Scroll Saws

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Blog entry by Huckleberry posted 11-19-2007 10:37 PM 1658 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well since I have nothing but time on my hand (HAHA), I took a trip down to Woodcraft to look at scroll saws. The only one that they had there was a DeWalt. For $489 and some change I could own this and it comes with a stand and light for free. Well since I am just looking I wanted to see if anyone else has any tips on buying any certain brand or if anyone owns one I like to hear about it.

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$%

10 comments so far

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4090 days

#1 posted 11-19-2007 11:34 PM

I’ll start by saying that I am just a weekend warrior and have a modest woodworking budget. My first thought was that $489 seemed incredibly high for a specialty saw. The stand and light are nice, but really shouldn’t be a factor in the purchase. I say this since worklights are cheap and can be as simple as a desk lamp and some rare earth magnets.

Anyways, about the only thing I use my scroll saw for is for cutting custom inlay. I use a router and bearing for inlay that I might use again, but use the scroll saw for the random ones. My scrollsaw is a Tradesman (Lowe’s bottom-shelf brand). It was less than $100. It has a lot of vibration which is the worse thing for a scroll saw. However, I glued 2 mouse pads to the base and that made it a non-issue. Unless you do a lot of scrolling, I’d opt for something in between what you saw and what I have. I’ve heard good things about the Dremel Scroll Saw. Good luck. You might get better feedback in the Forums.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 4131 days

#2 posted 11-20-2007 12:20 AM

I have experience with only a few scroll saws, three to be exact.

The first was a Craftsman that I borrowed from a friend (He was either really nice or completely nuts. He also lent me a router.). I used it to cut animals for a Noah’s Ark toy for my now 18 year old nephew. These were out of 3/4 inch pine. The only thing I really remember about it was that I hard difficulty getting the blade tension right. That might have been inexperience, though.

The second was a Delta 2-speed. I used this for nearly 10 years. Since I don’t own a tablesaw (details as to why available on request) I use the scroll saw for lots besides scroll work. The Delta was about $120 when I bought it. It was long ago surpassed in both price and functionality by less expensive, variable speed machines. This saw worked very well for me for many years. I started thinking about an upgrade when making the cabin ornament you can see here. The intricacy of that ornament made having a low vibration machine critical. The Delta had too much vibration, despite anti-vibration padding between the saw and the table.

The saw I have now is this one. It’s an RBI Hawk 20”. I’ve had the saw for at least 5 years. I paid nearly 10 times as much for this as I had for the Delta. It’s current factory direct price is $999. I love this saw. It does everything I ask it to with precision. As I’ve gotten a better understanding of how to use the variable speed it’s become an even better saw.

I think your choice really comes down to what do you expect to do with the saw. I don’t think I would be as happy with my current saw if I hadn’t spent 8 years or so (Wish I could remember when I got the saws. I know I got the Delta in 96, but can’t remember exactly when I got the RBI.) using the Delta. By the time I bought the RBI I knew I was going to use the scroll saw, for it’s intended purpose, on a regular basis.

You might want to see if you can give the DeWalt a try. I bought the RBI at a woodworking show (I got a deal on the floor model) and the salesman let me try it for a good 15 minutes. As an aside I was interested in comparing the other big name scroll saw that whose manufacturer was at the show (oddly enough I can’t remember what company that was), but their salesman wouldn’t give me the time of day.

I believe in buying the best quality you can. If the Dewalt feels solid, and cuts the way you want it to go for it. For someone else the Tradesman Jeff mentioned might better fit their expectations and budget. I was lucky to have a pretty big budget when I bought mine.

-- Chelle

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3873 days

#3 posted 11-20-2007 12:25 AM

Hi Huck. What I have found handy on my scrollsaw is a light, a laser light, a minature blower & variable speed selection. A tilting table is also very handy as you would have on a bandsaw.Mine is a GMC that comes with a 2 year replacement warranty. I don’t know if it is available in the US. Less than $100 in AUS. Dewalt is a good brand.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4108 days

#4 posted 11-20-2007 12:46 AM

I just bought this 16” Hitachi for $159.00 at Lowes. Variable speed, light, blower, tilt table, comes with a stand, dust port., etc..

Has done everything I’ve asked of it. Operates smoothly, nicely laid out and seems to be in general of very good quality.

I need to remind myself to do this. You could also help support LJ by getting this one. I know nothing of the dremel though.

-- Bob

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3979 days

#5 posted 11-20-2007 12:47 AM

The DeWalt is nice but pricey. General International makes a nice one but it’s not much cheaper. I have used the Delta, it’s nice but not as fancy featured as the DeWalt…also not as expensive! Take a look at Craigslist..I saw a Powermatic stand up industrial scroll saw that came out of a high school wood shop. It barely had a scratch on it and was only 300$. I wish I had the room for it..I would have grabbed it! Sounds like Bobs onto something with that Hitachi! The Dremel looks nice..I love my moto tool!


View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#6 posted 11-20-2007 01:51 AM

I bought mine on Ebay. A Dewalt with stand. A re-conditioned model and it was perfect. I don’t know what was reconditioned on it if anything.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Calgirl's profile


188 posts in 3917 days

#7 posted 11-20-2007 04:00 AM

I have a dual speed Dremel with a blower and tilting table. It is about 10 years old, but still works fine. There is no vibration at all and I am pleased with the purchase. I suspect that the newer Dremel’s are good machines also. You might do a search on the internet for scroll saw comparison articles. I have found these articles very helpful.

-- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get !

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3898 days

#8 posted 11-20-2007 05:02 AM

I have a three year old Dremel with light and blower. Blade tension is what been my biggest challenge. If you have a weak heart don’t get one, I’d sit there watching the blade cut and WHAM !! the blade would break. On one of David Marks projects he stated he went through four blades, made me feel better.

-- Ron Central, CA

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4085 days

#9 posted 11-20-2007 06:11 AM

I have scoped these out, as I have an interest in doing marquetry/inlay work. Some very accomplished scrollers give the DeWalt 788 high marks. The Hegner and Seyco Excalibur saws are the only ones that seem to get better marks, and I think Seyco might actually be involved with the DeWalt saw. This is pretty top-notch equipment. Oh, tool lust — how sharper than a serpent’s tooth.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4182 days

#10 posted 11-20-2007 01:09 PM

I have the variable speed Dremel with light and blower. Really easy to use (well, from my limited experience anyway).

I’ve went through a few blades – I thought it was just me!
Adjusting the blade is easy and someday I hope to know what the perfect tightness is so I get the best results with the saw.

I did purchase a foot-switch for it and that REALLY makes a difference. A great investment.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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