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View Full Version : Scroll saws - what to look for???



Larks
07-24-2011, 08:44 PM
Not that I can necessarily afford one right now, but I'm thinking of a scroll saw to help cut the tuning slots in some caulking mallets that I'm making (and later perhaps some intarsia for my chart table) and am wondering if anyone here has any experience with them and can advise what to look for in one. I am only really after an entry level one and here are a couple that look like (to me) they may be worth considering:

I like this one based on price and because it will take both pinned and pinless blades:

https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/images/31594.jpeg


Deco Flex SCROLL SAW $198.00


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16" THROAT CAPACITY




Features


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German design & technology



90W variable speed (550-1650rpm) motor



16"/400mm throat capacity



Large aluminium tilt table 0-45



Low voltage lamp



Uses pinned & non pinned blades



35mm dust collector port



Flexible shaft with 3.2mm chuck for drilling, sanding, polishing, engraving & moulding



Weights 15kg


This one is 90W and also includes a blower function:
https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/images/37098.jpeg


B-18V SCROLL SAW $253.00


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18" THROAT CAPACITY




Features


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120W 240V motor



Variable speed (550 - 1700rpm)



460mm Throat capacity



Ideal for wood, metal or plastic



Cast iron table tilts 45˚ to the left and 8˚ to the right



Accepts straight or pinned blades



Includes Air blower, flexible work light



35mm dust collector port



Weight 23kg



Dimensions (LxWxH) 69 x 32 x 50cm

Jay Greer
07-24-2011, 09:54 PM
I can't comment on the Deco Flex you are asking about but the price is reasonable if it performs well.

I don't often need a scroll saw, also once known as a "jig saw", but I am planning to buy one in the near future. I borrowed a Sears saw from a friend a while back for a special job and hated it from the first moment it came into my shop. That saw was an inaccurate vibrating beast that I was more than happy to return to the owner as soon as the job was done. I have also owned and used several other bad quality saws in the past which, which, has caused me to decide that when I buy a saw, it will be one that does not have a walking frame that allows the blade to change its fore and aft angle during the stroke. I will also go for a saw that has a tilting frame rather than a tilting table. Nothing is worse when doing delecate work than to have to keep the stock aligned while the table is on a slant! An efficient air jet is an absolute must as well. An easily adjusted efficient hold down foot is device that does not exist on many cheap saws as well. I also will choose a saw that is not a nightmare to change blades on. One such saw exists, the Excalibur EX21 but, sadly, it is very expensive!
Next time a job comes up that will justify buying that saw, I will go for one.
Jay

Bob Smalser
07-24-2011, 10:13 PM
... I'm thinking of a scroll saw to help cut the tuning slots in some caulking mallets that I'm making...

Drew and other commercial manufacturers didn't use a scroll saw that you would recognize to make those clean slots. Not anywhere near enough power or blade stiffness to cut through mesquite end grain efficiently. Neither should you. A carbide-tipped slotting cutter in the router centered in a shopmade jig will make clean, straight cuts top and bottom you can finish up with with a keyhole saw (or a scroll saw if you insist one owning one) and mill files.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/5313557/277742610.jpg

Larks
07-25-2011, 01:07 AM
Thanks Jay, both those shown above have tilt tables and having just put some timber through the band saw for a knee on the H28 I know what you mean about trying to balance the timber on a tilted table. I've seen the Excalibur (or at least one of the Excalibur models) through the same supplier as those above but it is up around $1000.00 and I'd never be able to justify that cost. At around $200.00 it's not much more than two trips to the hairdressers for my wife (she goes once a month) so I can argue that a whole lot more convincingly.

Bob, I have actually been doing the slots with a small router bit either side, drilled a hole at the end then jig-saw out the middle sections where the router bits didn't meet using a home made jig and then cleaned up with a narrow file, just as you described above. However mine just aren't quite as cleanly finished, I even used a mirror to try and keep the jig-saw blade cutting straight both sides but I realise that perhaps I simply lack the experience and skill for a particularly clean finish in this hard wood. I don't think I have posted any more photos on my mallet thread but might go back and remedy that with a few of that process.

By jig-saw I mean one of these:
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSbaKA3nFTXjJD5balaprA2SU3PNwOBE VTrKcC5RG8fDsY9GF07
I'd been watching a group of guys working with scroll saws at a Working With Wood show recently and became fascinated with what they were able to do on them, particularly the intarsia that one of them was doing, which I'd really like to do a bit of on my H28 - say on the chart table and perhaps the companionway steps and hatch top.

Since then I've sort of been trying to think of what else I could use one for, as much as to justify the expense as anything else and I thought one would be ideal for these tuning slots as well, even if I still do the router cuts and use the scroll saw to finish off.

Bob Smalser
07-25-2011, 01:19 AM
I'm not talking about a plunge router bit that cuts vertically, but a carbide-tipped, quarter-inch slotting cutter that cuts horizontally. It'll make perfectly-clean surface cuts as good or better than the original Drews you can finish up internally with other tools.

Unlike a drill followed by a homeowner-grade scroll saw, what you won't have are squiggly lines and chip-outs.

Simply make a V-block jig with stops to control the cut, and go slow and careful.

http://www.leevalley.com/us/images/item/woodworking/router/16j8203s3.jpg

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=30219&cat=1,46168,46176&ap=1

Larks
07-25-2011, 01:42 AM
Thanks Bob, I'll give that a try.

Did you see my thread on straightening a mitre saw blade? http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?134218-Mitre-saw-help-please-Bob-Smalser&highlight= I'd appreciate your advice...even if it's "don't waste your time, the saw's not worth the effort"

PeterSibley
07-25-2011, 03:08 AM
I'm not talking about a plunge router bit that cuts vertically, but a carbide-tipped, quarter-inch slotting cutter that cuts horizontally. It'll make perfectly-clean surface cuts as good or better than the original Drews you can finish up internally with other tools.

Unlike a drill followed by a homeowner-grade scroll saw, what you won't have are squiggly lines and chip-outs.

Simply make a V-block jig with stops to control the cut, and go slow and careful.

http://www.leevalley.com/us/images/item/woodworking/router/16j8203s3.jpg

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=30219&cat=1,46168,46176&ap=1



Those are the cutters I was trying to explain to you at your party Greg , the ones available here are around 44mm diameter IIRC .They are available in a wide variety of thicknesses and are stackable .

Bob Smalser
07-25-2011, 06:56 AM
Like any other stopped cut in the center of long-grain, if you're using a wood prone to splintering, either drilling short holes in the ends or severing the grain at each end of the slot with a chisel is double insurance against chip-out.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
07-28-2011, 08:04 PM
If you really want a scroll saw, keep an eye on garage sales and craigslist... lots of old iron around, and usually cheap.

Leatherneck
08-02-2011, 06:20 PM
I have also owned and used several other bad quality saws in the past which, which, has caused me to decide that when I buy a saw, it will be one that does not have a walking frame that allows the blade to change its fore and aft angle during the stroke. I will also go for a saw that has a tilting frame rather than a tilting table. Nothing is worse when doing delecate work than to have to keep the stock aligned while the table is on a slant! An efficient air jet is an absolute must as well. An easily adjusted efficient hold down foot is device that does not exist on many cheap saws as well. I also will choose a saw that is not a nightmare to change blades on. One such saw exists, the Excalibur EX21 but, sadly, it is very expensive!
Next time a job comes up that will justify buying that saw, I will go for one.
Jay

Jay, I'm having trouble distinguishing between a saw whose table inclines relative to the blade, and one whose blade inclines relative to the table. In both cases, to make bevel cuts, you need to keep the workpiece at the proper orientation relative to the (tilted) blade to have a uniform curved bevel, no?

Larks, I have an old Rockwell model 40-440 that sports a cast iron frame, tilting table, and 24-inch throat clearance. I don't use it much, but I suspect freight from Virginia to Queensland would be prohibitive! But I second the idea of searching for estate sales, pawn shops etc. for old cast iron tools by quality manufacturers; they can all be restored quite well. good luck.

Tom

Larks
08-02-2011, 06:45 PM
Jay, I'm having trouble distinguishing between a saw whose table inclines relative to the blade, and one whose blade inclines relative to the table. In both cases, to make bevel cuts, you need to keep the workpiece at the proper orientation relative to the (tilted) blade to have a uniform curved bevel, no?

Larks, I have an old Rockwell model 40-440 that sports a cast iron frame, tilting table, and 24-inch throat clearance. I don't use it much, but I suspect freight from Virginia to Queensland would be prohibitive! But I second the idea of searching for estate sales, pawn shops etc. for old cast iron tools by quality manufacturers; they can all be restored quite well. good luck.

Tom

Thanks Tom, I have started keeping an eye out for a good solid second hand one, old quality ones do seem to be a bit rare here though.
cheers
Greg