Is this worth it?

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 12-28-2014 03:00 AM 1747 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 1708 days

12-28-2014 03:00 AM

The guy is asking $185.

Delta/Rockwell 24 inch scroll saw on stand. Model 430-02-651-0001. ca. 1962.
1/3 hp, 4-speed
He says it works beautifully.

It’s a bit of a haul to drive to it so I thought I’d ask here first.

Appreciate any input. This would be my first scroll saw :)

14 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1447 days

#1 posted 12-28-2014 05:40 AM

In a word—no. These old style scroll saws have a completely different mechanism than modern saws. The motor cam/crank (or whatever) pulls the blade down and makes the cut. The upstroke is done by a spring in that tube at the top of the arm (over the blade). The spring has to be powerful enough to pull up the blade, and the faster the stroke speed (it’s probably single speed, but could be multi speed with step pulleys under the belt shroud), the more powerful the spring has to be. But the motor has to overcome the pull of the spring to make the next cut stroke, etc, thus robbing the saw of a portion of the power. This puts a definite limit on the speed potential of the stroke. If the spms are too fast, the blade will start to “float” (the spring can’t pull it up fast enough) and you’ll get a lot of clattering.

Modern saws mostly use two moving parallel arms—upper and lower, so no power is wasted trying to overcome spring tension. A few (Dewalt 788 and Excalibur come to mind) use a “parallel link” mechanism. They are more expensive machines.

That being said, that looks like a fairly late, maybe deluxe version of the saw. And it does have a substantial looking induction motor—which is probably necessary to overcome the limits I’ve been talking about.

Edit: I looked at your post again, and see it is a 4 speed. And the motor is 1/3 hp, which is what it looks like. Anyhow, I think you would get more satisfaction out of a modern design scroll saw, although they are not all equal by any means. That’s a whole ‘nother thread.

And $185 is too much, in my opinion.

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

View MikesProjects's profile


159 posts in 1323 days

#2 posted 12-28-2014 08:29 AM

Yeah its worth it if one has extra funds to play with. Id offer him 120- 140, im sure you could resell it for 150 at a later date if you choose but its a 24”. also search the model # & see what others think around the web, educate yourself, thats what I do but sometimes I miss out on the deals because im educating my self for too long ;)

it’s like what the previous poster mentioned regarding springs, he seems to know, maybe this particular machine has tight springs & im sure they are replaceable but its a delta & a 24”. If you can use a saw like this & you decide to pass with out going there then atleast offer him a lower amount over the phone, he just might make your day.

-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )

View johnstoneb's profile


2105 posts in 1594 days

#3 posted 12-28-2014 01:01 PM

x1 runs with scissors. I’ve used that design saw and they don’t hold a candle to the newer design. The spring can’t keep up with the higher blade speeds you breadk blades.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Minorhero's profile


372 posts in 2026 days

#4 posted 12-28-2014 01:14 PM

I own an old walker turner scroll saw and love it. The little modern scrolls that I have used (dewalt and Excalibur) seem to lack power by comparison and the dewalt vibrated so much at high speed I thought it was going to walk across the floor.

The delta you linked is a pretty complete model with belt cover and original stand. The price is fair in Maryland where I live but I would still offer him 150.

The key issue when looking at it is if the pulleys are still true so run it at every speed before buying. If one speed has crazy amount of wobble then chances are there I a bend I the pulley at that level. You will also likely have to replace bearings in the motor.

The first poster was not correct about the spring causing the blade to rise or fall. Its just there to keep tension. There is a crankbox filled with an oil bath below the table that makes the blade rise and fall. Move the saw upright and put something under I to catch any leaks.

Short answer is its definitely worth it if you want a scroll saw.

View dhazelton's profile


2287 posts in 1718 days

#5 posted 12-28-2014 02:11 PM

That’s a very complete unit and I like the shutoff mechanism. If you go for it just make sure he shows you how to install a blade properly. I THINK they take pinless blades, so you have to knock the pin out of any blades you buy. The multi speed is nice if you ever need to cut sheets of metal like brass or aluminum. For what it’s worth, I paid $125 for one (painted orange and green!), have seen many at auctions go without a bid, and picked up a Delta Homecraft recently at auction for $2.50 (two dollars fifty cents). If you pass another one will show up. It is very heavy and if you lay it down in your vehicle use moving blankets and be aware that you may have some oil leak out of the gearbox that you’ll have to top off.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2343 days

#6 posted 12-28-2014 02:30 PM

I would not touch that saw. The motor has value though. The spring return feature restricts the amount of tension that can be put on the saw. The blade holders are likely for pin end blades. They are very thick blades when compared to modern pin-less blades. That saw was called a “Jig Saw” back in the 50’s. A collector may want it but to use, I would opt for a modern scroll saw.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View kepy's profile


290 posts in 1695 days

#7 posted 12-28-2014 03:08 PM

It will work but will be very hard on the finer scrolling blades. I used an older Delta for several years but if you are serious in scrolling, you will want a more modern machine. You can adjust the tension by raising or lowering the tube that contains the spring. Just for reference, I paid $150 for mine 40 years ago.

-- Kepy

View Bmezz's profile


34 posts in 805 days

#8 posted 12-28-2014 05:05 PM

It depends what you want it for. I have restored many old Rockwell and Beaver tools, including jig saws, and I can tell you they are built like a tank. That one looks like it was nicely restored. Most of the old ones will take pin or pinless blades as well as cut off pieces of band saw blade. Go to and look up that model for specs. I say buy it. You really can’t lose. That remote motor switch is rare and classic. If you intend to really fine intarsia work it might not be for you but otherwise it beats all but the really high end saws available today. FWIW

-- Member Valley Woodturners Ottawa

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


4031 posts in 1620 days

#9 posted 12-28-2014 05:51 PM

Model 40-440 apparently.. fairly sought after model in the owwm community. I’ve seen them pop up from time to time in my area for $200 and up in much rougher condition. They are built like a tank and purr like a well oiled sewing machine when properly tuned up. Basically an industrial machine built to take abuse all day long. The price is very reasonable provided it runs properly.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 842 days

#10 posted 12-29-2014 04:24 PM

the first & foremost objective when buying a scroll a saw, in my opinion, is to first decide what type of scroll work you plan to do with the saw. As mentioned, this particular feller wouldn’t suffice if you were doing an extreme amount of fret work, or intarsia. If you were to buy it just to shine up, & fix a few things on it, & attempt to resell it to make a few bucks, eh, maybe, but, I doubt it. Myself, I own 5 scroll saws, & two of those I’ve worn out completely. And one of those two, I purchased brand new. I do a large amount of fret work, detail work, sign making, things like that. Yes, It requires patience, and every project uses different blades. Some use a number of sizes of blades, which most folks do not realize. Are those blades available for that saw? would you be comfortable sittin’ at that saw for however many hours you plan to sit at it at one time workin’ on a project? Are replacement parts available? All things to think about in the value of a saw. It may not be worth it to the guy across from ya, but if ya can get some service out of it, & make it work in your shop, then yes, it MIGHT be worth it, but a saw that old is always questionable to me. And I like workin’ on things like that, myself. But if I cant get some kinda service in return out of it, its an absolute waste of money…just my two pennies worth.

-- Sawdust703

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1447 days

#11 posted 12-30-2014 09:04 AM

Clarification: The spring doesn’t raise the blade, but it’s pull is an essential part of the action, as the bottom arm can’t push the blade up (try pushing on a scroll saw blade, and it will just crumple; the old style coping saw, which was my intro to scrolling a very long time ago, has a frame that tensions the blade between two arms). The spring still has to be strong enough to move the blade up, and the problems I mentioned will still happen (as others have confirmed). Good point also about pinned blades. You can hardly even find pinned blades nowadays, and they are much wider and coarser than the plain end blades. Way fewer choices in pin-end blades, too (I mean TPI, thickness, skip tooth, up teeth combined with down teeth, etc.).

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

View Lumberpunk's profile


323 posts in 1758 days

#12 posted 12-30-2014 04:14 PM

I picked up one of these for $60 the other day. I don’t do a lot of scroll sawing but when I do I’m happy.

Hold out for a better deal.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View unbob's profile


693 posts in 1325 days

#13 posted 12-30-2014 04:37 PM

I have one, I tend to think the machine is for a bit coarser work then the really fine scroll work. But, the really fine blades will work, and some do fine work with them.
Its harder to change the tiny blades on the old Delta, have to fiddle getting them straight in the wide mouth chucks, and the spring tension.
Most of the time, I use the saw for cutting out center sections of various projects, like holes for speakers.
The upper arm removes with one bolt, saber saw blades can be chucked, and large pieces worked “never tried it”.
For most things I do, I buy the cheap Ryobi blades at HD and pull the pins out.
I had a small bench top saw for awhile, the old Delta is much better in my experience.
There were really large scroll saws like ones made by Oliver, for a class of scroll work like Ginger Bread trim on houses. The Delta seems to be in the middle weight class.

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


4031 posts in 1620 days

#14 posted 12-30-2014 05:08 PM

That machine will take any blade you can throw at it.. and is considered one of the best scroll saws ever made by many.. particularly for fret work and marquetry; because, unlike other saw designs, the blade travels perfectly up and down with no forward/backward motion. Cut a stack of 10-12 layers and the bottom will be identical to the top. It is a well regarded machine and the one listed is in what looks like excellent condition and complete.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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