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No saw...looking to make wood puzzles as hobby...

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  • No saw...looking to make wood puzzles as hobby...

    Hi and let me preemptivley thank you all for existing! I have fallen in love with old wood puzzles. After several years or purchasing them on EBay I decided to take the plunge (and probably long learning curve) and learn how to make them myself. Can anyone recommend what type of saw i might get and what type of blades I will need? I plan to start with larger puzzle pieces (for my kids), but would eventually like to work towards puzzles with hundreds of intricate and small pieces, (perhaps less than an inch big).
    Here is what I know so far:
    I want a saw with the EZ tooless blade change
    I guess I will need to eventually use some of the smallest sized blades out there (what would those be?)
    I would like to keep the cost of the Scroll saw under $250
    Would any of you consider buying a used scroll saw off EBay?
    What are your thoughts on motor life on these machines?
    I heard positive reviews of the Ryobi 18" SC180VS which sells for under $200
    (does anyone think I could grow with this saw?)
    Finally and realistically, with two small kids and a lovely wife I will not be able to devote too much time, so it will be slow going for me, (stealing time when I can to learn and saw).

    I apologize if this post is too wordy, but thanks in advance to all of you!

  • #2

    Take a look at my posting under the topic of New Puzzle on the General Scroll Saw segment of this forum.

    I'm happy to give any help I can in the making of freehand jigsaw puzzles. It's great fun. Feel free to email me at [email protected]

    I look forward to working with you.



    • #3
      The Ryobi SC180VS

      Welcome to the forum.

      I have a Ryobi SC180VS . I really like the saw.
      It doesn't have too much vibration. The blade clamps can be tricky to start with, I had to sand a burr off the inside of my lower clamp to make it hold the blade.
      I haven't had much trouble since then.
      Another good choice is the Delta. Both inexpensive.

      You have already made a choice to what style of cutting you will do and have obviously done some research to tool less blade clamps. That is one of the biggest steps in choosing an appropriate saw.

      There are some great blades out there for puzzles. Some are very thin.
      (I had a slight problem with clamping extremely thin baldes on the Ryobi. (0/2 or thinner) not many scrollers use blades that thin.

      I would check with Carter Johnson on blade selection. He is our puzzle Guru. Just check out any of the puzzles he has done on the forum.

      Good luck and have fun.
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


      • #4
        Hi FP

        You won't go far wrong if you heed Carter's advice . I don't think I've shown anyone here my first serious attempt at a jigsaw, so here it is:

        I've got a long way to go before I'll be able to say I've mastered jigsaws, but Carter's already seen this and offered some very helpful advice. There'll be more piccies posted as I cut more puzzles that I'm happy with. I find that jigsaws are surprisingly easy to cut adequately but rather tricky to cut superbly. However, they're all very rewarding to make, so have a go!

        I bought a second-hand saw from eBay a few months ago and I've regretted it since. It was practically unusable and had to undergo extensive refurbishment by the manufacturer. I'd be wary of trusting to eBay again after this experience.

        There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
        (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


        • #5
          futurepuzzler, check at They have the Delta SS350LS for $189.99 including a $50.00 free metal stand. Good luck with whichever saw you choose. Mick.
          Mick, - Delta P-20

          A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


          • #6
            I would suggest you spend just a tad over your budget,and buy a refurbished dewalt saw. Tool king on ebay sells them for about $50 over your price range.I have a ryobi,and since I got a big yella saw (dewalt) I havent used the ryobi. And yes, I did win a Dewalt scrollsaw at a SAW scrolling picnic a few years ago. If you ever get a chance to attend one by all means do so!Loads of fun,and the most wonderful people.Everyone lately seems to want to bash Rick H ,but he is one the most helpful guys there is whenever you have a question, and he never expects even a pat on the back. Anyways, you do want toolless blade changes,littlest vibration is a must,the larger the table,the more support for your wood. One more thing to consider,you are buying a tool that you soon will be addicted to, so buy a good one right away,or you will regret it later.
            Dale w/ yella saws


            • #7
              Wow, thanks!

              Every single one of you has provided me with something excellent to think about. I am thinking I perhaps can raise my budget. (now I am leaning towards a Dewalt). I can't believe how helpful you all are! One other thing -I am a complete novice not only to scrolling, but to wordworking period. So I have a lot to learn. I know nothing about wood, I really don't even have a firm grasp on what the word "bevel" means!
              Anyway sounds like I will be bothering Carter and Rick for details. This saw is my Chritsmas gift to myself , I already told the wife its all I want this year.

              Thanks again everyone.


              • #8

                Sounds like everyone gave good advice. I started with a Delta SS250 and then with with a DeWalt 788, you should start out with the best saw you can afford you will miles ahead. Carter will steer you in the right direction with puzzles that's for sure. For blades, you will not go wrong with Flying Dutchman. Get in touch with Mike at . He can advise you on any blades you might need. I would use no other.


                That puzzle you did looks very good, indeed. I like the way you did the sides.

                Last edited by wwalker47; 11-13-2005, 03:21 PM.

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


                • #9
                  Carter is THE MAN when it comes to puzzles! I haven't tried any yet, maybe some day!

                  They gave away an RBI at this years picnic/tradeshow, ticket #666 won it.

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


                  • #10
                    Yep,I attended three picnics (trade shows) this year,and my lucky streak is over,I didnt bring home any saws this year,but my first picnic,in Pontiac Ill is where i struck gold! Anyone that gets a chance to attend a picnic,by all means should go,its such a wonderful time.
                    Dale w/ yella saws


                    • #11
                      Carter's puzzles?

                      By the way, Carter, do you have a web site where we can view some samples of your work? I'd love to see a few more!


                      • #12
                        Photo Gallery

                        In response to your request, I don't have a web site .... but.....after a hour or so this morning, I think I've created a Gallery within this forum. Click on "Scroller Galleries" on the left and the scroll down to "Member Galleries". Click on it and find mine. I put 20 images on it. Hope this works. Lemme know...........Carter


                        • #13

                          Carter just checked out your gallery-some absolutely beautiful stuff there! You also have a great eye for picking subjects that look perfect for a jigsaw puzzle! Where do you get them from? I Really enjoyed looking at your work! Just makes me want to get started even faster. Everyone please take a look at all the great stuff Carter uploaded! It is inspiring!


                          • #14
                            Hi Future puzzler,
                            Welcome to the group!
                            You have already gotten the best advice about saws (DeWalt is the way to go, if you are able), and as to the king of puzzles (Carter).
                            I'd like to encourage you to buy or check out at your library John Nelson's book, Scrollsaw Workbook. It will take you through the baby steps that we all took, and provide you plenty of good instructions and advice along the way. You can devote as little or as much time as you can find to it - at your own pace. Except for taking a class in scrolling, I think it is the best intro to scrolling available.
                            Then, especially since you have kiddos, check out the books by Judy Peterson and her husband - they are about puzzles made of thicker (3/4 to 1 1/2") hardwoods. They should be a piece of cake to cut with your new saw and your flying dutchman blades and your new skills, and they really do turn out neat. I don't know how young your kids are, but be sure not to let the really little-uns get hold of any piece that will pass through the cardboard tube from a TP roll.
                            Good luck, and let us know how you are progressing!


                            • #15
                              One more question?

                              I hope I am not pushing it here, but what are your recommendations regarding wood dust? I really find those masks uncomfortable to wear and I sweat in them. Are they necessary and if so, is there another way to get rid of the dust without wearing a mask?

                              I should be purchasing my saw in about 2-3 weeks. Can't wait. thanks for al the support. I hope to have something that I can post an image of some day!
                              Last edited by futurepuzzler; 11-15-2005, 10:05 PM. Reason: mispell


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