Tips & Tricks for Using the Rikon 16" Variable-Speed Scroll Saw
Once you’ve selected the appropriate blade, it’s time to get to work! In this section, we’ll cover how to set the tension correctly and adjust the speed to suit the task, and offer some tips for making smooth, accurate cuts.
Here are some guidelines for operating the scroll saw safely and getting good results.
- Always wear eye and hearing protection, and connect the saw to dust extraction or wear a dust mask.
- The blade is tensioned correctly when it deflects about 1/8" under gentle lateral force. New blades can stretch, so it’s good practice to tension the blade initially, run the saw for 30 to 60 seconds, then double-check the tension.
- The optimum speed is a function of the type of blade and material you are cutting. We suggest making a test cut starting at a low speed, then gradually increasing it to the point where you’re satisfied with the cutting speed, feed resistance and surface finish.
- For smoother cuts, round the back corners of any large non-spiral blade (Photo 1).
Photo 1 – File the lower back of the blade as it is going up and down.
- Avoid forcing the blade through the material too quickly. Let the saw teeth do their job for a longer blade life and better result.
- Keep the workpiece moving steadily.
- To cut a straight line, feed the work at a slight bias to the blade and follow the line (Photo 2).
Photo 2 – Fret saw blades can drift, just as a bandsaw blade does.
- If you need to back a blade up, keep the saw running.
- For efficient cutting of identical patterns, you can stack multiple pieces together and cut them as one single piece (Photos 3 & 4).
Photos 3 & 4 – Hold a stack together with double-faced tape between pieces, or wrap masking tape around the outside edge.
This scroll saw requires only a little maintenance to keep it running well.
- After each working session, vacuum up the sawdust above and below the table; release tension on the blade.
- Lubricate the saw arms’ bronze bearings with SAE20 oil after every 50 hours or so of use.
- Periodically check the plug and cord for wear or damage.