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The coping saw is the proper tool for making cuts in materials such as metal, plastic or wood. There are many models and at all prices.

Choose a scroll saw

Stationary tool, quite compact, the scroll saw is intended for sinuous cuts, mainly in wood. It can be used in marquetry, cabinet making, model making or for making toys, puzzles and various decorative objects...

Scroll saw: a simple mechanic

  • The six models selected here use standard thin blades of a length from 127 to 130 mm, smooth or with pins. The blades are mounted at the end of two oscillating parallel arms, which form a gooseneck. The arms are driven using an eccentric cam by an electric motor, asynchronous or with coals, which ensures the blade a steady vertical movement with a height of approximately 15 to 20 mm.
  • With a power between 85 and 300 W, the saws of our selection can make cuts of softwood (fir, birch, poplar...) up to 53 mm thick. Easy to use, these machines require few adjustments, except the blade tension is difficult to adjust: not enough tension, it does not cut, too tight it can break. Whatever the machine, it takes a little experience to master the subject.

Reclining tables

  • The blade passes through a round or rectangular table, more or less big according to the models. Generally made of cast aluminum or sheet metal, this table must have an excellent surface to facilitate the sliding of the workpiece.
  • The tables bow at 45° on one side or both, to make skew or chamfer cuts (on the Pegas, it is the entire cutting system that tilts).
  • Finally, for an efficient and comfortable work, all the saws can be bolted on a thick support, thanks to bores practiced on their base. This solution gives them good stability and can contain vibrations.

Blade mounting and adjustments

Mount a blade on a coping saw

  • On Holzkraft saws, Hegner and Pegas, the blade disassembles quickly thanks to a clamp system that loosens by hand.

Mount a blade on the Pegas saw

  • The Pegas saw offers in addition a arm that lifts completely which allows to pass the blade through the room without discomfort.

Use an Allen wrench to release a collet

  • On the Leman and Hegner saws, clamps are removable and require the use of an Allen key and a bracket to release them, with a set screw and a tensioning lever on the back of the machine.

Pliers secured to the arm of a coping saw

  • On Pegas and Holzkraft, the clamps are fixed and secured to the arms.
  • Holzkraft, Hegner and Leman use the same system to stretch the blade.

Release lever of a coping saw

  • The simplest method is the Einhell, which combines blade tensioner and release lever fast in one device.

Attachment system for saw blade

  • On machines that receive slats with pins (Einhell, Holtzling and Leman), it is possible to rotate the blade 90° for cuts over long lengths. Fingerprints are provided on the attachment system.

Inclination of the plane

Loosen a knob to tilt the table

  • The models Hegner, Leman, Holtzling and Einhell have an identical system for the inclination of the table. Simply loosen a wheel and tilt the table to the desired angle. It's simple, but allows to orient the table on one side.

Rack system to adjust the tilt of the table

  • On the Holzkraft and Pegas, it's a rack system that adjusts the orientation from 5° in 5° to 45° and on both sides. A wheel serves as an orientation and lock button.

Tilting of the cutting system

  • On the Pegas, the table remains fixed and this is the cutting system that tilts.

Details to take into account to choose your saw

  • The ergonomics of the plate (equipped with a hole) for the passage of the blade is a detail that we do not think at the time of choice. And yet, if it is too openwork, as on the Leman, Holtzling and Holzkraft, it can hinder the machining of small parts.
  • Smooth blades Used on Hegner and Pegas machines are more accurate for complex machining. The Leman and Holzkraft can receive both types of blades (smooth and spigots).
  • The length of the gooseneck is another important element. It is particularly deep on the Pegas saw (535 mm) and offers a good margin of maneuver. On the other machines, they measure about 400 mm.
  • The saw table must be of quality and its surface allow a good glide of the parts. That of the Hegner is particularly neat which may partly explain its higher price than that of other machines in our selection.

Accessory and security

The scroll saw is not really dangerous. Some manufacturers (Einhell, Leman, Holtzling or Holzkraft) however equip their machine with a transparent protective casing secured to the presser. In use, it is bulky and often more annoying than useful.

Activation of the scroll saw

Blow gun to evacuate sawdust

  • All machines are equipped with a blower, more or less effective, for remove sawdust from the route.
  • On the Leman, it hardly holds in place because of the vibrations.

Variable speed drive on a jig saw

  • They are also equipped with a speed variator (except Hegner and Holtzling) which brings a plus on the cutting of plastic and synthetic parts.

Press room

  • The coin presser does a good job. On the other hand, it is a bit bulky when cutting slants.

Pedal for getting started

  • On Pegas and Hegner, a start pedal is available as an option. It keeps both hands free.

Practical aspects

Storage drawer for a coping saw

  • A storage drawer (Holzkraft and Leman) can receive the blades and the service key.
  • On the Pegas, grooves allow to store the blades under the table.

Table to choose the blade according to the piece to be cut

  • The Hegner is the only one to propose a plate on one of its flanks that allows choose the blade type according to the piece to cut. Which is not always obvious.

Evaluation criteria for scroll saws

  • Cutting precision is what is expected first of a saw. It differs from machine to machine in the quality of adjustment and manufacturing of parallel arms that can cause vibrations and misalignment of the blade.
  • Disassembly of the blade is a recurring action, especially when making complex cuts. It must be as simple and fast as possible.
  • The settingseven if they are few, exist. The tension of the blade is not always easy to perform the first time, as the adjustment of angular cuts.
  • Comfort and ergonomics take into account vibrations and noise, but also the accessibility of controls and their ease of use. The glide of the table also contributes to the comfort of use.

Test procedure * Scroll saws

Smooth and lugged blades

  • The tests were carried out with new blades, first on plywood planks 10 mm thick. It was for the six machines, to cut the same pieces of puzzle. To test the precision and the settings of each saw, straight and angled cuts were made.
  • We also tried the cutting of a pine cleat 45 mm thick.
  • Finally, several disassembly and reassembly of the blade have been done. Two machines can receive both types of blades (smooth or spigot): Leman and Holzkraft. So we tested their capacity with these two different blades.

* System D test benches are made under real conditions of use by our journalists. The results may therefore differ from those displayed by the manufacturers, whose tests are performed by laboratories according to standardized protocols.

The System D classification of 6 scroll saws

  • Our test covers six machines from 100 to 790 €. This was an opportunity for us to check if the price has an impact on the quality and accuracy of cutting and, in these areas, we had good surprises, even if it is the Pegas, the most expensive, which ends in the lead. She is nice, quiet, precise and does not vibrate.
  • The Hegner comes second. We would have liked to have a variable speed drive in series, but it is a reliable machine and easy to handle.
  • In third place, the Leman is a good compromise, despite its lack of comfort in use.
  • The Holzkraftfourth is a little less precise and vibrates a lot.
  • The Einhell is fifth, but it's a good surprise. This model is ideal for those who want to learn about fretwork, before switching to the higher price range.
  • Finally, in sixth place, the Holtzling is a bit fair in all areas.

The favorite saw of System D

The favorite saw of System D

The Hegner scroll saw may not be the cheapest, but it guarantees excellent work quality. Although compact, its table is however of a good dimension with an exceptional glide. The small plate through which the blade passes is metal and is not likely to deteriorate or melt during metal cutting. The cast iron frame offers a true feeling of solidity. Finally, the fretwork is precise and the most delicate and complex work is facilitated by the fairly fast assembly of the blade.

Comparative table of six scroll saws

Buying advice: 6 scroll saws from 100 €: buying

Click on picture to enlarge

Einhell Scroll Saw

Einhell Scroll Saw

Model: TC-SS 405 E
Price: 100 €

Engine power: 120 W
Cutting depth: max. 52 mm
Table dimensions: 250 x 408 mm
Gooseneck length: 406 mm
Tilting table: from 0 to 45°
Cutting speed: from 400 to 1,600 cps / min
2 years warranty


  • Cutting accuracy: 5,0
    It is a fairly precise machine even if, on tight curves, the work is difficult. On straight cuts the blade stays in line
  • Blade disassembly : 7,0
    Equipped with a pin blade, this machine has the fastest system to change the blade
  • settings: 6,5
    The table tilts easily. Its flexible variator offers a good range of uses
  • Comfort and ergonomics: 7,0
    The machine is pretty stable. The mechanism vibrates little. In contrast, the wind tunnel system is inefficient
Test result: 6.4

Hegner Scroll Saw

Hegner Scroll Saw

Price: 525 €

Engine power: 100 W
Depth of cut: max. 50 mm
Table dimensions: 230 x 435 mm
Swan neck length: 365 mm
Tilting table: from 0 to 45°
Cutting speed: 1.400 cps / min
Warranty: 3 years

  • Cutting precision: 8,5
    With this machine, it is quite easy to follow the lines, whether the piece is thin or thick. It is still recommended to bolt the saw on a stand.
  • Blade Disassembly: 8,0
    The clearance from the top of the blade is simple, but for the complete change, it is necessary to use an Allen key
  • settings: 7,5
    The saw is devoid of dimmer (optional). On the other hand, the blade tensioning system is intuitive.
  • Comfort and ergonomics: 8,0
    The table is perfectly smooth and the pieces slide smoothly. The engine is silent
Test result: 8.0

Scroll saw Holtzling

Scroll saw Holtzling

Model: OT27171
Price: 139 €

Motor power: 85 W
Depth of cut: max. 50 mm
Table dimensions: 200 x 365 mm
Gooseneck length: 406 mm
Tilting table: from 0 to 45°
Cutting speed: 1.400 cps / min
Warranty: 1 year

  • Cutting precision: 4,5
    Tight cuts and straight lines are difficult to achieve even if the blower system is efficient and clear of the cut line
  • Blade Disassembly: 6,0
    The hood is disassembled to access the lower part of the blade. The saw does not have a tension lever system
  • settings: 5,5
    Few settings on this model that is not equipped with a variable speed drive. Tilt protractor lacks readability
  • Comfort and ergonomics: 5,0
    The blade can turn at 90° for cuts in length which compensates for the small size of the table
Test result: 5.3

Scroll saw Holzkraft

Scroll saw Holzkraft

Model: DKS 530 Vario
Price: 443 €

Engine power: 225 W
Depth of cut: max. 53 mm
Table dimensions: 310 x 480 mm
Swan neck length: 410 mm
Tilting table: - 45° to 45°
Cutting speed: 500 to 1,550 cps / min
2 years warranty

  • Cutting precision: 5,5
    The engine is powerful, but it vibrates a lot and it is necessary to bolt it on a stable support. In a tight curve, it is difficult to follow the route
  • Blade Disassembly: 6,5
    It accepts slats and pins. The first assembly, whatever the blade, is a bit complicated
  • settings: 7,5
    A large knob adjusts the incline angles step by step. The graduation is perfectly legible
  • Comfort and ergonomics: 7,0
    The table is big enough and slides well. The plate light is too openwork and hinders the fretwork of small parts.
Test result: 6.6

Leman Scroll Saw

Leman Scroll Saw

Model: SAC407
Price 200 €

Engine power: 90 W
Cutting depth: max. 55 mm
Table dimensions: 254 x 414 mm
Swan neck length: 400 mm
Tilting table: from 0 to 45°
Cutting speed: from 750 to 1,500 cps / min
2 years warranty

  • Cutting precision: 7,2
    Despite the vibrations, the blade remains precise and in line. For curvaceous cuts, she is not very comfortable with the pin blade
  • Blade Disassembly: 6,5
    Smooth blades are hard to hold in place and tend to jump at the moment of tension
  • settings: 7,0
    The variable speed drive, placed under the table, falls well under the hand. The blade tension adjustment screw is too high
  • Comfort and ergonomics: 6,5
    The machine vibrates, you have to bolt it on a support. The suction outlet on the front is troublesome
Test result: 6.8

Pegas Scroll Saw

Pegas Scroll Saw

Model: EX-21CE
Price: € 790

Engine power: 345 W
Depth of cut: max. 53 mm
Table dimensions: 345 x 597 mm
Swan neck length: 535 mm
Tilting table: from - 38° to 45°
Cutting speed: from 400 to 1,550 cps / min
2 years warranty

  • Cutting precision: 9,0
    The table slides perfectly well and it's a real treat to make cuts. The light plate does not interfere with the cuts of small parts
  • Blade Disassembly: 9,0
    The upper arm rises to facilitate the release of the blade which is placed in seconds in the clamps
  • settings: 8,0
    The angular adjustment is carried out by means of a screw mounted on rack and allows an adjustment of 5 in 5° on both sides
  • Comfort and ergonomics: 9,0
    The machine is stable, and it is not necessary to fix it on a support. It is the sawing head that bows
Test result: 8.8

Video Instruction: Excelsior Scroll Saws