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Old 03-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #1
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Default Spiral or Straight Blades?

I've used spiral blades for my last couple of projects and they worked good because I did a lot of letters that had curves. Could a straight blade do the same work as a spiral? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of each blade?

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Old 03-01-2014, 10:47 AM   #2
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You will get a much cleaner cut with straight blades. Also a much finer kerf. 99% of my work is with straight blades. And yes you can do all of the same work. The only time I use a spiral is when I need a wide uniform kerf (Volker Arnold designs come to mind) or if the project is very big and you can't turn it easily.
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:37 PM   #3
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I agree with Rolf. I use straight blades almost all the time. I use spirals for portrait patterns with a lot of rounded areas. My bobcat comes to mind.
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Old 03-01-2014, 02:17 PM   #4
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Straight blades are preferred for cuts where a clean edge and sharp corners are required. Straight blades are available in larger sizes, so they generally work better in thicker hardwoods than spirals. However, since you have to spin the piece, you are limited in how large of a piece you can easily handle on the saw. I think by & large, straight blades are used for the majority of general scrolling.

Spirals are more of a specialty blade, ideal for specific applications, but not necessarily a general purpose blade. They are great for projects that are large and difficult to spin around in the saw. Being able to cut in any direction makes it easier to handle wood that is too large for the throat depth of the saw or otherwise too too awkward to easily maneuver around. Spirals won't cut as cleanly as a straight blade and points/corners won't be as sharp and crisp.

Most portrait patterns lend themselves well to cutting with spirals. This is where the spiral excels, in my opinion. Most portrait patterns have few straight, smooth lines and don't need precisely cut sharp corners. Since portraits are usually cut from thin plywood, the slightly rougher edges aren't as noticeable as they would be with thicker wood.
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:24 PM   #5
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Everything I cut is straight blade Learned on straight blades and at my age old doesn't learn new tricks very well.
Straight blades you will have less sanding on inside cuts I feel
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:37 PM   #6
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Anything I can cut with straights, I cut with straights. There are only a few things that require spirals. (such a spiral candlesticks where different parts of the blade are cutting different directions).

Others on the forum use spirals exclusively. There is no wrong answer. For the new scroller, I would try straights long enough to get a feel for them, then chose that balance for blade choice that makes sense to you. You might find that once you learn how to drive straight (smooth), you have more control.


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Old 03-02-2014, 07:39 AM   #7
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I've never used anything but spirals and I love them. Most of my work is large that I couldn't do with flat blades. The only thing or draw back to me is you can't do intarsia work with a spiral. I tried to learn with flat blades but like the guy said, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Ray
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:51 AM   #8
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I tried spirals and used one blade of twelve I bought and gave eleven of them away. I was making toys at the time and spirals left such a rough surface they had to be sanded. A band saw does the same thing. With straight blades the cut surface is extremely smooth and no sanding is required. I use straight blades #5 for: Inlay, compound cutting, bowl making, toy making, intarsia, segmentation, lettering, and sign making. If I were to ever do fretwork I suppose I would try sprials again.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jim Finn View Post
If I were to ever do fretwork I suppose I would try sprials again.
Almost everything I do is fretwork with a variety of FD flat blades. I use some spirals for parts of portraits.

Someone said there is no correct answer--but I feel it is in a mix of blade/techniques. I am probably 99.5% flat, but have those tubes of spirals if the piece requires.

Hope you find the mix that works for you.

Rolf stated the clean edges with flat blades--I almost NEVER have to sand name plates, except fuzzies on rear. Flats give a superior finish on the cuts, IMHO.

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Old 03-03-2014, 04:10 AM   #10
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I have NEVER used spiral blades for my work. I do own some and I practised with them and decided I hated them. I do portraits, Christmas ornaments, name plaques, clocks etc.

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blades, spiral, straight, wood

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