December 1, 2021

Why is My Scroll Saw Jumping? How to Troubleshoot

Jumping is a common problem that occurs when using a scroll saw. The sudden and unpredictable movement of the saw blade causes the workpiece to jerk or jump around. This can lead to inaccurate cuts and damage to the workpiece and can also be dangerous to the operator. Knowing the causes of skipping and how to fix them can help you use a scroll saw more safely and efficiently. 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.

The scroll saw jumps when you try to make tight turns too fast. 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 cutting.

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 more reverse teeth are engaged at any time.

If the problem persists, you can skip the tooth blade, which only has teeth that point down. You can 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,
  • It cuts from flying wood or splinters.

Cutting Speed

Some scroll saws have a knob that adjusts 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 are familiar with the tool.

Consider having a variable speed control on your scroll saw. Remember 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 required in order to cut hardwood or get a fine cut. Low speed ranges from 400-800 SPM, which 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 use an improper blade. Seek advice from the manufacturer on the blade you can have on your saw machine. Bear in mind that the implications of using the wrong saw blade can be severe.

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.

Incorrect Blade Tension

When cutting with a scroll saw, ensure the tension is set correctly. Place a piece of wood at the front of the blade and tighten the saw blade until it moves about 1/8 inch. 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. Scroll-saw blades tend to veer over to the side when cutting.

Using too much saw blade tension or too little tension while leading to the scroll saw blades breaking. Avoid using improper blade tension, whether you are applying too much or too little 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, heats up, and 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.

Check the blade 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 the broken top half does not fly down into the project or your hand when a blade breaks. Regardless, you might be eager to know whether your saw will react this way.

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

A Dull Blade

Blunt blades are a common cause of skipping on a scroll saw. When a saw blade becomes dull, it can have difficulty cutting through the workpiece, causing it to catch and jerk. This can be especially dangerous because the saw can jump out of the cut and move uncontrollably. Dull saw blades can also cause increased friction, which generates heat and burns the wood. To avoid these problems, it’s essential to check saw blades regularly and change them as needed, ensuring that the correct blade is used for cutting the material.

Improper Technique

Improper technique when using a scroll saw can also contribute to jumping. For instance, pushing the workpiece too hard into the blade can cause it to catch and jump around. Similarly, pulling the blade too hard or at the wrong angle can cause it to deflect, creating an uneven cut and leading to jumping. Not using the proper sawing technique for the specific cut or material can also cause jumping. To prevent these issues, it’s important to use the proper sawing technique, apply the appropriate pressure, and use a smooth, consistent motion when cutting. This will help ensure the blade remains stable and cuts smoothly, reducing the risk of jumping.

Blade Alignment

Blade misalignment is another common cause of jumping on a scroll saw. If the blade is not aligned correctly, it can cause it to catch or twist as it cuts, leading to a jerky, uneven motion and possibly causing the saw to jump out of the cut. Misalignment can occur for various reasons, such as incorrect installation or improper tensioning of the blade. Checking and adjusting the blade alignment regularly can help to prevent these issues and ensure a smooth, accurate cut. This can be done using a blade alignment tool or adjusting the tensioning mechanism until the blade is straight and centered in the blade guides.

Troubleshooting Guide

Step 1: Check the saw blade

The first step to troubleshooting a skipping scroll saw is to check the saw blade. A dull or damaged saw blade can cause the saw to jump or skip, so it’s essential to determine if it needs replacing. You can determine a dull saw blade by examining the teeth for signs of wear or damage. If the blade appears dull or damaged, replace it with a new one. Learn how to change the blade on a scroll saw here:

  • Turn off the saw and unplug the power cord
  • Loosen the knob or lever to tension the blade
  • Remove the saw blade from the blade holders
  • Insert the new saw blade into the blade holders, making sure that the teeth are pointing downward
  • Tighten the blade tension knob or lever until the saw blade is taut.

Step 2: Check the blade tension

If the saw blade isn’t tensioned correctly, it can cause the saw to skip or jump. You can check the tension of the saw blade by pressing on it with your fingertip – it should flex slightly, but not too much. You may need to adjust the tension if it feels loose or too tight. Learn how to adjust the tension of the saw blade on a scroll saw here:

  • Turn off the saw and unplug the power cord
  • Locate the blade tension knob or lever
  • Tighten the knob or lever to increase the tension, or loosen it to decrease the tension
  • Test the tension by pressing on the blade again with your fingertip

Step 3: Check the blade alignment

Misalignment of the saw blade can also cause the saw to skip or jump. You can check the blade alignment by checking the saw blade guides and ensuring the blade is straight and centered. Learn how to align the saw blade of a scroll saw here:

  • Turn off the saw and unplug the power cord
  • Loosen the blade tension knob or lever
  • Adjust the blade guides until the blade is centered and straight
  • Tighten the blade tension knob or lever.

Step 4: Check the speed of the scroll saw

The speed of the saw can also contribute to skipping. The blade may skip or jump if the saw is set too fast. You can adjust the speed of the saw using the speed control knob or lever. Learn how to adjust the speed of a scroll saw here:

  • Turn off the saw and unplug the power cord
  • Locate the speed control knob or lever
  • Set the speed to a lower value
  • Test the saw on a piece of wood to see if the jumping has stopped

Step 5: Check the saw blade type

Using the wrong saw blade can also cause the saw to skip or jump. Different saw blade types are designed for other materials and thicknesses, so using the correct blade is important. Here’s how to choose the right blade for a scroll saw:

  • Determine the material you want to cut
  • Check the thickness of the material
  • Choose a saw blade with the appropriate number and size of teeth for the material and thickness.

Step 6: Check your technique

Finally, improper technique can cause the saw to jump or skip. Ensure you’re using the correct sawing method for the cut or material and applying the correct pressure. Here are some tips for proper technique when using a scroll saw:

  • Use a smooth, steady motion when cutting
  • Don’t press the workpiece too hard into the blade
  • Use a springboard to keep the workpiece stable
  • Keep your fingers away from the saw blade
  • Don’t force the blade to cut – let it do the work


Can I use any blade with my scroll saw?

No, you cannot use any blade with your scroll saw. Different blades are designed for other materials and thicknesses, so using the right blade for the job is important. Using the wrong blade can cause the saw to jump or skip, resulting in a poor-quality cut.

How often should I change my scroll saw blade?

The frequency with which you need to change your scroll saw blade will depend on several factors, such as how often you use your saw, what types of materials you are cutting, and the quality of the blade. However, as a general rule, you should replace your blade when it becomes dull or damaged. A dull or damaged blade can cause the saw to jump or skip, resulting in a poor-quality cut.

Is there anything I can do to prevent my scroll saw from jumping?

Yes, there are several things you can do to prevent your scroll saw from jumping:

  • Use the right blade for the job
  • Check the blade tension and alignment before you start cutting
  • Use the appropriate sawing technique for the specific cut or material
  • Apply the proper amount of pressure to the workpiece
  • Keep your fingers away from the blade.
  • Let the blade do the work – don’t force it to cut
  • Keep your saw clean and well-maintained.

By following these tips, you can help prevent your scroll saw from jumping and ensure that you get the best possible results from your saw.

David D. Hughes

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