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Buying a Scrollsaw

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  • Buying a Scrollsaw

    Hello. I'm looking for advice. I"m shopping for a scrollsaw. There's a local Hawk 220 available, used, in incredible condition for a decent price or the new Jet scrollsaw is of interest. I know the two saws are quite different and to be honest, I'm more familiar with the new jet saw. How are the Hawk saws, especially the 220? Thanks.

  • #2
    Hi Greg and welcome. Unfortunately, I have no working knowledge of the Hawk. Hopefully some will be along shortly who can give you some insight and detail. I believe that several members here are fans of the Hawks and I have heard good things about it. One question I do know to ask is will this be your first scroll saw or are you replacing or upgrading from another saw?
    Melanie from East TN


    • #3
      This will be "my" first saw. What I mean is I've used others' from time to time, but this will be my first to own.


      • #4
        Gotcha - the reason I asked is that if you have a lot of experience with one saw, you may have a preference for being a "top feeder" or a "bottom feeder" - if you did - then that would potentially impact what saw(s) you wanted to consider.

        I believe that Carole Rothman (handibunny), who is also a regular here on the forum, did a good review on the Jet scroll saw shortly after it came out. I am pretty sure it was discussed on here. I will see if I can find that. (I didn't find that discussion. But found link on Steve Good's blog to the video Carole did: )

        There was also a review in the Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts Summer 2017 (Issue 67) magazine of both the Jet saw and the new Seyco saw. I am sure you can get a back issue from them here if interested: this one takes you directly to that edition:

        I have the new Seyco saw and think it is a good saw to consider as well.
        Last edited by meflick; 11-10-2017, 10:21 AM.
        Melanie from East TN


        • #5
          Hawks are excellent saws, however, it is best to buy one of the later models. I owned an early Hawk. I don't have any experience with the jet. I'm sure some one will offer advice soon.
          ♥♥ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♥♥


          • #6
            All I would advise is don't get in a rush as many do and quickly buy a saw. Look, try and learn. I'm not an expert on Hawks, but I have been asking questions and reading about them for sometime. May get on someday, The older ones don't have a quick tension lever at the front of the upper arm, which means you have to reach to the back of the saw to release/set tension. The older Hawks have a motor that if it goes you have to send the saw to Hawk to have an expensive upgrade and older Hawks are bottom feed only. They are good saw, just some things to be aware of when looking at used ones.

            Hegners are great saws that go on forever and require very little maintenance. I have one and would not part with it, however they have some shortcoming also. They come with a smaller than most table, they are bottom feed only, some old old ones don't have a tension release lever up front so on those you also have to deal with reaching to the back to work the tension. If you ever do need parts for a Hegner, they can be expensive.

            Seyco is a great saw, won't last as long as a Hegner or Hawk, but it is a great saw. King is coming with one that is suppose to be as good as the Excalibur was, and considerably cheaper than the Seyco (which is fashioned after the Excalibur also). DeWalt is one of the more popular saws, especially for people starting out. It is the top of the lower priced saw, both in price and performance. They require some maintenance and which if you are handy on working on this sort of equipment, is pretty easily done and some even enjoy doing it.

            Jet, has been out a little while. I do not know much about them. Bottom feed only I think. (bottom feed versa to feed is like the old Ford versa Chevy argument. Bottom feeders are looked down upon by top feeder, and some will argue to the death about it. I am a lowly Carp, I feed from the bottom. It don't really matter one whit about how good a scroller you are, but it is fun to debate,,,, I guess. I drive a GMC product because my brother-in-law and Nephew refuse to work on a Ford, but my heart belongs to Ford.... I also need them to help me work on my GMC... they are great in mechanics, hummm, never had to worry about working on my Fords.... Just kidding.... settle down'. Oh, back to Jet, what worries me about them is I hear so little about them.. I don't really know if that is a good or bad thing.

            Guess my point is don't rush, learn some about the saws and do not hesitate to ask before buying. Used us a good way to get into the more expensive saws, as long as you have knowledge about what you are buying.

            Then after you get the saw,,, start asking about blade and which are for which and what?? That part almost overwhelmed me when I started. Been at it for 4 or so years and I am still experimenting with which blade for which wood, size of wood and type of cutting.

            Just like turning, a lot of things to learn and explore. That is what makes it all so great!

            Sorry for the long winded post... My internet was down most the morning,,, hadn't had my fix yet.

            AKA Paul from Washington State
            Hegner Multimax 22-V and Seyco ST-21


            • #7
              Welcome. This is a good time for serious scrollers to be looking at new saws. There are more options available than I can recall in the past. Much depends on your budget. For $400-$500 you can get a Porter-Cable or DeWalt that are pretty good saws for the serious hobbiest. At the other end of the spectrum, you have Hegner and Hawk for the heavy duty, "last saw I'll ever need to buy" user. In between, there are new entries from Jet, Seyco and King (re-badged Excalibur). None of these brands have really developed a long enough track record yet, but they all come from good lineage. All of these saws have their quirks. Being a new user, you will likely get used to and love whatever saw you get, but I think it's good to hear from the actual users, especially those who are experienced in the specific scrolling disciplines you are interested in pursuing.

              I had a DeWalt and loved it. I wanted to upgrade to an Excalibur, so I sold it a couple years ago and have been cutting with the EX since then. I chose the EX, because it was very similar to the DeWalt, but more heavy duty. I didn't have a learning curve, to get used to different blade clamping systems, tensioning and speed controls, etc. The transition was very smooth. I have no experience with the others. Hopefully their users will chime in.

              Good luck and have fun making sawdust!
              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."


              • #8
                You might check Steve Good's site. It think he reviewed both the Seyco and Jet saws.
                ArtCrafters in Dayton, TN


                • #9
                  If you going to invest in used Hawk I would suggest 2005 or newer. There were some significant design changes in that time frame. The hawks of this vintage allow you to feed the blade from the top and bottom. Top feeding becomes very helpful when doing larger fretwork projects. like the winter retreat that I posted a few days ago. Lots of good advice but I agree with Paul's advice about taking your time. And as Bill said all saws have features and we all think the saws we have are the best it would be nice if you had some scrollers near you that would let you try their saws.
                  RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, 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


                  • #10
                    I have owned a Hawk since 2002. My saw is a bottom feeder. The tension is set in the back, but only needs to be changed when switching to a larger or smaller blade. There is a tension release in the front, so it is quick and easy to change the blade. Also when switching blades the arm does stay up by itself, so that it doesn't have to be lifted when feeding the blade. Another feature that I like is the speed control. I can turn the saw way down to cut very thin pieces of wood or turn the speed up to cut two inch hardwood. A lot of scrollsaws only have 2 inch clearance between the upper arm and table. The Hawk has 2 1/4, which helps when doing compound cuts.

                    As others have mentioned, the older Hawks have less features. I have a backup Hawk that was built in early 90's. The only way to change the speed, is to change belts under the saw. It only has 3 speeds. Also the blade holder are barrels that require a couple tools to change the blade. It is still a great saw that doesn't have some of the new features.

                    I saw the new Jet at a show last year. I played with it and tried to change the blade. It was not easy to do and took several attempts to get the new blade in. I'm sure it just requires a little learning curve. This year, we had a booth across the isle from someone doing demos on the Jet. To me, it seem to be a lot noisier than my 15 yr old Hawk.

                    Another thing to consider is Service. Through the years, you will have problems with the saw and will need to have help repairing it. This year I finally wore out my motor. I called Hawk and they had me mail in my old motor and the switch. Within a week, I had a new motor. Ten minutes later my saw was back together and I was scrolling new projects.

                    I would suggest, if possible, to try to cut with both saw before you make a decision. Good luck with your new saw.


                    • #11
                      I am not an expert by any means concerning scroll saws, and I bought a DeWalt two years ago. It is not bad but knowing what I know now, I would go in a different direction - Jet (I think) or Seyco or King/Excaliber. These three have something that is of concern for only a few - tilting arm and level table and work piece.

                      I have been around tools since the '50s but did not get my first bandsaw until '89 and took it overseas (Japan) with me. It was a Sears 12 in model that was sometimes referred to as a ship makers band saw. The blade tilted and the table stayed level. I got used to that. Cutting angles was easy as the wood was alway level/flat. I sold the BS to a friend overseas and upgraded to the then top of the line 14 inch Grizzly. I have not liked it as much as I liked my old Sears because I got used to keeping wood level during angle cuts. I am so used to letting the blade bevel rather than the table that I find it difficult to hold wood on a tilted table. My 20 years of using a bandsaw with a tilting blade ruined my perspective.

                      With the DeWalt and other higher quality SSs, not only does one have to follow lines, one must hold the wood in position on the tilted table. Most people do that well, but if I could sell mine I would head to the King, Seyco or Jet or other model that has the tilting arm.

                      This is not for everyone, but it might help.
                      Last edited by leehljp; 11-11-2017, 08:56 AM.
                      Hank Lee
                      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted.


                      • #12
                        Welcome. I have owned my Hegner for 17 years and have spent less than $500 on replacing parts that I have worn out. It feeds from the bottom but it is second nature. The best advice can give us buy the best that you can afford. Looking forward to seeing some pics of your work.

                        "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital


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