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  • best wood for scrolling

    Hello fellow Scrollers,
    I am new to scrolling. And I would like to know what kind of wood is best for scrolling, plywood or solid wood?

  • #2
    I guess that answer would be answered by who you ask and what you are wanting to make. Many use plywood and many solid wood. I only use solid wood because of the beauty of solid wood. The scroll saw does not care as it will cut either just fine.
    My recommendation as you are new is get some cheap wood, pine, cedar, plywood and get used to the saw, blades and following lines. Take it slow and let the blade do the cutting, meaning it will let you know how fast to go. Slow and smooth will provide some good results.
    Welcome too, this is the place to be for knowledge, thats for sure.


    • #3
      Well this is just my opinion but I prefer solid wood but I also use alot of plywood too but only good quality baltic birch. Like Woodsman said it all really depends on what you are making.
      It's only a mistake if someone saw you do it.

      It's not about what saw you drive. It's about the skill you drive it with.



      • #4
        What you might be interested to know is that plywood will eat your blades a little quicker than most solid woods...
        And the best wood for a newb is poplar, not pine... I know that's the first wood most folks think of, myself included, but pine has both hard and soft grain and is hard to control. Poplar is more even grained and is more pleasant to cut. It's a little more $$, but worth it in the end.
        By the way, if you're going to cut plywood, look for some quality Baltic Birch ply. Anything less will likely cause frustration. Not something you want when you're starting out....

        Looking forward to your work...
        Do post pictures when you get there..We love that here...

        The limits of the imagination are imaginary.
        No task is too tedious for Art.
        Rock and Scroll

        My Gallery

        My Website
        Featherwood Woodcrafts


        • #5
          Hi Jim. thanks for the info on the wood choice. I have mainly done projects out of pine. I'm pretty much a beginner even though I'm made a number of projects, but nothing fancy like I see here. Just country stuff like Cow Planters, made a Ranch for my hubby of Geocaching and made some yard cows to stick in the ground. Have made some shelves for family members..Just little stuff like that...I would share some pictures but I don't know how? bearsandme


          • #6
            Hi bearsandme - posting pictures is like riding a bike. When you know, how its easy!

            When you start a new post and have written what it is you want to post scroll down the screen and you will see button called Manage Attachments - click on this and a popup panel will appear with which you can upload files from your computer to the forum server. Before uploading your files be sure to check that they meet the file sizes given in the popup box for the various file sizes. This may mean that you need to resize your photo on your computer before uploading them.

            Note that if you want to upload images in a reply select the Go Advanced button and this will take you to a reply screen below which you can access the Manage Attachments button.

            As to your question - there is no hard and fast rule for using ply in preference to wood or vice versa, it all depends on what type of scrolling you intend to do and what is your personal preference , often based on what materials you have available. Generally though, plywood is more suited to thin work where its inherent strength and stability is an advantage, for example it is used extensively in detailed portrait work at thicknesses of between 1/16" to 3/8" where the grain of natural wood might well break up or the wood would warp over time, likewise it is commonly used for cutting jigsaw puzzles and for some toys. In all these cases it is recommended to use a good quality plywood that has no voids in its composite layers nor is filled with inert hard material which would quickly blunt scrollsaw blades. For most other types of scrolling natural wood is usually preferred.

            Hope this helps.
            Last edited by jim_mex; 03-18-2013, 09:44 AM.
            Jim in Mexico

            Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
            - Albert Einstein


            • #7
              There is no simple, one size fits all, answer to your question. As mentioned, the choice of material is a matter of personal preference, influenced by a number of factors. The advantage of plywood over solid wood is that it is somewhat stronger in areas where solid wood is more fragile, for example, short, cross grained areas that are prone to breaking. THis is especially critical when using thin stock combined with intricate/delicate patterns.

              Baltic birch plywood is generally considered the best ply for scrolling because it doesn't have voids in the interior plys and it's generally more stable and consistent than some other plywoods. However, the face grain veneer isn't all that attractive and it doesn't take stain all that well. Hardwood veneered plywood is more attractive, but the veneer is extremely thin and easily damaged, plus is it quite expensive. Some folks don't care for the look of the exposed edges of plywood, where you can see the alternating layers. Others may not be bothered by that.

              The advantage of solid wood is the appearance. However, the thinner the stock, the more fragile it is. Hardwoods are stronger than softwoods, but both are weaker in those short, cross grained areas than plywood.

              Depending on the sources you have available to you, price can be an issue. Some hardwoods are quite expensive and it may be tough to find it in the thickness and width desired. Some of this disadvantage can be overcome if one has the proper equipment, but this involves time and effort.

              Personally, I generally prefer solid wood, because I have access to it and the equipment to make widths and thicknesses needed. I do use plywood because it's just simpler and easier for some projects.

              It's best to understand the relative pro's & cons of the materials that are available to you. The wood that works perfectly for one project may be a poor choice for a different one. As Woodsman noted, the saw really doesn't care.
              Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


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