Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Barry Gray
There are two categories of scroll saw blades: Pinned and pinless blades. They are categorized according to the way the blades are connected to the machine. Depending on the blade suspension, some scroll saws accept either pinned blades, pinless blades, or both.
But what is the difference between a pinned and pinless scroll saw blade?
A pinned scroll saw blade is a blade that has a small cross pin attached to both ends. However, a pinless scroll saw blade does not have any pin running through it. Pinless blades are more narrow and thinner than pinned blades. Hence, pinless blades are considered to be better for complex, inside cutting because they can fit through a small drilled hole.
In this guide, we are going to be throwing down some extensive knowledge about scroll saw blades. There’s a ton of them out there and it can all seem confusing. But by the end of the article, you’ll have everything you ought to know about scroll saw blades at your fingertips.
Getting to Know Scroll Saw Blades
As reiterated before, the market is chock-full of different kinds of scroll saw blades. One blade will attach to the saw in a different manner, while another blade will need a special tool to change it. Thus, it’s crucial that you know which kind of blade to go for.
Even so, there are two main broad categories of scroll saw blades; pinned and pinless blades. The main difference between the two is in the ‘ends of the blade’ and how they connect to the saw.
With that said, here’s a quick overview of scroll saw blades that you need to know:
- Scroll saw blades are either pinned or pinless. The version you need depends on what kind of blade your scroll saw accepts.
- The size of the blade and the configuration determines how and what the blade can cut, as well as the TPI of the blade.
- There are up to 8 different kinds of blade configurations. There’s enough blade variety for you to choose from, depending on what you want to cut.
- Blades are affordable. You can find them at the hardware store and even cheaper from a scroll saw blade supplier. They are also available online.
- Blades can break without the correct tension.
Every single blade has a specific design and function, made to handle different kinds of jobs. We go into detail on each kind of blade in the next section.
Pinned Vs Pinless Scroll Saw Blades
Whether pinned or pinless, scroll saw blades are used to cut intricate corners and curves in wood, metal, and other materials. They are mounted vertically on the arm of the saw from top to bottom.
These blades are generally thin and have different teeth-cutting surfaces. Scroll saw blades with more teeth per inch have smoother, more accurate cuts. They are also slower and more fragile.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a closer look at both saws to see their unique features.
Pinned Scroll Saw Blades
Pinned scroll saw blades have tiny pins attached to each end. They are commonly found in the older scroll saw models like Delta saw.
These blades are held in place by a holding hook that is attached to a cross-piece inside the hook. This makes them easy to replace and it’s their biggest selling point. You can release the blade from the hook by simply adjusting the blade’s tension.
Pinned blades can’t fit too drilled small holes which means they aren’t ideal for certain projects. This lack of versatility is also why there aren’t a lot of pinned scroll saw blades on the market.
Pinless Scroll Saw Blades
Pinless scroll saw blades don’t have any pins attached to them. This type of blade is flat and is placed between the clamp jaws on a scroll saw. This way, a clamp is above the scroll saw work table and the other is below.
Pinless blades are more versatile than pinned blades. Hence, they’re widely considered to be standard by industry experts. But if you wish to use both pinned and pinless scroll saw blades, you’re in luck. Many manufacturers now offer products with both pinned and pinless options.
Scroll Saw Blade Size and Configuration
Blade size and configuration are two important aspects. They influence the performance of your saw & determine what materials you can cut. They also influence the cutting style that you’ll be using. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these below.
Blades come in different sizes and often follow a “universal number code.” A vast majority of blades are about 5 to 5 and a half inches long. However, the thickness of the blade will vary depending on the assigned blade number.
The universal number code runs from 0 all the way to 12. There are some blades that will run into the minus numbers. The lower the number, the thinner the blade is. The higher the number, the thicker and stronger the blade is.
Thicker blades are usually stronger and more durable. Thus, they can cut through denser materials. However, they are less adept at intricate work. They might be sturdier, but they won’t make nice rounded corner turns.
Thinner blades are usually used for finer details. They can turn corners easier than a thicker blade. The only downside to using a thinner blade is the fact that a thinner blade will break if it’s used on a denser material.
Tooth configuration also determines the performance of your scroll saw. Some manufacturers liken tooth configuration to the TPI of the blade. Others use an alternative numbering system.
The alternative numbering system better identifies the tooth configuration of the blade. It varies from one manufacturer to another. However, the numbering often ranges from 2/0 to 9, with “2/0” being the smallest.
The more you use these blades, the more familiar these blades will become to you over time. With that said, there are around 8 blade types available. There are a lot more blades especially if you start looking at specialty blades.
Types of Scroll Saw Blades
There are several types of blades that perform different functions. Manufacturers make each blade with different configurations and call them by different names. Below we take a look at some of these types. They include:
Standard or Regular Tooth Blades
These kinds of blades have teeth evenly spaced out along the blade. The teeth are all the same size as well.
At one point, this was the most common kind of tooth configuration. Scroll saws followed this configuration dating all the way back to the 18th century.
Today, several variations are in existence, to help cut better. It’s rare to find this kind of configuration.
Skip Tooth Blades
Skip tooth blades are more common today than regular tooth blades. Unlike regular tooth blades, skip tooth blades usually have a gap between each tooth. An alternative name for this space is gullet. A tooth will start after a gap of a tooth, not immediately after another tooth.
The open gap between the teeth helps clear sawdust, helping the blade cut even faster. Additionally, they help keep the blade cooler during cutting. They are ideal for beginners.
The downside to these blades is that they produce a rougher cut than regular tooth blades.
Double Tooth Blades
Double tooth blades resemble skip-tooth blades. Instead of having one tooth and a gullet between them, they have two teeth with a gullet between them.
This design allows for even more saw dust extraction. It also helps the blade run cooler, reducing the risk of burning. This blade produces an even smoother cut than the skip tooth blade.
Unfortunately, the downside of this blade is that it cuts slower than the above two blades.
Reverse Skip Tooth Blades
The reverse skip tooth blade resembles skip-tooth blades with a slight difference. The top part of the blade teeth point downward and the bottom part of the blade teeth point upwards. There is also a gap between them.
This design prevents tear out on the bottom of the material you are cutting. Reverse skip-tooth blades create cleaner bottom cuts. Unfortunately, they create way more saw dust than any other blade.
Too much sawdust can slow down the cutting process and heat up the blade. Thus, they are more likely to burn the wood or break.
Precision ground blades resemble skip-tooth blades. But, unlike other kinds of blades, these kinds of blades have smaller teeth ground to shape.
These blades are way sharper, cut in a straight line, and leave extra-smooth surfaces. Because of this, these blades are more aggressive.
We don’t recommend them for beginners.
Crown Tooth Blades
The crown tooth blade is a completely new design in saw blades. The teeth of the blade resemble a crown, with a gullet between each crown.
They have one tooth pointing upwards with the immediate connected tooth facing downwards. This design gives the teeth a crown-like shape.
The beauty of this blade is that it cuts both on the upward stroke and on the downward stroke. Thus, you can expect to get a smooth cut.
The only downside to this blade is that it’s slower than all the other blades.
Out of all the blades, spiral blades are the most unique. They resemble a twisted flat blade. They have teeth on all sides and thus, can cut in all directions.
They are perfect for use with large projects that are too long to spin around without the saw arm getting in the way. Their downside? They make very rough cuts, they can’t cut straight or sharp corners, and stretch the more you use them.
Using a spiral blade requires some practice as they can be difficult to control. Because of this, they are not used as often and are not recommended for beginners.
Specialty Cutting Blades
Specialty cutting blades are blades that don’t fit into any of the above standard blades. They are often used only for special applications. They only cut special materials such as metal, plastic, or even glass.
They are also made up of different special materials such as high-carbon steel. Additionally, they are also more expensive than other standard blades.
Additionally, they are not used as often as the other standard blades.
We hope that this article has given you a thorough understanding of the different kinds of blades. Including how they work.
If you are starting out, we recommend using trial-and-error as a great strategy to learn. Experiment with different blades to see how they work. You’ll also learn what you can cut and projects you can try.
Additionally, stack up on a variety of blades to have quick replacement in case any of them break.
If there’s anything about scroll saw blades we’ve forgotten, let us know in the comment section below. Feel free to reach out to us for anything!