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Fired up my saw today, first time

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  • Fired up my saw today, first time

    I've been busy cleaning, painting, and reorganizing my work space. It's a converted porch that I have been using as an office for my home-based business and will now be a combination workshop/office. Still tons to do sorting files, improving electricals and lighting, and building a work/storage table, but I assembled my saw and dust collector today and tried them out.

    While the saw (2 year old 20" Hawk bought used) is nice and quiet, the dust collector ( sounds like a 747 on take-off, so I need to build an acoustical box for it. I couldn't stand running it, so I didn't. The little sawing I did sans dust mask got to my lungs, so I know I need the machine, and soon. And, um, quitting smoking wouldn't hurt.

    The saw is a lovely piece of equipment. It vibrates rather objectionably at 7 on the speed dial (1325 RPM) and above, and I'd appreciate thoughts from others about this. The saw stands on a carpeted surface which probably doesn't help. I leveled the saw stand, btw. I probably won't use that much speed, but I'd like to make sure that the saw is OK.

    I have FD and Pegas puzzle blades, and tried the Pegas first because they are reputably more fragile, so I thought they'd point up bad technique better. I cut some strip-type puzzle pieces freehand from some 3/16" birch plywood and was very impressed with the smooth surface on the sides of the cut pieces and lack of splintering on the bottom, just a little fuzz that can almost be knocked off with a cloth. The cuts came out good, with no bevels or burns. Those little teeth can cut at remarkably fast rate, and I'm going to have to slow way down for smaller pieces. My eBay wood is full of voids, so I'm going to chop it up for practice. Practice will be helpful, because I'm a long way from controlling the saw as I'd like to.

    My goal is to make jigsaw puzzles, which is why I jumped into scrolling. I hope to have something to show soon!

    Many thanks to SSW for this forum, and to many members for solid advice I've received so far, directly and from reading old posts.


  • #2
    Hi Pete.....

    Good luck, and PLEASE try cutting puzzle pieces one-at-a-time rather than in strips. You'll be able to cut different sized pieces, cut around images within the pictures and have a result that's much more fun to put together. Let me know if there's any way I can help.....

    I can't help with your saw's vibration, but I do suggest you slow down your saw's speed at first. You'll soon learn to control your blade at the higher speed. You'll also find that sometimes the blades are more controllable after they have cut a dozen pieces or so.



    • #3

      a Scoll Saw does not put a lot of sawdust in the air like a router or table saw. Most of us can get away with a simple dust mask.

      One of the major reasons to use a Dust Collector system is that it should be WAY less noise than a shop vac. A DC, by all rights, should be as noisy as a home furnace fan / blower; not a 747. The system you use 'pipe' your DC could be causing the DC's fan to be starved of air. It could be wanting more air volume than a single 4 inch PVC pipe. Remove all piping, and check the noise level to be sure. There could be something wrong with the blower fins or the outlet air flow into the bags that is causing the noise. Also test the noise level when it is placed on a concrete floor, like a driveway.

      Now as to vibration. The rule of thumb is MASS, as in weight; a 10 to 1 ratio. But as you describe it, I think you have a structure problem, which could be caused by your porch. Your saw would like to be on concrete. Can you move it to your driveway for a test of vibration? A porch's construction is usually not enough to dampen vibration. The wooden structure could be causing it to amplify the vibration.

      If you need to, check out your local BORG (Big Orange Retail Giant) home improvement store for wall board for use in Bathrooms. It is a concrete wall board product; very heavy. Break the board up to say 3 ft squares and place under your saw on the porch. This will add mass to your setup. You may have to place a large 3/4 inch plywood under the concrete wall board to distribute the weight on your porch. I don't know your building code.

      Be aware, I am offering suggestions based on what you have described, and thus this advise is free, and it may be worth **exactly** what you paid for it. I hope others have additional advise.



      • #4
        Though I should be doing other things the experiments continued today.


        Actually, I started cutting strip-style one piece at a time with large pieces, then tried an actual strip section (boring!). Today, I tried small pieces one at a time with largish tabs so that pieces are about 60% wood, 40% air, and they look pretty good. I know it's the mark of a good puzzle cutter to use uniform tabs through a puzzle, but I'm going to have trouble with that. Already, I like to throw in a claw, a foot, or an earlet from time to time and my wife says my tabs look like my Grandpa's. She loves puzzles and is very excited about what I'm doing.

        You are right that the standard-style pieces look very good and interesting when cut one at a time. This puzzle of yours was an inspiration to me:

        The only really nasty fault I have so far is a tendency to go spastic and back out of a cut every once in a while, leaving a nick. I think getting a stool for a comfortable position and maybe a fresh eyeglass prescription will help. I have a magnifying lamp but so far find it unnatural for cutting freehand. Using it will probably help, too.

        Thanks for all your advice on and off-list, Carter. You've really helped me get my bearings.


        You are right about the amount of dust being miniscule, but it definitely affected my lungs. I hate wearing a mask, so will persist with the DC.

        So far I've run it without piping, and in some testing today found that it will be quieter with some restriction. I also found that a lot of noise comes from the metal blower housing. Wrapping it with a towel cut the noise way down, so a wrap with some of that space-age metallic insulation ought to do the job.

        Re: vibration, my floor is pretty solid being 3/4" plywood over 1" furring strips 12" apart with solid foam insulation between, over concrete. The carpet and pad are not thick but add to the problem, because when I put my weight on the stand much of the vibration is damped. A great deal remains, though, almost like the counterweight is mounted bassackwards, so maybe I'll give RBI a holler.

        Thanks for your comments, Phil. Bolting the thing to some kind of concrete base is a very neat suggestion for an intermediate-term refinement. Right now, a cap of 1325 RPM isn't too bad.



        • #5
          Hi Pete;

          The saw is a lovely piece of equipment. It vibrates rather objectionably at 7 on the speed dial (1325 RPM) and above, and I'd appreciate thoughts from others about this.
          Sorry to hear about yet another one of that make of saw that vibrates on the higher end. It could possibly be the reason that the saw was sold as a used one. I know of a few people personally that had the same problem and after much expense sending it back and forth to the factory the problem could not be fixed . The one my friend owns in a town close by vibrated bad enough to walk across the floor at speeds above half way. It is sitting in a corner all covered with dust and wood piled on it because he bought a different make.
          If you can get used to a saw that works well on the slower speeds , then you probably got a real good buy. Not all those saws vibrate as much on high speeds. Some claim that theirs don't . Some swear by them while others swear at them. It's just the way it is. It is just too bad that the company cannot correct the bad ones.
          I think it must have something to do with so much cast aluminum parts in those saws which makes them too light. The new G-4 RBI's have some cast iron in them for more weight and possibly that was an upgrade to correct some of the vibration problems on previous models.
          At least you got a used one at a used price so if some time in the future you need to use some higher speeds for certain styles of sawing you could always sell it and hopefully get all your money back to apply to a saw that doesn't have that inherent problem. That is much better than if you had bought it new and would have to loose a lot of money to sell it as a used one like others have had to.

          Welcome to the wonderfull world of scrolling. It is a never ending learning process and I hope you enjoy years of pleasure with your saw operating the way it is and if you ever decide to upgrade you won't have lost anything but gained a lot of experience in the meantime.
          Last edited by William Young (SE BC); 07-02-2006, 02:51 PM.

          The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

          Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


          • #6
            HI Pete. I just wont to congratulate you on you new toy. I almost got a Hawk , it was a toss up between that and the Hegner. I can feel your excitment, I don't have any good advice for you , other that I don't find any reason to go any faster than 1300 rpms myself. Itend to burn wood at faster speeds. and it seems like the blade gets hotter and breaks easyer. but then I am still learning, and trying to buld my speed. I am not sure why but the blade seems to cut just as fast when i am going at a slower speed. and for small fretwork. i really have to slow down, so i can controle my blade cuts. some day i will try some puzzels. I bet it is alot more difficult, to cut than fretwork. I don't have to worry so much about my work conning like you do.
            I have enjoyed this thread, and i feel Iam learning alot here. good luck , and injoy. your friend Evie oh ya i forgot, I too have to slow down with a new blade too, just untill it dulls alittle or it will just take off on me. especially,with the presion milled or puzzale blades. 13 to 15 teeth per inch.


            • #7
              Originally posted by William Young (SE BC)
              Sorry to hear about yet another one of that make of saw that vibrates on the higher end.
              This is like buying a Cadillac, having it overheat the first day, and the mechanic says, "Yeah, most of 'em do that."

              Or learning that one's new bride used to be a man. No, wait, it's not THAT bad.

              Oh, well, I'll call the factory and see if there's anything I can do short of putting it on a truck back to Mazoo. Then again, Evie's quite right that it's plenty of saw for me for the time being. I really wonder about those high speeds and big blades with these little puzzle guys ripping along the way they do.


              • #8
                Hey, Pete.....

                I've got to correct you on one assumption....your quote:

                "I know it's the mark of a good puzzle cutter to use uniform tabs through a puzzle"

                No way....just the opposite....make those tabs and pieces as varied as possible. That's what makes the puzzle phun.

                Sounds like you're on your way.......



                • #9
                  Thanks for pointing out my error, Carter; I should have said, "It is said that it's the mark of a good puzzle cutter to use uniform tabs through a puzzle."

                  Like you, I think puzzles should be fun. Having oddly shaped pieces takes the tedium out of vast expanses of sky, snow, or grass. I start to lose patience if more than a couple of hours go by without being able to fit anything together.


                  • #10
                    Hi Pete;
                    Hope I didn't discourage you about your saw. It was not at all my intention.
                    It's just that if you ask a question here or on any other site you can expect to get an answer from people in the know . Sometimes the answer is not one that you would like to hear but at the same time facts are facts and it is best to be informed of the pro's and cons of things like this. If you are happy with your saw at the speeds it will operate smoothly at, then go ahead and makes all kinds of wonderfull stuff with it. High speeds are mostly for ones like myself that do lots of heavy stack sawing of hardwoods and like to cut out a lot of stuff in a hurry. I get just as much enjoyment with that style of cutting as some do with cutting thinner wood at slower speeds. Some people are more production oriented than others and I just happen to be one like that. We all have our own style of cutting so it is nice to have a saw that meets our requirements. Take your time and learn on your saw with it's limited speed range . There is lots of time to decide if that is the right method of sawing for your particular purposes.

                    Yes, I agree with Carter about the free style puzzle cutting and even the free style size of tabs etc. Carter taught me practically everything I know about cutting puzzles and once you do it his way you won't want to go back to following a pattern for puzzles.
                    Happy scrolling.

                    The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

                    Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


                    • #11
                      Hawk vibration

                      I have also have a Hawk but am not bothered by vibration. What you have it sitting makes a difference. For what it is worth, I made a partial shelf out of wood and set a cement block on it. No vibrarion. I also put a duplex box on the shelf so I can plug the saw and my light in at the saw. That way I only have one cord to plug into the wall socket. Everything in my shop has to be on casters it is easier for me to only have to fool with one cord.

                      Keep on cutting


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by William Young (SE BC)
                        Hope I didn't discourage you about your saw. It was not at all my intention.
                        It's just that if you ask a question here or on any other site you can expect to get an answer from people in the know.
                        Not at all, William. I was afraid of as much, so it's good to know. I'm a little irked because I paid good money for the saw, but adding weight, bolting it down, etc., are not expensive. Probably, a machine shop would not want much to balance it for me. So there are options.

                        Cutting with the thin birch seemed very fast, but then again I'm a rookie. What sort of speed do you like to use for puzzles?



                        • #13
                          My saw is set is set on 1400 and I very seldom ever change it year in . . year out. The only reason I would go slower is if I have to cut a single piece of 1/8" wood.
                          It is a Delta P-20 with six speeds staight across the pullys but can be cross pulleyed to something like 40 odd speeds but I have never done that except to try it out once to prove the theory to be correct.. I cannot understand why anyone needs any more than 6 speeds on a saw. I have choices of both 1600 and 2000 above where I cut all the time at 1400.
                          It takes mere seconds to change from one speed to another but personally I have no need to keep fooling around with changing to different speeds and having to get used to the change in cutting characteristics that a newer speed presents. . On the other hand , I know some top notch scrollers that run their saws wide open at full speed all the time for everything they cut.
                          So it boils down to what you get used to and what is most comfortable for your particular style of cutting and what you set your production rate at. Some say it is relaxing for them going slow and taking their time and I can appreciate that.. On the other hand , going that slow and taking a long time to cut out something would drive me nuts. I find it more relaxing and more enjoyable and rewarding to get the project finished and get on with a different one.
                          So as a new scroller you are finding out some of the basics that separates the preferences of some scrollers from the preferences of others. Eventually you will find where you fit in amoung us most comfortably.
                          I started this Dome clock on Jan 22/04 and completed it right down to the final coat of lacquer and the hardware installed on Feb 13/04. It is all solid red oak with black walnut trim. I was dissapointed that it was not as much of a challenge as I had hoped for.

                          I have heard of others that have taken years to make that clock.


                          Last edited by William Young (SE BC); 07-02-2006, 11:25 PM.

                          The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

                          Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


                          • #14
                            The tension on my DeWalt goes up to five and I set it at 4.5. The speed goes from 0 to 8 and I set it at about 6.3, sometimes starting a little slower for the first few cuts with a new blade..I'm cutting almost always with 1/4" poplar and occasionally birch.



                            • #15
                              Geez, Bill, that clock is astonishing. It's hard to imagine how fretwork could be much more intricate than that. Thank goodness that I'm only looking to become proficient at puzzles for now, because seeking to achieve that kind of workmanship would make for a very long row to hoe!

                              I thought I'd try some trickier shapes this evening, spirals and gear wheels and so forth, and slowed the saw down to about 700 spm. It was like watching grass grow, so I kicked it back up to about 1,000, which gave me all the control I needed but, boy, were the results crude. Which raises an interesting point: Why do I expect to be able to saw nicely when my freehand drawing and penmanship are so crappy? LOL. I guess it's because other things I do with tools usually turn out well.

                              Carter raises a good issue about tension. I've been using RBI's recommended tension for 2/0 blades, but it seems like the blade turns as I turn the wood, then comes around a little later. Maybe a bit more tension will help.

                              In another thread, I got some pointers about resurfacing and waxing my saw table, but I have yet to do it. That should improve the smoothness of my curves. I'm also going to pick up one of those pointy erasers to use as a pivot for arcs.

                              All in all, today was a good day. I made some credible-looking standard puzzle pieces, and a long round style (like fat worms) worked pretty well, too. Tomorrow, I'll spruce up the saw table, play with the tension, and see if I can produce a couple of small puzzles without pictures.



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