First, about the numbers used for identifying blades. The numbers 2/0, 1, 3 etc. up to 12 do not mean much. It just tells you that the lower number is the smallest and the higher number the biggest. The numbers with a slash are just the opposite. A # 2/0 is larger than a # 3/0. For wood, the # 12 is the highest and largest.
The most common blades are the skip tooth with or without reverse teeth and the blades with double teeth, also with or without reverse teeth. When there is an “R” after the number it means Reverse Teeth. One more item you maybe want to know is what does t.p.i. mean? It means Teeth per Inch. A Gross of blades is 12 Dozen or 144 blades. On reverse teeth blades, the bottom 3/4” of teeth point upwards.
Remember that most of the teeth have to point downwards when sawing, with the reverse teeth pointing up. Don’t feel bad if you have it wrong or with the teeth in the back, we all have done that. If your eyes aren’t good enough to see which way the teeth face, slide the blade gently across a finger and you’ll be able to tell.
My skip tooth blades (the FD-SR) are a little more aggressive than most other blades. The double teeth blades do not cut as aggressivly and some people like that. They feel that they have better control over the blade because they cut slower.
Some people are more comfortable using blades without the reverse teeth, they feel it keeps the wood from jumping. However, with a little pressure you will have no problem with a blade that has reverse teeth. The reason I mention this, is that most people take the hold-down foot off. It is in the way to see the pattern lines clearly. Only scroll saws sold in the USA have this, no other country requires it.
The blades with reverse teeth will leave almost no fuzz on the bottom, eliminating sanding.
My recommendation would be to start with a # 5 double teeth, like the FD-PSR and try the FD-SR # 5 and 7. You can ask 3 or 4 scrollers about what blade they like to use and most likely they all use a different blade. The best way for a beginner is, to buy a few different sizes and in different makes. Experiment with them and find what you like best.
Don’t start with intricate patterns or compound cutting. The best way to start is to take some scrap pieces of wood and draw some lines, steps, sharp angels and curving lines. Try to stay on the line. If you get off, don’t try to rush back. Take it easy and slowly merge back to the line. On most patterns, if you get off the pattern line, nobody will notice and you are the only one that knows.
Most scroll saw blades will not cut a straight line, like you do on a band saw. The blade wants to go to the right, therefore you will notice that you have to push your wood to the left to stay on the line.
This is due to a little burr on the right side of the blade, when in the saw. Most people think that the blades are stamped. This is not true. They are milled. However, there is still a burr, sometimes more or less. A brand new cutter will leave less of a burr than one that is wearing out.
Most scroll saw blades will not cut a straight line, like you do on a band saw. The blade wants to go to the right, therefore you will notice that you have to push your wood to the left to stay on the line. This is due to a little burr on the right side of the blade, when in the saw. Most people think that the blades are stamped. This is not true. They are milled. However, there is still a burr, sometimes more or less. A brand new cutter will leave less of a burr than one that is wearing out.
By using the 2" clear package tape you will eliminate most of the burning. Especially in wood with oil, like Purple Heart etc. and very hard wood. I like to first put the pattern on the wood and than putting the tape over the pattern. Some like to put it on the wood first. It is all up to the individual. Some might even use a different tape but most like to use the package tape.
It is almost like the tape lubricates the blade. Not quite. The tape has a chemical that is like a Silicone and releases friction. If this chemical would not be on top of the tape, you never would be able to un-roll the tape from it self.
This is one of the hardest things to figure out. The common saying is, “If it does not sell it might be over priced. But, if you can’t keep enough on hand, you are under priced”. Don’t believe most people who say that they make a living at scroll sawing. It might be there full time job, but making a living is something else. When going to a craft show, it is was usually assumed that you should do at least 10 times your booth cost. So, if the cost of a booth is $50.00, you should expect to sell at least $500.00 worth of projects. You might have made some nice money, not counting your hours. If you stay over night, consider a motel room, meals, travel etc. Do you pay your spouse for helping you?
Many people make things to sell and do craft shows because it is fun. They hope to make enough to cover their cost and maybe a little more.
Some, but very few, actually make a living
Enjoy yourself doing scroll sawing. Buy a new tool from time to time, and go out for a nice dinner from the money you made. But a living?