Whether you have a large workshop for building furniture, or just a small garage shop to do crafts in, a scroll saw is one of the most useful tools you can have. These saws allow for a wide variety of projects, from making homemade wooden jigsaw puzzles to complex detail work on thinner portions of ornate furniture.
Both jigsaws and scroll saws can cut non-straight lines but the scroll saw is the tool of choice for cutting intricate curves or designs in wood, plastic copper, and other materials.
The best scroll saw will be simple to use, allow for quick blade changes, have minimum vibration, cut smoothly, and have a high quality table.
TOP PICK:There’s a reason DeWalt tends to top many lists of shop tools, and the DW788 is a prime example. The arm pivots from back to front, allowing for better inside cuts, while the unique blade clamp design makes changing blades quick and tool-free.
The front upper arm contains the power switch and a flexible dust blower, as well as variable speed settings which provide 400 to 1,750 cutting strokes every minute. The table is made of oversized cast-iron for superior material support, as well as the ability to bevel 45 degrees to the left and right.
This saw has proven accurate on everything from thin plywood to 1 ½ inch hardwood, making it very popular amongst even veteran users. Changing the blade takes a matter of seconds, although some users have found it helpful to prop the clamp up during this process, as it doesn’t lock into the open position.
The oversized table not only helps with large pieces, but absorbs most of the vibration, making this an excellent scroll saw for beginners and experienced users.
Most of the complaints about this saw revolve around damage during shipping, which DeWalt customer service is quick to address. Another, less frequent issue revolves around loose mounting screws, which can cause wobbling and noise.
While it is unfortunate that this problem occasionally makes it out of the factory, it is easy to fix at home. Finally, be aware that the blades included are meant to allow use out of the package, and are not the best quality.
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RUNNERS-UP:With a maximum cutting width of 16 inches and depth of 2 inches, Shop Fox’s W1713 is an excellent choice for any workshop. This saw features a gooseneck worklight, dust blower, and a dust port designed to connect to your shop vac.
The ⅛ horsepower, 60Hz motor provides no-load speeds ranging from 550 to 1,700 RPM. A large, cast-iron table not only helps keep your wood in place, but may be adjusted to a 45-degree tilt. The adjustable hold-down shoe provides additional control while cutting.
This saw works well with a wide variety of materials, including sappy green woods, sturdy hardwoods, and hard-pressed boards with equal ease. The blade’s accuracy also allows for tight corners with few or no relief cuts necessary.
Users have also reported very little vibration, and none at all when the saw is secured to a table. This is something other types of saws can’t claim.
The largest complaint about the W1713 is in regards to how it adapts to pinless blades. The adaptor can be difficult to mount, making this a frustrating feature for users.
Another, more minor complaint is that the hold-down shoe is very basic and should only be used in conjunction with manually holding the material.
As you gain experience, you may want to avoid using the hold down foot on this model (and others) as this actually increases the likelihood of breaking some of the more delicate materials you may be working with.
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WEN has made it easier to work on hobbies with the 3920. This 16-inch mini scroll saw includes an air pump, flexible LED light, storage, and a foot lock clamp.
The 16-inch table can bevel up to 45 degrees, while the blade may be placed in either the standard position or a 90 degree angle for maximum woodworking potential.
Despite its size, the 3920’s motor packs a punch, allowing the blades to run at variable speeds ranging from 400 to 1,600 strokes per minute.
At such an extremely low price, the quality and performance of the 3920 has surprised quite a few users. While threading the pinless blades can be difficult at first, it becomes easy with practice.
Many consumers have added a pedal with excellent results, and even first-time scrollers have reported almost professional results on their first few projects using this saw. While the WEN model is fine for the budget conscious, it simply won’t stack up to the DeWalt above.
One major design flaw has generated ongoing complaints. The plastic blade insert tends to be too small, causing materials to catch while cutting. Consumers usually fix this issue by adding a few layers of electrical tape underneath the insert until it sits flush.
Most other issues come down to damage during shipping, and WEN is quick to replace damaged parts or saws in these cases.
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For some great tips and tricks for beginner scroll saw users, be sure to check out this page.