Are scroll saws safe for youth?

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I was considering buying a scrollsaw, primarily so my 10 year old son and I could do some woodworking together. He's at the stage in life where he's "bored" all the time.
I've never used a scrollsaw in my life, so I was wondering if they'd be considered "safe enough" for a fairly mature 10 year old. He wouldn't do anything stupid or reckless. I'd always supervise him using it.. If by accident he did rub a finger against the blade, is it as devastating as a bandsaw? (I'd guess not).
I'd like to have him start by making puzzles out of 1/2 plywood for his siblings. I don't know if you can get less aggressive cutting blades to make it safer or what.
Again, I'm totally ignorant of scrollsaws, thus I am seeking your input.
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*snip*

Don't think that duller/less agressive is safer. Any time you have to push harder to get a result, you're opening the door for accident.

They make hand powered versions called "coping saws." They even use the same type of blade. They're more work and if you get a bad one you'll hate it, but I like mine. :-)
Puckdropper
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news:457487a1$0$97269>

Coping saws are coping saws. The hand equivelent of a scroll saw is a fret saw. I have both scroll and fret saws. For some reason, I prefer doing it by hand.
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Nowhere near as dangerous as a bandsaw. Blades are much finer, so they don't remove nearly as much material at once -- typical bandsaw blade is 3 to 6 teeth per inch (tpi), whereas 20 tpi might be a bit on the coarse side for a scroll saw. Sticking your fingers into a moving scroll saw blade means you need a band-aid. Sticking your fingers into a moving bandsaw blade probably means a trip to the E.R.

Less aggressive doesn't necessarily mean safer. Match the blade to the material, and don't worry about it.

Any power tool has the potential to be dangerous, particularly saws, but that potential is lower with a scroll saw than almost any other powered woodworking tool I can think of.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I have a Dremel scroll saw. Sticking your fingers into it makes the saw stop. It is good only for cutting up to a quarter inch thickness. Perfect for jigsaw puzzles, perfect for children to use, otherwise a useless waste of space.
Tim W
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You must have an old Dremel or it's defective. I did a name plaque out of 4/4 purpleheart on mine. Never even bogged.

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Or he's equipped it with a SCROLLSTOP(tm)

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Correct. It is about twenty years old.
Tim w
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Spring return rather than parallel arm, I take it?
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saw
of
Exactly. With a bendy pressed tin body and a fitting for a sanding disc which also stopped when you touched it. Really a piece of idiocy but I mention it only because I found it fun for exactly the purpose the OP had - I could use it on the kitchen table with my kids making jig-saws puzzles, model aeroplanes, doll's house furniture and they could use it too. You could never have hurt yourself with it.
Tim w
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Doug - Agree/Disagree. I agree the scroll saw would probably do much less damage thatn the bandsaw. When working on small, thin stock, I let my pinkies get closer than I would the bandsaw. However my little Delta could very easily go to the bone. That's more than enough reason to go the the ER for stitches, shot and antibiotics.
With that aside, I would probably let a mature 10-year old use one with close supervision. That is the way a lot of young folks learn to love being creative.
A 13-14 year old? Ummmm, not so sure.
RonB
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Well, I guess that's true -- I probably understated the risk a little bit. OTOH, it's hard to see how you could accidentally amputate a digit with a scroll saw...
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 00:26:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I think the band saw is a little bit easier to learn on though, because you don't have to worry as much about keeping the stock pressed down (says the guy with a scar on his knuckle from the band saw in an incident that started with not keeping the stock pressed down). I've had the scroll saw once or twice get really angry and shake a piece to bits on me, that doesn't happen on the band saw.
-Leuf
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As Doug says, match the blade to the work. Then have him keep the speed down until he gets the hang of it. Sort of a power coping saw. You can take a tendon pretty quickly if you don't have that blade guarded and your fingers out of the way.
Of course, if you have your blade guarded on the bandsaw and keep your fingers out of the way....
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I'd say a scroll saw is pretty safe. If you want to get even safer try a home built version. http://1nailbender.tripod.com/full.htm
It shows a home built foot powered scroll saw. I figure it would be safer than an electric scroll saw, yet easier to use than a coping saw.
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They started us out in woodshop in the 6th grade (11/12 years old), the only tool we were not allowed to use was the table saw.
I specifically remember using hand drills, coping saws, a router, a drill press and a scroll saw. I don't remember any safety issues. It's too bad they cut out woodshop in the schools except as a highschool elective...
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Not having a kid myself, take my opinion as an observer. Scrollsaws are very safe when handled properly and I see no reason that a 10 year old can't follow instructions.
But clearly, it would be best for you to practice on the scrollsaw for a month or so before letting your son do it. There are basic tricks to learn and it's probably just asking for an accident if you try learning with your son.
What I would suggest is that you let him watch you as you learn. When YOU feel confident with the scrollsaw, you can slowly ramp him into using it by starting with the basics (which by then you should have mastered well enough to be safe).
Better yet ... look for a course in your area. And if possible, take it with you son!
Just remember, cutting your fingers is only one of the dangers. Always wear goggles (or some form of eye protection from flying chips) and always wear a dust mask. I'd recommend a mask that "breathes", so that you don't find yourself sweating up your goggles.
In conclusion ... I think it's a great idea to get him into woodworking at this age. But as you said, kids that age get bored easily and you do NOT want him trying to do something too fast before he's ready.
Good luck.
Jack
bf wrote:

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bf wrote:

I'd say a scroll saw is one of the safer powered cutting tools. I have a 14 year old who has used my bandsaw under supervision for several years without injury, or even scaring me too much.
One thing to watch out for: For some reason, boys seem predisposed to "thump" or flick small cutoff scraps of wood away from the blade. They seem to think the short time their finger spends near the blade makes it less scary somehow. But it's a movement that is by its very nature uncontrolled and imprecise. Teach him early on to use another scrap to gently brush those cutoffs away from the blade.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
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A couple of comments:
inexpensive scroll saws are not the way to go. Too many people have purchased very low end scroll saws, only to find there is too much vibration, poor quality manufacturing, and too much blade wobble. They get frustrated and abandon the hobby. Buy as much saw as you can afford. A used DeWalt 788 just might be a better bargain than something from HF.
Scroll saw is a skill. It is an eye-hand thing. Except in rare cases, there are no jigs, fixtures, or fences to buy or build with a scroll saw. Scroll sawing is an easy skill to pick up, and it don't take long, but you must build up the skill by doing. You know your son, and as you stated in you post, you need to start off with easy. The first 20 or 30 tries will be firewood. Expect that, plan on that, and use that fact to also learn about applying a finish, including if you want to sand before cutting, or after. (many times with fret work, it is better to sand before cutting.) Don't let him get discouraged because he might lack the fine muscle tone of a 13 or 14 year old. It comes with practice and skill development. But his ability to quickly grow skills through his youthful eye-hand coordination will amaze you.
Best of luck. Phil


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On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 01:17:23 GMT, "Phil-in-MI" <NO Spam &

The only thing about the dewalt is that the guard is a joke. For a kid to use I'd rather have something they put more than 30 seconds into engineering the guard. In all other areas the dewalt is excellent.
-Leuf
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