Scroll saws are delicate tools with many uses. They are versatile for cutting metal, wood, plastics and even jewelry. So, if you want the most from your scroll saw, you need to get the best scroll saw blade.
Scroll saw blades come in all styles and applications, so making sure you have the right one for your scroll saw takes research and knowledge. That’s where we come in. We make it easier for you to select the best scroll saw blade.
Types of Scroll Saw Blades
Essentially, there are two main types of scroll saw blades.
Pinned scroll saw blades are larger, wider and better suited to straight, and more basic cuts. They are less agile than the pinless varieties because they are thicker. This greater width which impedes their ability to fit through small drilled holes.
You usually find that older scroll saws use pinned blades, and it’s the pin that adds the thickness to the blade.
Pinned blades are easier to install in the saw because the pins slot into convenient holes. However, for interior cuts, you have to thread the blade through the project and then attach it to the saw. This takes time and can be fiddly.
Pinless scroll saw blades are lighter, thinner and more agile. They create intricate curves and finer scrollwork. Jewelers like this variety of blade for its ability to turn on a pinhead.
Pinless blades are a newer design and take longer to install because the ends fit a clamp that holds them in place. Some saws have quick clamping systems to speed up the process, but they are still not as easy to install as pinned blades.
How Do I Choose a Scroll Saw Blade?
There are many considerations when deciding which scroll saw blade works for you.
Teeth Per Inch
The number of teeth on the blade alters the way it performs. A blade with a higher TPI will cut slower because the teeth are smaller and remove less wood or material with each cut. The upside is that you get a super-smooth finish and better quality curves.
Blades with a higher tooth count tend to be thinner and less robust, which makes them prone to snapping.
Thicker blades typically have fewer teeth, making them more durable and able to take more punishment. It also means they can cut more quickly. The flip side is that this faster speed delivers a rougher finish. Moreover, these blades are less agile, so they are better suited to straight cuts and work which requires less finesse.
Standard blades have teeth spaced an equal distance apart. These blades are typically metal, although it is possible to get them in wood or plastic. Standard blades are excellent for making straight cuts.
Skip-toothed blades are ideal for beginners because they cut slower and produce less heat. It may make them slower when cutting but they are easier to control. The tooth layout is similar to the standard blade, but there is a wider gap between the teeth, which allows for a greater amount of debris removal.
Reverse Skip-Tooth Blades
The teeth on this blade follow the same pattern as the skip-tooth variety except at the base of the blade. Here, they face the opposite direction, hence the reverse name.
This tooth configuration results in less tear out, which is an issue when you are cutting plywood.
These blades take their inspiration from skip-tooth blades. However, the difference is that every third tooth is skipped, so that you have two teeth followed by a single tooth-width gap. They are slower than standard and skip-tooth blades but are excellent for detailed work.
The teeth spiral 360 degrees around the shaft. They give the user the ability to cut in all directions, making them the perfect choice for cutting tight angles and turns. However, they are less accurate and harder to control, meaning these blades have limited uses.
These blades have teeth in sets of two, with one tooth pointing upwards and the other pointing down. It doesn’t matter which way the blade is mounted as it cuts in either direction.
What Are the Best Brands of Scroll Saw Blades?
There are some fantastic manufacturers of scroll saw blades out there, but we thought we’d focus on three of the best.
Robert Bosch founded the “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering” in Stuttgart in Germany, in 1886. By 1901, Bosch moved into automotive supplies and developed a reputation for innovation (1).
It now has over 400,000 employees and has a revenue of approximately 78.5 billion euros, making it a global manufacturer.
Olson Saw started in 1918, founded in Brooklyn, NY, by four members of the Olson family. They are one of the leading makers of band and scroll saw blades in the United States and supply blades to the likes of Makita, DeWALT, Delta and many other leading manufacturers (2).
SKIL is another great American brand. Edmond Michel invented the first electric saw in 1924 and formed the Skilsaw Incorporated Company with his business partner, Joseph Sullivan. SKIL has become so synonymous with the circular saw over the years, that it is affectionately known as a skilsaw (3).
The Best Scroll Saw Blades of 2020
1. Olson Saw PG49802 Precision Ground Scroll Saw Blade
Olson Saw is one of the leading manufacturers of scroll saw blades. This double-tooth blade has reverse teeth for clean and sharp edges on the top and bottom of the workpiece. It means there is no need to sand the edges to get that professional result.
This saw blade also has teeth that will outlast other similar blades by two or three times the lifespan, which is impressive, especially when you compare the price of this blade to others. This product is considerably cheaper and yet, loses none of the performance.
This blade saws through hardwood with ease, thanks to the high strength teeth and the high carbon content of the blade material. If you want this blade for other applications, it cuts through softwood and plastics and is suitable for art applications.
- High carbon steel.
- Four times the lifespan.
- Great price.
- Trusted brand.
- Comes in a single pack.
|Dimensions (inches)||3.5 x 8.5 x 1|
2. Flying Dutchman New Spiral Scroll Saw Blades
Flying Dutchman scroll saws are manufactured in Germany using the high-grade hardened steel. These pinless blades are 5 inches long and have spiral teeth, so the cutting edge circles around the shaft of the blade, giving you 360 degrees of sawing prowess.
What makes them different is rather than having one row, these blades have teeth on both sides. The teeth then wrap the shaft, giving a greater cutting surface and a smoother finish.
These spiral blades are great for tight angles and curves because they can move in any direction with ease. This is a 5-pack set that consists of a 38 TPI, a 35 TPI and three 27 TPI blades.
Compared to some manufacturers, Flying Dutchman is a small company, but they are designed and made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. And the good news is that these blades slice through bone, wood, Corian and acrylic workpieces.
- Comes as a multi-pack.
- Milled blades for added sharpness.
- Spiral design.
- Cuts through multiple surfaces.
- The price.
|Dimensions (inches)||9.02 x 5.98 x 0.2|
3. Olson Saw FR43001 Pin End Hobby Scroll Saw Blade
This is the second Olson Saw blade to feature, and it won’t be the last. This blade is for hobbyist scroll saw users, making it the ideal candidate for beginners. But that doesn’t mean it is inferior, just that it should be easier to use and better to learn how to use a scroll saw.
It comes as a 6-pack, so there will always be a spare blade on hand should one snap. These blades are 15 TPI and equipped with skip-style teeth to cut through wood, plastic and milder thin metals. This versatility is another reason why they are great blades to learn with.
They are shorter than other varieties at 3 inches, so that might restrict the size of the stock you can work on. They are also inexpensive, again, another reason why they are great for beginners.
The only minus is the blades are pinned, so they are thicker than the pinless variety, which restricts their effectiveness at cutting smaller, more intricate designs.
- Great value.
- Comes as a 6-pack.
- Skip teeth.
- Great for beginners.
- Limited uses.
- Thicker blades.
|Dimensions (inches)||1.5 x 8.5 x 1|
4. Olson Saw FR49501 Pinned Blade
This is the third Olson Saw product to feature, which highlights their dominance of the scroll saw blade industry. This pack contains 18 blades with the TPI ranging from 10, 15 and 18.5.
The 18.5 TPI blade also has skip teeth for faster sawing and better removal of the debris. These blades are 5 inches long and fit all compatible scroll saws.
Because the blades are pinned, they are easy to swap out when one breaks. The blades are also thicker, which better suits heavier scroll saw work rather than intricate designs. This saw blade pack has sold more units than almost all of the other blades featured in this list combined.
If you are in the market for an inexpensive saw blade, this could be the smart choice.
The other positive about this blade is it is manufactured in the United States, so if you are the type of person who likes to buy American products, this will tick that box.
- Great price.
- Comes as a pack of 18.
- 10, 15 and 18.5 TPI.
- American made.
- Pinned design.
- Thicker blade.
|Dimensions (inches)||3.5 x 8.5 x 1|
5. Bosch SS5-20 5-Inch Scroll Saw Blade
These Bosch blades are constructed from high-grade steel and precision sharpened for maximum effect. They are ideal for cutting intricate shapes, but because the blades are pinned, the extra thickness and the 20 TPI means that these blades are also excellent for cutting straight lines.
Unlike spiral scroll saw blades that are harder to control and cut slower, these Bosch blades make light work of the material.
They cut through hardwood, softwood, plastic and non-ferrous metals, and because the blades are pinned, swapping them is easy.
Bosch produces some of the best quality products in the world, so you would expect to pay a premium for these blades. Still, they are inexpensive when compared to similar products from other manufacturers.
- Great price.
- Comes a 4-pack.
- Cuts straight lines.
- 20 TPI.
- Pinned variety.
- Thicker blades.
|Dimensions (inches)||0.13 x 1.81 x 9.88|
6. SKIL 80182 Plain End Scroll Saw Blades
This SKIL plain end set of 36 scroll saw blades includes 12 blades with 28 TPI, 12 with 11.5 TPI and 12 with 9.5 TPI. This selection gives you the freedom to choose the material you want to cut.
For harder materials like metal, a 28 TPI is best, but if you are cutting hardwood, choose between the 11.5 or the 9.5 TPI. These blades are premium-grade steel for a longer life, and they fit most brands of scroll saws.
SKIL is another American brand synonymous with value and quality, and these blades don’t disappoint. When you work out the price per blade, this pack is incredible value for money.
- Designed for professionals.
- Comes as a 36-pack.
- 28, 11.5 and 9.5 TPI.
- Premium grade steel.
- Prone to breaking.
|Dimensions (inches)||9.02 x 3.5 x 0.12|
7. SE 144-Piece Jeweler’s Piercing Saw Blades
This set of blades offers something a little different. Unlike all those featured so far, this blade set fits a manual saw rather than the powered variety.
It comes as a set of 144 blades, so it is incredible value for money. Plus, because they are mainly intended for the jewelry industry, these blades are excellent for slicing through metal.
Each blade has a high TPI count, which means you get the smoothest finish possible. They range from 38 to 59 TPI. They are also pinless, and when used in conjunction with a saw with an adjustable frame, if the blade snaps, you can still use it no matter what the size.
For value alone, this blade set is a good choice, but if you are working with precious metals, you want precision and accuracy. Mistakes could cost you a lot of money.
- 144 blades in the set.
- Fine detail.
- High TPI count.
- Excellent value for money.
- For the jewelry industry only.
- Used in hand saws.
- Specialist blade.
|Dimensions (inches)||15.8 x 9.5 x 14.9|
|Product||Best||Pack size||Material||Dimensions (inch)||Weight|
|Olson Saw PG49802 Precision Ground Blade||Hardwood||1||Carbon steel||3.5 x 8.5 x 1||0.81 oz|
|Flying Dutchman New Spiral Blade||Pinless||60||High-grade steel||9.02 x 5.98 x 0.2||4.8 oz|
|Olson Saw FR43001 Pin End Hobby Blade||Beginners||6||Steel||1.5 x 8.5 x 1||0.3 oz|
|Olson Saw FR49501 Pinned Blade||Pinned||18||Steel||3.5 x 8.5 x 1||0.8 oz|
|Bosch SS5-20 Scroll Saw Blade||Straight Cuts||20||Steel||0.13 x 1.81 x 9.88||0.7 oz|
|SKIL 80182 Plain End Blade||Fine Work||36||Steel||9.02 x 3.5 x 0.12||0.7 oz|
|SE 144-Piece Jeweler’s Piercing Blade||Metal||144||Steel||15.8 x 9.5 x 14.9||0.8 oz|
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Install Scroll Saw Blades
- Unplug the scroll saw.
- Release the blade tension.
- Remove or loosen the blade mounts.
- Remove the old blade.
- Replace the new blade.
- Tighten or replace the blade mounts.
- Re-tension the blade.
- Plug in the saw.
- Perform a test cut.
Why Should I Change My Scroll Saw Blade?
Over time, scroll saw blades start to dull, and this creates resistance against the stock you are cutting. It reduces the performance of your scroll saw and impairs your ability to produce work of a quality you can be proud of. Eventually, dull blades lead to untimely machine wear.
It is also a matter of safety. If you are working with a blunt blade, you are exerting too much pressure, which could cause the blade to snap. It could also cause you to lean off balance, which could cause you to slip.
Dull blades also create more friction because the blade is in contact with the stock for longer. It could result in your machine burning out or worse, starting a fire.
Why Do Scroll Saw Blades Keep Breaking?
There could be several reasons why your blade keeps snapping. It may be that the tension of the blade is too high. It puts the blade under extra pressure, causing it to break. It could also be true that the wheel diameters of your scroll saw are too small and can’t handle the size of the blade.
Another reason might be that the blade is rubbing against the wheel flange. Maybe you are feeding the stock too quickly, which causes the blade to flex and snap. There are any number of reasons why a scroll saw blade might snap.
How Tight Should Scroll Saw Blades Be?
Practically every scroll saw has a different system for tensioning the blade. And almost every scroll saw maker gives guidance in the operating manual. Experienced woodworkers use a musical method to check how tight their blades are.
Give the blade a pluck or flick, and it should make a clear musical note. If it does, it means your blade is tensioned and ready to use. If you get nothing, you should keep tightening the blade and rechecking. The moment it plays a note, you have achieved the perfect tension.
Which Way Do the Blades Go on a Scroll Saw?
The teeth need to be facing the front and towards the stock as it approaches, and the teeth should face down towards the table. If you install the blade upside down, all the saw will do is pick up the stock during the upward motion of the blade and slap it back down on the table.
The Finer Detail
Scroll saw blades give you control, allow you to work in minute detail, and offer the flexibility to produce art designs in a variety of materials.
If you are a hobbyist or a professional, getting a scroll saw blade with the right attributes is crucial if you want the best outcomes.
Scroll saws are also satisfying to use, and a lot of fun.