Can a Scroll Saw Cut Metal?

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A scroll saw is a handy tool that can cut through materials with great intricacy and detail.  Many people own a scroll saw, but the primary use is usually for cutting wood.

However, for those who want to take their projects to the next level, you might be whether or not it’s safe, or even possible, for a scroll saw to cut through metal. So, can a scroll saw cut metal?

Can a Scroll Saw Cut Metal?

Scroll saws can cut through a variety of metals, such as aluminum, brass, copper, and even steel. Metals that are 1/8” inch or thinner are best for scroll saws, as thicker metals can be tough for a scroll saw blade.

Softer type of metals tend to be easier to cut through with a scroll saw, which include brass, titanium, copper, nickel, and aluminum. However, even harder metals can be cut by scroll saws with the right blade and a healthy dose of patience.

Scroll saw being prepared to cut metal

It’s entirely doable to cut metal with a scroll saw, especially if you want to cut round circles.

There are some things you need to be aware of. There are some critical steps and precautions you need to take to ensure this is done safely and without damaging your equipment.

Below, we will go over how to safely and effectively cut metal with a scroll saw.

Types of Metal You Can Cut With a Scroll Saw

Try to cut metals that are ⅛ of an inch or thinner. A scroll saw can handle thicker metals, but if you attempt this, make sure the metals are soft. It’s never a very good idea to cut metal that is thicker than half an inch.

It’s also important that you use the right type of blades to cut through different metals. Aluminum and brass are the best metals to cut using a scroll saw, as they’re relatively soft and lightweight.

Cold-rolled steel can also be cut through, but it will take a while and can potentially wear out your blades much faster than other materials. If you regularly work with steel, it’s a more advisable idea to use a solid angle grinder instead of a scroll saw.

Close up of a scroll saw

What Blades to Use When Cutting Metal With a Scroll Saw

Before you attempt to cut metal, it’s imperative that you select the right blade for the task. First and foremost, never use a blade made for woodwork to try to cut metal. You will easily ruin the blade, rendering it unusable.

It can also be dangerous to try to cut through materials with blades that aren’t intended for that specific job. When cutting metal, you want to avoid blades with large teeth and try to use blades with smaller teeth but large gaps between them. Blades with large teeth can seize or move the metal and cause what’s commonly known as “chatter”.

This is where the material catches on the edge of the blades, lifting it up and down in rapid succession. Not only can chatter be noisy and irritating, but it can also be dangerous, causing you to lose grip on the metal as you are cutting it.

Skip tooth blades and jeweler’s blades are both ideal choices when it comes to cutting metal with a scroll saw.

Jeweler’s blades are the most frequently chosen, as the teeth are specially hardened to glide more easily through the metal.

How to Cut Metal With a Scroll Saw

As we’ve already discussed, it’s important to use the right blade and select the appropriate types of metal, but the method you use is equally important.

Here are some of our tips on the best methods for cutting metal with a scroll saw:

  • Don’t rush, be patient. Metal is much less forgiving than wood, so you’ll want to take your time. Rushing when working with dangerous tools and materials is also a prime way to ruin your work or, even worse, cause serious injury.
  • Be aware that working with metal can be very noisy. Noise levels can be reduced if you use lubricant, but it can still be significantly louder than when working with wood. Be particularly aware of this when cutting metal indoors.
  • To protect the metal during the process, place it between two pieces of plywood. This is called sandwiching. This method will keep the metal safe and also stop it from moving around as much.
  • Pay attention, focus on the task, and always use both hands.
  • Safety first! Cutting metal is more dangerous than cutting wood. Blades can snap or pieces of sharp metal can go flying.
Scroll saw

Make sure that you have the proper safety equipment handy. This includes:

What Other Materials Can a Scroll Saw Cut?

Even though a scroll saw is primarily used for woodwork, as we’ve discussed, it’s a very useful tool for other materials too. In fact, scroll saws can be used to cut through a wide variety of different materials.

Other materials that a scroll saw can cut include:

  • Acrylic
  • Corian
  • Foam
  • Fabric
  • Plastic
  • Other craft materials

What’s most important when experimenting with your scroll saw is that you use the right blade for the job and that you never try to cut through materials that are too thick for the saw to handle.

Scroll saws are an extremely versatile tool that can be handy to have around for all sorts of different projects. Even though they’re most commonly used for wood, they can do an excellent job of cutting through metal. Always make sure that you use the proper safety precautions when utilizing a scroll saw, especially if working with metal.

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.