Wood for Scrolling:
To learn how to scroll scraps of any wood will work. One of the favorites to learn with is pine. It is cheap and easy to obtain from any home center. Looking around construction site dumpsters can be a great source, be sure to ask before taking any of it though.
Any hardwoods are good choices for scrolling. Many of the home improvement stores are now handling thinner woods for the scrollers. There are also many mail order sources to choose from.
Pallets are becoming a source of wood for many. Especially pallets from some of the overseas shipments. You may find teak, mahogany, or many of the other exotic hardwood being used for pallets. There is a lot of work to disassemble the pallets and ready them for scrolling , but the wood source is usually free.
Another good scrolling wood that is going to be painted is the MDF products. This is medium density fiberboard and the best part is that there is no grain or knots to work around. If the project is to be painted the MDF is great because it paints very consistent. But for staining it not a good choice. One of the drawbacks of using MDF is that it is a little harder on blades than wood, because of the glue used to manufacture it. MEDEX is a high density fiberboard that is for outdoor use. I have used this with good results for signs, and the yard art projects.
Many have used the plywood from the home centers. These plywood range from veneer on fiberboard to actual plywood. The biggest problem is that some of the veneer on this plywood is so thin that sanding is tricky to do without sanding through the veneer. Also many of the plywoods seem to chip on the cut edges very easy. Sure the underlayment type plywood is cheap, but if you are going to take the time to cut something out, use wood you can be proud of.
The best plywood to use for sawing is the Baltic Birch plywood. This is not usually something you will find at the Home Depot. Try looking in the phone book yellow pages for hardwood suppliers and some craft shops. Give them a call to inquire if they carry it. Or maybe they can lead you to a source in your area. Sometimes a good cabinet shop may carry it. Remember this is not just Birch plywood, it is Baltic Birch Plywood. The Baltic Birch plywood is made up of more layers than regular plywood. It is also void free. So when you cut it you should never hit any holes on the edge like normal plywood can have. There are mail order sources for it also like Sloan's Woodshop.
This information is from Sloans Woodshop
Here is the short version of the grading of Baltic Birch: (Russian grade)
B: clear face, sanded, no football patches
BB: will contain some patches, not sanded as smooth, minor splits
CP: patches, splits, knots, rough
B/BB is the best grade you can buy. B on front, BB on back. They do not make a B/B grade. They also use a number system at some mills. I/II being the same
as B/BB, II/II same as BB/BB, II/III same as BB/CP
Keep in mind they grade thousands of sheets a day and sometimes they grade high or low depending on the mill and the person grading, thus sometimes you
will find a BB/BB that make look better than some B/BB, etc.....