How to Use a Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a convenient and versatile tool that does fine cutting work using fine blades under tension. It is actually the best saw for making precision cuts in wood, metal and plastic. You may find the saw to be a bit complicated to use at first. However, by following a few simple instructions, you can use it quite simply. Read on to find out how to use a scroll saw.

1. Safety first
Although scroll saws are one of the safest cutting tools available, it is important to always observe some basic safety procedures. Wear safety goggles to prevent eye injuries which may occur from sawdust and broken blades. Wear a dust mask and a hat to cover or hold back long hair.
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2. Prepare the workpiece
Cut the wood, plastic or metal to the required size. Next, draw your own design onto the material or transfer the patterns you want to cut onto it. Ensure the marked lines are clearly visible.

3. Prepare the scroll saw
Before use, the scroll saw should be firmly bolted to the working surface. Install the right blade for the pattern and material to be cut and make sure it firmly fits onto the saw. Make sure to tension the blade properly,  a properly tensioned blade will not deflect more than 1/8 inch from front to back under moderate pressure from your finger at the midpoint.  If the blade is not tensioned properly, it will decrease performance of the saw.  Turn the saw on. If the scroll saw comes with a light, turn it on as well. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to look for a source of strong light and position it near the table so as to see any fine detail clearly. If the saw has a dust blower, turn it on so as to blow away dust and keep a fine line for you to follow as you cut the pattern out. To test the saw to see if it is working properly, take a piece of scrap wood and make a short cut in it.
Woodwork
4. Start cutting
Set the speed of the scroll saw for the material you want to cut. The harder and thinner the material, the slower the speed you should use. Hardwoods for instance need a slower speed than softwoods. Metals require the slowest possible speeds. After adjusting the speed, direct the blade toward the first line to be cut. Use both hands to guide the workpiece into the blade. Move the work through the blade using forefingers of both hands and one thumb. The other fingers should be kept away from the cut line. Make sure you don’t remove both forefingers or one hand as this may cause the piece to jump or create a jagged cut. You should also not rush the piece through the blade as this may make your fingers slip and come into contact with the blade or may create crooked patterns.

When you reach a turning point and have to make a 90 degree turn, move the blade back through the cut line and remove the work from the saw. Insert the work from the beginning of the adjacent line and saw until you reach the point where it meets the first line at the angle. You can now move to the next line.

5. Finishing up
Turn off the saw after you’ve successfully completed cutting out the pattern. Remove the blade and unclamp the saw from the working surface.

Conclusion
The above instructions will help you find scroll saw projects to be fun and easy. Remember, practice makes perfect so keep on practicing and you’ll master the craft before you know it.  If you are new to woodworking and wanting additional resources to help you become a better scroller, check out our post here on informative books to add to your workshop library.

Hawk BM 20 and 26 Review

Hawk BM-20

Bushton Manufacturing is promoting its two new Hawk Precision Scroll Saws—the BM-20 and BM-26. Both saws are relatively expensive compared to most on ScrollSawReviews.com; but this model offers some features that truly make the Hawk Precision Scroll Saw a considerable upgrade for “scrollers” looking for a saw that has:

  • Easier blade changing
  • Longer lasting motor
  • Wider stroke range
  • A broader range of materials it can cut!

The main difference between the two Hawk models is the throat capacity—20” and 26”, respectively. But let’s take a closer look at the features and capabilities of the Hawk BM Scroll Saw from Bushton.

Price

The BM-20 model runs a “hefty” four figure price. The BM-26 model costs slightly more. This is 3x to 4x more expensive than low- to mid-range scroll saw, which puts it in the high-range of scrolls

What are you using it for?

The BM-20 and BM-26 can cut an impressive array of materials including: soft and hard woods, plywood veneer, melamine, glass, ceramic tile, stone, plastic, organic materials (horns, antlers, bone) and both precious and non-precious metals (aluminum, copper, brass, silver, gold). With less expensive saws, you won’t find a saw capable of cutting so many materials.

Thickness of the cut

The thickness of the cut is a huge plus—an extra 5/8”, totaling a 2 5/8” capacity. This applies to all materials on the above list.

Throat Length

The throat length varies for both models, as the names indicate—20” and 26”, respectively. This is also an upgrade from most mid-level scroll saws that average about 16”.

Safety

The safety mechanism on the saw is a key upgrade from low and mid-range scrolls. The Hawk utilizes a safety spring and stop that will shut down the machine in the event of a blade break during operation.

Table Top Tilt

What really makes this price competitive is that it can cut basically anything, can cut thicker materials, has both left and right tilt (up to 45 degrees), and changing blades is rarely this easy.

The option to tilt the table in both directions opens up a whole new range of projects while scrolling. Instead of having to stop and reset for cuts—or rearrange your cut order to accommodate the limitation—the Hawk (20 and 26) lets you stay put while the saw does the work.

Dust Blower

Although the saw lacks a dust port for attachment to shop vacuums, it does come equipped with a flex bellows and Loc-Line design for keeping the cutting area clean so you can see the work as you’re doing it.

Weight

It’s a heavier saw. The weight of the BM-20 comes in at 93 lbs. The BM-26 is a little heavier at 97 lbs. This is about twice as heavy as the less expensive models; but the upside is that a heavier saw always means less vibration. (More on vibration later.)

Warranty

In terms of longevity, customer reviews and the manufacturer brag about the durability of the BM models. However, in case of a malfunction, there is a Manufacturer’s Warranty for 1 year including all parts and labor.

Blade Tension

The saw uses front and rear cam over design that allows the blade(s) to be released quickly and set precisely, and improves blade tension. The front cam over design will make your inside cuts much easier.

Pin-end vs Plain-end Blades

Whereas other saws offer both pin-end and plain-end blades, the Hawk only accepts 5” pinless blades. Changing the blade is much easier here though.

Other Distinct Features

On the product’s site, the company boasts that the saw has been “engineered to run quietly and limit vibration.”

The steel legs and “heavy-duty” base deliver a more stable cut and increased durability. The adjustable nose also creates a more advantageous cut and more options. The upper arm is 38% lighter. The lower arm is 34% lighter; and the Pitman arm connecting the motor to the lower arm is 78% lighter.

Don’t worry about these weight reductions. The steel legs, heavy base and the integration of the motor and motor bearing block add the necessary weight and stability for smooth cuts. The flywheel has been replaced by a counter-weight to add to the scroller’s precision.

Blade Changing

You can feed the blade from the top or bottom, and “quick change blade holders” allow you to change blades with less work, and no tools. Both the top and bottom blade holders quickly clip into place.

Vibration

The manufacturer gave special attention to reducing vibration—adding a motor bearing block, a 10 gauge steel legs and a cast aluminum table.

Speed

Perhaps one of the most obvious upgrades is the strokes per minute. Saws on the lower end of the price range average around 400-1600 spm. Both the BM-20 and BM-26 give you a wider range on both the low and high sides at 100-1750 spm. Don’t be surprised to hear the manufacturer suggest that users will need to sand their pieces less. (No customer reviews comment on this.)

Type of Motor

The TENV (Totally Enclosed, Not Ventilated) DC motor keeps dust out, and prevents stalling and over-heating.

Noise

On the product’s site, the company boasts that the saw has been “engineered to run quietly and limit vibration.”

Table Size

The table is about average for scroll saws with a 13.5” diameter. The blade is centrally located on the table, and with the ability to tilt in both directions, only the most obscure projects will be out the range of possibilities for these models.

Wheelchair Accessible

An important feature often overlooked in saw designs is wheelchair accessibility. The distance between the legs is 27 ½”. If one were to purchase an after-market stand for this purpose, they would be buying a stand with at least one side having a 30” width between the legs.

Customer Reviews

The internet has a shortage of customer reviews on the Hawk BM-20 and BM-26 models; but here are a few notable comments:

  • The lower blade holder had to be replaced
  • The speed control can become erratic, but is fixable by clearing dust off the speed sensor
  • Reliable
  • Worth the price
  • May be at its best value used

Pros vs. Cons

ProsCons
Can cut almost anythingSafety features

45-degree left and right tilt

Quick blade change/top and bottom feed

Large strokes per minute range

Lighter than comparable saws

Thicker cut (2 5/8”)

More expensive than comparable sawsHeavy

Small table size

No dust port

Pinless blades only

If the price is right for you, this is an excellent saw for upgrading your shop and projects. If you’ve been looking to “broaden your horizons” in terms of materials, few saws offer as many features to go along with it. With a significant reduction in vibration, a quieter run and a parts-and-labor warranty that lasts a year, consider the Hawk BM-20 and BM-26 as a new addition to your woodworking shop.

Happy Scrolling!

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Scroll Saws

foot powered saw

  1. Two countries were involved in the earliest scroll saws—Germany and France.
  2. Scroll sawing evolved out of European fretworkers and clock makers.
  3. Original “scrollers” (i.e., fretworkers) practiced in Sorrento, Italy which is why most fretwork was called “Sorrento” in the mid-1700s.
  4. Foot-powered scroll saws became extremely popular in Europe and the US in the 1800s.
  5. The original scroll saw was invented by the “father of inlays,” André Charles Boulle.
  6. Hobbies Limited, a British company, was the first company to mass produce the hand-held scroll saw.
  7. Scroll saws as we know them were not manufactured until the mid twentieth century.
  8. Electrical scroll saws differ in designs by the number of pivot points making the saw function.
  9. Rigid arm scroll saws are rare these days because their cast bodies were just too heavy for common use.
  10. The parallel link system is still the most popular saw design, and can have either two pivots or four.

What Came First?

The scroll saw is thought to have developed in Germany during the 1500s with the growing popularity of fretwork—a method of producing complex and precise woodcuts. Before the development of the scroll saw, intricate cuts are believed to have been made with handheld devices (e.g., knife).

Some of the most complex woodworking in Europe in the 1500s came from clock makers. As demand for attractive wooden clocks grew so did an interest in variously designed wood cases for the clocks. It’s believed that for this purpose, a clock-maker in Germany (1500s) invented a design for thin blades capable of making the more popular, intricate designs.

But, that was just the blade.

What Came Next?

The development of the scroll saw from this single blade to the complex table saws we use today wasn’t really a straight line. (Unless you draw a straight line from Germany to France, I guess.)

A craftsman in Paris, André Charles Boulle (1642-1732), was one of the premier woodworkers in Europe at the time. He’s also known as the “father of inlays”—using multi-colored pieces within one whole piece. Boulle designed a U-shaped frame for the German early scroll saw blade. The combination of frame and blade was first called a fretsaw at that time, and the name is still in use today for many handhelds.

The German’s called the new saw Buhl saw (their spelling of the French name). The saw increased in popularity across Europe as more and more craftspeople were able to fashion intricate designs in the Boulle style. The first hand-held fretsaw that later evolved into the scroll saw was mass produced with steel by the British company, Hobbies Limited.

What about the machine?

The scroll saw really started taking on its modern shape in the late 1700s with foot-powered saws being found in Europe and the United States. The saw was literally “larger-than-life.” These saws could be found up to 10 feet in height and used a foot-lever to operate the vertical blade. Many historians cite this foot-powered saw as the earliest version of the jig and scroll saws.

By 1860, many foot-powered and hand-cranked jigsaws were available in the US. In Patrick Spielman’s book, The New Scroll Saw Handbook, he states that historians have “documented over 300 home and industrial jig or scroll-saw machines that appeared in the United States between 1800 and 1960.”

The popularity of the mechanical scroll saw was unprecedented. By 1920s term “scroll saw” was in common use. Multiple brands offered mechanical scroll saws to the public in Europe and the United States. Brands like: W.F. & John Barnes, New Rogers, Star and Lester all produced treadle scroll saws.

1900 scroll saw

 Photo Credit: Dr Junge

How Did We Get Here?

The general idea of the scroll saw, from its earliest invention to now, is a vertical blade that moves up and down to saw materials. Scroll saws began changing quickly in the 20th century.

What made them so popular was that craftspeople could cut a number of materials in a number of ways with a broad range of control. Scroll saws were used for rip cuts, cross cuts, duplicates, compound cuts, and even joints.

Woods being used were as thin as veneer and as thick as 2 inches. Materials spanned thin, thick, soft and hard woods; and even some metals and plastic. Suddenly, woodworkers were able to deliver a higher level of skill and quality with a simple, versatile machine.

One of the key functions of the scroll saw was the pierce cut. A pierce cut is an internal cut (e.g., in the center of a piece of wood) that can be made without cutting through the sides or edges. This simple saw was capable of some advanced and highly desirable woodworking techniques and accounts for its popularity among woodworkers.

By 1970, our modern saws began being produced. There have been two major categories of scroll saws manufactured since that time. The first is the “rigid arm” and the second is the constant tension which includes all parallel link systems.

One of the earliest motorized scroll saws was the rigid arm saw. It was a rigid arm saw because the blade was fixed to a single, “rigid” frame. The fixed arms of the saw looked much like scroll saws do today. The difference is that they did not move. Typically, these saws were made of a cast material which was extremely heavy, but the weight helped reduce the vibration. The blade was held in place by a spring in the upper arm. The bottom of the blade was attached to a rotor in the lower arm that rotated and moved the blade vertically.

The rigid arm blade was an extreme advancement in scroll saws, but the blades were broken easily due to the lack of flexibility in the cut.

The next iteration of the scroll saw was the constant tension saw. These were also called C-arm saws, and really began to resemble our modern saws and their curved shape. The arms pivoted at a single point at the back of the frame. While the cutting action of the C-arm was much easier and effective, the single pivot could keep the cut from being truly vertical. As a result, these saws were used more for production work than fretwork.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that we started to see parallel arm scroll saws. Instead of the single pivot at the back of the saw frame, the parallel link scroll saw had two pivot points at the back—one for the lower arm and one for the upper arm. The design optimized the vertical cut and offered multiple tensioning points. The arms moved by a drive link attached to a motor pushing them up and down. Of course, the improvement to the design was enormous and parallel arm scroll saws are perhaps the most common in the market, but there was one more version on the way.

The fourth type of saw is the double parallel link saw. This design makes use of four pivot points and instead of using a drive link to connect to the arms the rotor connects to a rocker and connecting rod attached to the top and bottom arms. The rocker assemblies at the front of the saw cause the blade to move up and down.

The double parallel link saws offer the most controlled and effective cuts available today, but they are also the most expensive on the market.

Cutting it Down to Size

The history of the scroll saw is one to be appreciated. From a single blade invented in the 1500s, to Boulle’s invention of the bracket and handle, to the foot-powered scrolls, and all the way through the multiple designs of the electric scroll saw, the history is complex and interesting.

Most innovations today are feature-adding like LEDs to light the work, air ports for clearing the workspace, and electrical dials to control the strokes-per-minute.

It’s a history worth knowing, and can help woodworkers think about the tools they use, where they come from and how the saws have improved the craft.

Take a look around the site and see how these designs have transformed woodworking, and your own craft!

Thanks for reading, and happy scrolling.

16-inch 3920 WEN Scroll Saw Review

The WEN 3920, like many of the saws in its class—low-level scroll saw—competes in price and features with most other saws up against it. And yet, no one is selling it. Let’s break down the main features, some strengths and weakness, and see where this “rare” saw stacks up against the competition.

Scroll Saw Reviews has multiple reviews for the 1.2-1.6 Amp 16” class. (See here, or here, or even here.)

The company’s (WEN) website brags, buyers get “full control” over their “designs and creativity.” There are indeed some reviews out there, but none quite so glowing.

In terms of price, this saw falls on the low end of the range which is perfect for beginners and hobbyists.

The 3920 has one of the best price tags in the market. Only the Ryobi 16” challenges the WEN in price. So, in theory, you’re getting a great price for this entry-level saw.

But just how much cut are you getting for your cash?

The saw actually measures up well: with variable speed, a 16” x 10” table, a cast iron build and an air pump all on-board.

The stroke range comes in at 400-1600 strokes per minute. That’s a nice range for a variety of cuts, but some of the more expensive saws in this class demonstrate that 400 is a little low—ranging from 500-1700 instead. It really depends on the types of projects and materials you plan to use. wen scroll saw

Adjusting the speed isn’t too much of a hassle either. The speed knob sits on the front of the saw which keeps your hands and arms out of your sight-lines.

The table has a completely acceptable amount of room for some scrollers. The 16” x 10” space works well for smaller pieces. Some larger cuts may require a larger table. In addition to an open table, the saw gives you 45 degrees of tilt. This is only to the left. Not a bad thing, but the Genesis will give you 15 degrees of right tilt.

The throat depth is on par with in-class saws. The 16” throat depth makes handling and cutting larger pieces easier. In fact, the company website brags that this saw can “easily cut” wood pieces as thick as 1.9 inches. Being able to cut more materials (i.e., thicker woods) means more projects for you!

The stroke is great for entry-level saws at 9/16”. With a better stroke length, cutting is less about force and more about finesse.

And, like most other scroll saws, the blade holder will accept both pinned and pinless blades. The saw comes with an extra blade and the wrench needed to swap them out. Warning: Some owner’s comments mention weak blades.

What about vibrations?

The saw is cast iron, which is as heavy as most saws in its class: 28 lbs. In fact, on average this class weighs almost exactly 28 lbs. There is reduced vibration at this weight, and less movement adds to your precision; but it also just makes the whole job easier.

The cast iron frame has two bolt holes for mounting. A mount always helps reduce vibrations, and more than almost all free-stands.

For getting projects “un-stuck,” the tension release switch sits on top of the saw: easy to reach and operate.

wen scroll saw 2AIR

The saw is fitted with a convenient air pump above the cutting area for clearing away saw dust. Keeping the table clear and a clear line of vision is no small task otherwise!

The air port (1.5”) is situated on the front of the saw, under the table. The port can connect to your shop vacuum to clear out debris and keep your space clean

Extras

The saw does include a clamp for keeping your piece secure during cuts. There is also a flexible work light.

Although the saw is not for sale on the company’s website, they do seem to offer a 2-year warranty. And I’m sure somebody is taking advantage of their help hotline. It’s available with the purchase of this saw, too.

PROS/CONS

Pros

  • 400-1600 spm
  • 16” x 10” table
  • Cast Iron for reduced vibration
  • 16” throat depth
  • Fits pinned and pinless blades
  • Air Pump and Dust Port
  • 2-Year Warranty

Cons

  • Almost impossible to find for sale online
  • Reports of weak blades

Here’s a quick video from WEN, showing how the saw can be used to create a neat little wooden cup.

In the end, the saw seems to be a comparatively good value for its price. It has all the features that new scrollers, looking for an entry-level saw would want to get started and explore the craft. The only downside is that you may not ever get that chance.

Thanks for reading!

See it at Amazon!

 

Top Ten Books to Make You A Better Scroller!

1. Scroll Saw Workbook

by John Nelson

A step-by-step workbook that turns beginners into experts–the Scroll Saw Workbook includes 25 chapters teaching different cuts, patterns and materials. This book is great if you like to approach your learning methodically. The author boasts that you will be able to perform any scroll saw task when you finish the book. Note: The author recommends a plain-end blade, but all projects contained in the book can be done with a pin-end blades as well.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.756$145-$500Beginner

 

2. The New Scroll Saw Handbook

by Patrick E. Spielman

The New Scroll Saw Handbook is an updated classic woodworking text. Spielman has authored over 20 books on working with scroll saws, and this one is considered his best. It covers saw and blade selection, performing basic techniques with a number of materials, and how to work with different thicknesses.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.917$9.71-$220Beginner

 

3. Big Book of Scroll Saw Woodworking

by Editors of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts

The value of the “Big Book” is that it assembles some of the craft’s top artists into one book–teaching fretwork, intarsia, and lots of other styles. Other books are introductory to woodworking, or scroll saws; but the Big Book is a reference guide that you can always come back to for answer as you add more skills to your scroll saw mastery.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.532$17.95-83.44Intermediate

 

4. Popular Mechanics Workshop: Scroll Saw Fundamentals: The Complete Guide

by Rick Peters

If you like having confidence in your publisher, or are just a loyal fan of Popular Mechanics, then this book is for you. This book seems to cover everything! From basic operations of the saws, to simple techniques, materials and even projects you can do in your own shop–the Popular Mechanics manual is a multi-purpose guide to learning the craft.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.713$6.30-$93.34Beginner-Intermediate

 

5. 128 Compound Scroll Saw Patterns: Original “2-in-1” Designs for 3D Animals and People

by Sam Keener

If you are the learn-by-doing type, then this compilation of 3-D sculpture patterns by Sam Keener is a great place to start practicing your advanced techniques. Keener lays out 128 patterns, each with something new to teach. The book has color photos and easy-to-understand instructions to follow, and you will no doubt come away with a collection of beautiful art made by you!

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
412$6-$984.37Intermediate-Expert

 

6. Scroll Saw for the First Time

by Dirk Boelman

Part of the “For the First Time” series, this book is full of ideas and patterns to help beginner scrollers get acquainted with some of the easier techniques in the craft; and from there, explore more patterns. The book is illustrated and covers a wide range of fun and attractive projects. Many of the beginners questions about the craft are answered throughout this easy-to-read book.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.611$3.63-$83.91Beginner

 

7. Scroll Saw Pattern Book

by Patrick Spielman & Patricia Spielman

The more patterns, the better. Patrick and Patricia Spielman have their own book of patterns. The designs vary from lamps, shelves, boxes, lettering, toys, and much more. The instructions are clear and easy to understand. It’s possible that an intermediate to advanced scroll sawer would “outgrow” these simple pattern pretty quickly, but beginners will enjoy having a range of patterns and projects to choose from as they get acquainted with the craft.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.18$7.95-$15.99Beginner

 

8. The Complete Manual of Woodworking

by A. Jackson

If you want to expand your knowledge on woodworking in general–maybe learn how scroll sawing fits into the larger world, then this book is a great place to start. It covers an exhaustive range of topics from all woodworking techniques, multiple wood types (hard and soft), how to choose your tools, how to use your tools; and it also includes thousands of pictures and diagrams so you can visualize while you learn. This book is a must for the woodworking scholar.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.590$15.75-$140.08Beginner-Expert

 

9. Intarsia Woodworking for Beginners: Skill-Building Lessons for Creating Beautiful Wood Mosaics: 25 Skill-Building Projects

by Kathy Wise

This book is for those of you who want to dive a little deeper into the technique of intarsia. Kathy Wise has produced a skill-building book with exercises and projects that will help you hone your intarsia skill. The book includes some introductory information to intarsia, and then starts right away with the techniques. The exercises are clear, simple, and build on each other as you explore one of the craft’s most beautiful niches.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
4.740$10.76-$333.65Beginner

 

10. Wooden Bowls from the Scroll Saw: 28 Useful and Surprisingly Easy-to-Make Projects

by Carole Rothman

When you’ve learned the basics of scrolling–built a repertoire of techniques and patterns–you can then specialize. (And in this case, break all the rules!) Wooden Bowls from the Scroll Saw teaches scrollers how to apply their skills to make rounded pieces without the use of a lathe. The beautiful patterns and clear explanations make this book a great purchase for anyone ready to take their skills to the next level. The book includes 33 projects, and an appendix for advanced scrollers with advice for creating their own designs.

Stars (out of 5)ReviewsPrice RangeLevel
540$14.50-$984.37Beginner-Expert

Craftsman 16-inch Scroll Saw Review

Scroll saws are a special addition into a woodworkers “arsenal.” They are small, portable and the best at what they do—bevels, tight turns and even fully enclosed cut-outs. But, not every scroll saw is created equal.

If you want to know how the Craftsman 16 in. stacks up against other entry-to-mid level saws, this review will answer those questions, and give some answers as to why other saws may be asking too much for too little. There is a lot of competition for the low-priced scroll saw space. Brands like Ryobi, Dewalt, Delta, Black & Decker, Dremel and Skil are all producing 16 in. saws for beginner woodworkers; and all have some competitive prices.craftsman scroll saw

Prices vary greatly, however the Craftsman 16 inch is available on Amazon at a really great price for its features.

Why the Craftsman?

The Craftsman is feature-packed, making it a great balance between features and price. The saw has the modern parallel-arm assembly, cast-iron table and base, tilt, bellows, variable speed and a dust port. Here is a little break down of its more notable features.

Most scroll saws use a parallelogram-shaped blade assembly. The Craftsman is no different, utilizing the parallel-arm system. This assembly has fewer parts than the parallel-link assembly (which actually reduces vibration even more). Regardless, the shape of the Craftsman system does reduce vibrations fairly well, and makes blade changes simpler.

Of course, the cast-iron table makes your woodworking quieter. Have you ever heard the expression, “mass is everything in a good saw”? Well, it’s not totally off-base. At 38 lbs., the Craftsman is heavy enough to make your woodworking quieter and more stable.

The work table comes with the standard tilting work table. The Craftsman offers 45 degrees of left-tilt. At 45 degrees, the saw can cut through 1 inch of material. Flat, the saw can cut through 2 inches. The only downside is that the saw doesn’t offer right-tilt as well. Think about it—your bevel cuts are twice as hard with only half the tilt. This is a preference every wood worker should consider. If your woodworking requires 45 degrees of tilt—left and right—then this saw may not be right for you.

The arm-driven bellows helps you keep the work space clear of debris. You can direct it almost anywhere as it’s made up of movable links. The saw also includes a dust port if you want to attach your shop vacuum for sawdust removal.

Variable speed scrolls are ideal for a wide range of jobs. Soft or hard woods, some plastics and even some soft metals can be cut. This saw has a stroke-per-minute range from 400 to 1600.  With a changeable blade (standard 5-inch pin and plain-end blades), this saw is more than enough for many materials on many jobs.

Why not the expensive saws?

Ask yourself if you need the “extras” enough to pay twice as much for the saw. Well, if you need what the Craftsman lacks, then maybe paying a little more is best for you. For example, Dewalt’s 20 inch variable speed Scroll has 150 more SPMs, weighs almost 20 pounds more than this saw, has the 45 degrees of left and right tilt, and also has a double parallel-link design which does a lot to decrease noise and vibrations.

The saw also costs twice as much. With only 150 extra strokes-per-minute, the Dewalt only has the right tilt, and some more mass; but the Craftsman will offer reduced vibration if you attach it to your bench. The last question is whether your specific work requires the left and right pitch.

Why not the cheaper saws?

Cheaper models (e.g., Ryobi 16 in. or the Wen 1.2 amp) are lighter. Typically, they have cast-aluminum tables and struggle to reduce vibration and noise. The Craftsman 16 in., on the other hand, has a cast iron table and base taking its weight up to almost 38 lbs. The Ryobi is 8 lbs lighter. Reduced vibration matters. A shaky machine makes shaky cuts!

The cheaper model, interestingly, fails to get down to 400 SPMs by 150 strokes. The differences between strokes-per-minute can make a difference when trying to cut different materials with one saw. But it is up to you to decide about these transient 150 SPMs.

How does the saw compare in terms of price? Here are some similar models for comparison.

DEWALT  20 in. Variable-Speed Scroll Saw
Delta 20 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Genesis 1.2 Amp 16 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Rockwell 16in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Skil 3335-07 1.2 Amp 16 in Scroll Saw on Amazon.com
Craftsmans 16 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw on Amazon.com
Ryobi 16 in. Corded Scroll Saw
WEN 1.2 Amp 16 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw

Pros 
Bench Mounting
Adjustable Bellows to clear cut line
Saw Dust Collection Port
Accepts both pin-end and plain-end 5” length blades (variable thicknesses and widths)
Variable Speed Dial

Cons 
Single parallel-link design
Hardware can sustain damage
Left-tilt only

The Craftsman is a great saw. It does offer more to reduce vibration than the cheaper models; and the expensive saws may offer “too much” for your specific work. Hopefully this review helps you make the right decision for your shop.

Good luck getting started with your woodworking! If this was enough, you can buy from Amazon here. You can also view a comparison table of all the top saws by clicking here.

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Skil 3335-07 Scroll Saw Review

Getting started in woodworking can seem confusing at first. There are hundreds of tools available on the market, and knowing what tool is right for your situation is as important as deciding what your first project will be. For example, should you buy the high-end, the mid-level or the entry-level tool? Scroll saws are a great option for those new to woodworking and interested in a saw that is not too difficult to understand and can be used for many jobs.

If this is true for you, then you might consider the Skil Scroll Saw 3335-07. This saw is a great “introductory” tool for anyone looking for an affordable option with enough features to make learning fun and diverse.

Some Features and Benefits

The saw is excellent for cutting standard shapes or free form objects with unusual shapes. Novice woodworkers have used this saw to cut complex flower arrangements, text in hundreds of fonts, and even pieces that require the most minute of turns—like custom jigsaw puzzles—with all their twists and turns.

The circular work table and LED are perfect for illuminating your work area, making the piece more visible for accuracy. The LED is controlled electronically, so you can switch it on or off depending on your preference.

More key features of this saw to make your first woodworking projects easier are:

  • A dust removal system, built into the saw to keep debris away from your cut lines
  • An electronic variable speed control that makes cutting different materials much easier
  • A 0-45 degree tilting table for increased precision

How Is It Unique?

Most scroll saws available on the market (high-, mid- and low-level) offer similar features. What really makes this saw stand out from the pack is that it offers many of the same features of high-end scroll saws at a discount price. If you are new to woodworking, but want great features, an easy-to-use saw and a budget price, this saw is perfect for you.

Price?

How does the saw compare in terms of price? Here are some similar models for comparison.

DEWALT  20 in. Variable-Speed Scroll Saw
Delta 20 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Genesis 1.2 Amp 16 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Rockwell 16in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Skil 3335-07 1.2 Amp 16 in Scroll Saw on Amazon.com
Ryobi 16 in. Corded Scroll Saw
WEN 1.2 Amp 16 in. Variable Speed Scroll Saw

You may wonder why this saw is better for your projects than the cheaper models. First of all, the LED does not come with the cheaper models available on the market. That LED can save a project requiring tight cuts with hard-to-see cut lines. The integrated dust removal system is also a feature that is usually only on the higher-end models. Removing dust from the work table makes projects cleaner. Electronic variable speed control is also important when quick adjustments are needed for single cuts.

The Ugly

The saw isn’t perfect, of course. For instance, excess vibration during operation can cause the LED to become a nuisance, as it won’t light the wood piece steadily. The saw does not come with a stand, but the mounting brackets can reduce vibrations significantly. Some customers have even reported malfunctions in the saw early in its life—electronic malfunctions, typically. The good news is that many Amazon sellers offer 30-day warranties which can protect you from a total loss. Lastly (on the downside), the blade changing process seems to confuse some users. However, in the owner’s manual, it is clear that the upper blade holder and lower blade holder release the blades when unscrewed. (Maybe, we ask too much of our saws?)

To see how these issues stack up against the positives, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons:

A quick list of pros and cons:

Pros
Bevel Indicator Alignment
Bench Mounting
Adjustable Blade Guard Foot
Adjustable Dust Blower
LED light
Saw Dust Collection Port
Accepts both pin-end and plain-end 5” length blades (variable thicknesses and widths.
Variable Speed Dial

Cons
LED vibrates excessively
Blade Changing is not intuitive
A few cases of malfunction reported
No stand for saw

Only you can decide on whether the benefits outweigh the costs, but hopefully this review sheds some light on the main differences between the competing scroll saws currently available.

Good luck getting started with your woodworking! If this was enough, you can buy from Amazon here.

You can view a comparison table of all the top saws by clicking here. And don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list – stay up to date with reviews and special discounts on Amazon!