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Scroll saw decisions (woodworker novice!)

Advice on which scroll saw to get

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Ed Bentall02/02/2014 02:01:48
2 forum posts

Hi everyone,

I've just surfed on in to 'getwoodworking.com' forum. I've had a little look round to see if there is any advice on scroll saws and I haven't seen anything recent so thought it was worth asking for some advice.

I am in the UK but shortly going back abroad and am a COMPLETE novice with all things craft. I have a few DIY tools but that is it. Recently (the last 2 months) I have started doing craftwork with coconut shell. I have had some REALLY positive responses with the pieces I've created so want to spend a bit of money on a scroll saw to speed up my work and also improve the quality/broaden my repertoire. Currently I'm using a hand fretsaw and a cheap version of a Dremel hi-speed spinny tool thing!

Looking at the market I can see there are plenty of 'cheap' models out there (I'm assuming they're all pretty similar and perhaps are all rebadged Chinese made items) and also some REALLY nice saws (Axminster Excalibur etc) that you'd probably find in professional workshops.

I'm somewhat reluctant to dive into a sub £100 model as if it's complete rubbish I'm stuck abroad without anywhere to go for help or enough cash to replace it. But I just cannot stretch to £500.00 Axminster Excalibur either at the moment. I've sort-of narrowed my choice down to the Proxxon DSH 2, the Dremel Moto Saw (somewhat put off by this as it needs its own blades) and the Scheppach SD1600F.

Can any nice well-balanced sensible individual (!!!) help a newbie make an informed choice on what to do?! I wouldn't rule out second-hand, but ebay doesn't seem to have anything exciting on offer right now. It's a shame the Which report doesn't test thing kind of product!

Thanks for anyone's point of view

Ed

daveO02/02/2014 15:01:56
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250 forum posts
32 photos

Hi ED and welcome to the forum

Now as far as saws go, your initial observations are correct, the majority of the cheaper saws are in deed from the same stable and simply re-badged, as is the machine you mention. Some will temp you with a work light, some with a “handy blade tray” and even a free flexi drive. If you get a machine with a flexi drive bear in mind that to run it the saw has to be running as the same time.

You will also be told that they accept both pinned and pinless blades, however the majority will come with a “blade adaptor” of which are a pair or so called extra clamps the you would fit a pinless blade to and then hook them onto the existing blade holder of which is a very tedious operation. The remainder will offer a dual use clamp but in reality firstly they struggle to clamp very small blades, and do eventually work harden and fail to clamp up at all, so IMHO I would stay away from any of them, and I do speak from experience, I started with a little cheapy.

Now as for the proxxon and dremel well although probably a better build quality I feel they are aimed more towards the “modelers” market and are not intended for heavy use and of course as you mention there is the issue of the blades.

So which one, well firstly I would be looking for a machine that does not require any tools for blade changing, or a least not for the upper blade clamp, I would also favour a machine that does not actually accept pinned blades at all.

And this is were the problem starts there are very few available in the UK. In fact I believe the Excalibur is the only one. Now you mention that you are to go abroad, were to, I ask that as you may well be able to get hold of a much better machine outside the UK such as the dewalt 788 or the delta 590 or even the 595, and if they are available then I would opted for a second hand machine until you move.

In the second hand market I don’t think you would go far wrong to opt for a Delta there are currently three available on E bay two 2 speed and one variable speed all of which have very positive and quick set blade clamps, I currently use one myself.

Just a final tip if you do go down the Delta road you may find that the integral dust blower doesn’t work, this was a inherent problem in the older machine, to remedy that simply go to you local aquatics shop and buy an aquarium air pump and connect it to the machine.

Hope that helps some, any further question just ask

Dave

Derek Lane02/02/2014 16:14:19
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Moderator
3215 forum posts
1002 photos

I think Dave has covered the majority and as he says where are you going as better machines may be available there much cheaper.

I know what you mean about cheap end machines and good machines they are either cheap or expensive there does not seem to be anything in the middle.

Diane Gonzales05/02/2014 15:38:55
1 forum posts

Hi. Not really sure where this goes, so I'll just join this 'novice' above me, if you don't mind

I want to buy a miter saw for my son, who is starting his own carpentry workshop And I wouldn't mind some advice about what to get him. Unlike the gentleman above, I'm truly a novice with these stuff and I'm not really familiar with the brands of various tools. I was thinking of getting him this one. It sure sounds there like some high-tech device, but I could use an objective AND professional view.

Thanks

Simon Reeves07/02/2014 13:12:24
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622 forum posts
227 photos

Hi Diane, welcome to the forum.

You might be better asking the same question in a separate thread rather than this one, but for what it's worth...

If your son is setting up a shop as a business, he will almost certainly need something with more power, accuracy and higher capacties than the "hobby" machines. My only comment on the one you are thinking of is that is not a sliding version, which means that the width of cut would be limited. I have a Makita 10" double compound sliding mitre saw that can cut boards up to 12" wide, and can also cut "trenches", where you limit the depth of cut and gradually plough out a rebate or groove in the timber. The double compound action allows the saw to be tilted left or right. I have found both these features very useful. Makita saws are also extremely accurate and stable.

One consideration when buying tools such as these is how good is the after-sales and spares availability. A good make will be well supported, whereas a "cheapie" may not have the spares availability when you need it.

Good luck - hope this helps a bit.

Simon

Phil Laidler07/02/2014 19:03:24
2 forum posts

Hi Ed,

After purchasing the axminster clone of the Hegner (and having some serious problems with it) I went for the Hegner proper and the difference in quality is amazing. I have now produced hundreds of items with it and subsidise my hobby with sales of oak nameplates.

My recommendation would be to save your pennies and get a second hand Hegner on ebay. You certainly won't regret it. The excalibur has differences in quality depending on where it is made, The Uk version being really poor.

If you head over to the scrolling section on www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums you would find loads of advice from guys who have many of the saws on the market. The general consensus there (from me included) seems to be for the Hegner

The choice of blades is also important and I would recommend using flying dutchman blades available from mikesworkshop in the usa.

Regards,

Phil

Ed Bentall20/02/2014 01:20:36
2 forum posts

Hello everyone, and thank you all for your responses and hints and tips. I'm sorry it's taken AN AGE to reply, but I had to take a trip home for a few weeks. I am now back WITH A NEW SCROLL SAW which I managed to take apart and put in my hand-luggage (yes it weighed an absolute ton!). I went for a Proxxon in the end. It is a reasonable brand for modelling hardware, it's a German company/engineering (even if made in China!) and sold by Axminster, who know what they're talking about. Aside from the top blade clip breaking on my second blade change (sorted out admirably by Axminster I hasten to add!) it's been a dream to use and I'm very happy!

Working solely with coconut, it's interesting to work with as every piece is curved so never gets seated well on the plate and thus tends to jump in the air and break blades... just thought I'd mention that in case anyone ever has the same idea as me...!

Thanks again everyone!

Ed

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