Others may add to or subtract from my comment but the biggest
difference is that a scroll saw moves its blade from both directions,
i.e. the yoke that holds the blade pulls it up and pulls it down. With
a jig saw, the blade is pulled and pushed from a single stem and may-
in the case of some older "scroll saws" use a spring to provide
Also, jig saws are often hand held, except for those held upside down
in a table like I alluded to in my second example above,
there are two main differences.
A scroll saw is stationary. You sit at it and move the work around the
A jig saw is portable (hand held). You move the saw around the cut.
A jig saw uses wide blades- great for cutting a long sheet of plywood
A scroll saw uses a very thin blade- great for intricate detail work.
Most 'jig saw' puzzles are made using scroll saws because they can cut
two pieces of wood closely enough, without leaving the wide gap a jig
Also, I saw another post of yours asking about brands. If I were to
buy everything from one brand alone, accepting that some manufacturers
do make certain items better than others, I'd go with Delta. The more
you pay the better quality you get but, on average, Delta offers better
value on every tool they sell, their customer service is fantastic,
their tools are easy to get parts for and easy to locate (Lowes and
on-line sources). I read other posts in that group and they're true.
Bosch, Makita, DeWalt- all great makes, but most don't have the variety
of equipment Delta does. My experience is with Delta (Table Saw, Drill
Press), Craftsman (everything), DeWalt (Biscuit Joiner), Ryobi
(planer), Bosch (hand planer), Black and Decker (palm sander, Random
Orbit Sander), Skil (drill). Of these Craftsman was always the worse
quality. Everything I bought from Sears had some problem (accuracy,
durability, value, lack of features, etc.) and I've rid my shop of all
of it. Just my two cents.
Here's my cut on the subject.. In the beginning when He was creating Heaven
& Earth He also created a stationary power tool with a work surface and a
blade that went up and down like a sewing machine needle and named it a Jig
Saw. People made Jig Saw Puzzles with them. The work was brought to the
Much, much later a portable tool came along with a blade that went up and
down also, but only had a small base to rest the tool on the work and it was
called a saber saw. The tool was brought to the work. Then along came the
much heavier duty saw that sometimes is named a zip saw and it is basically
a rough in tool and is very heavy duty, it's blade goes in and out the end
of the tool, and all was well until a manufacturer decided to call their zip
saw a saber saw and all the definitions were messed up at that point. The
original quality jig saws from Delta and a few others were always referred
to as Jig Saws. Then a few new manufacturers got in the Jig Saw business
and needed a name to distinguish their quality tool from those that already
existed so then came up with the Scroll Saw name, and rightly so because it
produces scroll work. (Even though they can also make Jig Saw puzzles!)
Until some one messes it all up again here is what I now understand:
A stationary saws is known as Scroll Saws
Portable saws with blades that run perpendicular to the base known as a Jig
Zip Saw, Saber Saw, Tiger Saw and a few other manufactures own names for
their heavy duty rough in tool where the blade is in the same horizontal
plane as the body and handle of the saw are.
Ah... I've always wanted to get that off my chest ! If no manufactures mess
it all up again we can now "singing out of the hymnal" so to speak!
: So...what's the difference between a scroll saw and a jig saw?
See the other replies in this thread for the current usage.
One thing to add is that these terms
have changed meaning in the last fifteen years or so.
scroll saw = stationary, has flat table to hold work, blade moves up
and down, blade is often wirelike, cuts very thin kerf and very tight curves.
Jigsaw = portable, has flat blade, cuts curves but not tight ones.
jigsaw = what is now called a scroll saw
sabre saw = what is now called a jigsaw
Why the terminology changed I've never figured out.
-- Andy Barss
Tue, Dec 5, 2006, 6:51pm (EST-3) email@example.com (intuitiveart)
So...what's the difference between a scroll saw and a jig saw?
Depends. On what part of the country you're in. Or, who you ask,
and how old they are, where they grew up, and their background. And,
probably several more things.
When I was growing up, the stationary tool called a scroll saw now,
I only heard called a jig saw. I've heard the powered, hand-held,
sabre saws called jig saws. The hand-held, hand-powered, coping saws,
I've also heard called jig saws; in fact I've heard them called scrolls
aws too, and fret saws. Like I said, depends.
Now, I only use:
Scroll saw, sabre saw, and coping saw.
I am, therefore I think.
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