Scrollsaw issue/Instarsia work

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Forum topic by DanaLynn posted 766 days ago 1146 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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40 posts in 767 days

766 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut scroll saw blade scrollworking arts and crafts

I’m new to woodworking and need some advice. I’m using a Ryobi scroll saw with probably the thinnest pin-in blade available. I’m working on the second project included in a beginning intarsia workbook and ran into an issue. I’ve been doing fine with staying on line with yellowheart, cherry and pine woods, but I started cutting a dark walnut and I’m having all kinds of issues especially when cutting across the grade (i.e., the blade turns, it seems to be catching, blade broke, wood jumps). I’m having a terrible time staying on the line. Thought maybe my blade might be dull, but that wasn’t it. Thought maybe I was going through a knot and it wasn’t that either. At certain points I though that maybe it would burn the wood because I didn’t think the blade was going to move forward with the cut as almost if it were stuck. I’m I doing something wrong or is it just the type of wood that I’m going through or both? It has me terribly discouraged, because I have to stay on line of the pattern for this project and am not doing well at all. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

-- Dana, Indiana,

9 replies so far

View conchwood's profile


1 post in 767 days

#1 posted 766 days ago

I’m not that familar with walnut or scroll saws for that matter, but do a lot of sawing and it sounds like your blade is either gumming or loading up. I suspect you are using the finest tooth available for a smooth cut which will load easily keeping it from cutting. Ideally the tooth at the bottom of the stock should clear the top of the stock to allow
the sawdust to clear. You might try and direct some sort of pressure air at one side of blade to blow clear while cutting, also a dry lubricant might help, but be careful as could affect staining. I also think speed could be an issue if it is going too fast, the chips don’t get enough time to clear. I’m pretty sure different manufactorers offer different strokes (up and down distances) as well. if yours is short it could contribute. I used to love Ryobi tools, but a few years ago they signed an exclusive with home dummy and I think the quality has gone down. you may want to try some other saws on some scrap wood to see if this is the problem. Good Luck

-- Doug

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1657 posts in 1555 days

#2 posted 766 days ago

Putting packing tape on the top and bottom of the wood helps to lubricate the blade while cutting through it. Try different blades. Make sure they are tensioned enough. Should hear a “ping” when you pluck the blade. Do not push hard enough to bend the blade while sawing. I cut walnut and it seems to cut as easily as oak or poplar does.

-- In God We Trust

View moment's profile


2118 posts in 1314 days

#3 posted 766 days ago

A blade with less # of teeth per inch may help , also .

View Pdub's profile


893 posts in 1813 days

#4 posted 766 days ago

I know you said the blade wasn’t dull, but that is what it sounds like. Jim may be right as well when he talks about the tension. I have cut both walnut and cherry with my scroll saw and they both cut about the same. Try a new blade, check the tension and as Jim also said put some packing tape on for lubrication. Good luck!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View DanaLynn's profile


40 posts in 767 days

#5 posted 766 days ago

Thank you all for your advice. I greatly, greatly appreciate it. I tried the packing tape and it didn’t work. I need to go buy some other blades to try. My saw was manufactured in 1992 and its suppose to be able to use pin end and pinless blades, but I’m having a difficult time with the pinless not breaking apart from the little blade holders when in use, so I’ll have to go buy different blades tomorrow. Anyway, I got so frustrated with the dark walnut I’m having such a difficult time with that I switched to different woods that are part of my butterfly project and tried yellowheart and redheart – I had no problems with the saw and blade – aren’t both those woods harder than dark walnut? Grrr!

Doug – is there a difference between “gumming up” vs. “loading up”?

-- Dana, Indiana,

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 1683 days

#6 posted 765 days ago


Sounds as if some of the guys are on the right track. The wood decides the blade you should use. Walnut requieres a blade with fewer tpi as its dust us a bit oily and gummy, in my limited experience. When the blade loads up or gums up )same thing, effectively) it can seem that you’re pushing a dull knife through frozen butter. It’s tough. Blade speed and feed speed play a part too. To sum up: Fewer teeth, slower speed, and find the feed rate that works.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View DanaLynn's profile


40 posts in 767 days

#7 posted 763 days ago

It was definitely a blade issue. I bought a reverse tooth pin end blade w 9 tpi and it worked – yeah!!! I was really doubting myself there for a moment. Thanks alot everyone :) Can’t wait to post my first multi-wood intarsia project on here!!!

-- Dana, Indiana,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3415 posts in 2593 days

#8 posted 763 days ago

Glad ya got it workin’.
Be sure that ya don’t have a lot of “slop/flex” in the saw’s arms. If there’s a lot of lateral wiggle it will be hard to make accurate cuts. I good lube job on the arm bearings won’t hurt either. A cleaning and lube with a lithium grease can do wonders.


View kayakdude's profile


90 posts in 1409 days

#9 posted 238 days ago

here what you need to do 1 make sure your blade in very tight , file the back of blade try using pga blade or fd blades on thick wood 1/2 to 3/4 #5 or 7 or 9 on smaller 02 or 4 r i cut a lot of walnut and sometime you need to play with it . speed also plays a big part in that also.kd

-- kayakdude

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