May 20, 2021

Best Wood for a Scroll Saw

The best wood for a scroll saw is free of knots. For small intricate pieces, such as a decorative border for a picture frame or small toys for kids, you can use a fine-toothed scroll saw blade. These blades have tiny teeth that are hardly visible to the naked eye. This allows the blade to cut through thin materials.

The best types of wood for scroll saw are pine, oak, and cherry wood. These woods come in different varieties for specific needs. You can use pine for beginner pieces as it is easy to cut and glue together. Oak is great for intricate designs as it is durable and resilient to cracking or splitting while cutting intricate designs.

The scroll saw is one of the handiest tools that a woodworking enthusiast can own. It is great for cutting small pieces of wood and is used to cut intricate designs. The scroll saw is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to create a project that has precise, detailed cuts.


Cherry consists of heartwood that is light reddish/brown. It has even grain that is easy to cut, and it holds up well for intricate fretwork. It is not damaging to the saw blade. It gives less weight to weight-bearing items. 

It is beautiful and rich in color. After some time, it starts darkening. The fastest way of darkening is by exposing it to sunlight. It also warps with time. Cherry wood is warm and rich in color. It is ideal for décor projects.


Walnut varies from rich brown color to a purplish hue. It is one of the best wood to use for scroll saw projects. The sapwood is white, and it comes with even grain. Walnut trees give out burls with exotic and swirling grain patterns. Walnut trees are in North America, and that is the popular dark hardwood. 

The heartwood and sapwood create high contrast. It is a bit harder than cherry wood. However, it is not as hard as maple. It works better on pieces that do not require much weight. You may confuse walnut and cherry.


Maple is found in North America. It is lighter than cherry and walnut. It is for scrollwork, white, and has even grain. It has a curly patterned grain that is tricky for some users. Maple wood is readily available and affordable. 

Maple has two types of wood. That is the soft and hard maple. Soft maple is softwood, and it is affordable, and hard maple is hardwood. Soft maple is easier to cut than hard maple. It is not damaging to your blade. However, hard maple is for projects that require dense wood.  


It is popular in North America. It has sapwood and a creamy-white color. The curly grain makes it hard and workable. If you are not careful, you might confuse it with maple due to the lighter color they both carry. 

The birch wood is ideal for cabinet making. The wood is known for its strength in resisting shock. It is heavy and yellowish. 


Ash is a strong wood but light wood. It is hard and a bit harsh to scroll saw blades. It has a unique grain pattern that is not ideal for complex pattern making. It is perfect if you are looking for unique designs. 

Darker brown sections are in the ash wood. Lighter outlying sapwood produces a high-contrast look. That is what makes it similar to maple.


Hickory is available around the world, and it is affordable. That is convenient because hardwood comes with steeper prices. It makes a strength-to-weight ratio with multiple kinds of wood. 

It is stronger than other hardwoods. That is why it is difficult to cut through. It damages saw blades. The sapwood is pale. It is beautiful under a lighting situation, and it takes up stains quickly. It has a straight grain with unique patterns. That makes it ideal for large scroll projects. 

Lightweight woods

When it comes to lightweight woods, it does not mean softwood. There are strong woods that are lightweight. Ashwood is lightweight and has parts that are dark brown. It is hard but not hard to cut. However, it easily wears out blades. 

When using lightweight material, you should be quick to pick the types of productions that suit your wood. The type of finish you would like to have also counts. These projects include projects that you hang on the wall. Baltic birch is another form of wood that is thin and lightweight. 

What is surprising are the five compressed layers it has. It is strong and easy to finish. It makes ornaments and wall hangings and comes in multiple lengths and widths. You use paint or stain to give it a beautiful finish. 


Hardwoods are stronger, and you have to be careful about speeding. Inappropriate speed leads to smoking or chipping. Oak is harder, but it keeps the shape of a pattern. That is why I recommend Ash and Maple. 

I do not advise beginners to go for ash and maple because they require a skilled user. In most cases, they demand skilled cuts. If you increase speed on them, they tend to vibrate or jump up and down. You have to master your speed to overcome such a drawback. 

The jumping of the material results in injuries, and you have to avoid accidents. Red oak, walnut, and cherry have good grains. Hickory is a budget wood material that has strength-to-weight ratios. Oak is perfect for saw art, and it requires you to work on off-cuts since it is the hardest. 


Softwoods are perfect for learning. You use them to familiarize yourself with the scroll saw. Softwoods bend easily under the blade. However, it is hard to keep the pattern. Softwoods include cedar and plywood.

 Poplar is the ideal softwood for practice because it has even grain. You are allowed to cut it at multiple speeds without damaging the wood and your machine. Changing blades is the least of your worry. 

Plywood has good tensile strength and is stable. It is ideal for affordable scroll saw projects. However, it takes away the blade. That is why I do not recommend it over other softwoods. 

How to pick the best wood for Scroll Saw?

You need to clarify the type of project you want to run. You may be specializing in intricate patterns or simple patterns, and these two attract different types of wood. An appropriate material does not break your saw machine. That is why you have to research safe materials. 

Thin material allows you to stay in control even when you are at high speed. You follow the lines of a pattern easily. Hard Material exposes you to the risk of vibrations, although it holds a pattern better. That is due to the resistance that comes with the hardwood. Wrong material leads to chipping and instability of the wood. That ruins your project. 

The thickness of your material matters to your scroll saw. Perfect carving and cutting are effortless on your saw. Standard blades cut materials that are up to 2 inches deep. However, that does not mean you do not need to exercise caution. Hardwood slows down the operation. See our Wen Scroll Saw 3921 vs 3922 comparison.

David D. Hughes

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