My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1145: Black Beauty

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-05-2013 10:38 AM 4165 reads 1 time favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1144: Finishing Up Drawing my New Designs Part 1145 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1146: New Saw - New Projects »

I know . . . I am a spoiled brat!

At least I feel that way this morning. How can I not when I am so fortunate to now own a “Special Edition” of the FINEST scroll saws made? Oh – and it is actually PRETTY as well! After all, for someone like me who’s other job is an artist, it is an extra bonus to have such a fine piece of machinery color coordinate with the rest of the house. Especially since it sits in the corner of my kitchen. Ah . . . but now I am sounding like a GIRL and you are losing respect for my skills! But even you guys have to admit – you also LIKE when your favorite tools look nice as well. (Come on! I have see how you guys act when you get a new table saw or tool bench or truck! It doesn’t mean that that’s the only consideration – just an added plus!)

Yesterday, after a couple weeks of waiting and struggling to get it over the border, the nasty UPS people brought a box to my door. I had been anticipating its arrival for several days now, and after going back and forth about custom charges and such, it was finally released and made it from Texas to my home here in Nova Scotia. It was my NEW 30th Anniversary Edition Excalibur scroll saw! :D

Now comes the “spoiled brat” part . . . !

Many of you who read know that I have had a 21” Excalibur for over a year and a half now. We upgraded from a DeWalt back in March of 2011. After having a DeWalt for 13 years, it was time to look into a new saw. I had heard that the Excaliburs were good and thought I would give one a try. I must say, I was not disappointed.

The saw is amazing. Not only did it run a great deal smoother than my DeWalt, one thing that I really loved about it was the tilting head.

With all the bevel cuts I do for my candle trays and self-framing pictures and plaques, this was really a great feature. It allowed me to keep the work piece on a level table and the saw blade was at an angle instead of holding the piece on an angle to cut the bevel cuts. What a difference that made!

For the most part it has been a wonderful 2.5 year relationship with my saw. It did have trouble once when the upper arm linkage broke:

As you can see, the “old linkage assembly” is pictured on the top and the bolt snapped. We were sent a new linkage assembly, which is the bottom one, in which they change it to be one piece. Much stronger and more reliable! Once we changed it, the saw has been running trouble free.

So why the new saw??

I received a message from Ray at Seyco that they had just a couple of the new 30th Anniversary Edition saws left. I have been sending people to Ray every since I purchased my saw from him 2.5 years ago. The excellent service and customer care that Ray gives is second to none, and even though I live a far cry from Texas, any questions or issues (as the one mentioned above) that I had with the saw were taken care of swiftly and competently. And I am not alone in this opinion.

Just about every person that has been in touch or dealt with Seyco and Ray have been happy. Even if they didn’t purchase their saw from him, Ray is helpful and probably knows more about the Excalibur saw than anyone on the planet. He has even intervened for people who have purchased the saw from companies who don’t have what we would call stellar customer service and helped whomever needed help. I send everyone who inquires to him, and I have never regretted it at all. I will continue to do so as long as he is in business.

So back to the story . . .

Ray had thought that I might like one of the limited edition saws. He knows that I enjoy showing the saw to people and that I loved mine and thought he would ask if I would like to “upgrade”. I absolutely jumped at the chance!

I had been going back and forth in my mind as to get one of the Special Edition saws or not. After all, there was nothing wrong with our own saw. The only real difference besides the linkage (which ours was already changed) was the color and out appearance. The new Excaliburs all have the upgraded linkage assembly. They also have the ability to easily attach a dust collection system. Now that is probably a silly reason to get a new saw (that is where the “brat” part comes in!) but after I talked myself out of it, we just had the best two months ever on our website and when it was offered to me, I just couldn’t resist. It seemed like one of those “meant to be” things, so I decided to take the plunge.

Besides, when we do our production work, Keith and I both use our saws at the same time. Up until now, Keith used our green Excalibur and I used the DeWalt. With us being in the business of scroll sawing, and living in rural Canada, we realize that there is no way we cannot have a back up saw if something goes wrong or breaks. Even though Ray mailed out the part the same day we called him, it was over a week before it arrived here. We had the DeWalt as a back up but were very happy to get the Excalibur up and running again. It is really important to our business to have an ‘extra’ saw here so we aren’t crippled at times like this. (How’s that for rationalization??)

We probably will sell the DeWalt, as it is still a decent saw, although it is getting old and a little ‘loose’. For someone who is used to a cheap saw, it is still a step up and will be an advantage. We will keep our old Ex-21 near by for when we have production type orders or as a spare, and we will feel good knowing we have two great machines. It is like an insurance policy.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have the new saw. We carefully unpacked the box. My two inspectors (Pancakes and Richard) made sure that everything was in order. To be honest, I think they liked the box better than what was in it, but that’s a cat for you!

I loved the way they packed the saw for shipping. It was bolted to a piece of plywood and came in perfect shape. (That’s Pancakes checking out the Gold Powder Coated Table)

The saw is very similar to the previous versions, but it also has added holes and an attachment underneath for dust collection (I don’t know if we will use that though) and of course, the color is no longer green, but black. Only the Special Edition 30th Anniversary saws have gold accents. But from here on, all Excaliburs will be black and silver.

The Anniversary Edition owners will also receive a gold plate, engraved with their name on it as well. My saw will have Sheila Landry Designs on it, as it is for both Keith and myself. :)

Overall, I think it is just beautiful! We spent a short amount of time re-adjusting things and getting everything in perfect alignment and ready to cut. Ray does this to all the saws that leave his place in Texas, but after shipping, we wanted to fine tune it a bit. Keith wrote an article called Excalibur Scroll Saw Tuning that we have on our site that explains that process in detail. We feel it is imperative to make sure the saw is set properly if it is to perform at its best.

So that is my exciting news for today! I did finish up drawing one of the two projects that I am working on, but I need to still do more drawing on the second one. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited about the new saw and I spent the rest of the day setting things up and talking about it on Facebook. It is hard not to gloat (just a little bit!) when you get such a nice piece of machinery! I can’t wait to use it and teach it to make some fun projects!

I am really happy that I made the decision to get it. While it is an extravagance, and something that I probably didn’t NEED, I spend so much time and energy with my work here that it is a treat that I just couldn’t resist. Besides, how can you deny how awesome it looks in my little kitchen shop?? It is certainly a beauty!

Some girls like shoes, I guess I like tools and equipment. But that isn’t all bad, is it?

I hope you all have a great weekend. Have fun and I hope you get the chance to do something creative! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

31 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2851 days

#1 posted 10-05-2013 11:58 AM

Nice saw Sheila
I’m sure you will get a lot of fun from it
It looks gorgeous as well
I’m sure that you smile every time you look at it

Time for some Black Chai and with ham sandwich for lunch
Hae a Sublime day


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 10-05-2013 12:01 PM

Thanks Jamie! How are those little cute babies doing? I hope they are all well and I hope that you and Shirley caught up on your sleep. I will take some time for some lunch, but I am more excited than ever about working, as you can imagine. I just may have to cut my first project out before finishing up the drawing on my next – just to try the saw. It has been here nearly a full day and I haven’t cut on it yet. Hard to believe! :)

I wish you a wonderful weekend!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#3 posted 10-05-2013 12:03 PM

sweet deal sheila
alway good to have a spare
especially one as good as this one

i bought the 30” one years ago
(the table tilted on it)
and was making these ‘southwest’ style boxes
with a spiral blade
(i needed the ‘mesas’ to have sharp upper corners
like they do in real here

thru two layers of 3/4” exotics
and switching the tops and bottoms
then re-sawing them into two boards
and gluing them to a cedar backer
(also re-sawn)
and spacing them apart the thickness of the blade cut
that i filled with colored epoxy
so the parts have a constant ‘highlight’ glow between them

my ex got it when we broke up
then had some problems with the blade holder
the company (then in canada)
was being bought out by someone else
and no replacement parts were available
or any help offered

she had some tool guy try and fix it
but he declared it not possible

i went and fixed it myself
with nuts and bolts from the hardware store

it is still running as far as i know

thanks for the link
i hope to get another
maybe when i finish the ongoing new shop

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#4 posted 10-05-2013 12:11 PM

The box is beautiful David! All the projects you do are so precise and intricate! They always blow me away!

I wonder if the holder would be available at this point. The company is pretty ‘settled’ and they may have a solution for you. That 30” saw is a monster! I know some who have it though and like you, they love it! For myself – I don’t like doing larger pieces. I like the ability to spin them around easily without regards to the edges. I find that my arms are not long enough for the really big stuff (even the 21” pieces) and my eyes don’t focus that far away from the saw table. But that is me and my eye issues. :)

I know it is extravagant for me to get this! I am still trying to get over it in my mind. Part of me (a small part!) feels guilty having such a nice saw when the one I had was perfectly nice. But the ‘backup’ story is valid, and it IS my livelihood. So I justify it that way. And as I said, I don’t spend on shoes and diamonds and other stuff like that. We all have our weaknesses, I suppose.

Have a great Saturday. I hope your shop is coming along nicely.

Take care, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2799 days

#5 posted 10-05-2013 12:22 PM

Whoop-Whoop…....Do the happy dance for a new saw… lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#6 posted 10-05-2013 12:27 PM

what i need is enough ‘throat’ (or depth)
to be able to do the cuts into the blade
and even though the spiral blades can cut in any direction
making those sharp corners sideways of from the back
just doesn’t ‘feel’ right

these boxes are up to 21” long
and may be up to 8”wide
(so the boards are up to 29” long)
when i have two the same (book-matched)
i cut one end on one end of one board
(continuous folded corner)
and the other end of the other board
(folded corner too)

when the box comes together
two diagonal corners are folded
and the other two diagonal ones are ‘book-matched’
mirror images of each other

making the mesas go around the box without a grain change
or ‘start – stop’ effect
that happens in a single board
that is ‘in – sink’
on three corners
but not the beginning and end of the board one
(i hope that isn’t to confusing)

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3974 days

#7 posted 10-05-2013 12:32 PM

Congrats on the new saw, Sheila.

Nothing to feel guilty about, you do enough work with them to require a great 2nd saw.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3031 days

#8 posted 10-05-2013 01:19 PM

I can’t see how putting a superb piece of equipment in the hands of a master is spoiling them (you).

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3497 days

#9 posted 10-05-2013 02:00 PM

Good for You Sheila!
Nothing wrong with indulging and spoiling yourself, once in a while…
If it cuts anywhere near as good as it looks, you should be happy with it for a l-o-n-g time!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View CFrye's profile


10186 posts in 1834 days

#10 posted 10-05-2013 02:38 PM

Congratulations Sheila (and Keith)! It’s an investment not an indulgence. That tilting head is awesome! HMMM Painting vs ‘playing’ (Oh I mean familiarizing yourself) with new saw this weekend…hmmm Have a great one!

-- God bless, Candy

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

3999 posts in 2229 days

#11 posted 10-05-2013 02:47 PM

Oh Sheila, I’m SO happy for you! I’m still excited about my extravagant purchase of an Excalibur earlier this year. It is so smooth, quiet, and steady that I can run it for 8 or more hours straight without getting real tired. The hardest part of working that long at it is trying to stand up at the end! LOL You know you’re getting old when…
Best wishes!
I had a lot of fun at the craft show running my little New Rogers pedal driven scroll saw. I am impressed with how efficient it is and how quickly it cut. It has a drill arbor built in so you can drill pilot holes without getting up! There was a steady crowd watching the saw all day long.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3080 days

#12 posted 10-05-2013 02:47 PM

I think most of the woodworkers here would agree that you are a very wonderful “brat” and deserve to be
spoiled by having a top notch machine and that the scroll sawyers might just have a little bit of envy going,
but we will just have to live with it. Very good business investment also, thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2068 days

#13 posted 10-05-2013 05:01 PM

Good morning Sheila. With the amount of work you do another great saw is an investment and what a beauty it is! May you and Keith have many happy years playing and creating on it. Looking forward to hearing how you find it in comparison to your green Excalibur.
Have a fun weekend.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#14 posted 10-05-2013 07:24 PM

Thank you all for the encouraging comments. I spent the day working on the saw a bit and it is really a wonderful piece of machinery. I couldn’t ask for anything nicer! It really makes what I do a complete pleasure. I am glad that I took the plunge and have this new toy. The other Ex-21 will be on deck for us so it is here if needed. I already loved my work, but I think I will love it even more. :) I appreciate all the nice things you say as well.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View socrbent's profile


608 posts in 2264 days

#15 posted 10-05-2013 08:07 PM

Question from a scroll saw rookie – I don’t see the hold down in your photos. Do you use one? Why?

-- socrbent Ohio

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

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