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Review of Craftsman 20" Professional Grade Scroll saw

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  • Review of Craftsman 20" Professional Grade Scroll saw

    Well here is my first review of a scroll saw. First the disclaimer (I guess). The views expressed here are entirely mine. No one had or has any influence in my opinion. My goal here is not to flame any saw. Just to provide a little input from my experience
    If you, dear reader find this info helpful then GREAT! If you don't, then I'm sorry for taking up bandwidth.

    The review goes like this, I want to purchase a new scroll saw to regain my lost hobby. (See previous threads of mine.) However I don't want to part with $1000 + of my cash to purchase a Hegner/RBI/eclipse etc. So, I tried to go with what I thought would be the upper end of the bottom tier of saws.
    I purchased a craftsman 20" Professional Grade scroll saw for $299 at my local Sears store. I should have known something was amiss when I looked at the box the thing came in. It looked like it had been sitting on the shelf in the warehouse since Clinton was in office.
    SO, when I unpacked the saw I didn't set up the stand. I placed the saw on my workbench and proceeded to check the "out of box" performance. The projects cut were names cut out of pine and one attempt at cutting a name from White Oak.

    - Vibration 5/10 what would be expected from this level of saw.

    - Pressure required to hold work on table 2/10 I had to wrestle the work piece to keep it on the table. Why didn't I use the hold down? ... my preference I guess. Haven't used one for years. Also, the hold down served as the holder for the blower so I just moved it as high up and out of the way as possible.

    - Ease of blade change 2/10 I lost the set screw down into the bowels of the machine, requiring side cover removal to recover it. Also I could only reach the lower blade clamp with my left hand. And, I had to remove the throat plate and look down through the hole to even see the lower clamp. Tensioning was upfront and easy to use.

    - Light 2/10 Not bright enough for my middle aged eyes to be of any use

    - speed control 7/10 This was one of the few features of this saw that that was a positive. All controls were up front ant easily reached.

    - Table 7/10 Again, one of the few good features, ample support for the project.

    - Dust blower 3/10 I liked the positive snake like nozzle this saw has as seen on higher end saws. However, it didn't have enough force(blow power) to keep saw dust from building up on the project and obscuring the lines.

    The saw had a heavy cast iron body and the looks are like the Dremel line. As always I know someone makes the saw for Sears there was no hint though when I went through the manual.
    All the fancy covers over the arms and around the bottom of the table seem to just get in the way. By no means was this an exhaustive review.
    I became too frustrated after a few hours trying to fiddle with the balde holders to go any further in my evaluation of the saw. So, I packed the thing back up and returned it the next day......
    BTW I tried to post a few pics of the saw.... I hope they can be seen
    Attached Files
    Yes absolutly.. Woo Hoo
    Sort of
    Wait... who are you??

  • #2
    I hate saying this over and over but you get what you pay for. I know there are those out there that enjoy their less expensive saws and have fun with them. But in my opinion if you are serious about scrolling and want to enjoy this craft form then for a couple of hundred dollars more you can go middle of the row and get either the Delta P20 or a Dewalt 788. Both saws are very good heavy duty hard working proven saws. You do not have to spend $1000 on an RBI or Hegner or such but what a joy it is to use these saws. People buy these lower end saws and get frustrated with them and then they give up the hobby and denie themselves the joy of creating something beautiful. This remind you is my opinion. I have been critized for making these statements about lower end saws. So do not shoot the messanger.
    John T.


    • #3
      you won't believe it!!

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I know about the low end saws. I owned an RBI almost 20 years ago. My life changed and I got rid of the saw. What was I thinking?!?

      I just wanted to provide some (objective) feedback to those who still make the best of the dept. store saws.

      Now kids, don't try this at home:
      I just returned from purchacing a "used" RBI Hawk Model 220. Yes I got a bargin basement price and the model is a little dated. With a tune up, (read oiling) and as solid as these machines are, I know it will do what I want it to do. I ordered updated blade holders and the fancy nozzle thingy not to mention the foot switch. .... And I still have less than half the cost of the P20 or DeWalt.

      I'm not recomending that inexperienced scrollers or those with no mechanical background do what I did.

      The point is, as John's advice states, buy the best saw you can afford. I might even go out on a limb and say, strain a little and get the next step up.


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