Adjusting the Tension of a Scroll Saw Blade

using scroll saw to cut wood
What You'll Need
Scroll saw and blade
Scroll saw instruction manual
Goggles and other safety wears
Small piece of wood

The tension of a scroll-saw blade or any saw blade will change how wood is cut. The bigger a saw is, the more tension it can withstand without breaking. High tension can cause the blade to snap when the saw is turned on. Low tension will cause the blade to cut inaccurately and could ruin your project. You need to properly adjust the tension of a scroll-saw blade so that it is neither too high nor too low before you begin any project.

Warning: Working with scroll-saw blades can be dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. Never wear ties, rings, long sleeves, or anything else that could get in your way when working with a scroll saw, and if your hair is long, always secure your hair up and away from your work area. You should also always wear goggles and other proper safety wears when working with saws.

Step 1 – Read the Manual

The scroll-saw manual will tell you everything you need to know about adjusting the tension of a scroll-saw blade. If you don’t have your manual because you purchased a used scroll saw or you lost your copy, you might be able to find a PDF version online by searching for the model and make of the scroll saw. Read the entire manual before you attempt to adjust the tension and operate the scroll saw for home-improvement projects because each scroll saw differs.

Step 2 – Install or Replace the Scroll-Saw Blade

If the scroll saw has an existing blade that is dull, remove the blade to install a new one. A blade should always be removed when it becomes dull. Install a new blade by following the instructions for installation in the manual for your make and model. Usually, after taking the dull blade out, you will insert the new blade and then push a lever down to hold the blade in place and apply tension. However, remember that each blade is different based on the manufacturer.

Step 3 – Adjust the Tension

Apply tension to the scroll-saw blade by tightening the tension rod. Refer to the instruction manual for tips about how to properly adjust the tension. Some saws use a lever to adjust tension, while other saws have a screw that is tightened or loosened based on the desired outcome. Apply light pressure to the blade after it is turned on to listen to the tone. A high-pitched tone means the tension is too high, and a low-pitched tone means the tension is too low. If you’re not sure what the tone should sound like, you can listen to the tone of a scroll-saw blade on an online video.

Step 4 – Test the Scroll-Saw Blade

Lower the blade guard and then use a small piece of wood as a test piece to try out the scroll saw at the tension you have set. If you see the blade bend when you slide the wood through the saw, you will need to increase the tension. If the blade breaks, the tension is too high. It’s better to have the tension be too low and continue to tighten it than to have the tension too high and break a blade. As stated before, you should always wear goggles and other safety wears when using a scroll saw. If the blade breaks from high tension, it could cause an accident. After testing your scroll-saw blade, you are ready to properly use a scroll saw for your projects.