There are several different types of saws, each with its own unique characteristics. For those who are looking to cut intricate, non-straight lines into wood, two of the most popular types are the scroll saw and jigsaw. Both types of mechanized saws are designed to allow you to create intricate shapes and non-straight lines to create unique patterns.
However, while both do roughly the same job, choosing which one is right for your needs starts by understanding the design of each saw.
Differences Between a Scroll Saw and Jigsaw
The main difference between the two is that the scroll saw is a stationary saw where you move the workpiece against a reciprocating blade. Conversely, the jigsaw is a portable handheld saw that you pass through the material to cut it. The scroll is used for fine decorative work whereas the jigsaw is a versatile general-purpose power tool.
There are several important differences between each type of saw as they are designed for different types of cuts.
The primary purpose of the scroll saw is to create intricate cuts for complicated patterns and designs. With a scroll saw, you can create wood templates, decorated pieces, jigsaw puzzle pieces out of wood, and so forth.
The jigsaw is primarily designed to create both curved and straight cuts into wood, metal, ceramic tile, and other materials. While it can duplicate some of the cuts made by a scroll saw, it is a different design which makes it more suitable for other types of work.
The biggest difference is that the scroll saw is a stationary device where you feed the wood into the blade. The jigsaw is a smaller, portable device where you move the blade through the wood that is held in place. This means that the scroll saw is larger and takes up more space compared to the jigsaw.
Scroll Saw vs. Jigsaw Blade
There are significant differences in the blade that each saw uses. While a scroll saw uses a blade that is secured at both ends, the teeth are pointing downward toward the bed of the machine. It also uses very thin blades to create a wide variety of intricate cuts with thin kerf.
The jigsaw however is only secured at one end. This allows it to do plunge cuts which is something the scroll saw cannot do. Plus, the teeth of the blade point upward towards the base of the tool which means that it is used in a different fashion compared to the scroll saw.
One important factor in choosing between the two saws is the amount of dust that each creates. The scroll saw is quite good at keeping the amount of dust down. Plus, it’s also relatively quiet compared to the jigsaw, even if the jigsaw is not that loud. And while the jigsaw is by no means the worst at generating dust, it does create considerably more compared to the scroll saw.
In addition, the scroll saw is an expensive device compared to the jigsaw. This is an important consideration for those on a budget. Plus, if you only plan on doing a few projects that require intricate, curved cutting, then the jigsaw might be a better choice.
Both the power tools are relatively safer when compared to other tools such as a table saw or a circular saw.
However, the scroll saw is considerably safer to use because it is secured and mounted, allowing you to move the material to the blade. And while the jigsaw is also safe due to its design, accidents such as blade breakage can happen because you are moving the device instead of the material.
Scroll Saw vs Jigsaw Uses
On the surface, both types of saws do similar things. And while both are decidedly different in design, each type can do much of what the other can do.
Scroll Saw Uses
This is a device that cuts ornate designs into material that is generally two inches thick or less.
The primary use for a scroll saw is to create cuts in the shape of curves, waves, sharp angles, and pretty much whatever your imagination can dream up. This means that you can perform such cuts with relative ease and safety when you use a scroll saw.
Scrolls saws are mainly used for craft and detailed artwork such as marquetry, inlay, fretwork, intarsia, and fretwork. It is also used for making patterns, decorative items, jigsaw puzzles, wooden toys, wood signs, etc. You can see the list of scroll saw uses here.
You have a wide range of options with the jigsaw because it can cut deeper into the material. Plus, its portability makes it easy to use for a wide variety of cutting tasks. If you just need to cut straight lines, the jigsaw is perfect.
Jigsaws are widely used by both hobbyists and professionals alike in woodworking, home improvement, installing countertops, construction, etc. The ability to make plunge cuts make it an excellent choice for cutting internal holes of different shapes. If you need to cut curvy or angled lines, the jigsaw can do that as well.
It’s quite common for the jigsaw to be used for several different cutting tasks on the job site.
Which Saw Should You Get?
Whether you get a scroll saw or a jigsaw will depend on several factors. You will need to consider all aspects before making your decision. However, it is quite common for professionals and woodworking enthusiasts to get both.
Who Should Get a Scroll Saw?
If you are focused on creating intricate designs into wood, then the scroll saw offers better advantages. While it is relatively large and stationary, it is also beautifully designed to push through relatively thin layers of wood to create intricate patterns.
However, the scroll saw is also more limited compared to the jigsaw. Its inability to do plunge cuts and lack of mobility means that it can only do certain things.
Should You Get a Jigsaw?
It can be argued that the jigsaw is not as precise as a scroll saw nor is it quite as safe to use, although the safety margin is relative. What makes the jigsaw a great choice is how versatile the device can be. You can use the jigsaw on different materials and thicknesses with far greater ease compared to the scroll saw. Plus, you can take the jigsaw anywhere and use it on a job site while the scroll saw is more difficult to move.
The downside is that cutting with a jigsaw is more freehand in nature. This means that it can be easier to make mistakes. And while you can correct such mistakes in most cases, it does mean that you are taking more time compared to the precision of the scroll saw.
If you could only choose one type of saw, then the jigsaw is probably the best choice. Unless you are limiting yourself to one specific type of work, the jigsaw is considerably more versatile, portable, and less expensive compared to the scroll saw.