December 1, 2021

Why is My Scroll Saw Jumping? How to Troubleshoot

Even some of the Best Scroll Saws will have issues and start jumping. Wood will sometimes jump because of a blade grabbing it, instead of cutting it. There are so many reasons why this happens. One of the reasons is a dull saw blade or blade installed upside down.

When you try to make tight turns too fast, the saw machine jumps. Pushing the wood into the saw blade, while turning quickly and tightly does not allow the blade to cut fast enough. That is how the saw blade binds in the wood, and the teeth grab on the upstroke, instead of cut.

Using an oversized blade also makes the scroll saw jump. You should know the size and type of saw blade to be used, the kind of wood you are cutting, and its thickness. Know if the lifting happens in cutting curves or all the time.

Many scrolls saw blades have reverse teeth to reduce the tear-out on the bottom of the wood.  Most reverse tooth blades have a few teeth pointing up at the bottom.  Some have reverse teeth placed through the whole length of the blade. These cause more trouble with lifting the wood because there are more reverse teeth engaged at any time.

If the problem persists, and what you can do is skip the tooth blade, which only has teeth that point down. You are allowed to sacrifice the cleaner cut that a reverse tooth blade offers since it helps cut the lifting.

Some scroll sawers remove the hold-down bracket on their saw. If your saw has one, lower it far enough to help hold the wood down. Do not let it be too tight and cause friction between the wood and the table.

What does a scroll saw jump look like?

Jumping wood is normal. Keep pressure on the wood near the blade with your off-hand. If it happens more, you may have the blade upside down. It is normal when cutting to push too hard and have some side pressure on the blade. It takes more practice to avoid doing this. Take your time and allow the saw blade to do the cutting. Be patient and precise.

Dangers of a jumping scroll saw

  • Shock
  • Fore
  • Injury

Possible injuries from the scroll saw accidents include:

  • Finger amputation
  • Lacerations
  • Eye injuries,
  • Cuts from flying wood, or splinters.

Cutting Speed

Some scroll saws have a knob that allows you to adjust the machine to different speeds. These scroll saws make between 400 and 1,800 strokes per minute. The saw table tilts and may be locked into place at various angles for cutting bevels. The foot allows the user to hold the workpiece securely to the saw. You can do away with the foot once you get familiar with the tool.

Consider having a variable speed control on your scroll saw.  Bear in mind that some projects may need a slower cutting speed than others. A high-speed range from 1,200-1,800 Strokes-Per-Minute. It is needed to cut hardwood or get a fine cut.  At low speed ranges from 400-800 SPM, and it is ideal for cutting softer wood.

Some saws have one speed, whilst others have two. Others are adjustable to any SPM.  It is up to you if a two-speed scroll saw is slow and fast. It can be the best choice for the beginner concerned about cost. It also allows you some flexibility without costing you an arm.

What blade are you using?

Sometimes when the scroll saw is jumping, you are using an improper blade. Seek advice from the manufacturer on the type of blade you can have on your saw machine. Bear in mind that the implications of using the wrong saw blade can be serious.

Going against the grain

Going against the grain causes your scroll saw to jump when working with hardwood. You may have to keep along the grain to keep your saw machine steady. Cutting along the grain is a simple and easy way of cutting that comes with fewer chances of jumping.

Blade tension is set too low

When cutting with a scroll saw, make sure the tension is set properly. Place a piece of wood at the front of the blade and tighten the saw blade until it moves about 1/8 inch. Scroll-saw blades tend to veer over to the side when cutting. When making a straight cut, feed the wood into the machine at an angle from the right. To cut out a corner, apply a little pressure on the side of the blade, and spin the wood around.

Using too much saw blade tension or too little tension while leading to the scroll saw blades breaking. Whether you are applying too much blade tension or too little tension, avoid using improper blade tension. Take some time to adjust the blade tension on your scroll saw.

Is the blade damaged?

After using a blade for a while, it wears out. That creates more friction, heat up, and then breaks due to stress. That causes burn marks on the wood. Sometimes the blade is cutting slower than standard, or you may notice fuzzies on the bottom of the project. That is how you know it is time to retire the blade.

The dull blade may start to become louder and lead to the jumping of the scroll saw. In that case, replace the saw blade with a new one and move on. A new, sharp saw blade will also help reduce the wear and tear on the scroll saw motor as well.

Check the bladed guards

Keep your fingers clear of the blade and mind the moving arm of the scroll saw. Some scroll saws come with a spring in the arm so that when a blade breaks, the broken top half does not fly down into the project or your hand.  Regardless, you might be eager to know whether your saw will react this way or not.

Use the workpiece guard to hold down your project, as you allow it to move freely. As you become more experienced, you may get rid of the guard since sometimes the guard gets in the way.  As a beginner, you should use the guard.

David D. Hughes
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