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Are all scroll saws created equal?

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Forum topic by Chris Davis posted 721 days ago 1106 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris Davis

1287 posts in 2579 days


721 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: scroll saw

I am looking for a scroll saw. I don’t do a lot of work with it but sometimes I do need one. I would like to just by one from a Lowes or someplace local. What do I need to look for? Is some of the cheaper brands okay? Is there any to avoid?

Any help would be great!

Chris
WWBeds Custom furniture

-- Watch live video from our shop. http://wwbeds.com/live.htm


12 replies so far

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

208 posts in 1918 days


#1 posted 721 days ago

Like everything in life and certainly tools there are HUGE differences between quality of the different scroll saws. What is your price range?

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2059 days


#2 posted 721 days ago

Chris…....I dont know if the Lowes or Home Depot brands are going to hold up. I dont know what your budget is but maybe a cruise of Craigslist might be in order. As you are probably aware I like the older machines and would suggest an older Delta or Powermatic. They can be had for under $200 and with a little work will last another 50+ years.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1595 days


#3 posted 721 days ago

If you are going to be doing occasional cutting just about any will do. Some real bargains can be found in used saws. I inherited a little 16in Ryobi that is not too bad. Long ago I had a lousy little Dremel that only took pinned blades and was awful to use because of the vibration and noise.

There is not that much difference below $200. I personally wouldn’t bother with the mid-range saws. They are not that much better than the cheap ones. More precisely, the low end saws have gotten a lot nicer. The high end saws are in a different world.

The thing to look for in the lower range is the ability to use both pinned and plain end blades. The pinned are about the same size as a coping saw blade (usually) and are “ok” for for stuff that is not very detailed. There are a lot more options once you get to the plain end blades.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Loren's profile

Loren

7226 posts in 2245 days


#4 posted 721 days ago

They are not all equal. The mechanisms, features,
throat capacity and smoothness of operation vary.

The Dewalt offers a good balance of features and higher-end
performance and a lot of people who do marquetry, intarsia
and other intricate scroll work like them. They are variable
speed and the table tilts both ways. Also they are I think
what is called a parallel link design which cuts smoother.

C-frame scroll saws have this design where the c-frame rocks
back and forth and the cut is faster but not as smooth.

The issues with cheaper mass-market scroll saws tend to
be vibration and uneven cuts.

I’d suggest you try to get out to a Woodcraft store or
connect with a local woodworking group and there will
no doubt be a Dewalt you can try out.

Used higher quality brands are RBI, Hegner, Hawk, and
Excaliber with a special mention to the large old
Powermatic machines some marquetarians like.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

456 posts in 1358 days


#5 posted 721 days ago

For a “sometimes need” one of the low priced ones should do. The only things I would warn about are:

1. Select one with the parallel arms to hold the blade taught. There is another type that has a spring tensioner for the blade and I have found that type doesn’t hold the blade tight enough and allows for the blade to bend in the cut much easier.

2. Be sure to get a variable speed with a wide range, particularly toward the low speed. This helps with delicate work.

3. Be sure to bolt the saw down to the bench. The reciprocal motion makes scroll saws vibrate a LOT! Controlling vibration makes for much more accurate cutting and make working more enjoyable.

4. If you can, get a saw that takes both pin-type blades and non-pin blades. And remember, pins can be easily removed from a pin-type blade if necessary.

Planeman

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

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1111 days


#6 posted 721 days ago

I owned a Skill, upgraded to a Dewalt years ago. Never looked back, it’s been a real horse, and has a good 2” clearance. Love it.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1520 days


#7 posted 721 days ago

I had a DeWalt 788 I bought used that was a good saw….til the motor burned up. No more than I use one now,I bought a PC at Lowes for $180.00(+ -) and it serves my purpose.
In answer to your question,like most things you get what you pay for. No reason to sink $1,500.00 in something you use once a month.
There are several scroll sawers on here, check with them. They will be glad to answer any questions.

-- Life is good.

View rando1's profile

rando1

163 posts in 1521 days


#8 posted 721 days ago

Hey Chris;
I have a Delta 40-560, High and low speed that is only been used maybe a half a dozen times. I wish I could use it more, Should fit your needs great. I would be willing to work a deal with you.

-- Randon Riegsecker, crosscutservices.com

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1287 posts in 2579 days


#9 posted 721 days ago

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Very good info.

-- Watch live video from our shop. http://wwbeds.com/live.htm

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

3831 posts in 925 days


#10 posted 721 days ago

Do you like a lot of noise and vibration?

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1287 posts in 2579 days


#11 posted 720 days ago

Noise okay, vibration not so much.

-- Watch live video from our shop. http://wwbeds.com/live.htm

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2317 days


#12 posted 720 days ago

Only the dual link parallel arm saws have low vibration and low noise. There are only three. Excalibur, DeWalt, and one Delta. Just bought the Excalibur, and like it a lot.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

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