Can a Scroll Saw Cut 2×4?

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Scroll saws are generally used to cut patterns out of thinner woods. For the types of patterns and projects that you may find yourself working on with a scroll saw, 1/4″ or 1/2″ wood usually makes the best option. However, there may be times when you need to cut something out of a 2×4 or something of this thickness.

Is it possible to cut 2×4 with a scroll saw?

Yes, you can cut a 2×4 with a scroll saw in most cases. It will depend on the saw you have and the type of blade you are using but most scroll saws can handle cutting through wood of this thickness or more. Premium scroll saws may be more capable of this than more affordable ones.

Cutting out a scroll saw pattern on a 2x4

I have worked on many projects that required the thickness of a 2×4. In one such example, I created the Christmas tree being cut in the picture above for my wife. These are designed to look thicker than what they would on the typical 1/4″ wood I would usually use for my scroll saw patterns.

These trees aren’t super intricate but they do require some sharp turns and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this result as nicely with other types of saws. My scroll saw cut through the 2×4 material with no problems.

2x4 Christmas Tree

However, just because you can cut a 2×4 with a scroll saw doesn’t mean you won’t have some issues along the way. As mentioned earlier, the quality of saw you have combined with the type of blade will determine just how easy it will cut through the material. Let’s look at a few common mistakes as well as a few tips to help you cut through 2×4s.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Cutting Thick Wood With a Scroll Saw

The most common mistake that I see people making when cutting thicker woods with a scroll saw is going too fast. You can do everything else right but if you try to force the thicker wood through the blade, it will likely break. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially if you are new to this type of saw or just impatient and want to get a project done.

Everyone breaks blades from time to time so it’s not something only beginners will do.

Make Sure Your Saw Can Handle It

Some saws just aren’t capable of cutting thicker woods. Although most of them on the market claim to cut up to 2 inches thick, they don’t always deliver on that promise. Make sure that your scroll saw can handle a piece of wood as thick as a 2×4. This means that it should be able to cut wood up to at least 1 1/2 inches thick.

This might sound obvious but isn’t always thought about when purchasing a saw. It’s important that you check this specification before you purchase if you intend to use wood this thick. Many saws in the more affordable range may not have the motor to handle thicker woods very well. They also may not have the clearance to maneuver thicker wood underneath the blade arm.

Use Prime Wood Without Knots

On selecting wood to cut, make sure that you have chosen clean, dry wood that has minimal knots and rough areas. It’s best to use as clean of wood as you possibly can to make it easy for your saw to cut through. If you were to choose a cut of wood with knots in it and you happen to cut through one, it can easily break the blade of a scroll saw and cause problems along the way.

If this is not possible, you’ll just need to be careful and go extra slow around rough areas in your wood.

Tips for Cutting Thick Woods With a Scroll Saw

1. Use the Proper Blade for the Job

You will want to make sure that you have chosen the proper blade for the job that you are doing. When using thicker wood on a scroll saw, you will want to choose a thicker scroll saw blade with fewer teeth per square inch. Generally, a 7-TPI blade will be a good place to start when considering cutting through a 2×4.

While you won’t be able to make as tight of turns as you would with a smaller blade, you will be able to cut faster without the worry of the blade breaking.

2. Use a Sharp Blade

A scroll saw blade will get dull after some use just like any other saw blade will. This will depend on how much it has been used and the type of material that it has been used on. If you find your blade not cutting the way you think it should, you may want to change it out to a newer one that is sharper.

Having a sharp blade makes a huge difference and you can tell once you begin to cut thick wood. Using a dull blade when trying to cut thick wood with a scroll saw is not a good idea. It will take longer and you’ll eventually end up with a broken blade if you keep pressing on. Why not make the job easier by ensuring that you are using a sharp blade from the get-go?

3. Make Sure Blade Tension Is Tight

Most scroll saws have the ability to adjust the blade tension, making it tighter or looser depending on your cutting style. A loose blade will bend more easily and not be as precise as a tighter blade. In my experience, a tighter blade cuts faster and is more precise.

Beyond this, it is also less prone to breakage and this is especially important if you are cutting thick wood. Making sure your blade is as tight as possible before cutting will go a long way in making your 2×4 cut successful.

4. Go Slow & Be Patient

The scroll saw is not the type of saw that you will make quick cuts with. If you need to cut through a 2×4 quickly and are not making tight turns or doing anything intricate, perhaps another saw is what you need. However, if you insist on using a scroll saw, you will need to understand that speed is not the goal.

Be sure to go slowly as you cut as this will ensure that your cut will be precise, and the blade will have an easier time cutting through the wood without breaking. Scroll saw work often requires a lot of patience and you will go through a lot of blades if you ignore this.

Scroll Saw Blades for Cutting 2×4s and Other Thick Woods

Thin blades are often the preferred choice when using a scroll saw but this is mainly because they are more precise, allowing greater turning control for tight turns. They are perfect for thin wood that scroll saw projects are typically completed on. However, when you choose to cut thicker wood, your blade choice will need to be changed.

It’s easy enough to change blades on a scroll saw and most people will have a variety of different blades at their disposal. Cutting a 2×4 is the time to switch your blade out to a blade that is thicker and has fewer teeth per square inch.

Personally, I usually choose a 7-TPI blade when I need to cut wood of this size. I have cut 2×4 material with a 12-TPI blade with no problem but you will just have to be cautious as you are cutting and take the advice from the tips above–especially the one about going slowly.


A scroll saw can easily cut through a 2×4 and some scroll saws can cut wood even thicker than that. The DeWalt scroll saw that I own will cut material up to 2 inches and I have tested wood this thick before with no issues. I usually only cut out patterns using thinner wood and only occasionally use anything over 3/4 inches.

The purpose of a scroll saw is to make intricate cuts in thinner wood pieces. The tight turns that are often found in completed scroll saw projects can’t be done as easily in thick wood no matter how you do it or what type of blade you use. However, cutting through thick wood with your scroll saw is possible with the right setup and technique.