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Nearly everything you could ask for in a scroll saw

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Review by wbrisett posted 04-26-2012 02:11 PM 8109 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nearly everything you could ask for in a scroll saw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have a shop full of tools; bandsaw, planer, joiner, table saw, drill press, and scroll saw. One of the things I’ve loved doing over the past eight years or so is making things on the scroll saw. After initially buying a Craftsman scroll saw and putting it to use, I saw a need for a better saw. I found a great deal on a used PS Wood 21-in scroll saw that I used for the past seven years. However, recently I was making some gifts that required me to do some very delicate fret-type work. I was working with cherry and purple heart wood that I dimensioned to 1/2”. I was doing an OK job on the cuts, but knew if I had less vibration the job would be easier. Thus, enter the Excalibur 21-in. Scroll Saw.

I found a recent promotion for the Excalibur that had the stand and foot switch included in the price, so it became a better deal than I expected. I ordered the optional lamp/magnifier to go with the saw since the one I had on my older saw always seemed to be in the way during certain cuts. The optional lamp attaches to the side of the saw and stays off the table (where I had to mount the lamp on the PS Wood saw).

One major difference with the Excalibur that I found very helpful is blade changes are all done without tools. On the PS Wood saw, you have to use a tool for the bottom blade holder, which in theory isn’t bad, but I never could get the hang of the holder built into the side of the arm on the PS Wood saw, so I always ended up using pliers to hold the blade holder while I used the allen head T-handle to loosen and tighten the blade holder. When doing a lot of smaller cuts (like I was doing recently), this adds up to a lot of additional time spent changing blades when they break or when you need to swap out blades. The Excalibur’s tool-less system makes blade changes a snap and because of how easy it is to remove and tighten the bottom blade holder, I found it very convenient to feed the blade into the starting holes on my project from the top instead of from the bottom that I had to do on the PS Wood saw.

Another very nice change for me was the speed adjustment. On the PS Wood saw, they use a belt/pulley wheel type system to change speeds, so you end up with five set speeds. On the Excalibur system, there is a speed adjustment knob on the front of the saw and the speed can be adjusted to any value, not just some presets. This is nice to have, not critical, but nice.

The real proof in the saw though is how much does it vibrate and how easy is it really to cut. I still had to make one more gift, so I fired up the Excalibur and starting scrolling. I found the lack of vibration very nice and immediately found that speed adjustment very handy and useful in scrolling some of the more delicate parts. When I got done I examined both projects side-by-side and noticed the Excalibur allowed me to make cleaner and neater cuts around the fine, small areas in the project. OK, so that’s what I thought. But what about a non-interested party? I brought two identical clock faces to my wife and asked what she thought of them. She immediately noticed how much cleaner the cuts were from the Excalibur saw (although she did say that if she wasn’t comparing them side-by-side she wouldn’t have noticed).

If there is one complaint I have, it is not with the saw, but with the height of the stand. I sit down a lot at work, so when I’m in the shop I enjoy standing. On my older saw the stand is high enough that you don’t have to bend over to stand and scroll at the same time. However, with the Excalibur stand, I find myself really hunched over the saw and find that I have to stop sawing after 15-20 minutes to stretch out. Looks like I’ll have to buy an adjustable stool for my sawing now.

I bought the Excalibur saw because people in the scroll saw community really like it. Along with the Hegner saws, they are the most recommended to people who want to get serious about scrolling. After using the Excalibur and already owning a nice 21-in. model in the PS Wood saw, I have to agree with the people recommending it. With current prices including the stand and footswitch, it’s not much more than what PS Wood wants for their 21-in saw and there are some nicer features on the Excalibur.

The Excalibur 21-in saw gets two thumbs up in my book. I highly recommend it. I wish the stand could be set higher, but a stool and sitting will solve the problem for me.

Wayne




View wbrisett's profile

wbrisett

143 posts in 1093 days



5 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4864 posts in 1037 days


#1 posted 04-27-2012 12:35 AM

Thanks for your review. I totally agree on the Excalibur 21 SS, with the exception that I had no problem with the stand (probably due to my lack of experience).

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View wbrisett's profile

wbrisett

143 posts in 1093 days


#2 posted 04-27-2012 12:38 AM

The issue with the stand is only the maximum height. Being nearly 6 FT tall, the saw is lower than what is comfortable standing up.

View Woodenwizard's profile

Woodenwizard

1091 posts in 1800 days


#3 posted 04-27-2012 03:48 AM

I just purchased the ex30 and am thrilled with how it works. I had a dewalt and gave it to my daughter and she has been using it. She has been over to use my new saw and is now hooked on the Excalibur and is saving to buy her own. I had a little issue with getting the saw set just right and called the company. They took the time on the phone to walk me thourgh some set up tasks. They actually stayed on the phone while I did the set up. They even called me back a couple weeks later to check on how things were going. Great service and the saw is running perfect.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4864 posts in 1037 days


#4 posted 04-27-2012 12:53 PM

George—Had same issue on set up and suspect I know where Wayne purchased his Excalibur since he “ordered the optional lamp/magnifier” and had no vibration problems from the beginning, ergo Wayne’s set up was done by his vendor. And, since I wasn’t smart enough to just contact the manufacturer (probably something to do with less than satisfying past experiences with other manufacturers), I researched the subject and contributed the following article: http://lumberjocks.com/HillbillyShooter/blog/28247. It”s obscure and didn’t attract much attention, but I’d welcome your thoughts as well as the thoughts of other Excalibur users/owners, with the hope providing a starting point for others.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Drakyn's profile

Drakyn

1 post in 991 days


#5 posted 05-09-2012 01:16 PM

Great review, Wayne. I too am a new EX-21 owner and could not be more pleased.

I made three huge improvements to my scrolling experience this Spring.

The biggest improvement and least expensive was to switch to Flying Dutchman blades from http://www.mikesworkshop.com/blades.htm. They were a fraction of the price of the crappy blades I had been getting from the local home improvement stores and they cut like a laser through anything I’ve thrown at them.

Next I retired my aging Delta saw and replaced it with the Excalibur. That was like moving from a jack hammer to a sewing machine in terms of the vibration and noise difference. Of course the Excalibur has much more precision and many other features which you point out.

Finally I hooked my scroll saw up to my new dust collection system in the shop.

I used to put using a scroll saw down near the bottom of my favorite tools list. Only using a palm sander or a jig saw was lower on the list. Now my Excalibur shares centre stage with my table saw as the star of my shop. I have no regrets making this investment.

-- Bruce, Ontario Canada, http://www.drakyn.com

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