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Scroll Saw Selection – Choosing the Right Saw for Your Needs

Obviously enough, one of the first things many people want to know when getting started with scrolling as a hobby is what saw to buy. Whether you are looking to purchase your first scroll saw, or you are looking to upgrade to a better one, there are many things to consider. In this article I will attempt to touch on all aspects so that you are able to make an informed decision. I will also make some recommendations based on personal experience and what I feel is the general consensus of the scroll sawyers I have discussed the matter with.

Important Considerations

Blade Changing and Blade Holders: The saw should accept standard 5″ pinless blades. A lot of  Article Scroll  work simply cannot be done with a saw that requires pinned blades. While pinned blades have some advantages, they have one very big disadvantage: You can’t cut any small inside detail cuts since you have to drill a very big hole to get the blade’s pin through.

Also, how easy is it to change a blade? Is a tool required for this? Some scroll saw projects have hundreds of holes. This means you have to remove one end of the blade from the holder and thread it through the wood and re-mount it in the holder more times than you can count. Be sure the process is comfortable and relatively easy to do.

Some saws inherently vibrate more by design. This feature tends to be very much dependent on the cost of the particular saw. A sturdily mounted saw and heavier saw/stand combination will reduce vibration. Many companies offer stands purpose built for their saws.

Size Specifications: Manufacturers often list the maximum cutting thickness of their saws. Since this is always more than 2″, you can ignore this as you likely will never want to cut anything thicker than that on a scroll saw.

The depth of the throat however is something you may want to consider if you think you will be cutting very large projects. A small throat will limit how big of a piece you can swing around on the table while you cut.

Overall Layout: The overall layout of the controls and adjustments of the saw is very important to consider. (Most but not all people undo the blade from the upper blade holder to feed the blade through a hole. Some people however, do find it easier to undo the bottom holder instead.). Also, you may occasionally want to adjust the speed control or tighten the tension while in the middle of a cut so it is good to have these controls within easy reach.

Some people find it easier to use a foot pedal switch rather than the power switch on the saw. Just be sure if do you buy one of these that it is just a simple on/off switch and not a variable speed pedal such as those used on a sewing machine as this can damage some motors.

Buying a good used saw may allow you to get more for your money than buying a new cheap saw. When buying used, however, you are taking a bigger risk and have many additional factors to consider. Will you still be able to buy parts if needed? Is the seller’s asking price appropriate?

One thing to consider when deciding on the price is that Article Scroll saws are generally a “get what you pay for” kind of tool.

Other considerations: Some other things to look at are the manufacturer’s support and service. How long is the warranty? What is the manufacturer’s reputation in general? Does the saw have any extras or special features that you think may be useful?

Some saws come with lamps, magnifiers, stands and most come with dust blowers. All of these features add value to the saw and the dust blower most would consider to be a necessity.

If you do remove the hold-down however, please be aware that you do so at your own risk.

Saws worthy of notable mention

Dewalt DW788 This is the saw I use personally and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody. My particular saw is over 12 years old. It has seen countless hours of use and is still going strong. In that time, the only parts that ever had to be replaced were the blade holders.

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