New Dewalt 788 scroll saw.... Where do i start?

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Forum topic by Hopdevil posted 03-05-2012 02:42 AM 2585 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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219 posts in 3080 days

03-05-2012 02:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: scroll saw question

Hi folks,
I just scored a new 788 that had been sitting in this guys garage for 5 years. It has never been used. With stand it was only $225! Woo Hoo! (Thanks Dan!)

Anyway, there is a ton of info out there about this saw obviously. So much that it is overwhelming. Can I get some suggestions on where to start? How to set it up properly, what kind/brands of blades are the best, what tooth count should I get to start with, etc. While I am not a novice WW, I am when it comes to these beasts

I’m sure much information is saw agnostic, so any thoughts on good primers and info?

Thanks in advance!


-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

12 replies so far

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2837 days

#1 posted 03-05-2012 03:07 AM

First thing you do is a happy dance. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for used deals on scroll saws for ages and coming up empty.

As for blade choice, that’s like walking into a parts house and cussing a Ford or a Chevy. You’ll get arguments against whatever blade you use. You can look at my projects though to see the quality of my scroll work. I use Flying Dutchman blades from Mike's Workshop.
A majority of people I talk to swear by Olson blades. I have nothing against Olson at all. They are quality blades. I just took a liking to Flying Dutchmans early in scrolling and have stuck with them.

As for tooth count or set, it depends on what you wish to cut. There are several companies that offer variety packs to get you started. If you already have an idea, Mike at the link I provided above will send you two of any one kind of blade for the price of postage for you to try. He also has an assortment pack that contains the most popular blades for you to try.

Here is a link to Rick Hutcheson’s site. He has loads of reliable information there about scroll saws and the use of them. There are also videos on his site that helped me get started. There is so much about scrolling that a lot of us scrollers could explain, but it isn’t the same as actually seeing it.
Blades are usually available locally. It depends on how much scrolling you do. I scroll enough the I order my blades off the internet by the gross (12 dozen). They’re cheaper that way.

Another great place to start is here at Scrollsaw Workshop. There are tons of free patterns there to get you started. Please do all of us scrollers a favor though. If you get bit by the scrolling bug, do support the fine pattern designers out there by ordering some good quality patterns. Most of the designers do great work and depend on fellow scrollers for their livelyhood.
One example is our fellow Lumberjockette, Sheila Landry.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2837 days

#2 posted 03-05-2012 03:08 AM

Oh, and if you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Most of us scrollers are always more than happy to help someone else get started in it.


View SteveMI's profile


1094 posts in 3289 days

#3 posted 03-05-2012 03:14 AM

William hit all the high points. If you are anxious to cut and can’t wait the two days for an order from Mike to arrive with FD blades buy the Olson PGT or MachSpeed to start from a local Woodcraft or Rockler.


View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3096 days

#4 posted 03-05-2012 06:25 AM

I like to go here

-- mike...............

View Woodenwizard's profile


1331 posts in 3038 days

#5 posted 03-05-2012 07:03 AM

I too agree with William. I get my Flying Dutchman blades from Mike’s Workshop. Can’t say anything bad. I have been scrolling for about 12 years now and I started with some FD-SR #3, #5, and #7 blades. I used the #5 as an all purpose blade, the #3 for fine work and the #7 for thicker stock. Once I mastered these blades I branched out and tried many others but still tend to come back to these. Blade choice is really a personal preferance. I also agree Steve Good at Scrollsaw Workshop has a ton of patterns just right for starting out. Good luck with the new saw.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Hopdevil's profile


219 posts in 3080 days

#6 posted 03-10-2012 08:43 PM

Thanks folks!
As always great advice. I ordered 3, 5 & 7 FD-UR from Mike. They seem like they will do the trick nicely. Now I just need to be able to change a blade in less than 10 minutes! ;-)

I will check out the other sites as time allows… Now where do I buy more time?..........

-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

View Brett's profile


950 posts in 2754 days

#7 posted 03-10-2012 09:18 PM

Score! I got a great deal on my 788 too!

Ditto on everyone elses comments. This is a good book and it helped me out alot when I got my first scrollsaw.

The New Scrollsaw Handbook

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View SawTooth1953's profile


327 posts in 3300 days

#8 posted 03-10-2012 11:39 PM

I learned a lot from books in my local library system… free is a good price!!
Spielman and Boelman, and Nelson each have books on basics of scrolling, including a ‘primer’ on everything about the machines, their setup and use and basics on a wide variety of techniques and project types, eg. fret cutting, bevel cutting, intarsia, segmentation, cutting inside corners, outside corners, circles, etc. Besides those all inclusive books, there are project-specific books eg. compound cut projects, boxes, bowls & vases, southwestern patterns, sports, holidays, sign-making, puzzles, etc. (The New Scrollsaw Handbook, mentioned above, is a great all-inclusive reference book.)

Many online references are out there and I saw most mentioned above, but I’d add that there are 2 magazines for scrollers and is a scroller’s forum from the magazine published by Fox-Chapel. Also, Steve Good’s amazingly useful site(mentioned above) for technique videos, patterns, pattern-making techniques, and an online forum is at:

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2916 days

#9 posted 03-11-2012 01:32 AM

I sold my DeWalt (after many repairs) for $175 and was happy to get it. I had it for 20 months. Good luck with yours. Cuts great just does not last.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Hopdevil's profile


219 posts in 3080 days

#10 posted 03-14-2012 01:41 AM

Thanks again everyone, it is much appreciated!

Jim, Sorry you had problems with yours.

-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

View scrollingdesigns's profile


5 posts in 2232 days

#11 posted 04-25-2012 02:18 PM

Just looking around today and came across your post. Welcome to the scrolling world. I was able to recently pick up a used DW788, type 1, $200. It hadn’t been used hardly at all either. I have been doing some work with it for about a month now, after going thru some setup steps like making sure the table is perpendicular to the blade and the blade in centered in the tear drop opening. I did find many videos on You Tube about scrolling and blade selection. I have a web site,, that I am starting to kind of follow my progress as a scroller, and I have a long way to go. I did post a video on my site,, that gives a quick and dirty definition for what type scroll saw blades work for what type of cutting you do. Again, it is just a quick explination but it gives you ideas and then you decide which blades you like.
Have a great day making saw dust.

-- John, (Scrollingdesigns), Arizona,

View Hopdevil's profile


219 posts in 3080 days

#12 posted 04-25-2012 04:26 PM

Thanks John! I’ll check it out.

-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

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