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  HOME TECHNIQUES SCROLLSAWS Scroll Saw Safety Rules

Scroll Saw Safety Rules
Guidelines to using a scrollsaw & keeping your fingers

A scrollsaw is probably one of the safest tools we buy, but still there are a few cautionary steps we should take!

Hold Down clamp:
I know, it was the first thing you removed from the scrollsaw, but remember it does serve a purpose. It is recommended that you leave it in place and lower it down as close to the wood as possible.

It does help in holding down your work. We understand that often it is more in the way then of real help, especially on small project, but that being said, recognize that it is also a great guard in making sure you don't slip your fingers into the blade, sooooo ..... if you do remove it (which you shouldn't), make sure you recognize the extra care you must take, as you push your scroll wood through the machine.

Scroll Wood Selection:
Always use flat bottomed wood unless it is mounted in an appropriate jig. Cupped material will bind and be much more likely to snap the blade prematurely, putting your fingers in harms way.

Blades:
Always make sure the scroll saw is unplugged BEFORE attempting to change the blade. Install the blade with the teeth facing down! Use the best scroll saw blades for the job.. one with too few teeth in relationship to the thickness of the wood will jump around and offer little control. Use a stick (you should have lots) to clear the path of the blade when creating small cuts off.

Cleaning the Machine:
Always make sure the scroll saw is unplugged BEFORE removing the covers and blowing the dust out of the wheels.

Relief Cuts:
In situations where the pattern asks for either a tight inside or outside cut it is always safer to make relief cuts before you start. Cut just before the pattern line, to avoid a notch in the finished path. This will allow you to break away wood as you go along and prevent binding the scroll saw blade..another in the list of good scroll saw safety rules to practice.

Cutting Small Pieces:
When scrolling small pieces of wood, use rubber cement or hot melt glue to attach your wood to a piece of cardboard or thin plywood to allow you to cut without getting excessively close to the blade. The rubber cement is usually relatively easy to break the bond when you're done. It may take a little longer but fingers are irreplaceable

Safety glasses:
OK this is scroll saw 101 and I hope it is obvious. In all woodworking, you run the risk of dust or chips or particularly small knots flying out of the machine. Safety glasses are an essential tool in protecting your vision. Use them even when using a small tools like a scroll saw.

Clothing:
Again, this is a given in any woodworking environment. Don't wear any loose clothing that may get caught in the travel arm of the saw. Tie back long hair. Watch for jewelry. Use common sense.

Wood Toxicity:
Be aware of any special consideration for every type of wood, scroll wood or otherwise. Scrollsaws generate very fine dust. If your immune system is sensitive, various wood dusts can cause a skin and/or lung allergic reaction. We have a number of customers, with severe allergies to red cedar dust, so bad that they must leave our store if a new load of cedar has been brought inside. If you fit into this category, work in short spurts and wear a good dust mask. Use an air filtration system in your shop. Keep the floor vacuumed up as much as possible so any new movement in the air flow, will have little dust to move around.

For further information check out our page on wood toxicity.

BE SAFE and use this information as a general guideline for use of a Scroll Saw. Safety Rules serve a purpose and save fingers!


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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007