Speed of feeding the wood

Feeding wood into the saw too fast can cause problems, as can scrolling with the saw at the wrong speed.


Q:How do I know if I am feeding the wood too fast?
A:
Experience:  Let the Saw Do the Work
 
Be very cautious about feeding the wood too fast.  Let the saw do the work.  Too much pressure on the wood will also cause the blade to arc (to the right or left) while cutting.  It can also cause scorching of the wood.  Let the saw do the work.  After cutting for a time, these things will become automatic.  Let the saw do the work. 
 
You may be feeding too fast; pushing the wood too hard into the blade.  This will  cause the blade to over-flex and bow. 
Fix: Don't push so hard.  Stop the feed entirely, then gradually increase pressure, and listen to the motor as you do.  Don't let the motor slow down.  You will very quickly find a feed pressure that feels comfortable for you and gives a clean cut.  Let the blade do the work.
 
Feeding too fast is probably the major reason for an inferior quality cut.  Plug into your work a massive dose of patience.  Feeding too fast will mean you have trouble following the lines smoothly and evenly. 
 
Cut a 3/4" piece of scrap (following a pattern) in a long sweeping curve that is tangent to a straight line.  Then look at the resulting cut edge.  It should be glass-smooth and without significant ripples that can be felt when running your finger over it.  You can't get that kind of edge if feeding too fast.  And you can't accurately follow the pattern if you are hurrying.  You have to be at ease at your saw.
 
 
 
 
Q:What speed is the right speed for the scroll saw?
A:
There are some general guidelines:
 
Basically, the saw should run at maximum speed (strokes per minute).  The exceptions may sound like quite a few, but aren't unless you are using materials other than wood.  When cutting thin wood, 1/4" or less, running the saw slower will give you much better control of steering.  Most scrollers will put a backing board of scrap under thin wood to give better control.

When cutting very hard wood (ironwood, etc.) it's necessary to run the saw slower to keep the blade cooler.  You won't often cut wood that hard probably.

You have to saw plastics with a medium sized blade such as a #4 or #5 and run at a slow speed, probably 450 SPM to 900.  If the saw is running faster, probably the heat of the blade will weld the plastic back together as you cut it.  But there are dozens of kinds of plastic, so that was a very general guideline.  You have to experiment in scrap material.

I shouldn't even be talking about these other materials, because they aren't generally beginner projects.  But while I'm at it.........  Metals, ivory, bone, antler, all will require slower speeds.  For example, coins are usually cut with a #2/0 to #4 blade at about 900 SPM, and with a regular skip tooth blade!  Challenging!

A scrollsaw is truly a variety tool.  You can cut most metals, marble, brick, glass rubber, paper, seashells, on and on.   Of course if you're reading this you probably already are a scroller, scrollier, scrollsawer or scrollsawyer, so why am I trying to convince you?
 
 
 
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