Got a 20" scroll saw.... now what?

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Forum topic by AaronK posted 08-09-2009 05:17 PM 5762 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1506 posts in 3490 days

08-09-2009 05:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: scroll saw

So i picked up a Craftsman 113.236400 Scroll Saw. The thing is kind of massive for a scroll saw – 20” and all cast iron. My wife thought it’d be nice to make christmas ornaments and such.

My interests are more in the line of solid furniture – what’s this baby good for besides tiny ornamental stuff? with a wide blade in it will it get anywhere near bandsaw capabilities – say for making smooth curves in 3/4 hardwood? how about joinery?

6 replies so far

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Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3738 days

#1 posted 12-16-2009 06:39 AM

Jave you experimented at all with this? How did it handle the thicker stock you wrote about?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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1506 posts in 3490 days

#2 posted 12-16-2009 04:03 PM

well, i think i dont like scroll saws too much… at least not for anything other than conventional scroll saw type stuff. i find it impossible to saw a straight line, and 3/4” hardwood is about the limit, even if there is more space in the blade travel.

i made some ~4” heart ornaments and it was OK for that, but i think it would have gone much more smoothly on a band saw. the blade stability of the band saw, combined with the greater blade width make it easier to cut smoother curves. the scroll saw blades are just too thin for that and are really best at tight radius curves.

View seyit's profile


9 posts in 3100 days

#3 posted 12-28-2009 09:04 PM

Hi AaronK;
I drift from project to project,and often use my scroll saw which is 16”. I am able to scroll out soft wood nearing 2” thick,but my favorite thickness for hardwood(finished work looks better and nicer with hard wood) is 1/2”. On this material I have been scrolling very detailed Wildlife series.I use Nr. 0,and rarely Nr 1 blade.For cutting straight lines you should climb up to Nr 9 or up.If you intend to cut the out borders of pattern only then a bandsaw say something around 9” would be better.To scroll out tiny details of patterns you needen’t cut straight lines. The throat depth of your saw will allow you to scroll out panoramic works ,too.
seyit from Turkey

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1506 posts in 3490 days

#4 posted 12-28-2009 09:12 PM

thanks for the tips. Im not quite sure which type blades i was using (the guy i bought the saw from had two packages, one was slightly more fine in width and tpi than the other, but both seemed very fine to me!). For what i was doing definitely a wider blade wouldve been good. I’ll have too look into it!

View JTTHECLOCKMAN's profile


223 posts in 3175 days

#5 posted 12-30-2009 05:11 AM

I would say Arron you have yourself a Delta P20 saw. They ran around $450 new and being Delta does not make scrollsaws any more you have an antique sort of. I assume it is the one where you need to change the belt to change the speed. Here is a site that might interest you because there is maitainence on those saws.

Now a scrollsaw can make very very smooth radius curves and it operator error if you can’t. Just like a bandsaw. The niche of a scrollsaw is it can cut fret work which require drilling holes and threading a blde through the hole and cutting. No bandsaw can do that. It also can do the tightest radius cuts possibe. You are limited by the travel of the arm which is 2” and the depth which is 20” but there is ways arouind that so you could cut even longer boards. I suggest while you are on the site I gave a link to there is a ton of reading material, everything from what blades to use to how to make the basic cuts. Scrolling is fun. Who said you can’t make smooth curves? How about these

-- John T.

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3208 days

#6 posted 12-30-2009 06:00 AM

There are many uses for a scroll saw, If you do any pen turning you can pre-cut the blanks with fret work and then fill them with different colored woods, embossing powder crushed stone etc… and make one of a kind pens. Beautiful fret work projects, Intarsia projects and many other things can be accomplished. If you have the space don’t get rid of it but keep it and get to know it’s capabilities. Someday you’ll see a picture in a magazine or project plan that catches your eye and you’ll be glad you kept it. Have the wife try using it, If see likes woodworking!

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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