While many people regard woodworking as an important skill, those who either do it for a living or for a serious hobby are the ones who understand that the best scroll saw is needed to create this art. The impressive furniture, home/office decors, and building designs that we see everyday are all the result of woodworking. One of the power saws that is needed to create these high quality and elegant pieces of wood art is none other than the scroll saw. Originally, power saws were very big and bulky power tools that were incapable of making precise or smaller cuts. But as time progressed, scroll saws evolved to become more refined tools that are both more convenient and robust.
Home builders use scroll saws extensively in order to make precise, angled cuts that are necessary for products. For example, dovetail joints are the result of scroll saws. Carpenters also use scroll saws to help bring their creative visions to life in the form of furniture, unique homes, and pieces of wood art.
There is simply no other power tool in existence today that can excel at detailed wood work as well as a scroll saw can. The good news for you is that if you are on the search for a scroll saw, there are a nearly countless number of different options available on the market. However, does this mean that you can just go out and buy any scroll saw and consider yourself good to go? No, you need to learn what the best scroll saws of 2017 are on the market.
That’s why in this article we’re going to talk about the criteria to look for in a scroll saw so that you know exactly what to look for. Then, we’ll even outline and discuss six of the most popular and effective scroll saws that are currently available for you.
Ease of Blade Changing: The blades are easily one of the most important elements of any scroll saw. A scroll saw simply cannot do the work it can do without high quality blades. That’s why it’s important that it be easy to swap out the blades on your selected scroll saw. Tools should not be required for changing out the blades and the process itself shouldn’t be time consuming either.
For example, some projects with scroll saws involve dozens if not hundreds of holes. For each hole, you would have to remove an end of the blade from the saw’s holder and then thread it back through the wood and mount it again in the holder. This is an excellent example of where ease of blade changing is needed for time and energy saving purposes.
Vibration: There is simply nothing more distracting in a scroll saw project than the vibration created during the cutting. While all scroll saws do vibrate to a certain extent, some do so more than others. Scroll saws that are both heavier and sturdier will have the most reduced vibration, and many scroll saw companies also sell stands that you can mount the saw onto to reduce the effect of the vibration as well. Look for scroll saws that are heavier and stronger in that regard.
Variable Speed: The ability to change speed in a scroll saw is also important since some projects will require the blade to be slowed down in order to stop the blade from burning the wood.
Controls: The location of the controls on a scroll saw is one of the most overlooked variables in selecting one that people make. Specific controls to keep in mind include the speed control, power switch, and the tension level. Each of these things should be located on or at the end of the arm and the saw and be easy to reach. Some scroll saws also utilize a pedal switch that you press with your foot in place of a traditional power switch. This is fine if the foot pedal is a true on and off switch, but avoid a scroll saw with a food pedal that’s a variable speed control.
Cost: Scroll saws cost money and this can pose an issue for those of us who are on a budget. Many people who are on a budget will try to purchase a used scroll saw in good condition, figuring that doing so will allow them to get more for their money. However, purchasing a used scroll saw poses a number of risks. The scroll saw may not be made anymore or no longer have parts made for it, or it may have even been damaged over its years of use. For these reasons you would be wise to avoid purchasing a used scroll saw.
One of the scroll saws that will be presented in this list is a high quality saw made for the budget minded, so if money is tight, go with something like that over a used older saw even if it appears to be in good condition.
Top 6 Scroll Saw Buyers Guide
Best Overall Scroll Saw
We’ll discuss the DeWalt DW788 scroll saw first simply because it’s currently the best-selling scroll saw out on the market. But there’s a reason why it is the best-selling scroll saw too. The DW788 is a high quality saw that delivers a number of important enhancements over other scroll saws available. Costing in the neighborhood of $400 to $450, the DW788 is smooth and quiet.
The reason why it’s so smooth is because of its unique double parallel-link drive system, which means that both the upper and lower arms are connected via a horizontal link to a pivoting beam on the rear of the tool. This system, while involving more movement, drastically reduces both noise and vibration so that each of your cuts can be more precise.
The on and off switch is very convenient to reach, and the tension level switch also requires very little force in order to set as well. In addition, the upper arm is very smooth so it’s much easier to feed the blade of the saw in a hole. The variable speed control offers you speeds anywhere from 400 to 1750 strokes a minute, powered by the 1.3 amp motor. The dust blower on the saw also ensures that your work area is kept as clean as possible.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner woodworker or already have years of experience in the craft, the DW788 scroll saw from DeWalt is an excellent option and has proven itself with countless people to earn its title of the current best-selling scroll saw. All in all, the three most outstanding features of this scroll saw are its low vibration, high range of speeds, and convenient. Check out our DeWalt DW788 review here.
Best Scroll Saw on a Budget
Earlier in this article we talked about how it would be wiser to purchase an inexpensive new scroll saw then take a risk with a used older one even if it appears to be in good condition. The Ryobi SC163VS is easily one of the highest quality budget oriented scroll saws that you can purchase. Sold for right around $100, the price alone will make it very attractive to most people.
As a result of the low price, the SC163VS understandably doesn’t sport a few of the same features of the higher priced models like the DeWalt. The table on the SC163VS is smaller and thinner, and when running the saw does vibrate a little more than some would like. But those are where the cons of this scroll saw end.
The blade on the Ryobi is given plenty of room since the hold down has a very wide opening. The hold down can be adjusted with the aid of an Allen wrench. The controls are not only all in convenient locations, they are also very easy to move, especially the tension knob. Your work space is kept clean as a result of the blower tube. For a scroll saw that only costs one hundred dollars, you also have a surprisingly wide speed range from 550 to 1600 SPM.
Obviously there are larger and more refined scroll saws out on the market, but for a cheap scroll saw intended for a beginner or the budget minded, you really couldn’t ask for more out of the Ryobi SC163VS and that’s why it’s worth your consideration.
Best Heavy Duty Scroll Saw
We’ll tell you right off the bat that the Delta 40-694 is the heaviest scroll saw in this list, weighing in at a whole fifty nine pounds (that’s a lot for a 16-inch scroll saw). But the trade off with that extra weight is, as you may have guessed, significantly less vibration for an overall smoother cut and quieter operation.
There are other nice touches that set the Delta 40-694 a few notches above more available scroll saws as well. With a two amp motor that delivers a lot of power, the 40-694 has Delta’s Quickset design. This is a blade changing system that has an adjustable tension lever over the saw’s blade. In other words, it is practically effortless to connect and disconnect the top part of the blade, greatly shortening the time that is spent on internal cuts.
The hold down of the saw does require a screwdriver in order to be set properly, but it’s still easy to turn so it’s nothing to be concerned about. A dust collection cup and dust port ensures that you work area is kept free of dust and debris. While not a necessity, there’s the added convenience of a drawer on the saw that holds your spare blades.
Best Compact Scroll Saw
The Dremel MS20-01 is one of the best compact scroll saws on the market and has found favor with many people. This is a very small scroll saw that can be easily carried anywhere you need it to go. But the size is not the only thing that differentiates the MS20-01 from the field. Unlike other scroll saws, the motor of the MS20-01 is held parallel to the axis of the saw, and only one ball and ball joint are held in the crank assembly instead of two ball joints. The table of the scroll saw tilts a full forty five degrees in either direction, which gives you significantly more flexibility for making cuts that are beveled.
A control panel is located in the front of the MS20-01 that features a dust protected rocker and a speed dial. The quick change mechanism on the MS20-01 permits the accessories to be easily swapped out and the blade tension to be changed as well. This is a very small scroll saw and like we said is one of the most portable ones you can buy. The clamp base will attach to nearly any bench, table, or other type of surface, meaning the MS20-01 literally can be used anywhere.
For heavy duty work, the Dremel MS20-01 isn’t your best bet simply due to its compactness. But when you’re on the go and need to take your scroll saw with you, there is simply no better.
Best Scroll Saw for Beginners
Like the Ryobi, the Shop Fox W1713 is another high quality and yet affordable scroll saw and is targeted mainly towards the beginner and specifically the DIY market. The W1713 looks very aesthetic, but more importantly, it’s a solid build as a result of its cast iron design. Shop Fox designed this scroll saw to cut designs into wood, metal, and plastics alike. Subsequently, it has a very high range of speed from 550 to 1700 SPM. The sawdust blower also ensures that you keep a clean workspace.
But the real standout of the W1713 and what makes it so appealing is how it can effortlessly make straight and smooth cuts through tight corners even on the hardest surfaces. Greener wood such as oak or maple are no match for the 1 amp motor and dual blade capability (pin and plain blades). Weighing around 35 pounds, the W1713 can be carried and stored safely wherever.
Best Scroll Saw for Light Cutting
The smallest out of our list of scroll saws, the Proxxon 37088 packs much in little. If you want a scroll saw that is perfect for light cutting purposes without taking up a lot of space in your shop, the Proxxon 37088 is the best scroll saw that you can buy. The 37088 is most noted for its sharp blades to deliver the finest cut you could ask for. Both softwood and hardwoods will be sliced through with ease when they come head-to-head with the blades of the 37088. To get the most precise cuts out of the 37088, position the head the lowest it can go while simultaneously using the shortest blade.
You will find that the blowers of the saw are located on the blade guide; this way they are kept out of the way while ensuring a dust and debris free workspace. But if that doesn’t work, there’s still a vacuum cleaner adapter as a backup cleaning option. Even when on high throttle, the 37088 is very silent. The limit to the width of wood that the 37088 can cut is only two inches, but almost all light cutting in woodworking is done within that width. Light cutting is what the 37088 was built to do, and there’s no other scroll saw that can do it better.
The first question that anyone who wants to get into types of woodworking saws, regardless of whether it’s for professional or hobby purposes, is what scroll saw they should purchase. However no scroll saw is the best at everything in woodworking. Different applications require different scroll saws, so it’s up to you to determine what your needs for a scroll saw are before selecting a scroll saw for meeting that need. As we’ve seen in this article, there are top scroll saws when it comes to light cutting, heavy duty cutting, precision cutting, portability, budgetary, and other purposes. As you may have noticed, however, each of the scroll saws that we listed had a pattern of features they came with.
Each of these scroll saws, for example, have dust blowers for keeping your work area clean, a variety of adjustable blade speeds and tension levers, and accessible controls to make your woodworking experience as smooth and as hassle free as possible. These are some of the basic criteria that you will want to follow regardless of what type of scroll saw you end up going with. We hope that this article has given you a wealth of information in regards to scroll saws so that you can make the best buy possible with your money. The good news is that once you buy a great scroll saw that fits your needs, it will deliver you years of reliable service. All you have to do is to determine what you need a scroll saw for and then buy the best scroll saw for that purpose.
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