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Blade/Speed for White Oak

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  • Blade/Speed for White Oak

    Newbie Here.
    I'm using a Delta Two speed Scroll saw and Olson #5 blade. 3/4" white oak is just burning and breaking blades. I was using the high speed. Do I need a different blade? Or a variable speed saw?

  • #2

    1st and most important, Welcome to the site. If you would, please go on over to Welcome Members and tell us something about yourself. Are you a newbie scroller or just newbie to this forum? Are you just starting out? or transfer from other woodworking?

    But on to your questions.

    3/4 inch thick oak will burn. To help prevent burn get clear package tape and put over pattern on wood.

    There are many types of blades. #5 is only a blade size, you must also consider blade tooth design. At times, if there is a problem removing chips out of the cut, the chips will collect between the blade and stock causing heat and burning. Look for a skip tooth design (tooth, skip, tooth, etc). No spiral tooth, crown tooth or other fancy blades. You will later develop the skills to know when to use them.

    Blade manufacture does matter. Go to and get yourself a Flying Dutchman brand blades. Get the assortment package he offers as this is a good starting place for a newbie.

    Blade breakage for newbie can be caused by:
    1: blade tension is incorrect.
    2: Without your knowing it, you are applying sideways pressure on the blade.
    3: Without knowing it, you are feeding the stock too fast into the cut. Let the blade cut the wood and clear the chips out.

    Scroll sawing is a skill. A learned eye-hand co-ordination thing. With practice you will overcome the above problems. Some advice on cutting at Rick's place:, just scroll down on the left hand side of your screen.

    There are other, less common causes, of blade breakage. Let us try the above first.

    Others will add their advise also.



    • #3
      well said

      Well said Phil!

      It is funny how we take things for granted when we have been cutting for a few years. I don't seem to break blades too much these days. I just forget to change them when they get dull! The smoke and flames are usually a good indication for me to change!

      I think blades are the most over looked aspect of scrolling. Until someone shows you the difference between the types of blades and the applications they are best suited for we tend to talk about blades as a number.

      Blades are very very inexpensive, when you consider a blade for a 10" tablesaw can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars, depending on the application. Getting a few hundred scrollsaw blades for less than $50 is a steal.
      If you get a variety of blades you can do some test cutting and learn about the charateristics of each type, including the love em or leave em spiral blades! One thing for sure, don't be cheap like me, CHANGE BLADES OFTEN!
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


      • #4
        Well I love them spiral blades, I can think of nothing better for portrait work, which turns out to be 95% of what I do right now. I would suggest alot of practice before using them though, they can get away from you really quick.

        Hawk G4, Dremel 1800

        Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati


        • #5
          Well Phil answered the question quite well as he ussally does and I would like to throw my 2 cents in here. First and foremost If you are a beginner you have chosen one of the toughest woods to start woith. White oak is very hard and requires a good blade and good technique. Agood blade in my opinion without a doubt is one of Mike's FD blades. You have to look at the complexity of the cutouts you are doing. If they are complex then you may need a blade no larger than a #5. If not so complex use a larger blade like a #7. I would use a double skip tooth blade but at least a skip tooth blade. The use of clear packing tape on both the top and bottom will help in the burning department. And use the top speed of your saw but let the saw do the work do not over push and try to rush the cut. Do not put sideward preasure when turning again let the saw do the cutting. You can take a small file and round over the back edges of the blade to help with the burning. The breaking thing is probably one of two things. Over preassure when pushing or the blade slipping out of the clamps. To eliminate the slipping thing just take some sandpaper and hit the ends of the blades where they go into the clamps. This will take the oil off for all blades come through with traces of oil just because of the way they are made. Hope this helps.
          John T.


          • #6
            Thanks for all who responded.

            Might be trying something too difficult for a starter. Judy Gale Roberts teddy bear from "Wood Magazine". I've got a lot of white oak around, that is why I decided to use it for the light wood in the teddy bear.

            Thanks again for all who responded.


            • #7
              Don't worry

              I too have used wood that I got in abundance. I got a whole slew of 1/8 red oak. Most was quarter sawn. I thought it would be great to stack cut and make the Dome Clock.
              Well I got two stories done. I ran out of blades and I buy them by the gross. I think the secret would be not to stack 4 plies

              I will get it done someday. I think I will stick to two plies and then break down and go for a bigger blade. I always undersize my blades.
              I am sure Mike would shudder to know I cut all that with #3,s and #4s

              I didnt say I was the sharpest tool in the shed., but I sure do shine a lots
              CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
              "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
              Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


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