cut a straight line I usually start on a side with at least a quarter inch waste to start with so I have the right angle going into my straight line cut.

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 840 days

#10 posted 12-28-2015 05:39 AM

Well, like Mr. Jim mentioned, take the approach that you’re steering your car. Remember though, every move you make is going to show up in your cut line. The second thing I’d say is, the scroll saw was not really designed to cut a straight line. It can be done with practice, but not in two or three times of using your saw. I own five scroll saws, & have three of them dedicated to different uses. My main work horse is a Hawk 220 VS. I use Olson & flying Dutchman blades. Depending on the project, the wood type, intricacies you’re dealing with, & how well tuned your saw is, bears the weight of its capabilities. Not knowing what brand your saw is, I’m not able to give you advice there, but were I you, I would start there. Make sure its tuned properly. Next would be your choice of blade compared to your choice of wood. If you go to any of the blade websites, & have a look see at what blade they “recommend” for what, use that as a starting point. Blade tension would be the next topic of discussion. Bigger blades you’ll want more tension, smaller blades you’ll want less tension. Every blade type controls different. Some will say not, but, IMO, they do. You just have to figure out where the “sweet spot” is that works best for you. Too much tension will break blades. Not enough will have more tendency to follow the grain of the wood, be hard to control, crooked cut lines, well, you get the picture. My next question would be, how thick is the material you’re wanting to scroll in? The thickness of your material dominates ALOT of what your blade does. The heavier, & thicker you’re trying to scroll, the bigger the blades, the slower the feed rate, the less perfection you’ll obtain. In turn, the thinner the material, the smaller the blade sizes you can use, the more precise your work appearance will be, handling will be easier, & most of all, less work on the saw. My apologies for the ramble, my friend, but experience is a good teacher. I been scrolling 15 years now, & spend 8 – 12 hours a day at the saw. I haven’t figured out how to download pictures on here yet, but, if you’d like to look at some of my projects, I have a fb page called Sawdust Haven. Thank you for your time, & hopefully some of my rambling will help ya. Good luck, & work safe!

-- Sawdust703

View wood2woodknot's profile


46 posts in 1393 days

#11 posted 01-09-2016 07:24 AM

Just add that I have more drift when cutting with the grain (rip cuts). Across the grain is a lot easier. Slow and steady does it for both … and look into those Flying Dutchman blades (google Mike’s Workshop – fast service and will answer your questions).

-- ajh

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