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Variable Speed?

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  • Variable Speed?

    How important do you think it is to have a variable speed saw? I see that most models have that feature. I recently got a very good deal on a Delta SS200 - a very basic, single-speed saw. Before I open the box (it's new), I want to ask - will I quickly be disappointed or limited with a single speed model? Should I really get a variable speed saw? I am an experienced woodworked - the scrollsaw is an addition to my shop. It will be used for sawing small pieces that are unsafe to cut using other power tools, and for cutting out marquetry patterns.

    I can still resell what I bought for more than what I paid, so there's no risk either way...


  • #2
    Hi Jeff. good luck on your new saw. But I for one think a variabale speed is pricless. but you can learn on anything. but i found slowing down, on the little fretwork that i do. was priceless. i started with one speed. 1700 rpms. and did just fine. but I did have to upgrade on a differant saw. I know you will enjoy what you have bought. and I think, all kids need to start work at burger king. but when you have your cooking down pat. upgrade to the steak house. jsut my 2 cents worth. don't send it back. learn from it. that will make you apprecieate a better saw latter. Evie


    • #3
      For most projects, you may not miss the VS option at all. Most of us find a comfy speed and usually just stay there unless we run into a problem.
      For marquetry, though - using any scroll saw may be a challenge. Most of that veneer is so thin and sometimes brittle - you may be better off using a scalpel or a craft knife. You may be able to sandwich it between sacrificial layers, but that could end up a lot of bother, and still may not be accurate enough.
      I hope you do decide to either keep your Delta or acquire another ss - you'll be glad you did. Many of the projects possible on the ss are almost magical in their complexity and beauty - and not do-able on any other kind of a saw (OK, maybe, with infinite patience and skill and time, a hand fretsaw)
      So good luck, whatever you finally decide.
      And welcome to the group. I hope you come back often.


      • #4
        It depends on what you paid for the saw. I like variable speed and find the single speed limits what you can cut.
        Next to blade clamps I would think variable speed would be the next most important option.

        You can always get a router speed control and use that.
        Light dimmers really don't work and present too many problems.
        The blade clamp on that saw can be updated to use the Delta Quick Clamp.
        That is a plus.
        If you consider a speed controller will cost 25 dollars or more and the quick clamp conversion will be another 25, can you buy a better saw for what you paid plus $50.

        I started with a Delta 2 speed saw and found it didn't go slow enough for my linking. I found the saw fairly solid not too bad for vibration, once I made a stand for it.

        Many will tell you to spend $400 or so on a better saw but I guess it depends how much you are going to use it.
        So I haven't really helped much just asked some more questions.
        If you want more specifics feel free to email me.

        Good Luck. C.
        "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
        Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


        • #5
          IMHO, variable speed is very important for most scroll saw work. I will sometimes change speeds during a cut, if I feel it gives me more control and lessens the chances of making a mistake, especially in a delicate cut in thin material. But depending on what you are doing, it may not be as critical to you. What you may find is that even though you started scrolling to enhance your other woodworking projects, you will want to get more into it. If that happens, then I think you will quickly find that you would like to have VS.
          Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


          • #6
            I'm with the VS brigade . To my mind, it's indispensable and the slower the speed that's available, the better. You simply have so much more control, especially when cutting fine detail or small pieces of wood. The speed on my saw can be turned down to practically zero strokes per minute - it's a real boon.

            Don't forget to make sure your saw has a zero tolerance table or insert if you're going to be cutting fine pieces. You'll need one to support the workpiece as you cut it. Rather than go into too much detail right now, I suggest you have a look at this thread - then come back and ask us lots of questions !

            Sandy mentioned the possibility of cutting marquetry with a knife. I've done a fair bit of that in my time, so if you need any assistance just shout out. However, I understand that most American veneers are thicker than those in the UK which means it's usually better to cut with a saw if possible.

            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)


            • #7
              I agree that the VS is an important option on a saw if you plan to do a variety of scrolling styles or projects..and if you're new at this whole addiction. I'll be bold enough to say that you should go ahead and sell it, make a bit of profit and get a machine that gives you more options as you're learning and discovering all of what a scroll saw can do!

              Good luck with whatever you decide and if we can help in any way..just ask..this forum is filled with amazingly talented people who are willing to share their knowledge

              Sue Chrestensen


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sue Chrestensen
                ..this forum is filled with amazingly talented people who are willing to share their knowledge

                Some of us just share knowledge whether we know it is useful or not
                CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                • #9
                  Yes to VS. My first single speed saw I kept for about 2 weeks and then decided that I was going to get into more detailed portrait work. The single speed I had went fast and only fast. It is invaluable to have saw that you can slow down for them sharp little turns. This way, if you over shoot, You only over shoot a little. Much easier to control at 500 strokes vs. 1750 strokes.

                  Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


                  • #10
                    I have an old Q3 Delta VS and it stopped working this weekend, not sure if I will get it fixed, I also have a Delta P-20 that is a belt drive, it works OK but I wish it was VS. I don't care for it at low speeds.

                    Delta P-20 & Q-3

                    I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!


                    • #11
                      VS, I don't change it very often but when I do it really makes control of a difficult fine cut a lot easier. Picture yourself in a car that only goes 60. The corners can be a bit hairy.(unless I am driving my Sports car)
                      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


                      • #12
                        I'm all for the VS, after all it's better to have it if you need it, then need it and not have it.

                        DeWalt 788

                        aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                        God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


                        • #13

                          I really appreciate the opinions from the group's collective experience. I'm now definitely leaning towards variable speed...

                          Carl - the router speed controls I've seen are for universal motors (with brushes). Will that really work on this scrollsaw?

                          Sandy - the marquetry techniques I was referring to are sawn with multiple layers of veneer in a stack. For single veneer layers, yes, I use a knife, chisel, or veneer saw.

                          Thanks again!


                          • #14
                            That's a good question Jeff, I honestly cant answer it.
                            There are operational differences between universal and asynchronous motors but I never thought of them till you raised the question
                            Maybe Neal Moore could, he has an electrical background.

                            Perhaps you should just flog it off and get a VS one. There is no question that VS is a necessity.

                            If you need manuals or diagrams for Delta, Dewalt, Black and Decker or Porter Cable you can check out this link
                            You may get more information there.
                            CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                            "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                            Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                            • #15
                              Hi Jeff
                              Welcome to our little corner of the net. I like most of us in here like the VS saws. In will come in handy if you deside to cut other material like Corian, that requires a slower speed. Have fun and come back often.


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