Scroll Saw reviews overwhelming??? HELP

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 01-15-2011 02:04 PM 33272 views 1 time favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View becikeja's profile


1159 posts in 3782 days

01-15-2011 02:04 PM

Here’s the deal. I have been reading the scroll saw reviews for several weeks now and just can’t make up my mind. What Scroll Saw should I buy? I am asking anyone with experience to weigh in with their thoughts on the topic.

I consider myself a weekend warrior. I have never made the same thing twice (at least I can’t remember if I did). I have been intrigued by intarsia lately. Ok passed intrigued more like obsessed. I have attempted to do a piece on the band saw with some success, but clearly need a scroll saw. I also like to cut out 3D puzzles on my band saw out of 2” lumber, considering using the scroll saw for this also. Right now I have an old craftsman 13” so anything will be an upgrade.

I am looking at the Excalibur 16” EX-16 and the Dewalt 20” DW788. Seem’s like I can’t go wrong with either. Then I read the review on the Menards Masterforce 18” at less than half the price and……… Well let’s just ask, should I spend the extra money is it worth it for what I want to do. I know in the past, I have found that if I have to force the tool to do the job I abandon it quickly. Please weigh in. I appreciate and value all your responses.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

37 replies so far

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4931 days

#1 posted 01-15-2011 09:17 PM

Had a Craftsman, had a Dremel. I own a Dewalt and never looked back. Added the legs, foot pedal lift and light. Love it.

-- Berta in NC

View OHpjmac's profile


14 posts in 4496 days

#2 posted 01-16-2011 03:38 AM

I have had a Hegner since I bought new in 1986 and and the only thing I had to replace was the pump. I had a Dremmel for a very short time and I did not think much of it.

View Madwood's profile


68 posts in 4020 days

#3 posted 01-16-2011 04:19 AM

I have been scrolling for ovewr 25 yrs and have gone through ay least 6 saws that I can remember. $ yrs ago, I bought a Dewalt through Grizzly and I have done more scrolling than ever before. My thought is to get the best tool you can afford the first time. This way your money isn’t wasted and neither is you interest. If you pick up a clunker of a saw and have to fight it to get quality cuts, you may lose interest entirely.

You can’t go wrong with either the EX16 or the DW788 although 4 inches more throat is always a plus.


-- In the shop making chaos out of order

View MrsN's profile


988 posts in 4495 days

#4 posted 01-16-2011 07:53 AM

I currently have a Hitachi model that has been discontinued. When I upgrade it will be to a Dewalt. I have 2 Dewalts in my school shop and I love them. When working at home, all I do is scroll.

If you prefer a lower cost option…recently one of the scroll saw magazines reviewed all sorts. The porter cable, sold at lowes, reviewed really well. It appears to be a different paint job on the hitachi that I own (i am not sure if it really is) I used it breifly in the store, and it seemed to work well. I believe that the porter cable saw is $180.

I don’t remember which of the menards saws it is, but one of them only takes pinned blades. That will likely become a point of frustration for you. I personally didn’t like the look and feel of the masterforce saw, but it might be just me.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3903 days

#5 posted 01-16-2011 09:11 AM

I bought a HF scrollsaw when I started this hobby. I though it was a steal at $69.
That thing is like a wild horse; It vibrates, jumps and make a lot of strange noises.

I bought a dewalt recently: It is a joy!

Very little noise. almost no vibration. I use it at night a couple of times and my wife didn’t notice.

I had no problem cutting through 13/16 oak.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 3889 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 02:32 PM

I put my two cents in for the Dewalt or Excalibur. If you are willing to spend the money I am sure you would be happy with a Hegner too as long as you get a variable speed model.

There were a few people of late that have had issues with vibration on new Dewalt saws. It seems there is a quality control issue. In another forum, they have discovered a misalignment between the top and bottom arms seems to be the issue which causes more than normal front to back movement on the blade. Some people have been lengthening the screw holes on the end of the bottom arm to bring the bottom blade holder forward slightly which has made a big improvement. This, of course would void any warranty I’m sure. I have only seen a few people with this issue but it’s something to think about.

Personally I have only used the Dewalt and I think it’s a great saw. Ours is about 14 years old, has seen lots of use and has never needed anything besides one new set of blade holders. Still, I am yearning to give the Excalibur a try just to see how I like it.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3811 days

#7 posted 01-17-2011 05:01 AM

If you really get into scrolling, your saw choice will eventually become a matter of personal choice. Asking which is better than another is like getting together a group of dedicated Ford guys with a group of Bowtie junkies and asking them all together which is better.
Myself (you can check out my projects to guage my scrolling abilities), I like my “entry level” Delta SS250 that I bought on clearance for $69. If I could take my pick of saws (if I could find one and could afford it), it would be a Delta P20 or a Delta Q3.
I have talked to many people who use the Dewalt 788. Myself, I got the chance to test one and was not impressed. Dont’ get me wrong. It is a great saw. In my opinion though, it was just not enough better than my Delta SS250 to justify the price jump.
As for the Excaliber, this at one time was my unicorn. I dreamed of owning one. I realize now that my thinking was flawed though. After much consideration it came down to this. I thought with all the hype and the price tag on it, that it just had to be a superior saw. Why else could they justify such a high cost? Well, finally I came down to earth and have talked to four different people that actually owned the Excaliber.
Then I done some lengthy research on the Excaliber. I scoured the internet for all the photos, reviews, and stories I could find, anything to do with the Excaliber. Even though I knew I’d probably never be able to afford one, I guess I just wanted to know what made this saw so much better to cost over a grand when I was cutting happily on my saw that cost less than a benjamin.
In my opinion, getting an Excaliber is like buying a Rolls Royce. Yes it’s a good saw. Yes you get the name and the bragging rights. Beyond that though, you get a saw. While it may be a great saw, it is still a saw. I have not found one single review or owner who can tell me a single things that justifies the price tag.
So, given the choices you mentioned in your post, I recommend the Dewalt. I have heard very few complaints about this saw. While I do have a preference of Delta, if I was to be impartial, the Dewalt seems like a very good saw for what it costs.
If I had the chance to buy a Dewalt for a cost I could afford, I’d probably jump on it. The funny things is though, if I had a Dewalt, I would buy the kit to change the blade holders (these kits are available through several sources) to the Quickclamp II sytem that is found on Delta saws. I think the Quickclamp II system is far superior to any other clamping system out there today.


View TJ65's profile


1398 posts in 4019 days

#8 posted 01-17-2011 10:19 AM

I went thru a couple of cheap ryobi’s until enough was enough and they just didn’t do what i ended up wanting to do. I bought an Excalibur 12 months ago and haven’t looked back. YES it was expensive but worth every penny. Believe me, if you aint got it you cant use it. You might be just interested in intarsia at the moment but once you get a machine that can actually do other stuff …...well, ....enough said. Imagination is all that is required and the sky is the limit in possibilities of great endless projects. Just check out my project page to see what I mean! (I still cant decide what I enjoy doing on the scrollsaw.)

-- Theresa,

View patch's profile


16 posts in 3658 days

#9 posted 01-17-2011 11:17 AM

I have a delta it rattles and bangs but still goes well it would be 4years old. I also have a Excalibur will never buy one again it will not stand up to the hard work bearing are housed in aluminium and come loss had to turn it out and put a metal sleeve to fix the problem blade holder wears thread out again only aluminium I use my saw 5 to 6 hours 5 days a week and it just over 12 months old I paid $1300 AU for it thinking you only get what you pay for so I thought I was getting a good saw
This is just my experience with the Excalibur and there would be a lot of people that would not agree with me

-- patch (Graham) Moama Australia

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4682 days

#10 posted 01-17-2011 05:14 PM

I have the Dewalt and I use it mostly to cut veneer but i have also done some kids puzzles,it has been a great tool,and I would buy it again.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View TheDane's profile


5913 posts in 4632 days

#11 posted 01-17-2011 06:04 PM

I have a Dremel 1830 … before that I had a 16” Craftsman and some no-name saw I picked up at a garage sale. I have also looked at the MasterForce at Menards.

If I were going to buy a new saw today, I wouldn’t consider any of them.

The Hegner and Excalibur saws sound good in the reviews, but they can be a little pricey.

The DeWalt DW788 costs a couple of hundred bucks less, and draws mostly favorable reviews. For example, has over 100 reviews on the DW788 dating back more than 10 years … 67% give it 5 stars. I had a chance to use a DW788 in the workshop of a friend, and it is rock solid … a real pleasure to use when compared to my Dremel.

I also took note of the fact that Steve Good (Scrollsaw Workshop … has two of them in his shop. Steve shops and buys very carefully.

I don’t think you could go wrong with a Hegner or Excalibur, but my choice would be the DeWalt DW788.

FWIW, I have seen a couple of DW788’s on Craigslist around our area as well.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3835 days

#12 posted 01-17-2011 06:28 PM

I use to have a Hegner many years back and I liked it but have never been a big scroller. I sold it and did without a scroll saw for a number of years. Then a couple of years ago I got a Dewalt. What few times I’ve used it were maybe a couple of hours at a time. I’m pretty good with maintenance since I’ve worked in furniture and moulding plants for most of my life where I maintained the equipment. I like the way that the Dewalt is built after being able to look it over in my shop and before I bought it I read a lot of good reviews and personal opinions of it. I believe that it is a good saw for the money and am not sorry that I bought it. I know that my opinion would count for more if I used it more but I’m not a big user of a scroll saw. However, that is my 2 cents worth.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View becikeja's profile


1159 posts in 3782 days

#13 posted 01-18-2011 12:55 AM

I really appreciate everyones input. Based on many of the comments and my own research so far, I’m leaning more and more towards the Dewalt.

Thanks again

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 3865 days

#14 posted 01-18-2011 01:23 AM

I also have a Dewalt. I’ve never tried the Excalibur. As someone mentioned get a variable speed one. Also someone said something about the vibration. When I first started using the scroll saw I didn’t use it on the stand that came with it. It vibrated all over the place so I thought I’d put it on the stand. It may the worlds of difference for me. I also made a stand for it from plywood with rollers and added an anti-vibration mate. I don’t have any vibration at all now. I purchased a test tube holder and plastic test tubes with lids to store my saw blades in. I then used a rear earth magnet to secure it to the stand. I’m just glad I didn’t purchase something cheap then I’d have to upgrade later.

Good Luck

-- - Helping other woodworker's

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4396 days

#15 posted 01-18-2011 03:22 AM

I have a dewalt and love it. Before that I had a cheap sears model that had to be bolted down to the work table so it wouldn’t vibrate off onto the floor.

I make blade holders out of 1/2” scrap pvc
I bore holes in a 2×4 and glue on end of the pipe into the board

-- Emmett, from Georgia

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