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Questions on Scroll saws.

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Forum topic by Don W posted 762 days ago 1703 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don W

14888 posts in 1201 days


762 days ago

One of my recent purchases was a scroll saw. I’ve never owned a scroll saw so I’m starting from scratch here. My primary reason for wanting such an animal was to allow me to put the resaw blade back in my bandsaw and leave it there, but I have a few questions.

1. The blade that was in the scroll saw when i got it was 5 1/4” long. I see most scroll saw blades are 5”. I’m assuming they will work?

2. Most of my cutting will be making totes for hand planes, handles for saws etc. Is a scroll saw the appropriate tool for cutting full 1” thick rosewood, cherry and other hardwoods, or should I continue to be on the look out for another bandsaw?

3. If the answer to #2 is “yes” what would be the best choice of a blade?

Here it is. Still needs some work, but its up and running and seems to work great.

Any comments and advice is truly appreciated.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com


19 replies so far

View kepy's profile

kepy

155 posts in 907 days


#1 posted 762 days ago

That saw should handle what you want. You can contact Mike’s Workshop to find out about blades as he sells the best and is very knowledgeable.

-- Kepy

View oluf's profile

oluf

256 posts in 1673 days


#2 posted 762 days ago

I would not refer to that as a scroll saw. It looks much more like a spring return jig saw. It will cut some curves, but not anywhere like a scroll saw can. The blade tension is limmited by the strength of the spring. It takes a lot of tension to get good teue cuts in thicker and harder woods. It may work for you, but if it does not, don’t give up on scroll saws. They are fine tools.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View SASmith               's profile

SASmith

1576 posts in 1621 days


#3 posted 762 days ago

I cut 1” thick lumber with my scrollsaw when I make a bowl from a board . I use the heavy-duty blades from here.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Don W's profile

Don W

14888 posts in 1201 days


#4 posted 762 days ago

Thanks Scott. I ordered some of the heavy duty blades. I’ll give it a try.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View SASmith               's profile

SASmith

1576 posts in 1621 days


#5 posted 762 days ago

No problem.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Druid's profile

Druid

608 posts in 1429 days


#6 posted 762 days ago

I have to agree with oluf’s comments, but at the same time I would expect your saw to be able to do the non-detailed cutting that you are describing, even though you will have to cut more slowly than you are used to with your bandsaw.
One point that I would strongly recommend is to build a full guard to cover that belt and the pulleys.
If you are interested in a lot of good information on scroll sawing, take a look at Sheila Landry’s (scrollgirl) page on LJ, and she also has an ongoing blog at . . . http://lumberjocks.com/scrollgirl/blog/31249
Waiting to see your results.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3596 posts in 2368 days


#7 posted 762 days ago

I have an ‘80’s Delta scroll saw, but I’ve only used it once in the past 5 years: To cut out an inside hole bezel/filler panel in lexan for a car stereo installation. I use my 9” old Delta BS for small work, and my 14” Busy Bee BS for large bandsaw cutting.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View JAGWAH's profile

JAGWAH

929 posts in 1718 days


#8 posted 762 days ago

RetiredCoastie helped me a few years ago with this link Scroll Saw Blades

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1657 posts in 1556 days


#9 posted 762 days ago

Olaf is right… that is a Jig saw not a scroll saw. I think it requires very thick heavy duty blades as compared to what a scroll saw uses. The only time I used one of those jig saws was back in 1954 when in seventh grade shop class.

-- In God We Trust

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7592 posts in 1554 days


#10 posted 762 days ago

I see most of the questions were answered, but I have one additional suggestion. If you are cutting thicker hardwood, I think the best thing you can do is to use a layer of clear packaging tape over the entire area before cutting. This not only helps prevent burning the wood from heat build up from the blade, but it also helps the blade last a bit longer. Something in the adhesive from the tape helps I am told. If the wood is particularly dense, I apply the tape to both the top and the bottom.

Remember also that thicker wood doesn’t always mean a larger blade. Many of the mid-size blades do very well with thicker or denser wood. You also need to factor in things such as how intricate your design is going to be and also the density of the wood. If your blade is too big, there is more heat build up (more friction because of more surface of the larger blade rubbing against the wood) and it can burn easily and the blades get dull extremely fast.

Blades that are too big can also cause a phenomena called ‘chattering’ where the teeth grab the wood and it chatters on the work table. This is startling to new scrollers especially and is an indication that the blade is too large or the saw speed is too slow. My rule of thumb is use the smallest blade possible to get the job done. You don’t want the blade to be so small it follows the grain of the wood, and it needs to be large enough to be stable so you can follow your line, but small enough so you can cut the detail you are attempting to cut.

Sorry I got so long in the answer. I suppose there are several things to consider and no one quick answer. Good luck and let us know how you do. :)

Sheila

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

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1173 posts in 930 days


#11 posted 762 days ago

I wouldn’t get caught up semantics of is it a jig saw or a scroll saw. It looks like a Delta Homecraft and those were fine little machines, better than any Ryobi or Harbor Freight, for sure. I picked up the large Delta and only issue I had was trying to find pinless blades, until I read that you can drive the pins out or grind them off. Have fun. If you find it’s not heavy enough then look for it’s bigger Delta brother.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7592 posts in 1554 days


#12 posted 762 days ago

You can easily squeeze out the pins with some needle nose pliers without damaging the blades. On most of the pinned blades I have seen, the pins themselves are separate little pieces that pop out without much trouble. If that is all you have, give it a try.

Sheila

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

14888 posts in 1201 days


#13 posted 762 days ago

Well, either way I’ve got $25 in this thing so it’ll stay in the shop. I appreciate all the information. Once the blades get here, I’ll post back how it works.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View William's profile

William

8977 posts in 1476 days


#14 posted 762 days ago

I use pinned blades in a plain blades only saw all the time. The way I get the pins out is, I drill a hole in a scrap piece of wood slightly larger than the pin. Then lay the blade on the scrap piece with the pin sticking into the hole, and give the other end of the pin a light tap with a hammer. The pin will pop through, flush on the side you hit it on. Then take a pair of pliers, wiggling a tad, and pull the pin on out. Repeat for the other end of the blade and you now have a plain end blade.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View William's profile

William

8977 posts in 1476 days


#15 posted 762 days ago

As for the scroll saw, these old machines work great for the kind of things you said you wish to do with it. They do not do so well with delicate, fine work, but again, that’s not what you said you want out of it.
On the older plunger type saws like the one you have here, there is one issue I have run into, and that is lack of blade tension. Without some tension, the blade simply wanders too much to be much use at all. Everyone I have found, from years of use, the tension just isn’t worth anything. There’s an easy fix though if you don’t wish to find and order a new spring for it. Disassemble the plunger assembly enough to remove the spring. Now take the spring at each end and stretch it out. Careful, you want to stretch it, not straighten it. This is going to stretch the spring out, causing it to exert more pressure when reassembled and compressed down into the plunger. Unless the spring is just completely worn out, this usually adds enough pressure to do the type work you’re wanting to do.
All this being said, because of the nature of the springs in these type saws, I never leave a blade connected in them. If you do, it keeps the spring compressed even when you’re not using it, and that’ll cause the spring to lose it’s strength again over time.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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