Are all scroll saws created equal?

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Forum topic by Chris Davis posted 08-01-2012 03:57 PM 2325 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris Davis

1560 posts in 5036 days

08-01-2012 03:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: scroll saw

I am looking for a scroll saw. I don’t do a lot of work with it but sometimes I do need one. I would like to just by one from a Lowes or someplace local. What do I need to look for? Is some of the cheaper brands okay? Is there any to avoid?

Any help would be great!

WWBeds Custom furniture

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12 replies so far

View AHuxley's profile


874 posts in 4375 days

#1 posted 08-01-2012 04:02 PM

Like everything in life and certainly tools there are HUGE differences between quality of the different scroll saws. What is your price range?

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4516 days

#2 posted 08-01-2012 04:03 PM

Chris…....I dont know if the Lowes or Home Depot brands are going to hold up. I dont know what your budget is but maybe a cruise of Craigslist might be in order. As you are probably aware I like the older machines and would suggest an older Delta or Powermatic. They can be had for under $200 and with a little work will last another 50+ years.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4051 days

#3 posted 08-01-2012 05:14 PM

If you are going to be doing occasional cutting just about any will do. Some real bargains can be found in used saws. I inherited a little 16in Ryobi that is not too bad. Long ago I had a lousy little Dremel that only took pinned blades and was awful to use because of the vibration and noise.

There is not that much difference below $200. I personally wouldn’t bother with the mid-range saws. They are not that much better than the cheap ones. More precisely, the low end saws have gotten a lot nicer. The high end saws are in a different world.

The thing to look for in the lower range is the ability to use both pinned and plain end blades. The pinned are about the same size as a coping saw blade (usually) and are “ok” for for stuff that is not very detailed. There are a lot more options once you get to the plain end blades.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Loren's profile


11148 posts in 4701 days

#4 posted 08-01-2012 05:20 PM

They are not all equal. The mechanisms, features,
throat capacity and smoothness of operation vary.

The Dewalt offers a good balance of features and higher-end
performance and a lot of people who do marquetry, intarsia
and other intricate scroll work like them. They are variable
speed and the table tilts both ways. Also they are I think
what is called a parallel link design which cuts smoother.

C-frame scroll saws have this design where the c-frame rocks
back and forth and the cut is faster but not as smooth.

The issues with cheaper mass-market scroll saws tend to
be vibration and uneven cuts.

I’d suggest you try to get out to a Woodcraft store or
connect with a local woodworking group and there will
no doubt be a Dewalt you can try out.

Used higher quality brands are RBI, Hegner, Hawk, and
Excaliber with a special mention to the large old
Powermatic machines some marquetarians like.

View Planeman40's profile


1544 posts in 3814 days

#5 posted 08-01-2012 06:26 PM

For a “sometimes need” one of the low priced ones should do. The only things I would warn about are:

1. Select one with the parallel arms to hold the blade taught. There is another type that has a spring tensioner for the blade and I have found that type doesn’t hold the blade tight enough and allows for the blade to bend in the cut much easier.

2. Be sure to get a variable speed with a wide range, particularly toward the low speed. This helps with delicate work.

3. Be sure to bolt the saw down to the bench. The reciprocal motion makes scroll saws vibrate a LOT! Controlling vibration makes for much more accurate cutting and make working more enjoyable.

4. If you can, get a saw that takes both pin-type blades and non-pin blades. And remember, pins can be easily removed from a pin-type blade if necessary.


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

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3568 days

#6 posted 08-01-2012 07:38 PM

I owned a Skill, upgraded to a Dewalt years ago. Never looked back, it’s been a real horse, and has a good 2” clearance. Love it.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3976 days

#7 posted 08-01-2012 08:54 PM

I had a DeWalt 788 I bought used that was a good saw….til the motor burned up. No more than I use one now,I bought a PC at Lowes for $180.00(+ -) and it serves my purpose.
In answer to your question,like most things you get what you pay for. No reason to sink $1,500.00 in something you use once a month.
There are several scroll sawers on here, check with them. They will be glad to answer any questions.

-- Life is good.

View rando1's profile


163 posts in 3977 days

#8 posted 08-01-2012 09:48 PM

Hey Chris;
I have a Delta 40-560, High and low speed that is only been used maybe a half a dozen times. I wish I could use it more, Should fit your needs great. I would be willing to work a deal with you.

-- Randon Riegsecker,

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1560 posts in 5036 days

#9 posted 08-02-2012 11:56 AM

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Very good info.

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9857 posts in 3382 days

#10 posted 08-02-2012 01:26 PM

Do you like a lot of noise and vibration?

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1560 posts in 5036 days

#11 posted 08-02-2012 05:16 PM

Noise okay, vibration not so much.

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 4774 days

#12 posted 08-02-2012 05:20 PM

Only the dual link parallel arm saws have low vibration and low noise. There are only three. Excalibur, DeWalt, and one Delta. Just bought the Excalibur, and like it a lot.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

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