If you’re reading this article, there’s a big chance that you’re looking to buy a scroll saw and would like more information, or are just looking for more detail about your scroll saw blades.
What exactly is a scroll saw blade? A scroll saw blade is unique to the scroll saw, and are both thinner and smaller than alternative saw blades. The blades are mounted vertically from the top of the saw of the arm, to the bottom of the saw.
Are you a little short on time? It happens to all of us, we hear you.
For that reason, we’ve put together an overview below you can quickly read here:
- Blade types come in pinned and pinless versions, which depends on what your scroll saw accepts
- Blade size and configuration determines how and what the blade can cut, as well as the TPI of the blade
- There are up to 8 different types of blade configurations – so there’ll be one for you and your desired material
- Blades are relatively inexpensive, and can be found either in your local hardware store or online
- Blades can break easily, which is why tension adjustment is crucial
Types Of Blades: Pinned & Pinless Blades
We briefly touched on the importance of the blade used in a scroll saw.
There are a number of blades which can be used, and they all fit certain materials and are made for differing types of cuts.
There are two types of scroll saw blades which are used, and your scroll saw may fit one or the other, or even both depending on the model, brand and year it was made.
The two types of blades are pinned, and pinless blades.
We’ll look at them in more depth below.
Pinned blades are found in older models of scroll saws, however they are still found today in many scroll saws – as most models can accept both pinned and pinless blades.
Pinned blades, like their name suggests, uses pins to hold the blade into place.
It’s quite easy to change these blades, as they are held into place by a holding hook, connected to a cross-piece which rests within the hook.
To release these blades, it’s as simple as adjusting the tension of the blade, which will then be easily removed from the hook.
Pinless blades, like their pinned counterparts, are also quite easy to replace.
They must be threaded through the piece you’re working on, connecting into the slots which are located above and below the table.
Once you’ve completed this, they must be tightened at both ends to ensure they are connected properly.
Whichever blade type your scroll saw accepts – there are no real disadvantages or advantages in either type.
Blade Size & Configuration
The size and configuration of the blade is a very important aspect, which determines the materials that can be cut, and also impacts the cutting style you’re making.
A tricky aspect of blade sizes, is that there is no universal numbering system of sizes.
Usually, the numbering system which is semi-standard of blade sizes, runs from less than #0 to $12.
This can prove difficult for beginners and professionals alike, however after becoming accustomed to your blades through use, this will become easier for you.
The higher the number of a blade, the thicker the blade is – and the less teeth per inch (TPI) per blade.
We discuss this at length in the next section of the article.
The design of the blade also plays a large factor in the overall performance of your blade, as well as the TPI, which we touched on briefly in the Blade Size section.
With the semi-standard numbering system of blades – which determine the TPI per blade – many manufacturers and brands use an alternative numbering system to identify the configuration of the blade.
This can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, however a number is usually assigned, which ranges from 2/0” at the absolute smallest, to a total of 9.
However, as I stated earlier- once you’ve used a few blades, this will become more familiar to you over time.
There are eight blade types available (there are more, which usually stem from the speciality blades).
Here is a list of these blades:
Regular- tooth blades, also known as standard blades, are the most common form of blades that can be found.
These blades can be easily identified through the evenly spaced distance and teeth throughout the blade.
Spaces between the teeth are known as a ‘gullet’.
These blades are normally made of metal, however they can also be made of plastic and wood.
A great blade choice for beginners, skip-tooth blades have a similar look to a standard blade, however there are more gullets than a standard blade, replacing a tooth here and there.
As these blades have more gullets than a standard blade, they do not heat up as fast, and cut slower than a standard blade.
Double-tooth blades are similar to skip-tooth blades, however there is a gullet on every third tooth.
Due to this, these blades make a slower, and smoother cut – which is perfect for extremely detailed work projects.
Reverse-skip-tooth blades follow the same design as skip-tooth blades.
The main difference between this type of blade and skip-tooth blades, is that the bottom of the blades have the teeth flipped to the other side, facing the opposite direction.
With these blades, it’s important to have some of these opposite-facing teeth above the table.
Reverse-skip tooth blades are perfect for working with plywood, as they prevent splintering on the bottom of the cut.
Another blade which follows a similar design to a skip-tooth blades, precision ground blades have very small teeth which are grounded to shape, rather than filled.
These blades are extremely sharp, and due to this – they result in a very smooth cut.
These type of blades are fairly new when compared to other blades.
The name of these blades follow the shape of the teeth – which are shaped like a crown. The teeth come in pairs, with one tooth facing up, and the other facing down.
Because of this design, crown-tooth blades can cut in either direction, regardless of how they are mounted.
There is a small gullet between the pairs, and when a tooth becomes blunt – you can simply switch the blade into the opposite direction.
Spiral blades follow a pattern where the blade itself is twisted, allowing teeth in all directions – meaning you can cut in all directions.
Spiral blades are not accurate blades, and are more so used for beginning inside cuts, and starting a rough cut.
Due to this, they tend to be used the least – as scroll saws are used for precision cuts.
Speciality cutting blades
Speciality cutting blades are a group of blades which do not fit into the above categories, and are usually made for cutting through materials that these blades cannot.
These are usually designed specifically through manufacturers that look to fill gaps in their blade market – and can be found to fit an array of applications.
After reading through this article, you should hopefully have a good understanding of how these blades work, and different blades that you can use for different applications.
When beginning, you’ll find that trial and error is a good to way to learn, and it’s also a good idea to take advantage of the internet for recommendations and tips – we have many of these articles available, so feel free to check them out.
It’s a safe idea to have a number of different blades available, to take breaks and blunt teeth into account – which will also give you a wider selection to choose from, resulting in different cuts as your skills increase.
If you feel there’s something we have forgotten – please let us know!
That goes for any tips you may have for our readers, you can leave them in the comments below.
How do broken blades normally occur?
Blades can break for a number of reasons – the tension is too high/low, the blade is old and worn, or the blade has been incorrectly used on the wrong material.
It’s always important to provide the correct amount of tension for your blade – this way, you’ll minimize breaking them!
If I break a blade, are they expensive to replace?
Luckily, scroll saws have some of the cheapest saw blades available – so you won’t be breaking the bank to buy replacements or additional blades.
These can be found either online or in store – I would recommend store bought blades, as store members are always there to assist should you be confused.