Vintage Delta 1200...anyone have one?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Scrollsawing forum

Forum topic by ForestGrl posted 08-15-2015 05:40 PM 1506 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ForestGrl's profile


450 posts in 2092 days

08-15-2015 05:40 PM

Anyone have one of these ? I’m a sucker for these older designs, pre-1950’s. I have a used RBI Hawk that I’ve never run, needs some parts and I’ve been into turning, so it’s collecting dust. Wonder how they compare, LOL.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

8 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6822 posts in 3499 days

#1 posted 08-16-2015 02:48 PM

I don’t have that one, but I had a Craftsman 103.0404 (24” throat, of that design) and another smaller one and I also have an RBI. There’s a lot to be said about that older design that uses a plunger on top to allow the blade to move…as opposed to the walking arm style that’s more common on newer saws. The older ones usually had to change the belt on a pulley to adjust speed; my RBI has a dial that does the same thing. The old ones in good condition are really quite usable, quiet and rock solid (from all that cast iron). But if you don’t have one in good shape you may never get it to work as parts are almost impossible to find. There’s a lot of videos over at OWWM of guys with these older scrolls saws using them; and as much as I like them…I still think my RBI has the edge.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 4370 days

#2 posted 08-16-2015 04:32 PM

You will do far better with the RBI. Two things make those older saws difficult to use, especially for smaller and more intricate work. The first is the spring return for the top end of the blade. If you bind the blade while making a tight curve the spring will not be able to pull the blade back up, the lower blade mechanism will continue to rise and the blade will buckle and cause it to break. The second problem is that most of these older saws used pin end blades, making it impossible to thread the blade through tiny holes in intricate patterns. Modern saws like the RBI use straight end blades that can be threaded through very tiny holes of 1/16” or less.

With the RBI saw the blade arms pull the blade both up and down making a spring return system obsolete and significantly reducing blade breakage. You will be able to use much smaller blades with no pins in the ends. You will be much happier using the RBI saw since there is a huge technology difference between that old Delta saw and your RBI saw. Bushton Mfg. now owns RBI and parts are still available for the RBI saws. See The RBI scroll saws are some of the best on the market for ease of use and cutting ability. Sell the Delta saw and put the money you get for it into the RBI.


View ForestGrl's profile


450 posts in 2092 days

#3 posted 08-17-2015 03:02 AM

Thanks for the input, Fred and Charley. I’ll stick with the Hawk (not sure when I’ll use it, though). It only needs a couple of small parts IIRC, and I like having a scroll saw around. There are some things it is very best at. I can’t do the really intricate stuff, too many neck and back problems, but I enjoy scrolling approaching the holidays.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


8406 posts in 3205 days

#4 posted 08-17-2015 03:39 AM

That 1200 is one of my quest machines :)

It uses straight blades and can use pinned ones if you knock out the pins. It was probably one of the best made scroll saws ever produced by Delta and, if properly taken care of, will last several lifetimes. Is the one you have operational or just needing some love? Edit: Nevermind.. just saw the CL ad – looks like a really nicely cared for machine.


PS: Manual is here: Operating and Maintenance manual
(in case you haven’t already found it!)

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Planeman40's profile


1536 posts in 3767 days

#5 posted 08-17-2015 04:54 PM

I am partial to the newer (not really – the old foot powered scroll saws often used the parallel arms) parallel arm scroll saws for, as CharleyL says, they minimize blade breakage and allow the use of very thin saw blades. The spring return type works well with heavier blades but can’t handle thin blades as it can’t offer the constant tension needed. The parallel arm type allows increased and constant tension for the thin fine blades and minimizes blade breakage and side movement of the blade under pressure in tight turns. I had one of those old Delta spring tension scroll saws and finally gave it away. I bought a cheap Chinese parallel type scroll saw for occasional use and find it to do great work!


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

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 2236 days

#6 posted 08-17-2015 05:54 PM

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View 5626's profile


1 post in 1897 days

#7 posted 12-17-2015 11:26 PM

I have what I believe is the exact same saw, but can’t find the model number. It was used in a local high school wood shop for years. It works but needs some TLC.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3302 days

#8 posted 12-18-2015 12:44 AM

I have one. And I’ve never worked it because I can’t seem to get the blade installed correctly. If you want a heavy machine with a good solid table and it’s all there it’s hard to go wrong. They usually go for $100-$150.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics