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  • Beginner Seeking Advice

    I'm not only a beginner, I don't even have a saw yet. So I"m looking for advice on what saw might be a good one. I'm leaning toward a Dewalt 788, but am wondering what others with more experience have to say about it.

    I've been wanting to take scrolling up for a few years, but never really got the bug until recently, when my Aunt showed me hers last week. She's a beginner, too, but taught me a lot in just the few days we had to visit (She's in CA, I'm in TX.) She has the Dewalt, and I think it's the 788.

    Can anyone give me some ideas as to what things I want to look for and other things to avoid?

  • #2
    Welcome to the group Super. Boy, are you gonna get advice! Everyone who has a saw will swear by the one they have, but truth be told, just about any of the "better" saws will do. Once again, the advice you get is gonna sound like we are "waffling". There arwe going to be lotsa "depends" in the advice--depends on what you want to do with the saw, depends on where your primary interests lie, depends on the size if the projects you want to tackle, depends on how much you are williong to pay, etc. I have always thought you should buy the most expensive saw you can afford because the higher end machines, just like higher end (more expensive) autos, TVs, machine tools, etc give you better service and longer life. I personally have an RBI Hawk and am very satisfied with everything it does. Dewalt, Hegner, Excaliber, and RBI are all pretty good. I suggest you look at things like ease of blade change, tendency to vibrate, variable speeds, depth of throat, depth of cut, and blade tensioning controls just to name a few of the considerations. Are these controls easily accessible or are they under or behind the saw? Once again Dewalt owners will recommend Dewalt, etc., but that is good. That means that the ones I have mentioned are all good saws. Once again welcome to the group. Next time we can argue about the best blades.
    Old Mooner

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    • #3
      Thanx, Mooner. I really liked my Aunt's saw, it was easy to change the blades, so that appeals to me. I know it tilted, and I figure I'll do that down the road a ways, so that's a plus. I agree with you on the "buy what you can afford". I've come to find out that there are a great many times that you get what you pay for.

      I'd be interested to hear from others on what saws they use and what they consider to be the good things and bad things about those saws.

      Comment


      • #4
        From one Texan to another -- welcome Dave.. I have a craftsman -- cheap but it works good and it does have the control knob on the top where i can easily reach but it is a pain for me to use pinless blades until I changed their set screws with flattened hex bolts that I could tighten with a socket wrench -- finger tighten doesnt work for me .. If you just want a good learner saw I suggest you may check out the craftsman and if you can later afford the more expensive then by all means go for it -- but for just scrolling -- Craftsman works just fine - By the way did you check out the pawn shops for a good used one .. just be carefull buying a used one -- run it first before you by -- with a blade

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        • #5
          By the way -- be sure that what ever saw you choose to get one that is veriable speed -- I use spiral blades at the slowest speed ( snails pace ) on my fragile things with close cuts and a med speed for the regular scrolling - for some I put in a heavy pinned blade and " let'er rip at full throdle - like makeing clouds as a edging on the picture at a tilted angle...

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          • #6
            Welcome Dave and hopefully the Super Dave is in no relations to the old Canadian bit by Super Dave Osborn (he was a serious safety hazrd)...wasn't that the John Biner Show....okay I disgress.

            Dave on your saw of choice I am in an akward position to offer advice. I have a Dremel 1800 which has served me well with a headache. My Dremel was my "starter" saw and I defended it like a mother hen here on the forum, even knowing the problems I was having. I finally got fed up and ordered a Hawk, while I have not received (2 more days wait) it has to prove to be far superior to what I am use to. My botom line is this, My Dremel was a "starter" saw, I won't say it was money wasted but I will say it could have been money better spent. There are plenty of folks who use the Dewalt 788 and they swear by it; for a few more pennies then others but according to what I have read by the owners of those saws they are worth the money and will give you what your looking for.

            Best wishes, good luck and hope to see your scrolling work on our board soon.
            Todd

            Hawk G4, Dremel 1800

            Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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            • #7
              Welcome Dave

              Hey, Dave-

              I went cheap I bought a Delta SS250. I didn't know if scrollsawing was for me but now I love it. I am now having to (or just wanting to) buy a new saw and I'm thinking about a DeWalt 788 also. You did the right thing to try it out with someone else saw first so you would know if you like it or not.

              Good luck and come back and visit often. You will get some good, and I mean good, advise here on this forum.

              -Bill
              -Bill

              My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut

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              • #8
                I had a DeWalt and have since sold it and upgraded to an RBI Hawk which I've had for several years. You won't go wrong with the DeWalt or a few of the others. As you move up in the expense range most of what you will be getting is smoother operation and longevity (bearings vs bushings, etc.). One item easilly overlooked, is the quality of different blades. Olson was my preferred brand, but am in the process of switching (I've got several gross to use up) to Flying Dutchman (talk to 3M about a free sample) which seem to cut smoother and straighter and for sure last longer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  SuperDave,
                  You're going to get a good saw with any you choose, if you start with the Dewalt 788, and only go up. If your budget is not a serious concern, do not even think about a less expensive saw unless it is a used version of one of the "greats" (see Mooner's excellent advice).
                  Now, about arguing about the best blades - there is no comparison - get some Flying Dutchman blades from Mike - you will never need to look for any others.
                  Good luck on your purchase, and let us know what you're scrolling.
                  Sandy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Welcome Dave,
                    I went from a $99.00 Craftsman single speed to a two speed Delta to a DeWalt. I was going to go to an RBI, but money was an issue. Roy King was at store near me and had me try the DeWalt. I was impressed with the smoothness and found it comparable to an RBI. It even passed the nickel test, even though the saw was right out of the box and not even leveled. I have cut on RBIs and may even get one in the future, my DeWalt was 1/2 the price.
                    Good luck and I hope we don't confuse you too much!
                    Fred


                    There's a fine line between woodworking and insanity, I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      SuperDave, welcome to the group. I had better get my 2ยข worth in here as no one has mentioned the Delta P-20. I looked long and hard at both the Dewalt 788 and the Delta P-20 and chose the P-20 I believe the P-20 is a heavier more industrial type saw. I also prefer the Delta Quick set blade clamps. Some do not like the Delta clamps. Both saws are similar in price.
                      Before you make up your mind send an e-mail to Bill Young at: [email protected]. Bill is a master scrollsawer and has had both saws. Staying in the $500. price range I don't think you can go wrong with either saw. Good luck with whichever you choose and have fun with it. Mick.
                      Mick, - Delta P-20

                      A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Dave

                        Welcome to the site and am sure you will continue to get excellent advice. I know what Bill Young is going to say he loves his P20. There are a few things that have to be mentioned about looking at saws. Now you have said you tried the Dewalt 788 and like the controls and smootheness. So right off the bat you have an idea what a good saw feels like. That is a real good saw along with the P20 in the mid range price and would look no further unless you are willing to pay $1000 and up for the top of the line saws. Having said this the 2 saws you are talking about are top feeding saws in that you feed the blade from the top and reach underneath to insert the blade in the lower clamp. The Dewalt can be adapted to do either. With the Dewalt the speed is electronically controlled and there have been cases where this controler becomes full of dust and breaks down. The P20 is belt and pulley speed changing and some find this not to be a problem at all because they do not change speeds often. The big difference is in the blade holders. The Dewalt is a thumb screw and the P20 is a clamping system. Here is a matter of getting used to. Either saw to me is an excellent entry saw that will last a life time. Sorry others out there I just had to say it again. You will not go wrong with either. I have a Dewalt along with 2 RBI and a Hegner. I tell you though it is a great advantage to be able to try different saws before buying and see the differences first hand. Good Luck!
                        John T.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Like I said, someone has already started the "best blade" argument (discussion?). I am also expecting some Flying Dutchman spirals in the mail soon so I will withhold my judgement for awhile. I also have some "freebies" from Artisan that I haven't tried yet. I'm like an old horse--I learn one way to and from the barn and see no reason to learn a new route most of the time. I have been very satisfied with Olson. I especially like the Precision Ground (PGT) blades from Olson. The only problem is that currently they only come in #5, 7, and 9. I would love to get them in smaller sizes. They last a long time and will take a lot of punishment (and boy do I punish them). The PGT blade is, however, too "agressive" for some folks. See, it always comes back to personal feel and technique. That is why there is more than one brand I reckon.
                          Old Mooner

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                          • #14
                            saws

                            I started with and still have my Dewalt, The ease of blade change and lack of vibration are great whether you are doing fret work or intarsia are worth it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have been using FD Spirals for some time now and I thought that there would never be a blade that could one up them. But I recieved a sample set from Mike yesterday of the new FD-NS blades and I am only further hooked (Big order coming your way Mike and thanks for the samples).

                              Let's look at blades the same way we look at windshield wipers, would you put the best wipers on the market on the most broken windshield out there?

                              Do what you can, with what you have, where you are right now; that's just Army logic.
                              Todd

                              Hawk G4, Dremel 1800

                              Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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