Model Boat Mayhem

Mess Deck: General Section => Model Boating => Topic started by: Daleb on May 07, 2021, 09:32:55 pm

Title: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Daleb on May 07, 2021, 09:32:55 pm

Hi all,

I'm looking at cutting wood frames etc. from plan in the near future, I've been looking at Scroll Saws. Firstly, is this the correct tool for the job?  Secondly, any recommendations/advice to a novice would be very helpful.

Many thanks

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: john44 on May 07, 2021, 09:58:11 pm
Hi for cutting the inside of frames they are excellent. For cutting the exterior of the frame I find a bandsaw better.
But if you take your time and don,t try to hurry your cut, a scroll saw would be fine.
They can be a bit fiddly trying to thread the blade through the access holes for cutting out the inside of the frames
After you have done a few it becomes easier.
Hope this helps
PS. If you are only cutting out a few frames a coping saw is more cost effective.

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Baldrick on May 07, 2021, 11:00:39 pm
A Jewellers (piercing ) saw  how-to-use-a-jewellers-piercing-saw (  will do the job very well it uses unpinned blades and on wood and ply cuts very fast and is very controllable in following closely to a cutting line. Also useful when you want to cut  brass sheet.
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: ChrisF on May 08, 2021, 11:48:10 am
Hi Dale

Cutting by hand is fine if you are only going to build the odd model, but any more and something powered is the way to go.

I was in a similar position about 3 years ago deciding on a scroll or band saw and bought a scroll saw and use it a lot. Band saws are great for cutting straight and particularly longer timbers like planking but unless you do that I consider the scroll saw the better bet because as John says you can cut holes out and I have cut the outside of frames and keels out no problem on 5 builds so far plus the stands, a bird box and a squirrel box etc!

If you intend building a lot then ideally get a band saw as well at some point. Most of the time I can cut straight with a scroll saw, the trick is good quality blades, maintaining a steady, not heavy pressure and cutting a mm or two away from lines and then sanding with e.g. PermaGrit blocks which many of us consider to be essential.

The scroll saw I bought is the Record SS16V which I think is very good value and does everything I want it to. If you do get a scroll saw I'll let you know what blades I use.

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: ballastanksian on May 08, 2021, 02:34:25 pm
Scroll saws are also great for shaking tins of paint. I sold one to a friend and he uses it more for that then cutting materials! I think he uses a thick elastic band to hold the tin/bottle on!

They are useful for cutting though, and agree that if you plan to do loads of hull building a scroll saw is a wise move along with a dremel with sanding drums to tidy the frames up afterwards, and fairing as well.
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Seaspray on May 08, 2021, 03:23:41 pm
I bought the Dremel MS20 Moto-Saw and found it o.k. cutting the 6mm frames in the picture. Also has a quick change blade system. handy for inside cuts. Takes a little time to turn 90 degrees with the blades supplied. Very happy with it as I can't saw for long on my old fret saw.
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Daleb on May 08, 2021, 03:57:49 pm

Thanks for the replies chaps, all very informative and very useful. Looks like I may have to increase my building area :-))

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: John W E on May 08, 2021, 04:22:31 pm
I suppose really it's how deep are the pockets for one reason its a lot to fork out if its going to sit on the bench unused.

I mean, I have a scroll saw which was purchased from Aldi's by my son for me - and I have only used it once or twice for model making - but it does get a lot of use in the outside workshop for larger jobs other than modelling - so it is earning its keep.   I always think don't by a cheap tool that is going to last five minutes - but - do purchase a tool that doesn't cost an arm and leg but if its not used much its no great loss financially.    I always end up going back to my fretsaw myself.   A lot of folk cant get away with using them, but, its like everything else, practice and you will learn how to use it properly and make a good job.

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: warspite on May 08, 2021, 06:17:53 pm
I got one from Lidl, only used once to cut a piece of timber to infill between the kitchen window sill and the worktop (I used a length of lining paper cut to the right length and then a strip cut off to just level with the sill, stuck with masking tape then traced a line that matched the underside of the sill profile), took a while to cut the timber but the result was great, I have yet to finish the workshop and put it on the bench for the next project boat - but, furlough from work and the expected redundancies put paid to that, as a redundancy fund is more important, and though I am safe provisionally after round two, if things go on any longer then I will probably be let go in round 3.

By the time I get round to using it again, I will probably be back at work.
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: ChrisF on May 08, 2021, 09:52:01 pm
How much you use a scroll saw depends on how you build and what materials you build from. I scratch build mainly using ply and mahogany and a scroll saw has been invaluable and as I said has had a lot of use. I'm so glad I bought one.

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Mark T on May 09, 2021, 02:43:17 pm
I have also considered whether I need a scroll saw and I have very nearly bought one on more than one occasion but I still haven't. 

The reason is I have found that no matter what saw I have a always cut just away from the line and then sand down to the line. It gives me much more accurate pieces than trying to cut directly on the line. 

Because of this I much prefer a bandsaw as its just far more versatile.  It can cut nice shapes with tight radiuses if your use a narrow blade; but it can also reduce big pieces too into strips, billets etc.  The one thing that it cannot do is piercings in the centre but then I do what John does and use a hand saw.  Even then I still sand back to my finished line.
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Seaspray on May 09, 2021, 08:55:00 pm
Hand tools do come into their own if you chain drill the perimeter of a window on a model. You insert the fret saw blade thro the window and saw the edges. I only use electric saw because of a big job or my rheumatism. They're small fret saws made by Proxxon. My saws are always to hand and are very old.
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Daleb on May 09, 2021, 11:30:11 pm

Thanks again for the further replies, perhaps I should explain more, I love using hand tools and have available to me some fret saws etc but I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in my hands and wrists and have limited use before I have to rest them hence my builds take a long time but I love doing it.
Eventually I want to scratch build a particular boat that I have the plans for but as a warm up I have a MMM Tollman Tug with templates and wood pack
that I'm planning on building next year and so was looking at various options on power saws to aid in this type of project.
I'm leaning towards a Bandsaw plus gentle use of hand saws at the moment.
Thank you again for all your replies I've found it most helpful :-))

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: warspite on May 10, 2021, 12:05:16 am
With scroll saws the cut can wander if you are not careful, whereas on a band saw it tends to be a little more controllable, for my general wood cutting exercises (not boats) I use an old circular saw a black & decker 850, still serves me well for the vast majority of cuts  :embarrassed:
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: derekwarner on May 10, 2021, 12:21:08 am

Bandsaws as mentioned have certain versatilities over Scroll Saws & this is absolutely agreed. One of these is the facility of the use of a parallel guide, however using a Bandsaw to cut shall we say an external shape with curvature [or off-hand shape] still requires a pressure set within both fingers+hands to cut close to the line

I have a Scroll Saw and find the repeated need 'for pressure' to cut close to the line results in a semi lock-up of dexterity within my fingers

So I am pretty sure you will understand what I mean when talking about 'for pressure'within the fingers+hands.......I also find holding one of those 45 diameter sub miniature gas soldering tanks can result in numbness in 1 or 2 of my fingers after a few minutes

Many years ago at University, I found the same hand/finger numbness occurring when trying to cram as many [handwritten] words per minute in my notes .....[I was a poor Student]

I do not suffer from any medically diagnosed condition with my hands, apart from the 'aging'   :-X

I have just looked at the Tollman Tug & she doesn't appear to have too many external lines with could be achieved with a parallel guide, so yes the curved external frame profiles could be easily achieved via a Bandsaw with a short depth blade, however the same cannot necessarily be said for the internal face of the same frames

In a perfect World, I would have both  :} ...

If this ever happens, I would ensure the Bandsaw with one with 3 ball bearing blade guide particular in-expensive Asian Bandsaw  uses 2 x small adjustable aluminium sticks to support each side of the blade ...this is absolute rubbish & would be a total waste  >>:-(  of your $

First image is what not get >>:-(
Second image is a good design  :-))

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: Seaspray on May 10, 2021, 08:20:58 am
My Aldi bandsaw has the sticks and if adjusted to close to the blades would heat up the blade. There is one bearing there but doesn.t seem to do anything. Didn't use the hoover for a small job and got a small piece of wood stuck under the table which I didn't see. Later it kept twisting it's rubber tire on the drive wheel and it can off constantly. Got two new rubber belts and  a blade from Germany free as it was still under guarantee. Couldn't get anybody locally to set it up. Nearest was  Glasgow 50 miles away. So carefully adjusted it myself. Seems o.k. but haven't got a need for it now as I don't foresee me cutting large pieces of wood. 
Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: John W E on May 10, 2021, 08:21:43 am
Hi there Dale

I too suffer from the dreaded rheumatoid arthritis + other stuff grrrrrrrrrrrrr cant see fully out of one eye either another grrrrrrrrrrr - yes, it does take you a lot longer than it did in the past.   However, I still enjoy using hand tools.   At the moment I am building an Island Patrol Class vessel HMS Lindisfarne.  Where it used to take a day and a half to cut the keel and frames out; and then sand - it took me roughly a month, no joking, but I do a little bit, stop, do more stop, etc.   When I get aching wrists or aching spine; I back off and do other stuff like make a plastic model cos I have a couple of plastic models on the go at the same time.

Title: Re: Think I need a Scroll saw
Post by: grendel on May 10, 2021, 12:55:00 pm
i use the lidles version of the proxxon jugsaw, 3mm wide blades and does as well as a scroll saw, pus you can drill a hole and easily do the internal holes