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Choosing A Scroll Saw


Goran74
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Hello,

I would like to purchase a scroll saw to cut various things for the violin-making process including the mold.

Can you suggest to me what do I have to take care of?

Here in Europe I see many good reviews for Dremel Moto saw or for Einhell . Their price is very good.

Also, I would like to know something about their safety. Many woodworkers say that they are very safe as machines, even safer than a drill. (As violinist I have to take care of my fingers - as much as I can - but not on the obsessive/pathological way.)

 

Thank you

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58 minutes ago, Goran74 said:

Hello,

I would like to purchase a scroll saw to cut various things for the violin-making process including the mold.

I don’t think a scroll saw is the right tool for this, or violin making in general.

Scroll saw has a short stroke and very fine blades, not really ideal for cutting wood of any reasonable thickness.

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I respectfully disagree. While a bandsaw with narrow blades is sufficient, a high end scroll saw like the Pegas 21" I have is pretty damned useful. Cutting plate outlines on a scroll saw allows me to save a rather significant amount of time finalizing overhang. I also rough soundholes with it, following the center of the pencil line. After that, the amount of knife work needed is pretty minimal. Do I need it? No. Am I glad I have it? Most definitely.

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19 minutes ago, FenwickG said:

If you want something that works get an old Delta 24" throat cast iron one. They are heavy and don't try to run away from you and the blade is supported when you are sawing.

Not very likely that you'd find a cast iron Delta scroll saw in Europe.

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6 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

I will accept your respectful disagreement.

My experience comes from using a Hegner scroll saw, and it was a disappointing to say the least.

It seems there may be better scroll saws on the market since then, but a small bandsaw is a versatile machine.

Ugh, yeah Hegners suck, especially considering how expensive they are. We had one at the IU shop and I hated it. Hegners and cheap scroll saws are not worth the trouble. The Pegas/Jet/Excalibur design is really quite good: they're well machined and heavy enough to stay put, and the Pegas chucks and blades are so good that with a good selection of them you can handle nearly any material in a surprising range of thicknesses. I use my bandsaw for scroll outlines, but just for giggles I did one on the scroll saw to see if it would handle the 40mm stock, and with a coarse modified geometry blade it did an excellent job, and better than I can usually do in the throat on the bandsaw

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2 hours ago, Goran74 said:

Hello,

I would like to purchase a scroll saw to cut various things for the violin-making process including the mold.

Can you suggest to me what do I have to take care of?

Here in Europe I see many good reviews for Dremel Moto saw or for Einhell . Their price is very good.

Also, I would like to know something about their safety. Many woodworkers say that they are very safe as machines, even safer than a drill. (As violinist I have to take care of my fingers - as much as I can - but not on the obsessive/pathological way.)

 

Thank you

If possible you want a scroll saw where the blade tension stays constant. That means the "frame" is not articulated. But even this one will round things in turns and the thicker the material the more obvious will be. The next step would be a saw where the frame moves strictly up and down.or they are belt driven.  Those are very rare and expensive. Some of those allow adjustment for the blade travel and speed. That'd be the RR of them. I trying to remember the name.... 

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4 hours ago, jezzupe said:

I'm pretty sure Strad used a Craftsman

:lol: Come on.. For years I was using no power tools except drill. But, after time, wrists have some difficulties etc.

I am sure that you do not like to have the "hands" of the old woodworkers, violin makers, Wood carvers etc. 

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I have lots of machines, not just because I have damaged wrist issues, but also I enjoy mechanical/motorized things.

Among this collection is a Dewalt DW788 scroll saw, 14" Delta bandsaw, and 24" Agazzani band saw.  The scroll saw gets by far the least use, but is handy for certain little tasks like roughing out F holes and trimming the ends off of ribs after they're glued onto the garland (slowly and patiently).  The 14" bandsaw gets the most use, and if I had to have only one of these three, that's what I'd choose.

Scroll saws are for making slow, delicate cuts in thin stock.  They're horrid for cutting anything thicker than a few mm, and the cheap choices in the original post I can't imagine how awful they'd be.  I'm sure they're one of the safest tools around, because they don't cut anything very quickly.

 

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Please avoid a really cheap bandsaw if you can afford a better one if you go that route.

Make sure it has a cast iron table on the bandsaw in my opinion - i hate my aluminum one.- saving for a new bandsaw

I won't bash the product on the forum because it was cheap and i got cheap.... Play with cheap tools get cheap problems..

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When I was a cabinet maker, we had a scroll saw in the workshop. The only use it got was for making pierced work and decorative panels.

To make the panels, we cut 4mm wood in whichever pattern was required, then glued it onto the panel. Pierced work was often 13mm. Cutting even a few parts this thick on the scroll saw took hours, and several blades.

Yes, they are very accurate, if you are able to steer the wood correctly, but cut painfully slowly as the material gets thicker. Be prepared for lots of blades breaking if you cut thick stock, and get carried away with the pressure due to frustration of progress.
Maybe as Don says, it makes a good safety saw, apart from the fine dust, which will make you sneeze until your fingers go into the blade :lol:

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2 hours ago, CaseyLouque said:

Please avoid a really cheap bandsaw if you can afford a better one if you go that route.

Make sure it has a cast iron table on the bandsaw in my opinion - i hate my aluminum one.- saving for a new bandsaw

I won't bash the product on the forum because it was cheap and i got cheap.... Play with cheap tools get cheap problems..

My Inca bandsaw has an aluminum table and I couldn't be happier with it.

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We have limited resources, but a basic tool purchase is informative.

I currently own a Jet and Dremel and a Craftsman scroll saw. The Dremel was $50 usd as a used tool, at a "garage sale," which was an individual selling items at their home, garage or not, on a sunny weekend. I also use these for other projects and the control can be fabulous. As for safety, Safety is most important. But by design, if we were to logically consider the extent of the damage, a circulating blade might be more dangerous than one that is moving up and down. And this is the bad part of the scroll saw; one has to learn how it use it. The band saw cuts more cleanly for the beginner. But when you see blood, the scroll saw is kinder.

Literally, throwing the Dremel in the back of the car, to anywhere. it is easy to quickly fabricate odd shapes out of wood work. It is aluminum and weighs a bit more than a Gorge viola case, but sets up quick. Like any tool, it needs to be set up. If you understand its strengths and weaknesses it works fine.

The only issue is that it takes up space. I set up the Jet with dust collector and a fine blade, while the Craftsman has a very aggressive blade. Cuts corners far better than the band saw, though quick rough cuts are just fine with the band saw.

During the 80s and 90s, there were many generic scroll saws manufactured in Italy with various labels here in the United States. Perhaps you can find one, cast iron, that is still tight in tolerance and works well. Replacing the motor is not so much an issue, but the basic structure needs to be solid. Gently prep the sides of blades if they are inexpensive, and figure out a nice way to clear the dust. 

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