Are Scroll Saws Dangerous?

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Scroll saws are an extremely handy tool that can be used to cut intricately through many different types of materials. Yet, are scroll saws dangerous?

They’re common for people to use at home for DIY projects, as well as for teaching others about woodwork. Because they’re relatively straightforward to operate and can easily be kept at home, they’re a very popular piece of equipment. With that said, many people wonder whether or not scroll saws are dangerous to use.

Are Scroll Saws Dangerous?

When compared to other saws, scroll saws are generally not very dangerous. It’s very easy to keep your hands from the blade, and there is very little risk of kickback. However, they are still a hazardous piece of equipment with sharp moving parts.

This means that contact with the blade can cause serious hand and finger injuries. The blade should always remain guarded.

While scroll saws might not be as dangerous as other pieces of equipment, you should take care and caution while using them.

Man answering how are scroll saws dangerous

If used incorrectly, they have a much greater chance of causing injury.

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Below, we will go over how to safely and effectively use a scroll saw.

Potential Hazards of Using a Scroll Saw

Because a scroll saw uses a moving blade to make intricate cuts in wood or other types of materials, this is the most immediately apparent hazard.

Getting your hands or fingers near the blade can cause serious bodily injury. This might seem obvious, yet there are other potential hazards that are a bit less recognizable.

While you might not put your hands or fingers directly near the blade, for obvious reasons, even the movement of the machine itself also renders it dangerous.

  • The blade moving at high speeds means that articles of clothing can easily get stuck, sucking your hand or fingers towards the blade. For this reason, loose clothing or other articles should not be worn when working with a scroll saw.
  • When working with wood, there’s likely to be lots of sawdust produced, which can fly everywhere and easily get into the operator’s eyes. This can cause damage to the eye, and can also cause other injuries if the operator cannot see and gets too close to the blade.
  • Poorly maintained blades, or using the incorrect type of blade with the wrong materials, can cause them to snap or break off.
  • This has the potential to cause injury, which is why it’s critical that blades are properly cared for and replaced when necessary.

Finally, always use caution when in the vicinity of a scroll saw. A trip or slip could cause you to fall into harm’s way.

Finger pointing at a scroll saw blade

Scroll Saw Safety Tips

Just like when working with any type of power equipment, you should always pay attention and follow appropriate safety guidelines.

Less dangerous machines can still harm you, and it’s all too easy to let your guard down.

Because of the above hazards we just spoke about, it’s helpful to understand the safest ways to operate a scroll saw. Here, we will go over some of the most critical safety tips.

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  • Always wear safety glasses. Sawdust from wood or sparks and shavings from metal can easily get into your eyes. This can not only cause eye injury but can also prevent you from seeing, causing you to injure yourself in other ways.
  • Wear a dust mask. Scroll saws produce dust, and lots of it, especially when working with wood. To prevent inhalation of dust, which can be hazardous, always wear a dust mask.
  • Have good lighting. When working with any type of potentially hazardous equipment, it’s critical that you can see what you’re doing very clearly.
  • When cutting wood very close to the blade, use another tool like the tip of a pencil to guide the wood. Never let your fingers get close to the blade, even for very detailed work.
  • Never leave the scroll saw running when you aren’t using it. Even for short periods of time. This is particularly important if you’re moving the scroll saw.
  • Wear gloves if working with metal, it can get very hot!
  • If using a footswitch, unplug it before changing your saw’s blades. This will prevent you from accidentally turning the saw on, putting you in a very scary position where you can easily get hurt.

Are Scroll Saws Safe for Kids?

Scroll saws are not as dangerous as other saws, and because of that, they’re often one of the first pieces of power equipment that children can learn to use.

Because they’re fun, enticing, and can cut out cool looking patterns, many kids want to get their hands on a scroll saw. However, there are some very specific precautions that you should take when introducing children to using a scroll saw.

Man using a scroll saw to cut wood

Do not try to teach very young children. It’s usually advisable that children are at least six to seven years old. They should be able to follow clear instructions and should have good motor control skills.

Always make sure that children follow the proper safety precautions, and they should be supervised by an adult at all times. Kids should wear dust masks and safety glasses.

Make sure long hair is tied back, and that they’re wearing close-toed shoes. It’s also a good idea to teach children to ask before touching anything in a workshop.

It’s usually advisable that they work only with wood until they’re older. Teach them how to make basic cuts and how to operate the saw safely before moving on to more advanced skills.

Conclusion

Overall, scroll saws are not dangerous to use and can be fun to work with, even for children.

However, just like with other types of power equipment, incorrect use or inability to follow safety guidelines can cause injury to the operator.

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For this reason, it’s important that you’re safe and aware at all times. With appropriate precautions, you can use your scroll saw to produce all types of interesting and fun work.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.