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which saw is better for fretwork?

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  • which saw is better for fretwork?


    which scroll saw is better to have when it comes to fretwork?



  • #2
    Lin, you should be able to cut fret work with any scroll saw that uses pinless blades. You could cut it with pinned blades depending on how small your inside cuts are. The best scroll saw is the one you are used to using and are confident in using, it is difficult to do a good job scrolling if your fingers, arms and shoulders are tense. You should be relaxed while using it. Mick.
    Mick, - Delta P-20

    A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


    • #3
      I currently have a Hawk 226. I have had several other saws and this one is the best for fretwork that I have used. The blade goes straight up and down so intricate cuts are more accurate. As was stated previously, you have to be comfortable with your saw. I call scrolling my "golf without the exercise and fresh air". I can thoroughly relax while I am scrolling.


      • #4
        Excalibur for Fretwork

        I've had a 30" Excalibur for about 3 years, and I absolutely love it for fretwork, which is what I do most of the time. It is virtually vibration free. You can change blades with your eyes closed and you can thread the blade into your pattern from the top for inside cuts.

        I tried the Excalibur, Hegner, and RBI at a Chicago Woodworking show. Prices were about the same. The Excalibur was clearly the best for me with the RBI a strong second.



        • #5

          Go To Advanced Scroll Saw
          Patterns And Look Into-my Scroll Saw- You Will See The Eclipse Running And It Will Amaze You.


          • #6
            Of all the replies, I think Mick's was about the best advise. ANY scrollsaw can be used for fretwork, you don't need to spend thousands. For myself, I primarily use an Excalibur and it's a fine machine, but it's rediculously priced unless either you've got too much money or you need a production quality saw. The Eclipse and Hawk are also fine saws. The most important things for fretwork are ease of blade changes (read tooless blade changes) and the ability to take pinless blades. For inexpensive saws, the Craftsman 16" VS, the Dremel 1680 and 1800, and I believe the Delta SS350 all fit this bill. I cut some very intricate pieces on both the Craftsman and the Dremel 1680 without problems. Properly mounted, both of these saws offer very little vibration and will provide a hobbiest with many hours of enjoyment. I haven't used the SS350 so I can't make any educated comments on it. All of these saws will cost you less than $200. Something that I've found that makes fretwork much easier and more productive is the ability to top feed, unfortunately, no one (that I'm aware of) offers this option in a low cost saw. The price about doubles for this convenience (not a necessity), the Dewalt 788, Delta P-20, Excalibur EX-19, EX-21 and EX-30 and I believe all of the Hawks offer this capability. The Dewalt and Delta are in the $400 - $500 range while the EX-19 and 21 are in the $750 - $1000 range. Above this are the Hawk G4, EX-30, Hegners, and the Eclipse. The Hegners and the Eclipse do not offer top feeding however. So, depending on your budget, my picks would be for under $200 the Craftsman 16VS, for under $500 it's a toss-up, and over $1000 the EX-30 for fretwork. If intricate fretwork weren't my first priority I would give the edge to the Hegner or the Eclipse. Let me just finish by saying this is only my opinion based on having either extensively used or "test-drove" a number of saws.

            Scrollsaw Patterns Online
            Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


            • #7
              Like others have said pinless blades are best for fretwork.

              I used a Delta SS250 for many years, the blade chages were always quick.
              The lower blade clamp needed a custom allen key to change blades. but it was very easy to do.

              Something to think about is the depth of the throat of the saw. Many of the entry level saws have a 16" capacity.
              This isn't a problem if the pattern you are cutting is less than 16". It can be a challenge to cut longer pieces but there are many work arounds.
              The saw I use now has an 18" throat. I was surprised the 2" made a big difference.

              Like Jediscroller said top feeding is an advantage.

              If you have to thread from the bottom, removing the hold down helps. There are also accessory lights that can be used to find the holes when bottom feeding.
              CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
              "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
              Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


              • #8
                The best saw is the one you can afford , takes pinless blades,has controls easily accessible,allows for easy blade changes, vibrates minimumly. Any of these factors can be covered with many diffrent saws, in many price ranges.
                Dale w/ yella saws


                • #9
                  That was an excellent response and covered a lot of ground.
                  Just one thing I was confused on
                  and I believe all of the Hawks offer this capability.
                  Is that a fact that the RBI saws can be top fed? I was not aware of that but then I have never actually used one of those saws..

                  And Dale summed it up beautifully with his response as well as the responses from the rest.
                  Nice well addressed topic.

                  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 .


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by William Young (SE BC)

                    Is that a fact that the RBI saws can be top fed? I was not aware of that but then I have never actually used one of those saws..

                    William, that was my understanding, I could be mistaken as the one I was considering was the G4 and that one can definately be top-fed. I recall reading that they offered top-feed ability in their literature but perhaps the older ones didn't have this capability? When I did my research before upgrading last year, Hawk had a checkmark in the column for top-feeding and I was looking at the older version 26" and the G4.

                    Scrollsaw Patterns Online
                    Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


                    • #11
                      Thanks Kevin;
                      I was curious enough to do a goole search on the G4 and sure enough it can be added to the other top feeders .
                      I am suprised that they have not edited their eroneous advertising about a perfectly vertical stroke though.
                      I copied this from their site
                      From an exactly vertical stroke for thin materials to a more aggressive action for thicker materials and hardwoods.
                      It has been proven by top notch scrollers as well as design engineers that it it impossible to get a perfectly vertical stoke from a parralel arm arrangement like that and many other saws have.
                      Oh well, they will probably get around to correcting their advertising eventually.

                      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 .


                      • #12
                        Top Or Bottom Feeders

                        Ok. Dumb Question Again. What Is This Top Or Bottom Feeding Thing ? I Have An Eclipse And A Dewalt And I Just Undo My Blade On Both Ends And Go To The Next Cut. What Am I Missing Here ?


                        • #13
                          Top vs Bottom Feeders

                          First neither top feeders or bottom feeders have anything to do with fish.

                          A bottom feeder means you detach the top of the blade from the saw and feed it through the bottom of the piece you are cutting.

                          A top feeder means you detach the bottom of the blade from the saw and feed it through the top of the piece you are cutting.

                          Some saws are bottom feeders only; the top feeders usually have an arm that lifts the blade above the workpiece. I think all top feeders can feed from the bottom also.

                          From my experience if you are doing small fretwork pieces it doesn't make a lot of difference whether you have a top or bottom feeder. As the workpiece gets larger the top feeder becomes handier. If you do a search of this message board on top and bottom feeders you will find a wide range of opinions on which works best. Personally, I have a top feeder (Excalibur) and love it.



                          • #14
                            Fret work saws

                            As stated by the others the two most important things to me for fret work. Tool less clamps and pinless blades. Changing blades HAS to be easy or the inside cuts can be very frustrating.
                            My first saw was a Craftsman that required an allenwrench and a special U pin to change blades it took a couple of minutes. My G4, and Delta, seconds.
                            I have the Delta SS350 16" saw You can feed the blade from the top. The clamps are very easy to use. But the G4 makes it a lot easier with spring loaded arm and plastic lever to keep the arm down while you clamp the bottom of the blade.

                            The SS350 for $189 with stand has served me well.
                            At our last club meeting I called the Hegner owners Bottom Feeders
                            Boy did I stir it up. Lots of laughs. Tools, saw dust it doesn't get better than that.
                            RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                            Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                            Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                            And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


                            • #15
                              I don't want to jack up this thread but...

                              in the couple day's I have been on this site, I sure have learned a lot...bottom feeders, top feeders, G4's...

                              My Craftsman is a beast to work with, I keep telling my wife it's time for me to up grade my saw....I want one like the guy at the fair uses..

                              so that what the G4 is..a Hawk, that's the one I want....

                              My wife gave me a new fish finder with GPS for my birthday, great present but right now if I had to do it over I would take the reasoning, the fish finder that we have now works just fine and the G4 is cheaper...

                              see what you guys are doing to me.....

                              Hawk G-4 Jetcraft
                              Fish are food, not friends!


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