How To Cut Scroll With Reciprocating Saw

Scroll sawing can be a great way to add delicate details and intricate designs to your woodworking projects. If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to cut scrolls in wood, but you don’t have a scroll saw, or if you need to make larger cuts, you can use a reciprocating saw instead. In this guide, we’ll show you how to cut scroll with a reciprocating saw. We’ll also share some tips for getting the best results. So, whether you’re a professional carpenter or just starting out in woodworking, check out our guide below to see how it’s done.

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Safety Precautions

Before we get started, let’s go over some safety precautions. First and foremost, be sure to use protective gear such as gloves and eye protection when scroll cutting with a reciprocating saw. These saws can cause serious injury if not handled properly.

Also, be aware that scroll cuts made with a reciprocating saw are much thicker than scroll cuts made with a scroll saw. This means that they may break more easily if you try to drill holes or make other modifications, so scroll only when scroll cutting.

Also, remember to follow all safety guidelines listed in your reciprocating saw’s user manual. Now that we’ve got the disclaimers out of the way, let’s jump into scroll cutting!

Scroll Sawing vs. Reciprocating Saw Scroll Cutting

The biggest difference between a scroll saw cuts and scroll cuts made with a reciprocating saw is the thickness. If you want to cut thin scroll work, then scroll saws are your best bet. However, if you’d like thicker scrollwork, then you can use a reciprocating saw instead.

The thickness of scroll cuts made with a reciprocating saw can make them weaker. As such, it’s recommended that you don’t drill holes in scrollwork made with a reciprocating saw or try to modify your scroll pieces in any way after scroll cutting. Plan your scroll work carefully before you start scroll cutting!

What Is A Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws have a long, thin blade that moves back and forth. They’re called reciprocating saws because the blade moves in one direction and then the other – reciprocates. They’re also known as Sawzalls and can be used for a wide variety of applications.

How to Cut Scroll With Reciprocating Saw

First, make sure that your reciprocating saw is set to the correct speed. You’ll find this setting on the side of your reciprocating saw. Most scroll cuts are made at a speed between 2000 – 3000 SPMs.

Next, secure your scroll work to a scroll cutting jig or scroll cutting table in order to ensure that your scroll cuts are uniform in length and width. If you don’t own a scroll jig, you can use clamps to hold your scroll piece steady instead. Also, remember to wear safety glasses when making scroll saw cuts with a reciprocating saw!

Once you’ve secured your scroll work, scroll cut your piece. You can use either a small scroll blade or a larger scroll blade depending on the thickness of your scroll cuts. A small scroll blade will give you more control, but it’ll cut slowly and won’t be able to make deep cuts. A larger scroll saw blade is faster, but it won’t have as much control over your scroll cuts.

Remember to scroll cut slowly! Start at one end of the scroll cut and make smooth, slow strokes. Don’t force your saw or push it more than you have to – let it do its job! If you are having trouble cutting through the entire piece, don’t worry. You can always start over by removing your blade and starting again at the beginning.

As you scroll cut, remember to scroll cut straight up and down – don’t rock your blade back and forth while cutting! If your scroll piece is too thick for your scroll saw blades, try scrolling cut each layer of scroll work separately. Your scroll cuts will be thinner that way, but they’ll take longer.

Do scroll cutting in multiple passes. If you find that scroll sawing is too difficult on your scroll work, cut each layer of scrollwork separately instead of trying to scroll cut the whole piece at once.

If you scroll saw regularly, scroll cutting with a reciprocating saw is probably easier than you think. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to scroll cut with one:

1. Choose the Right Blade for the Job

To start scroll cutting work with your reciprocating saw, you’ll need a scroll blade. Scroll blades are specially designed for scroll sawing work and come as either pinned or unpinned. Pinned blades have teeth that are attached to the blade with metal pins so they stay in place as you scroll cut through your material. The drawback of pinned scroll blades is that they can be difficult to find at home improvement stores, but they’re usually available online. While unpinned scroll blades don’t have pins, these scroll blades tend to pull out easily while scroll cutting.

2. Mark Your Work Piece

Once you’ve got your scroll blade ready, mark out where you want to make your cuts on your workpiece. You can use a ruler or straight edge for this step if it’s easier for you.

3. Start Scroll Cutting

Now, you’re ready to scroll cut! Attach your scroll blade and start scroll cutting through your material at a slow speed with steady pressure. If the blade is pulling away from the workpiece while scrolling, increase the speed of your reciprocating saw or apply less pressure to compensate. Also, reduce the depth of scroll cuts if they’re too deep.

4. Repeat These Steps

Repeat these steps again and again until you’ve achieved your desired scroll cuts on your woodworking pieces. Remember that there’s no need to drill holes in scrollwork made with a reciprocating saw or attempt to modify them in any way after scroll cutting unless you want thicker scroll areas in some places. In this case, scroll cut through the scroll work again to make thicker scroll cuts.

5. Remove Waste (Optional)

If you’d like to remove some of the excess scroll work that’s leftover on your scroll pieces after scroll cutting with a reciprocating saw, then use your scroll saw to remove it. If you don’t have access to a scroll saw, then you can also use chisels for this step (just work carefully!).

6. Sand Your Scroll Cuts

Finally, sand down your scroll cuts by hand or with an electric sander after scroll cutting work is done to achieve clean lines and smooth curves. You’ll want to sand lightly in order to avoid sanding your away completely!

The Different Types Of Blades For A Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saw blades are the most commonly used scroll saws. They come in both pinned and unpinned types, which means that they can be replaced easily. They are available at any hardware store.

Pinned scroll saws have pins attached to the scroll blade so it doesn’t slip while scroll cutting. It’s recommended for scrollers who are scroll cutting through the thick wood.

Unpinned scroll saws do not have rings or pins. They can be used for scroll sawing thin pieces of wood, paper, veneer, and plastic. However, they cannot be used to scroll cut through metal or thick pieces of wood.

What Type Of Blade To Use For The Best Results

Pinned scroll saw blades are recommended for scrollers who cut through the thick wood. It slips less, which is important because it would be hard to scroll cut without slipping. Unpinned scroll saw blades are recommended for scrollers who work with thin pieces of material, plastic, veneer, and paper.

These scroll saw blades can slip easily if the scroll sawing task must be done on thicker materials that will require harder pushing force. The pinless scroll blade is also better when scroll cutting metal hairline strokes related tasks since they can bend easily.

Tips And Tricks For Making Scroll Cuts With A Reciprocating Saw

Here are some scroll sawing tips and tricks you should know:

1. Adjust The Depth Of Cut Properly

You’ll need to set the right depth of cut before starting scroll cutting. If the scroll cut is too deep, then it’s going to be harder for you to scroll through your material and it might damage or wear away your scroll blade before scroll cutting is complete.

2. Get The Right Scroll Saw Blade

You’ll need to get the right scroll saw blade for scroll sawing tasks. Pinned scroll blades are recommended for thicker pieces of wood and unpinned scroll blades are better when you’re scroll cutting through thinner materials like veneers, paper, and plastic.

3. Cut Slowly And Steadily

When scroll sawing, it’s important that you cut slowly and steadily at a consistent speed because scrolling too quickly might make your scroll blade slip away from the material and ruin your scroll cut workpiece. Cutting too slowly could also result in smudges on your scroll workpiece since your scroll blade will be moving very slowly and might not reach all corners or scroll cuts on the scroll workpiece.

4. Cut Straight Lines And Curves Instead Of Diagonals

Straight scroll sawing lines are easier to scroll through than diagonal scroll sawing lines because you’ll be cutting against the grain of your scroll pieces while diagonal scroll sawing will require the extra force that might wear away your scroll blade and this makes it more susceptible to slipping and ruining your scroll cut workpiece.

5. Maintain A Consistent Grip On Your Saw

You should grip your reciprocating saw firmly but not too tightly with one hand above and one hand below just like how a gun is held in video games. You shouldn’t try to pull down or push up on the handle of your reciprocating saw since this might cause your scroll blade to slip away from the material.

6. Keep Your Scroll Saw Blade Sharp

It’s important to regularly sharpen your scroll saw blades because scroll sawing with a dull scroll blade will result in scroll workpiece smudges, ruined scroll cuts, and more scroll blade slippage which might make it harder for you to scroll through your material. It would be easier on you if you get a reciprocating saw grinder since all you have to do is attach it to your electric drill and grind down the edges of your scroll saw blades depending on how blunt they are.

7. Use A Ruler And Marker To Draw Guidelines

You’ll need a ruler or a straight edge when scroll cutting at angles that require multiple strokes but an actual scroll saw would be helpful if you need to scroll cut at angles that require less than 45 degrees of rotation. You can use a marker or any sharp object to mark your guidelines on the scroll workpiece.

8. Start Your Cuts At The Top And Work Downward

You’ll have a better chance of scroll cutting through your material without slipping when you scroll cut from the top going down since it will put more downward pressure on your scroll blade, which is essential for scroll cutting through thicker pieces of wood and metal since they require harder pushing force to scroll cut through them smoothly.

9. Keep A Rag Handy To Wipe Off Smudges And Debris

When scroll sawing, you might get smudges or debris on your scroll workpiece. In order to see your scroll cut lines clearly, you’ll need to clean these smudges and debris off with a dry cloth or a rag before scroll cutting through them again.


If you have woodworking projects that require intricate details such as those found in ornate scrolls work, then make scroll cuts by hand with a reciprocating saw or scroll saw to cut scroll pieces from wood. Scroll cutting is great for scroll work on furniture but it’s also used for ornate details such as those found in classic scrollwork. Scroll cuts can be made by a reciprocating saw or scroll saw and the depth of your scroll cuts will depend on how hard you press down on your woodworking piece.


Q: How do scroll saw blades work?

A: Scroll saw blades work like mini-saws and are controlled by a mechanism attached to scroll saws. Blades control scroll saw blade movement as they clamp down on your woodworking piece and ensure that the scroll blade stays in place as you scroll cut through it.

Q: What is scroll cutting used for?

A: Scrolls cuts are made with scroll saws, reciprocating saws, routers, and jigsaws. They’re traditionally used for intricate details such as those found in ornate woodwork or designs on furniture pieces!

Q: Are scroll blades interchangeable between scroll saws and reciprocating saws?

A: While most scroll blades can fit into both scroll saws and reciprocating saws, scroll blades designed for scroll saws tend to be much longer than those that are designed specifically for reciprocating saws.

Q: How do scroll pieces differ from scroll cuts?

A: Scroll pieces are the woodworking projects you make with scroll cuts! They’re usually made of multiple scroll cuts. For example, a signature tag can be made out of four small scroll pieces attached together in one project.

Q: Can scrolling cut through metal?

A: No, scroll cutting is used exclusively with wood. It’s possible to use a scroll blade to make holes in sheet metal, but these holes won’t be as clean as those made by drill bits or even tin snips! In order to cut metal, scroll saw blades must be shaped into a different types of blades. In fact, scroll saw blades can be made into several different kinds of scroll saw blades as long as they’re designed with specific shapes for specific purposes!

Q: How many scroll pieces do I need to make my project?

A: The number of scroll pieces you need depends on the size and shape of your scroll work – more complex designs will likely require more scroll pieces. For example, a drawer pull needs at least one piece while a decorative frame will usually have four or five pieces attached together.