Coping Saw Vs Scroll Saw | What’s The Difference?

There is a big debate in the carpentry world about which saw is better for woodworking projects the Coping Saw Vs Scroll Saw? Both have their pros and cons, but which one is right for you?

A coping saw is used for cutting intricate shapes in wood, coping saws are designed for making internal cuts in thicker pieces of wood. I personally use BAHCO Coping saw .

A scroll saw is used for making curved cuts. Scroll saws are better suited for making thinner, more precise cuts. I recommend WEN 3921 Scroll Saw .

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these two saws, and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.

The Difference Between A Coping Saw and Scroll Saw

A coping saw is a type of hand saw that is used to cut intricate shapes in wood. It consists of a thin blade that is attached to a frame at one end, and a handle at the other. The blade is held in place by a pin, and the hole saw can be disassembled for easy storage.

Coping saws are typically used for delicate work, such as cutting moldings or shaping chair legs.

A scroll saw, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that is used to make precise cuts in wood. It consists of a table that the workpiece is mounted on, and a blade that is attached to a reciprocating arm.

Scroll saws can be used for a variety of projects, including making jigsaw puzzles, inlaying wood, and even cutting metal. Learn about which scroll saw has the largest allowed depth cut

While both coping saws and scroll saws can be used to make intricate cuts, scroll saws are generally more precise and are better suited for projects that require very precise cuts. Coping saws, on the other hand, are more versatile and can be used for a variety of projects.

What Are The Benefits Of Each Saw?

There are a number of benefits to working with scrolling and coping saws:

Coping Saw 

  • More affordable than a scroll saw. Easy to use and lighter than scroll saws.
  • The frame size is small which makes it suitable for confined spaces.
  • Easily manipulated to different cutting angles.
  • Suited for making precise cuts in wood.
  • Allows you to make deep notches that can’t be cut with a scroll saw.

Scroll Saw

  • Better results than the coping saw because the blade teeth point downwards toward your workpiece.
  • Ideal for making intricate cuts, curves, and holes in wood.
  • Can handle large pieces of wood due to its throat size.
  • Larger blades are more effective on thicker pieces of wood or when more depth is required from the cut being made. Learn about How Thick Wood can a Scroll Saw Cut?

When Should You Use A Coping Saw?

Coping saws are best for making notches, rough cuts, and heavy-duty cutting. 

Heavy-duty cutting: Coping saw blades have thicker teeth compared to scroll saw blades. They cut through very dense material easily because of this characteristic. During heavy-duty cutting, the frame will make contact with the workpiece which prevents the blade from slipping or breaking due to friction. 

Rough cutting: If you need to remove a lot of material quickly, use a coping saw as it has thicker blade teeth that can handle pressure from your strokes without wearing out quickly. The design of cope saw blades ensures that they won’t bend under pressure from your hands when you’re trying to push them through the workpiece. 

Notching: If you’re cutting angles that are too deep for your scroll saw to handle, use a coping saw. Cope saw blades can be controlled easily due to their small size and can cut into tight corners where access is difficult for scrolling saws. Also, cope saw blades only cut on the pull stroke so they won’t become damaged if you accidentally try using them on push strokes.

Pros and cons Coping saw

  • Less expensive than a scroll saw.
  • Smaller in size making it easier to use for small tasks.
  • Easily manipulated to different angles.
  • Can make deep notches that cannot be done with a scroll saw. 
  • If you apply too much pressure when the blade is cutting through the material, it can bend which will prevent a clean cut from being made and eventually wear down your blades more quickly. 

When Should You Use A Scroll Saw?

Scroll saws are best suited for making cuts involving curves. They are also suitable for making intricate holes in wood because their throat size allows them to accommodate thicker pieces of wood without splitting or breaking apart the material being worked on. Learn about How To Use a Scroll Saw Safely?

Curves: Scroll Saw blades are thin, flexible, and can be manipulated to different angles. They are suited for making holes in thin pieces of wood using curved movements. 

Holes: Scroll Saw blades can be used to make various types of holes at different angles in your workpieces because the blades pivot from the loop attached to their frame. You can use a scroll saw if you need to drill holes at right angles or other interior angles that are not possible with coping saws because of their fixed blade position. Best Scroll Saw blade IS OLSON SAW FR49501

Making wooden patterns: For this process, you’ll need very precise cuts which are best achieved with a scroll saw instead of coping saws which make coarse cuts through materials. You might be interested in what wood is typically used for scroll saw projects

Pros And Cons Scroll Saw

  • Blade teeth point downwards making it suitable for detailed cuts on thin pieces of wood.  The blade teeth also point towards the handle making it easy to make changes in direction.
  • Longer blade life because the blades don’t wear out as quickly (when compared to coping saws) and bend under pressure from your strokes, reducing efficiency and smoothness of cuts.  
  • Scroll Saw blades can be replaced easily with minimal cost for spare parts because there isn’t a loop that could be cut or broken and render them useless altogether. 
  • The throat size is smaller than those found on coping saws so it cannot accommodate large pieces of wood which limits its cutting capacity.


A coping saw is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of projects, while the scroll saw is specifically designed for more delicate work. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to consider what you will be using the saw for before making your purchase.

Hopefully, this article has helped you make an informed decision about which type of saw is best suited for your needs.

Comments are closed.