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Help!! Old Craftsman Scroll Saw

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Forum topic by dj1096 posted 02-25-2013 08:10 AM 3221 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dj1096

33 posts in 607 days


02-25-2013 08:10 AM

Topic tags/keywords: new craftsman vintage help question scroll saw scrollworking turning

Not sure I am posting in the right spot since I just joined, but here goes.

Older cast iron craftsman scroll saw. Has a rolling stand with it. Works fine.

I recently saw this ad on Criaigslist for $50. It will cost me another $40 to go get it in gas.

Now here is the thing. I have spent my life in wood working. I was a foreman on high-end houses, made it into galleries with wood turnings and sculptures, but I have not ran a scroll saw since Jr. High and I am a bit dumb about them. To me it seems like a good deal. I have contacted the owner and was told it currently has a 5” pin-less blade, but can also take one with pins. He has only used it a few times. I am not sure if it is a variable or not, but I assume I could ad a variable switch to it. I know it is old but I have always liked older machines in a shop.

My use for one is yet undecided. My last job before I became disabled was managing a hardwood store and liked the intarsia I wood see customers do. I am also doing some knife making and can see using a scroll saw on the handles. Truthfully I just do not know. My disability makes me nervous running a Lathe like I did. (I tend to get carried away with rustic woods and thin walls!) So I am trying to find new ways to express my art and I have to stay with wood…it is in my blood.

So what do you think? Good deal? Or should I just keep looking for a newer one….or stay to what I know??

Any advice would be welcomed.

-- Dave, http://www.facebook.com/DavidSkipperArt?fref=ts


23 replies so far

View BigJerryWayne's profile

BigJerryWayne

136 posts in 792 days


#1 posted 02-25-2013 10:29 AM

I don’t know anything about that saw, but the motor alone should be worth the money and gas.

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View William's profile

William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#2 posted 02-25-2013 01:25 PM

Ninety bucks total isn’t bad for the saw if you just like having antique tools like me. I have one similar to this one sitting in my shop. I restored it and it is usable, but it is more of a conversation piece than anything else.
These were great saws back in the day, but when compared to the accuracy of modern saws, they don’t have much use these days for actual work. I’ve been known to crank up on of my antique saws to rough cut some pieces just for the novelty of it. If I need to cut something with accuracy though for something like an intarsia piece like you mentioned, I’ll use one of my modern saws.

This saw was made by one of several companies that made them way back when. Most of them you find today are Sears and Roebuck saws. The tension mechanism is a spring operated plunger type.
The table angle is finicky to set. So it is best to get it square and leave it there.
Use course cutting blades in it. The tension is not great enough to make use of finer blades. This is not a flaw in them. Back when they were produced, most people were not doing the detailed work with scroll saws that a lot of people enjoy doing today.
The up and down motion of the blade is accomplished with an oil lubricated gear box with one of several different style offset shaft and attachment systems. It’s hard to describe without having good closeup photos on hand to show. Compared to the modern sleeve bearing linkage type systems of today though, the drive systems on these old antique saws are virtualy indestructible.
I am sure the saw works fine. I’ve never seen one that didn’t. The worst case scenerio I’ve seen on these saws is for them to be so covered in rust that they aren’t worth cleaning. That does not seem to be the case here.
The easiest way to get variable speed on these saws is to find and install stepped pulleys. It’s usually pretty easy to find ones with four sized pulleys ganged together. Installing one of these on the motor or the drive assembly gives you four different speeds. Installing the same setup on both the motor and gear assembly give you an even wider range of speeds.

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

View kepy's profile

kepy

167 posts in 962 days


#3 posted 02-25-2013 02:17 PM

William is correct in his comments. You will find that this type saw is very hard on blades. Pulling against the spring seems to create a strain that causes the blades to break, especially if you are using finer blades.

-- Kepy

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dj1096

33 posts in 607 days


#4 posted 02-28-2013 03:53 AM

Thank you very much. I think I will pass on this one. If I was still actively working I think I would love it in my shop to use for rough cuts, but after listening to the pros I think I will wait for another deal. Any suggestions on a mid grade saw? I have limited funds but very high expectations! LOL Seriously I’m just looking for a decent tool to learn on without taking out a loan. I do love the older machines but understand that what we want out of most of them today, the older ones just were not built for.

-- Dave, http://www.facebook.com/DavidSkipperArt?fref=ts

View William's profile

William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#5 posted 02-28-2013 04:27 AM

I use a Delta SS250.
It is considered a beginner saw, but has always stood up to anything I’ve thrown at it.
The problem is, I haven’t seen them sold in a while.
You can still find them from time to time on Ebay and such.
I’ve seen them go for as little as $50.
I bought mine on clearance at a local hardware store for $59.

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

View William's profile

William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#6 posted 02-28-2013 04:28 AM

I forgot.
There are a couple of modifications to be made on the Delta SS250.
Nothing major.
Things like changing the plastic nut on the Quickclamp II system for a sturdier metal wing nut.
If you happen to find one and buy it, let me know and I could help you get it set up.
I have this thread on my watch list.
So you could post any questions here.

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

View StayinBroke's profile

StayinBroke

53 posts in 660 days


#7 posted 03-03-2013 03:38 AM

I’m currently using a porter cable and have had good luck with it after over a year, but it does have its flaws. It is, after all a low end saw, but better than others I’ve used. For a good mid grade saw, take a look at Excalibur. Cast iron table, variable speed, front tensioning, speed controls and on off switch, and with parallel link arms. The feature I am most drawn to is that instead of a tilting table, it has a tilting head. The upper and lower arms swivel on an axis while the table remains flat. That means no craning your neck off to the side while trying to do a bevel cut at 45 degrees.

-- I'm just me.

View William's profile

William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#8 posted 03-03-2013 11:57 AM

I have just got to ask. I can’t help myself.
The Excaliber, for me with shipping, runs around a thousand dollars for the lowest priced one.
If that is mid grade, since I always considered the Excaliber top of the line compared to my feeblw budget, what is the best of the best?
My dream saw, if money was no object, is an Excaliber with a thirty inch throat. I’ve learned to cut extremely large pieces on my sixteen inch using spirals. I’ve even cut a five foot long last supper portrait. It just thrills me thinking what I could do with a thrity inch throat, ability to thread blades from top or bottom, and tilting head.

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

View dj1096's profile

dj1096

33 posts in 607 days


#9 posted 03-09-2013 11:38 PM

I kind of would like to get an older scroll saw, but as mentioned, some do not do what we need today. Any thoughts of one that might work?

Again I found another vintage saw from the late 40’s a Dunlap saw 103.2179. I wonder, if it could not adjust tight enough for fine blades then could one replace the spring for one with more resistance?

http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/222/869.pdf

The spring 30617 in this break down would not be to hard to replace wood it?

-- Dave, http://www.facebook.com/DavidSkipperArt?fref=ts

View William's profile

William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#10 posted 03-10-2013 01:45 AM

The spring would not be hard to replace at all. If you have basic mechanical knowledge, it is simple.
However, it still would not handle what a modern saw would. That is why these saws are no longer made with the plunger type systems. They just would tension the blade tight enough for detail work.
All that being said, that doesn’t necessarily make the saw useless. They are great for larger, less detailed work. As a matter of fact, if I need to cut stock over about an inch, as long as it isn’t extremely detailed, I do sometimes go for the antique saws, because they cut thicker stock better. They just aren’t well suited for detail work.

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

View SYPUCK's profile

SYPUCK

37 posts in 540 days


#11 posted 05-01-2013 09:47 PM

That is an oldie for sure. I guess if you have the space for it it is o.k. but you can buy a new one for about $100.00
or even look on craigslist for a newer one.

View Dakkar's profile

Dakkar

297 posts in 616 days


#12 posted 05-02-2013 02:57 AM

Variable speed control is pretty important with a scroll saw, as is an air blower and other features. I love old tools, myself, but with some types of tools, newer is better. That’s the case with scroll saws.

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dj1096

33 posts in 607 days


#13 posted 05-02-2013 11:55 AM

Well I guess I am hard headed!! I know a new saw would perhaps do finer work but I have decided at least for now to go a totally route.

Every year in our small little Oklahoma town they have a parade and booths for “Pioneer Day” marking the sooner run and the town’s founding. This year I signed up to do a charity drive for Multiple Sclerosis and plan to have a booth and demo woodworking as it would of been done in the 1800s. So I found a set of plans from The Woodwright’s Shop for a scroll saw that mounts to my treadle lathe.

I know I will get a new one later but I think this will be a fun way to begin. I have always loved the more primitive wood tools!!

-- Dave, http://www.facebook.com/DavidSkipperArt?fref=ts

View Dakkar's profile

Dakkar

297 posts in 616 days


#14 posted 05-02-2013 04:34 PM

Well, that’s a fun idea. Please post some picks if you build it. There are some advantages to self-powered tools, of course, most particularly constant speed regulation. Saws like that can actually be preferable to motorized scroll saws for things like delicate inlays, marquetry and such.

View woodworkerforchrist's profile

woodworkerforchrist

129 posts in 546 days


#15 posted 05-03-2013 12:38 PM

I love scrollsawing but i have a couple newer ones. But that looks like an antique.. id keep it!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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