Why a scroll saw, are you asking? Because if you take an interest in woodwork projects, and in scrolling especially, you’ll find a scroll saw a really nice and handy tool to have by your side. From cutting basic patterns on wood to carving intricate designs for advance level projects, a best scroll saw will always come handy to you. It makes the job faster and easier and also helps you to get finer and more precision cuts, especially when we are talking complex and intricate patterns.
So, if you are choosing to go for a scroll saw, obviously you’ll want to have the ‘best scroll saw’ out there. However, with all the different models out there from a large number of different brands as well, anybody will find it difficult to zero on one single product. So, logically enough, the next question that will visit one’s mind, is:
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Top Pick- Best Scroll Saw Reviews
What Makes a Scroll Saw The Best?
As with any machine, this is THE most important thing to consider when you are in mind to purchase a scroll saw. Different features, add-ons, etc. (we will come to them soon) are important and they add value to a particular product—but the primary consideration should always be: how well the machine works? This is regarding to its smooth and no-hassle operation during the job but also how well it performs over time. You certainly don’t want to get stuck with a scroll saw that works well for the first few times and then starts to gradually malfunction from thereafter!
Speed & Other Features:
SPM or the speed-per-minute is perhaps the most important feature of a scroll saw. 1200-1800 SPM is considered high speed for a scroll saw while a low speed scroll saw will typically allow you to work at 400-8oo SPM. Normally, you scroll at a low speed when working with softer wood pieces while higher speeds become necessary when scrolling on thick wood stocks.
With a scroll saw, you also have the option to work with scroll blades of different sizes and patterns. For example, some of the common scroll saw blade patterns include standard/non-reverse blades, reverse tooth blades, skip tooth blades and double tooth blades. What kind and size of blade you will use, that largely depends on the project you are working at. As for best scroll saws, most of them will allow you to work with pretty much all of these different varieties of blades.
Other important features to look for include throat capacity, quick release blade clamps, forward mounted tension adjustment, and so on. And as can be expected, the greater the number of convenient features, higher the price of the machine. However, it is important not to confuse features with scroll saw accessories or add-ons. The latter include lights and magnifiers, dust blowers, foot-mounted power switch, etc. Keep in mind that you can always add these accessories to your saw as and when required. If some of them come compact with your machine of choice, nothing can be better. However, do not put too much of an importance on the number of add-ons a scroll saw comes with.
For intermediate to advanced level scroll workers, flexibility becomes an important issue when choosing an adequate saw. For example, most professional scrollers would definitely want their machine to have an adjustable speed control. This is important since professionals work on a large variety of projects and for this reason, the ability to control the sped of the machine becomes critical.
We have already talked about saw blades of different patterns and sizes, but the two basic types of saw blades are pin-end blades and plain-end blades. Pin end blades come with their own advantages and are especially convenient for beginner level or recreational scrollers. However, pin-end blades have their limitations too, and as and when you turn to more ambitious projects, you’ll find plain end blades indispensable for a variety of reasons. So, ideally a good and high-end scroll saw should allow you the option to use both pin end and plain blades.
How to Choose The Best Scroll Saw?
Now, this is a somewhat tricky question to answer. We have already mentioned the attributes of a top notch scroll saw and what qualities to look for when you are trying to find an adequate scroll saw. However, which one is best will largely depend on your own requirements. If you are a beginner, we will recommend that you settle for a scroll saw that comes around the price mark of $150. You can get many decent scroll saws at that price range. However, when it comes to a professional, the requirements will obviously be different and understandably, a professional will like to go for a higher-end product.
In the following ‘best scroll saw reviews’ section, we have handpicked some of the best and most popular scroll saws from nine different brands. The products reviewed cover a wide spectrum of machines and we are positive that you will find, from among the products listed below, a scroll saw that is ideal for your requirements.
9 Best Scroll Saw Reviews
This section will provide you an out and out knowledge of the top 9 best scroll saw reviews that are trending the market now. A critical overview of some specific features and a comparative decision will help you to ensure a fair purchase.
This Dewalt model happens to be the most frequently bought scroll saw at Amazon and that is hardly a surprise given the versatility of the model and the array of convenient features it comes with. This heavy duty model weighs 65 lbs and you can use it as frequently as you want without any concern of wearing it out. This makes the product ideal for professionals. The model is priced around $490, so it is definitely a high end product but with the amazing performance the model delivers, you can rest assured that you will get full value for money with this one.
WEN is a reputed name when it comes to scroll saw manufacturers and as such, they have an array of models falling in many different price ranges. However, we pick it as the best Wen scroll saw primarily for the reason that the machine gives off great performance considering its low price and there aren’t too many models in this price range ($70-$100) which can offer all that this Wen scroll saw does. Having said that, please keep it in mind that this saw is best used with softer wood stocks and using too thick materials on it may damage the machine.
In the mid range category, Shop Fox 1713 (price around $170) is one of the best scroll saws you are going to get. You can work in a speed range of 500-1700 SPM with this saw. Features such as table tilt mechanism, extra cutting capacity, a comfortable workpiece, variable speed control, etc.—all of these make it a very handy and comfortable model to work with. The model also comes fitted with add-ons such as dust blower and a dust port, a gooseneck work light and more. In short, thisis a model which will fit the needs and requirements of both amateur scroll or marquetry workers and professionals. However, it is recommended that you do not use too thick wood pieces on this model. The model works best with relatively thinner wood stocks.
Priced at $80, this is another budget scroll saw we highly recommend to scroll work enthusiasts. One of the telling advantages of this particular scroll saw is the detachable coping function it comes with. This enables the user to use the machine either as a standard stationery scroll saw or, if you want, you can detach this best Dremel scroll saw from its base and use it as a handheld portable coping saw.
Priced at $400, this is another high end model that is in many ways similar to the above Dewalt model reviewed here. It is also a heavy and sturdy machine that is designed for heavy duty work. The saw also comes with a parallel arm design that helps reduce vibration and noise. One thing to note is that this best Delta scroll saw does not accept pinned blades, so it might not be ideal for starters in the field. However, for all intermediate and professional level scroll artists, this is as good a model as you will get any in this price bracket.
As the name suggests and as is clear from the picture, this scroll saw is different from most all other models in that it comes with a well-built stand. The stand allows you to work with it directly without the need to place it on a work surface. However, if you do not find that convenient, you can easily detach the main body of the machine and clamp it to a surface of your choice. According to customer reviews, the stand is solidly built and goes together easily with the machine.
Again, this is a scroll saw that will be ideal for beginners. At its price (around $100), the machine packs in quite a few features. The lightweight die-cast aluminum table (that can be beveled up to 45 degrees) also makes it portable and ideal for on-site jobs. Which means even professionals may profit from having this model in their collection. With variable speed control and a cutting depth of 2 -1/2 inches, the saw is good to go with a variety of materials as well.
Another scroll saw we would highly recommend to people who are starting out with the hobby of scrolling. When working with softer wood materials, this scroll saw with variable speed control does a great job of doing precision cuts for many types of intricate patterns. The table is made of cast iron to reduce vibration which is pretty awesome considering the fact that the model is priced at a paltry $87. You also have the option of tilting the table for making more precise cuts. And as for accessories, there is a built-in air pump which helps to keep the work station dust free.
This is another mid-range category scroll saw (price $240 at Amazon currently) which delivers great performance. The variable speed control allows you to work in the range of 500-1700 SPM which means that you can cut a variety of materials with the saw. The 16 inch throat capacity also ensures that you won’t face any problem cutting thicker materials. The saw comes with a number of integrated add-ons as well, but special mention must be made of its integrated dust removal system. The dust port of the system accepts any standard vacuum hose, so even if you need to replace the original hose at some point, you won’t face any difficulty.
Why a Scroll Saw?
Simply because it is so much more convenient to use it and you can finish jobs 3 to 4 times faster if you are using a saw than if you worked all manually. This is the primary reason, but many also prefer scroll saws for the precision cuts they are able to provide, especially when it comes to intricate designs and patterns. The sophisticated technology the scroll saws of today comes with (different varieties of blade patterns, etc) makes them highly versatile and thus an indispensable tool for a scroll artist.
How to Use Scroll Saw?
Even when you have a good scroll saw in your hand, it’ll still take you time and practice to learn to use it properly. Of course, the very first thing is to follow the manufacturer’s guide thoroughly for the particular machine you are going to use. But, as we said, it will take you time, patience and enough practice to learn the finer points of using a scroll saw for marquetry or scroll work. For example, what kind or pattern of blades to use for what type of job or material; the right speed for a particular job; learning how to tension your blade properly; etc. However, one thing that all beginners should always keep in mind is that they should never try to hog the wood or other material they are working with, i.e., never try to force the blade onto the pattern. Let the saw blade do the cutting. This is a skill that is difficult to explain, but you’ll understand what we are talking about once you start using your scroll saw. Over time, you’ll both understand and master this essential skill when it comes to working with a scroll saw.
What We Recommend as The Best Scroll Saw?
As we have already mentioned, there is no one model that can be termed as THE best. What scroll saw works best for you depend pretty much on your own requirements and budget. In the above reviews, we have tried to include 9 best scroll saws from nine most popular brands and we believe the models pretty much covers the whole spectrum of scroll saws. Of course, we purposely did not talk about the $1,000 scroll saws since they are meant exclusively for experienced professionals and anyone interested in models of that range would pretty much know what he is doing and exactly what model would fit his requirements.
Having said that, if we were to recommend one scroll saw to our readers, it would be the Dewalt DW788 model that we’ve also placed at the very top of our review list. Apart from all the handy features, sturdy construction and so on, the reason we pick this one is that there is hardly any negative reviews that can be found about this model. Again, it is a difficult choice and we could also have picked the Delta model which is quite as good. However, one crucial difference between these two models is that the Delta model does not allow you to insert pin end blades something you can do with the Dewalt model. This means that even beginners (who find it difficult to work with plain end blades) can work with this model without any difficulty. And as they gradually hone their skill and graduate to more difficult projects, having the Dewalt model will mean that they won’t need to invest in a higher grade model later on.
The only thing that can be said against the Dewalt product is that it is too heavy and is therefore not portable. But when you consider that this very heaviness contributes to the smooth and vibration-less functioning of the model, then we don’t think there is much room for complaint. Also, portable or on-site machines are normally required for professionals. And typically, if you are a professional, you will already have a portable model handy for your on-site jobs.
In conclusion, we will like to talk about a few scroll saw accessories that all scroll enthusiasts will find handy.
The three accessories or add-ons that we think all scroll workers find more or less essential are:
- A blower: A blower or an air hose is typically positioned at the point where the saw blade comes in contact with the wood. A blower is essential since it keeps blowing the sawdust away from the wood and thus helps you get a clear vision of the cutline all the time.
- A foot-mounted power switch: Another helpful tool, especially for the starters since the foot switch allows him to turn on/off the machine in the middle of a job without needing to use his hands (you need your hands to hold the wood piece in right position).
- A work light & a magnifier: Proper lighting is essential when you are sawing, so the magnifier & lamp add-on is important for beginners as well as advanced scroll artists.
Some and other of these accessories come built-in or integrated with a few models. With others, you will need to buy and add them separately.
Pinned blades are primarily meant for beginners since they are easy to use and change. But as you slowly master the skills of scrolling, you would need to upgrade to plain end blades. For a first, you cannot get all the varieties in blade patterns, types and sizes in pinned blades that you can get with plain end blades. Also, pin blades are wider and thicker and are not at all ideal for inside, intricate cutting. It is also difficult to find pinned blades that you can insert through small-drilled holes.
Gross is a term for a package of scroll saw blades that contains 12 dozen or 144 scroll saw blades.
Spiral blades are difficult to control, so it is recommended that you never start with a spiral blade. You need to understand that a spiral blade is actually a standard plain end blade with no reverse tooth and which has been twisted around so you have blade teeth across all directions.
So, what happens when you use a spiral blade is that it tries to follow the natural grain of the wood and tends to move toward the softer spots in the wood. This is what makes a spiral blade pretty difficult to control. So, unless you are an experienced scroll saw user, it is best to keep away from the spirals. However, if you are working with plywood, you may try your hand with spirals since plywood does not contain soft spots and therefore you will find the blades easier to control with plywood.
Tensioning your blades is one of the trickiest parts of using your scroll saw and proper tensioning will take you some time and experience. That said, it is always better to have what you feel too much tension than having not enough. Not enough tension will result in your pushing the blade too hard and that way, you’ll run the risk of breaking your blades more frequently that you would like!
Most scroll saw users prefer the adhesive 3M 77, so we would recommend that one.