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Huge Table and Easy Blade Changes

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Review by Kelen posted 11-09-2011 06:00 PM 3017 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Huge Table and Easy Blade Changes Huge Table and Easy Blade Changes Huge Table and Easy Blade Changes Click the pictures to enlarge them

As a disclaimer, I am far from being a seasoned and proficient user of a scroll saw. I’ve cut out a few things in my day but have not embarked on any detailed fret work or intarsia design work. A majority of my projects have centered on simple wooden cutouts of letters, patterns, and a few animal puzzles. I view my scroll saw as more of a complement to my workshop and one of those tools that are fun to play with when I have some time. I have to be in the scrolling mindset though else I quickly lose interest. Having started out with a $100 Skil branded scroll saw from Lowes, I quickly appreciated the quality of the Dewalt scroll saw. Even though I do not see myself tackling many time consuming scroll projects, I knew that when the time came when I want to scroll, I wanted a good quality machine at my disposal. Writing a comparison based on my Skil vs. the Dewalt scroll saw would be a waste of time. These two scroll saws are simply in leagues of their own and suited for different users. My review will focus primarily on my pragmatic assessment of how the machine performs and how it suits my needs.

I purchased my Dewalt scroll saw through a special which included a free stand and light. I initially put the stand together and mounted the scroll saw on it, but found that I wasn’t willing to trade valuable floor space for a tool that I would only use on occasion. Hence, the scroll saw has taken up shop on top of one of my work benches, ready when I need it, but distanced enough to not take up too much additional room. The stand, although a little difficult to assemble (some of the holes not matching up as easy as I would have preferred on the components), has the ability to angle the saw downward so the saw practically fit snuggly in your lap. I felt the stand was fairly sturdy, but again, I just wasn’t willing to give up additional space in workshop.

The light that came with the scroll saw was a nice addition, but on its own, would not be sufficient. If I take on additional projects in the future, I will certainly be supplementing the light source. It was a free addition to the package so I will not complain. The dust blower also seems easy to adjust and performs as expected.

The scroll saw boasts a double parallel-link arm design. Not being an engineer by trade, what this proved to me was that this design significantly reduces vibration and noise and will assist in making accurate cuts. I can flip the saw on, turn the variable speed to the max, and the saw will not move on its own unanchored to the workbench. This was a positive for me as I pull it out when needed and did not want to hassle with clamping it down or securing it permanently to a work surface in my shop. At around 56lbs, I still consider the saw fairly mobile, but not something I want to move each and every day.

Blade changes on this machine are a snap and do not require any tools other than one’s own fingers. The tension lever is smooth and aids in making a blade change in a matter of seconds. When removing the blade to slip it through material for an interior cut, the arm lifts to make this process a little easier on the user.

Included just above the tension level is the on/off switch. Although I prefer to use a foot controlled on/off switch, when it’s not possible to use, the on/off switch is about as close to the work as you can get. Behind the on/off switch is the variable speed control dial. The speed control is smooth and reacts quickly to changes. With a range of 400 to 1,750spm, this will satisfy all my needs when variable speed is crucial.

Perhaps the best feature in my view of the saw is the oversized cast-iron table. When I unpacked this puppy from its box, I was very impressed with the size. Simply put, it’s huge. I knew from day one that this scroll saw would have all the size and strength for any project I would tackle. Although I haven’t used the tilting feature, the table, like most, will bevel up to 45 degrees both ways.

Given my skill level, this scroll saw is likely more than I need for the work I’ve done to date. I am comforted however in knowing that as I tackle more projects, I will have a solid and well-built machine available for use.




View Kelen's profile

Kelen

270 posts in 1080 days



5 comments so far

View Brent Golden's profile

Brent Golden

132 posts in 2509 days


#1 posted 11-09-2011 07:04 PM

I have the same saw, also. I bought it 10 years ago as reconditioned. It hasn’t missed a beat. I do intarsia, so this saw really gets a work out. Its pretty quiet and quite accurate. I built a table for it out of 8” logs, just high enough so I can sit while I saw. (Isn’t that a song?????) I will soon start teaching intarsia classes and will need 3 more saws, all of which will be the DW788.

-- Brent Golden www.intarsiaonthebay.com

View Kelen's profile

Kelen

270 posts in 1080 days


#2 posted 11-09-2011 07:31 PM

Brent, I think you’re a poet and didn’t know it. I’m glad to know this saw will stand the test of time.

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

859 posts in 1982 days


#3 posted 11-09-2011 07:50 PM

I have a 788 also, which I bought used and needed a lot of TLC in order to get it adjusted right. Great saw and you will find that table top a real benefit. My prior scroll saw was a Dremel and as you say it was “a different league.”

Now to ask a favor. Turn it on and place a piece of wood behind the blade. Does the wood remain against the blade or get kicked backward?

Steve.

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

362 posts in 1089 days


#4 posted 11-17-2011 01:22 AM

I, too have the Dewalt, it is a great saw. But on mine, when I put the speed past 6, the saw vibrates quite a bit. Any suggestions?

-- Ryan

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

859 posts in 1982 days


#5 posted 11-17-2011 01:37 AM

Ryan,

First and easiest is try another blade. If the blade is even a bit twisted you will get vibration at the higher speeds.

If you hear a knocking noise, that is different. A good site for hands on 788 info is
http://www.scrollsaws.com/
Scroll down the left side until you see “Dewalt Tuneup”

Steve.

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