Difference Between Fret Saw and Scroll Saw

A difficult woodworking job with numerous delicate features may need the purchase of new cutting tools. You might want to weigh the benefits of a fret saw vs. a scroll saw for a job like this. Both will come in helpful at some time if you have the funds for each style. If you have to select between the two, you must first comprehend their differences before deciding which device is better for the job.

difference between fret saw and scroll saw

The blade was the only difference between a fret saw and a scroll saw in the days before electric equipment. The blade of a fret saw is fine and flat. It features a big loop frame and is used for manually cutting out forms from a wood sheet.

A scroll saw blade has teeth all the way around, similar to a circular file. This meant you could cut in any direction, making it ideal for complicated designs where the cut direction often varied and at sharp angles.

The fret saw has remained unchanged in recent years; however, the scroll has been replaced by a table-mounted tiny jigsaw. Unlike a band saw, which spins constantly, a scroll saw jackhammers up and down as the wood to be cut is moved around the blade on the flat table that surrounds it.

Are Fret Saw Blades the Same as Scroll Saw Blades?

The fret saw a close relative of the coping saw is the instrument of choice for delicate work. Pins aren’t used on fret saw blades. Clamps on the saw, on the other hand, keep the ends in place. This clamping method also has the advantage of being able to use commercially available scroll saw blades.

The scroll saw, simply a motorized fretsaw with a table is comparable to the fretsaw in many ways. The blades of both instruments are frequently interchangeable, and scroll saws are sometimes referred to as “fret saws” informally. [source]

The tool’s name comes from its usage in fretwork and eventually from the French freter (lattice), which refers to the elaborate patterns that may be formed with it.

What Can a Fret Saw Cut?

The fretsaw is a common workshop tool. It’s for cutting and shaping light materials like perspex, MDF, and plywood.

The fretsaw is a bow saw utilized for cutting tasks with tight curves that need precision. The fretsaw is capable of tighter radii and more delicate work than the coping saw, typically used for comparable tasks.

Can You Use Fret Saw Blades in a Coping Saw?

There isn’t much difference between a wood coping saw, and a fret saw, and the blades on both of these hand saws are interchangeable. The purposes of a coping saw are similar to those of a fret saw, albeit fret saws are recommended for curving cutting.

Both may be adjusted to cut wood, plastic, ceramic, or metal with appropriate blades. The blade ends are held in place by a swiveling spigot (clip) at either end of the U-shaped frame. Handheld saws are useful for precise cutting, which is why they are commonly used in woodworking and construction.

The saws’ outward appearance suggests that they are delicate and unsuitable for aggressive cutting and other heavy-duty tasks. The extra force applied to the saws may cause them to shatter beyond repair.

What Is a Scroll Saw Good for?

Scroll saws are frequently used to cut complicated curves and joins, which they are capable of doing swiftly and accurately. They’re also typical for thicker intarsia projects and may be used to make dovetail connections. Scroll saws can cut a wide range of materials, including wood, plastic, metal, and copper. Your scroll saw may also be used to make precise and detailed interior cuts. Scroll saws resemble band saws, except they lack continuous blades. Seven creative ways to use a scroll saw-

  1. Intarsia;
  2. Inlay;
  3. Fretwork;
  4. Marquetry;
  5. Jigsaw puzzles;
  6. Puzzles in three dimensions;
  7. Toys and games.

What Is a Fret Saw Good for?

Like a coping saw and scroll saw, a fret Saw is a tiny portable frame saw with a thin blade used for finely precise cutting in woodworking. It’s widely used for fine dovetails, curves, forms, creative patterns, guitar construction, and any other tiny thin cuts that demand precision.

Due to the fret saw’s flexibility, blades that can cut through metal are now readily available, despite being initially designed to cut through wood and plastic.

If the wood or plastic is thin enough, the fret saw will cut through it; for example, any material thicker than 10mm will be difficult to shape. The thicker the workpiece, the slower the machine presses it against the blade, as a general rule.


Despite the fact that the scroll saw is an enhanced, electronic version of the fret saw, the two tools are utilized in quite different ways. While you may move the fret saw while working on a fixed item, you can’t move the scroll saw while moving the piece.

A fret saw is both inexpensive and portable, but it takes a lot of work to master. On the other hand, a scroll saw is heavy and costly, but it may be beneficial with just a few practice runs. Getting a fret saw instead of a scroll saw demonstrates that you have an acquired appreciation for traditional woodworking methods.

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