How to Cut Shapes in Wood


When making crafts with wood, you will need to cut shapes out. The tools you need to cut the shapes vary depending on how intricate the details are of the finished cut piece. One important factor to consider is the thickness of the saw blade. Thinner saw blades will offer you the freedom to perform small curved cuts with ease, unlike thicker blades that are good for cutting straight cuts or large, sweeping arcs.

Step 1

Place your wood board on top of the worktable.

Step 2

Align the stencil on the surface of the wood board, and secure the stencil to the wood board by placing masking tape around the stencil's perimeter.

Step 3

Trace the stencil with a pencil. Sharpen the pencil with the pencil sharpener as needed to keep the trace lines small and concise.

Step 4

Carefully remove the stencil from the surface of the wood board by gently pulling the masking tape from the stencil.

Step 5

Set up the scroll saw as described in the saw's operating manual. This includes installing the scroll saw blade, squaring the saw bed and adjusting the tension of the blade.

Step 6

Put on your safety glasses.

Step 7

Set the wood board onto the scroll saw bed with the stencil-marked side facing up. Turn on the scroll saw, while firmly applying pressure toward the saw bed with both hands.

Step 8

Align the moving saw blade with one of the traced lines of the stencil.

Step 9

Feed the wood board into the scroll saw blade, while maintaining pressure on the board to cut along the pencil line.

Step 10

Work the scroll saw blade back along the cut line if your next cut is at a 90-degree angle from the first cut.

Step 11

Align the scroll saw blade with another traced stencil line and cut along the line as described in Step 10.

Step 12

Continue cutting until you have all the traced lines cut in the wood board.

Step 13

Sand the scroll saw cuts with the 200-grit sandpaper.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood board
  • Worktable
  • Stencil
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Safety glasses
  • Scroll saw
  • 200-grit sandpaper


  • Scrollsaver: Scroll Saw Woodworking and Crafts
  • Woodcraft: Setting Up and Using the Scrollsaw
  • Craft Ideas: Basic Wood Cutting with a Scroll Saw
Keywords: wood projects, shape wood, scroll saw

About this Author

C.L. Rease , based in Texas, has been a professional construction and outdoor writer since 2003. His articles have appeared in The News-Press, a local Southwest Florida newspaper and a small Southwest Florida fishing magazine. Rease served a four year apprenticeship to become a union sheet metal journeyman and earned a construction management degree from Florida State University.

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