RBI 216-3 Hawk Scroll Saw Help!

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Forum topic by gbrown4 posted 08-14-2011 06:13 PM 17035 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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116 posts in 2692 days

08-14-2011 06:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: rbi scroll saw 216-3

This past Friday I picked this RBI Hawk Scroll saw up on craigs list for $75.00. I am in need for a manual to help me set the tension on the blade. I have broken several good blades trying to get it adjusted correctly. The blades seem to break, right above the lower blade holder. The lower holder is a round holder. I email the new company that now makes the RBI scroll saws but would like info I can get. I could not believe the condition of the saw when I went to pick it up, it looks like it was used very little.

-- Greg, Concordia, Mo

18 replies so far

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3695 days

#1 posted 08-14-2011 07:22 PM

I have the same saw , Yours looks like brand new .I payed 1200.00 7 years ago.The ajuster is on the back ,when you filp that make sure it dont pull to hard , I thought I was tighening it to much but when I slowed the speed down it quit breaking blades.the speed control is in the right front on the side. I wlill look for my manual.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

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986 posts in 3524 days

#2 posted 08-14-2011 10:04 PM

That is a beautiful saw!

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116 posts in 2692 days

#3 posted 08-15-2011 07:36 PM

I just received a manual from the new owners of the Hawk. They also have parts and scroll saws. I was placing the blade incorrectly into the lower blade holder and breaking the blades. Once I read the correct procedure WOW what a difference.

-- Greg, Concordia, Mo

View BilltheDiver's profile


253 posts in 2884 days

#4 posted 08-15-2011 07:54 PM

You got a great deal on that saw. I had the same model and only sold it because I had an opportunity to buy the 26 inch version. Be sure to visit for free patterns, tutorials and a forum for scrollsawyers. If this is your first scrollsaw, you have entered a wonderful hobby.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

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116 posts in 2692 days

#5 posted 08-15-2011 08:06 PM

Bill, not my first but third. I had a 16” delta then my Dad gave me a craftsman professional saw. I currently have a Delta Q3 and the Hawk. I like the vs of the Q3 but scares the you know what out of me when the blade breaks. What would the going price be for the Hawk these days?

-- Greg, Concordia, Mo

View navtalk's profile


27 posts in 2505 days

#6 posted 09-23-2013 03:37 PM

I just purchased a used RBI Hawk 220 VS for my wife. I was looking for my instruction booklet but am unable to locate. Does anyone know where I can obtain a copy? My Saw looks very like the one pictured and I think the instructions would be very similar. Thanks Kelsey S

-- My G-Kids call me Grumpy

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3259 posts in 2674 days

#7 posted 09-23-2013 03:48 PM

This lady can help you with anything related to this saw

View gbrown4's profile


116 posts in 2692 days

#8 posted 09-23-2013 03:51 PM

But I gave the manual to the new owner when I sold it. You could request one from Bushton Industries. They are the new company that bought RBI when the went out of business. check out their website

-- Greg, Concordia, Mo

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2037 days

#9 posted 09-23-2013 04:56 PM

Did you try google?
rbi hawk 220 vs manual filetype:pdf

first and second result gives a pdf version of the manual for the 216VS, 220VS and 226 VS.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View JayT's profile


5631 posts in 2210 days

#10 posted 09-23-2013 04:59 PM

This page on the hawk woodworking site has pdf’s of all the scroll saw manuals.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Holt's profile


250 posts in 2628 days

#11 posted 09-23-2013 05:23 PM

Well it lasted three years, but you have me beat. I picked up my wife’s version of that saw for $100 and felt badly enough about taking advantage of the seller (not badly enough to pay more, of course) that I helped her price the rest of her late father’s tools more appropriately.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View navtalk's profile


27 posts in 2505 days

#12 posted 09-23-2013 05:53 PM

Thank you all for replying to my plea. I did just what one member suggested and googled my need. I found and downloaded a PDF file.
Thanks again Kelsey S

-- My G-Kids call me Grumpy

View ju7281's profile


22 posts in 1425 days

#13 posted 02-27-2016 04:05 PM


I’ve had an RBI 26” scroll saw for 28 years and I’m STILL breaking blades! It’s all a matter of trial and error, really. Every time I try a new type of wood, or thickness, or blade, or whatever, I have to make several adjustments until I get it right, because there’s no cookie-cutter answer to your dilemma. And I assure you, the manual, although it’ll tell you how to set things up, won’t tell you exactly what tension you need for every setup. However, the good news is, after a few tries, you’ll get a “feel” for where you need to tension the blades for each type of cut, and you’ll soon break fewer blades than ever before. Also, if you’re using old blades, they’re going to break no matter what you do. I suggest buying all new blades and only buy what you’re going to use within about a year or less. Otherwise, the metal starts to get brittle and breaks more easily. Hope this helps. You can reach out any time at:


-- Joe, Georgia,

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 1419 days

#14 posted 02-28-2016 02:37 AM

Nice looking saw, Mr. Greg! Perfect price, too! The Hawk Saws are top of the line machines, & their tech help is, as well. I own a 220VS, among other saws. It took my Hawk & I awhile to get acquainted, too. And I’ve been scrolling nearly 20 years. There is no “one way” so to speak, IMO, to tell another sawyer what works. As you’ve noticed, you’ve gotten several answers for the same question. What works for me, may not work for you. The best thing to do, before you even touch your saw, now that have a manual, make sure you understand how things work on the saw. Then start playin’ with it. Blade tension is a trump card that’s hard to play. Depending on the blade. The smaller the blade, the less tension you’ll want. The bigger the blade, the more tension. As Mr. Joe said, with practice, you’ll figure out where things need to be. I disagree with Joe on one thing. Type & thickness of wood, & difference in blades. Blade speed is the second factor in breakage. Running a blade to slow causes sawdust to build up, & creates extra pull on the blade. To fast creates heat & causes breakage. Soft wood usually maintains a fairly high blade speed. Hardwoods are another story. Some require a slower speed, some you can maintain a medium speed. BUT, hardwood burns on a scroll saw, too. Cherry, oak, maple, to name a few, burn very easy in turns, curves, etc. Speed adjustment & blade size will prevent this. The best advice is practice, practice, practice. Good luck, & be safe.

-- Sawdust703

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2751 posts in 2024 days

#15 posted 02-29-2016 08:32 AM

You have the tension adjuster set incorrectly. At the far upper left in the photo, you have the point on the adjuster aimed into the V groove. That point is actually the handle, used to rotate the rounded portion, which is an eccentric, to adjust the tension.

On mine, I took off the work hold down as it was sort of a nuisance. I also cut a hole with a lip about 2” in diameter, into which a plate sits flush. Makes blade changing (which you have to do a lot when doing inside cuts) much quicker and easier.

I’ll get a picture of that tomorrow and include it with a follow-up post.

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

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