Sharing the Scroll Saw Love

Sharing the Scroll Saw Love

In the last issue, Rob asked “Do You Scroll Saw?” The short answer: yes.

Some of the answers from the flood of responses we received are included below. – Editor

“When I retired, I knew two things. 1. I needed to have a hobby and 2. I wanted to work with wood. Once I sat down at the scroll saw and created an intarsia project of a cat, I was hooked. That was in January of 2011. I have been scrolling ever since. I got involved with the NorthStar Scrollers. We have some incredibly talented scroll saw artists among our membership.” – Katie McBride

“I just purchased my new scroll saw. I saw Carole Rothman’s article in your magazine and contacted her. She gave me information on blades and many other useful tips on how to get started. As of now, I’m still learning the various techniques of scrolling.  I’ve been a woodworker for over 20 years and am excited about adding a new skill and working on some new projects.” – Carol Johnston

“I had just read your article about scroll sawing and wanted to share with you a picture of a mini grandfather clock I had made for my parents a few years ago. I have two scroll saws (one was inherited), and I love to make unique Christmas ornaments for family and friends. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, like I used to, but every now and then, I will sit at the scroll saw and make a few ornaments as gifts for the holidays.” – Karen Pane

“I never really had much of an interest in it until a few years ago. I wanted to make something personalized with a friend’s name as a Christmas gift. I decided to try the scroll saw I’ve had for years and rarely ever used. I quickly discovered that it took practice before I could get good at, it but I persevered.  I am an accomplished woodworker, but now my favorite thing to do is scroll sawing. What I love most about scroll sawing is there are so many things that can be made in a short amount of time, you can personalize things with people’s names or inspirational sayings, and it doesn’t take much wood for these projects so you can use some beautiful wood that might be too expensive for larger projects.” – Lori Scott

“My impressions: 1. The scroll saw is the safest power tool in the shop. 2. While working, you can sit down and still achieve great results. 3. Cost of materials is very inexpensive. 4. Most projects can be completed in one day. 5. Patterns can be changed to make a gift very personal. 6. Use of the Scroll Saw has got to be the most relaxing thing you can do. On the negative side: You can only keep so many projects.” – Walter Fink

“I have been scrollsawing for about 10 years now and find when I can no longer make furniture for lack of places to put it, I can make nice things that people love.” – William Rosevear

“I just used my scroll saw to cut a piece of plexiglass for a picture frame. I had complete control, and there was no chipping. It felt much safer than doing it with a table saw, and I didn’t need to sandwich it.” – Bill McGeehan

“Woodworking has been my hobby for almost 50 years. In that time, I have built a comprehensive workshop featuring most of the mainframe power tools that one might expect in a home workshop.  About 15 years ago, I bought my first scroll saw. Early in my hobby I built furniture and other home projects with my standard woodworking tools; once I started scrolling, my focus shifted to wood in various art forms. My main workshop is now is used to support my scrolling activity.  With the cost of wood it is nice to be able to purchase rough-cut lumber and process it into a form to be used on the scroll saw.” – Ron Ostromecki

“We have two scroll saws and they are my main instruments of wonderfulness. I cut out custom patterns in both singular and multiple quantities. We are always looking for new hints, discussion and ideas to share.” – Cathy Hurley

“I have built furniture projects, shop projects. I am finishing up another table. But scrolling is becoming my favorite. After this table is finished, I will be doing mainly scroll saw projects. The rest of it is just not fun anymore. Could be age. I just want to have fun, I guess.” – Berta Moreton

“I have owned and used scroll saws on and off since I was in my teens, and I’m currently 68. A scroll saw was my first power tool; it was also my most recent purchase. I have been involved in many aspects of woodworking as a hobbyist, from furniture making to toys. I find scrolling a satisfying aspect of woodworking. The relatively short duration of most projects can make it seem like a welcome break from a long, involved project. Scrolling can also provide a way to enhance the larger projects. One of my favorite projects was a jewelry box I built for my wife. I used the scroll saw to make an inlay and to inlay a monogram into the inlay.” –  Bill Murphy

“I scroll saw every day (nearly). I make decorative wood art plaques of all kinds of logos. It’s a great hobby for me as it helps me forget my pain while I’m at it. I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran and 100 percent unemployable. Scrolling is my life. I really enjoy it and people love the projects I produce. My motto: ‘scroll till you scroll no more.’” – Sammy

“I suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis. And to be honest, if I couldn’t do scrolling, I would surely be worse. I just read an article where they reckon your mood has a lot of influence on your disability. I guess that’s why I love my scroll. When I am in front of it, time flies. My late husband introduced me to the saw; we owned a JET. Since then, I bought myself a Hefner. Best buy ever. So yes, I scroll and taught my (now 20-) 13-year-old to do the same. She already cut us all a Christmas gift.” – Bernadette Langley

“Love it. I am 70 years old. Found that a lot of woodworkers move to scrolling as their age and health make them leave larger, heavier and strength-required projects.” – Ray Schwartz

“The answer is ‘absolutely’! I own two DeWALT DW788 Model 1. If I would upgrade, I would go with a Seyco ST21 or an Excelsior 30-inch.  I’ve been scrolling for the past 15 years, and 80 percent of my woodworking time is spent scroll sawing! The main thing about scroll sawing is that you basically need a drill press and a scroll saw and you are set.  No more other big tools except if, like me, you pursue the love of wood further and then you need the rest. Scroll sawing is my therapy session! Until last year, all my projects were for presents for family and friends, but I started to go to craft fairs and the interaction with people is really fun. I’m including some of the projects I’ve done with my scroll saw over the years.” – Christian Poupart

“I bought a scroll saw a couple of years ago. I use it mostly to make toys and wooden jewelry. Fretwork does not appeal to me.” – Rufus Rose

“I began scroll sawing several years ago when I volunteered at my local ToyMakers, Inc. Until then, I had never owned or operated a scroll saw. I never felt the need for one as my cabinet and furniture making didn’t require one. However, I now spend more and more of my time making toys and such, which require a scroll saw.” – Ed Blomme

“Most of my woodworking is done on a scroll saw; I have a small Delta and a big DeWALT, which I use most of the time. Much of my work is Christmas items which I sell at craft fairs. But I also make small toys and other small items. The scroll saw works just fine for those items. The other tools are just adjuncts for me. Making smaller items also saves shop space by not having to store large pieces of wood or large spaces to maneuver large items such as furniture. With the small items I can spend a few minutes and finish a piece and not have to spend a lot of time fitting, gluing and clamping, etc. Finishing is also quicker and easier with the small items. It has been a very good hobby for me for the past twenty years.” – Elmer L. Bigham

“I have a DeWALT 788 scroll saw. I enjoy scrolling and marquetry. I like challenging projects, not something that is whimsical or ‘cute.’” –Ray Nelson

“I’ve owned an RBI scroll saw since the early ’80s. It  doesn’t get daily use, but it’s there when I need it. I don’t consider myself a scroll saw expert by any means. Over the years, I’ve used it on a number of cuts it would have been more difficult to make with another tool. Some of my items have had positive cuts (a solid cutout was made), others have used negative cuts (the piece from which the cutout came was used, the actual cutout wasn’t).” – Bill Fernald

“I have just begun scrolling in the past year. I used larger shop tools in the past. I find that they are very efficient and easy to use. I really enjoy the time that I use my saw and have good success to this point. I am preparing to make all of my family’s Christmas presents this year.” – Joseph F. Pawlowski

“I use scroll sawing often when I need clean and precise parts. The cut is very smooth, and the detail can be very precise. I use my table saw for straight and longer cuts.” – Martin Vanderspek

“Scrolling is a great way to make things like chess pieces and three-dimensional items such as animals and that sort of thing. I also use mine to cut patterns. I would recommend having one in your shop if you have room.” – Gary Martin

“Yes, I scroll saw. I have two saws, a Porter-Cable 12 inch (my first) and a JET 22-inch (my current favorite). The old saw still get some use. Been enjoying scrolling for around 10 years. This is my latest cut from a Steve Good pattern.” – Robert L. McAllister

“I own a scroll saw; one was given to me from a church member. She upgraded, and she makes amazing Christmas ornaments.” – Tammy Bernshassold

“My opinion of the scroll sawing is that it is a unique part of the woodworking hobby. I have done a bit of it and had fun doing it.” – Bob Bacho

“I have had a DeWALT for several years, and it is most useful in making wall plaques, etc. In some ways, it compensates for my not having a band saw.” – Anthony Magarello

“I restored my father’s 1942 Craftsman cast-iron scroll saw and have enjoyed using it for intarsia.” – Don Feller

“I have had a scroll saw for 15 years. Of all the machines I have, it is my favroite machine to use. Right now I am using both the CNC machine (making the frame) and scroll saw (cutting the puzzle) to create a picture puzzle.” – Bob Smith

“I added a scroll saw to my shop about a year and a half ago when I wanted to make some decorative cornices for our porch. My first attempt but turned out OK as long as you don’t look very closely.  I figured, it’s a porch not a wall hanging. I have since made several more projects and, like all my tools, have adjusted to my learning curve. But most importantly, I showed my wife how to use the scroll saw and she has taken quite the shine to it and also feels safe operating it versus the more powerful machinery.  She is much better than I as she is very patient with detailed work.  This also gives us time in our shop together working on like projects.” – Larry Williams

“I have been making scroll saw bowls, vases and dishes for the past few years. The ability to combine woods for different looks makes the scroll saw very interesting to use.I never got used to turning and leaving so much wood on the floor. The scroll saw alleviates that concern.” – Thomas J Stump

“I occasionally make some not-too-fancy things with our scroll saw. I use it because it can be done in the house, while the woodshop is in the barn and can get too cold or hot and sweaty.” – Doug Mansor

“I started scroll sawing in December, 1999 and have never stopped. I joined SAW, Scrollsaw Association of the World.  Through this organization, I was instrumental in starting the NorthStar Scrollers in Bloomington, Minnesota. I often wonder what my retirement would have been like if it were not for scroll sawing? First of all, I have met the greatest people in this world of sawing. Personally I have found sawing to be challenging, relaxing, rewarding and addictive. Our challenge today is to get young people involved with this activity.” – Carol Bengston

Of course, there’s always the naysayers … – Editor

“I own a scroll saw and use it only when necessary, not for scroll saw projects.  I’ve seen some very intricate and artful pieces done by some very talented people, but the projects always look passe and outdated.” – Henri Lodewyck

“I own a scroll saw, but only because I got it at a price that borders on theft. I meant to learn to use it, but there wasn’t ever time. I’m a turner, and there are just so many ideas I want to execute!” – Barry Saltsberg

“I own a scroll saw. Would love to have time to use it. Personally, I think the rise in digital CNC/laser products will displace a lot of scroll saw use. The hardware cost is comparable to the cost of power scroll saws and open source versions of the software for processing/producing the images and controlling the hardware is free. Add to that, that the result is ultimately reproducible, and I think you have a winning combination.” – Dave Braun

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