Craftsman 11' magnetic scroll saw

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Review by ralbuck posted 12-06-2012 02:22 AM 9315 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Craftsman 11' magnetic scroll saw Craftsman 11' magnetic scroll saw Craftsman 11' magnetic scroll saw Click the pictures to enlarge them

This saw is a 1952 Craftsman magnetic scroll saw. It does not have a motor. It is an electromagnet that pulls and releases a spring steel plate that has the blade hook attached. It Has an upper spring steel arm holding the upper blade hook. It uses 5” pin end blades.

The capacity is limited to about 1/2 inch or less. The saw has been modified and is now a 20”. It started life as an 11 inch saw.

The modification was made when the saw was probably already 15+ years old.

I can highly recommend this saw for a beginner to learn on. Availabilty might be an issue though.

If I could go get a new one like it at a reasonable price; I would for my grand children to learn on.

I have run my fingers against a fine tooth blade in it , running, many times and not been cut. Blade movemnt is only about 1/8th inch and skin moves that much.

On the star scale of 5 it would get at least a 4+1/2.

I think the review may be due for it!

Yes; it still works, I used it yesterday!

-- just rjR

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19 comments so far

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#1 posted 12-06-2012 02:39 AM

What a great saw and it is still working

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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1251 posts in 1630 days

#2 posted 12-06-2012 03:03 AM

that’s pretty cool

-- Joel

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266 posts in 1823 days

#3 posted 12-06-2012 03:18 AM

Very cool, and a good tool to teach safety and technique on.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

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856 posts in 2337 days

#4 posted 12-06-2012 05:23 AM

I have one of these Craftsman scroll saws and everything you say I will back up! I bought the saw new in the early to mid 1950s to build model airplanes with and later on I used it to make all of the wing ribs on a full size homebuilt biplane. It still works just fine, but now I have a fancy motor-powered scroll saw so it just sits under a bench. I may give it to my grandson when he gets to be about eight. As you said, its perfect for a kid to get started on. Its a shame someone doesn’t make these again as they are so simple and work so well.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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1614 posts in 2867 days

#5 posted 12-06-2012 04:00 PM

How do these work? Is there a mechanism to turn the magnet on and off really fast, or is there a manual switch, or..?

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

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204 posts in 1961 days

#6 posted 12-06-2012 04:51 PM

I’ll remember this one. Thanks.

View ralbuck's profile


2610 posts in 1842 days

#7 posted 12-06-2012 04:54 PM

Well here is the explanation as I know it!

Alternating current (common household 119 Volt) The term is for the direction changes — 60 cycle is common. It drops—reverses direction of current flow 60 times per second..

When the current drops/changes/GOES OFF- 60 times a second the magnet quits pulling! The spring steel in the upper arm and blade hook pull the blade up! When the current starts/changes direction—the magnet pulls the bottom spring steel plate down—BLADE along with it!

-- just rjR

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11807 posts in 3264 days

#8 posted 12-06-2012 11:32 PM

and we talk about modern marvels ! LOL …I never heard of this until now …thanks for sharing with us : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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DeLayne Peck

427 posts in 1777 days

#9 posted 12-08-2012 02:00 AM

Did a lot of scrolling on one of those back in the day. I remember it as noisy. Wonder where it went?

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View ralbuck's profile


2610 posts in 1842 days

#10 posted 12-09-2012 02:51 AM

Added a “DOLLAR TREE” booklitght that just clamps on today! Needed that 55+ years ago!

Flexible tube to the head and a very small led light—-worth the “high price”.

-- just rjR

View Ted78's profile


277 posts in 1576 days

#11 posted 12-09-2012 07:36 AM

Ha, saw one of these on craigslist a while back and for the life of me could’‘t figure out how it worked with that u shaped arm thing, Thanks for enlightening me.

-- Ted

View crank49's profile


3996 posts in 2547 days

#12 posted 12-09-2012 08:00 AM

I think your explanation of the 60 Hz AC is correct except for one little detail you omitted. There is a diode in the circuit to convert the AC to DC. Electro magnets don’t work very well on AC power. Since the Diode only allows the current to flow in one direction, you wind up with pulsating DC which pulls the saw blade down 30 times a second.

This type of magnetic drive is used in industry all the time. Usually for vibration generation. Tatoo needles are driven by this process, as are hand held electric engravers.

View JJohnston's profile


1614 posts in 2867 days

#13 posted 12-09-2012 10:43 PM

Based on my experience with engravers, the saw must have a real short stroke and not much power.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View crank49's profile


3996 posts in 2547 days

#14 posted 12-10-2012 04:06 PM

Well it’s relative. Look at the size of the little magnet in a hand held engraver and then look at the big coil on the saw. Many times larger. I was just pointing out it’s the same principle. No rotating motor. Just an electro magnet pulling a tool and a spring pushing back.

And yes it would be a short stroke. I think someone earlier said it was only 1/8”. I’m not sure as I haven’t used one myself. That was what made it safe for kids to learn on.

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2330 posts in 1601 days

#15 posted 12-11-2012 01:37 AM

Dremel used to make a handheld version which they called the “motosaw.” Shaped like an old time coping saw. It was the first power tool I ever owned, and I used it on all sorts of projects. They are very safe, though if a tool won’t let you hurt yourself, I wonder how effective they are at teaching safety habits. They do teach patience, because, oh my, how slowly they cut. If you try to adjust more stroke into them to speed things up, they get out of phase and let you know it with very loud unpleasant noises. I’m assuming they don’t make this anymore; at least I didn’t see it on their website.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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