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sequoia
09-27-2017, 06:26 PM
My neighbor just gave me a scroll saw for free. So I took it even though I am skeptical it will be useful. Bench space is always at a premium and I'm wondering if this thing will be of any use. It is brand new never used. How could I turn it down?

So today I set it up and tuned the blade to 90 vertical. The indicator gauge is not very accurate. Then I set up a fence system and tried to cut some small stuff. Well, if you have ever tried to set up a fence system on a bandsaw you know it doesn't really work very well because the blade flexes. Still, I was able to cut some small bracing wood after a lot of fiddling. Previously I have been cutting my bracing using a 10" bladed 3 HP table saw which is serious overkill and dangerous to boot.

My question: Does anybody else use this thing and does it have other uses?

103348 103349

Vespa Bob
09-28-2017, 05:10 AM
A scroll saw's main use is for cutting curves. That being said, it's the only powered saw I owned until I bought a band saw. Now I still use it for cutting small curved pieces when my band saw is fitted with a 1/2" blade. I'm sure you'll find many uses for it as time goes by.

Bob

Timbuck
09-28-2017, 05:26 AM
One of the main tools for marquetry and inlay work, pre CNC ...learn the window technique and you'll be amazed at the quality of inlay you can achieve with no gaps.:)

Michael N.
09-28-2017, 06:56 AM
I have two of them, powered one and an old treadle type. They see zero use! Not that they can't be used for instrument making but their use is a little limited. Maybe one of the more industrial types would fair much better. Bandsaw is much more useful. Don't know why you have trouble with a fence, mine works pretty well.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-28-2017, 07:34 AM
I wonder how many of us have "almost new in the box" scroll saws gathering dust. Maybe the success of the tool lies more in the hands of the operator but I've had a few of them in my life and their fate always remain the same; back in the box they go. Knew Concepts makes a professional scroll saw, made for doing inlay work, that costs around $2000 that has tempted me but I still don't think it can match the precision of good hand work. For cutting small radii and braces, a small tabletop bandsaw can do a far better job for the same price.

ksquine
09-28-2017, 07:56 AM
One of the main tools for marquetry and inlay work, pre CNC ...learn the window technique and you'll be amazed at the quality of inlay you can achieve with no gaps.:)

Can you cut pearl inlay pieces on one?

Timbuck
09-28-2017, 08:19 AM
Can you cut pearl inlay pieces on one?
Yes!...if you use the correct blades;)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-28-2017, 10:25 AM
Can you cut pearl inlay pieces on one?

Yes, but i've never been able to maintain enough control to do the microscopic work needed for good inlay. The size blades needed, 4/0-6/0 would last but couple of moments with shell on a scroll saw. I just find it so much easier, but not faster, doing it by hand. This is the scroll saw you need for doing precision work!
http://www.knewconcepts.com/power.php

Wildestcat
09-28-2017, 01:39 PM
I was given mine as well, so maybe a clue about their usefulness there? :) Given it was free I guess I shouldn't be too critical, but to be honest the only function it has ever usefully fulfilled is ballast ... I keep it on the shelf of the Jet 16-32 leg stand, where the extra low down mass adds some stability when wheeling it around. Apart from that I once used it to cut the centre out of a maple pickup surround on my solid body tenor, but the job would have gone better with a coping saw. There was also a scary attempt to cut out a thin aluminium template when I couldn't be bothered to change the blade in the bandsaw.

I think it comes down to the blade mounting, which on mine (presumably a cheapo generic Chinese model) uses pinned blades. That might be fine on a junior hacksaw, but is pretty crap on a power saw and the blade wanders around all over the place

I think I would struggle to find a use even for a decent quality one, though occasionally there are jobs where the bandsaw throat capacity becomes an issue.

What problems are you having with your bandsaw fence?

Pete Howlett
09-28-2017, 02:14 PM
That is some saw Chuck, and half a ukulele to pay for it. I'm cheating and using a CNC to do what I had stopped doing before... With severely reduce fine movement in my right hand, there's little point in me fitting a blade to a jeweller's saw :(

sequoia
09-28-2017, 07:05 PM
What problems are you having with your bandsaw fence?

Where do I begin? It just doesn't work very well when we are talking the tolerances needed for lutherie work. The problem is that my 1/4 blade tends to dig to the right as these things will and wander just a tiny bit. I swear I can just free hand an edge and then flatten with a beam and sandpaper faster than I can work with a fence set up.

As for the scroll saw, one clue was how happy the former owner looked when he dropped it off. Big grin. I'm beginning to think its main purpose might be as a boat anchor. Tie a rope over the support bar and that baby will sink like a stone into the mud.... Still, I'm not giving up yet. I bought some fine spiral blades today and I'm gonna try some marquetry work with it.

Wildestcat
09-28-2017, 11:01 PM
A while ago, Ken Timms posted a link to this youtube video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGbZqWac0jU

Alex is a great presenter, and by following his advice I was able to virtually eliminate blade wander on the 1/4" bladed benchtop bandsaw I had at the time.

Michael N.
09-29-2017, 08:58 AM
I have a cheap 14" bandsaw . I think it was the cheapest 14" available at the time. It's probably going on 20 years now. There's a bit of drift with the guide but it only requires a slight adjustment, it then cuts as good as can be expected. I think all bandsaws drift until you have them set up correctly. Blade type is important too.

RPA_Ukuleles
09-30-2017, 03:36 AM
I have never seen anyone use a fence with a scroll saw before. Only because that's quite the opposite of what the word "scroll" means.

Timbuck
09-30-2017, 06:05 AM
Here is a video showing the window technique ..Table at an angle is the trick.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCh7axUtmB4

sequoia
09-30-2017, 06:48 PM
Interesting video. Thanks Ken... The biggest thing that I didn't realize is that the table has to be tilted to allow the pieces to fit. Hmmm... the table on my scroll saw does not tilt... Anyway, I have not given up on the free scroll saw. It has to have some potential for uke building. I have yet to figure that out.

Michael Smith
09-30-2017, 08:03 PM
A good scroll saw is one of the most important tools in my shop. I managed to find a pretty good one new for less than half price. I use jewelers blades in it and run it on the lowest speed to cut out my inlay templates. The templates are about three times the size of my final inlay pieces so they end up being perfectly sized to cut out with a scroll saw. I have done inlay cutting with a jewelers saw then routing out the channel and for certain things I use that method. But i tend to hate that method and usually want to throw it across the shop. If I didn't do my inlays the way I do the scrollsaw would be a useless tool for me too.

johnstoneb
10-01-2017, 04:44 AM
The scroll saw can be a very versatile machine. The problem is the the lighter cheap saw. Think skil, crafstman, ryobi etc have too much vibration. You really need to step up to a Dewalt at around $700 or the really expensive models to get a saw that can really be pleasant to use. You get away from the vibration with these upper end saws and they can live up to their potential. The other thing is get the right blade for the job. There are as many blade as there are saws and they all do a different job.

sequoia
10-01-2017, 07:21 PM
You know Craftsman tools are what they are: Mid-level, entry level tools of sorta good quality. I own several Craftsman tools I actually like. Mostly. Its a niche market. I've been looking at scroll saws a bit and this thing is pretty primitive from what I can see. But it was free!

I went out today and got all sorts of blades that might improve the performance. We shall see, but I'm getting this funny feeling that this thing is either going to end up gathering sawdust in a dark corner of the shop or being used as a nifty boat anchor. Or I could give it away to another wood worker. Pass on the tool!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-02-2017, 07:18 AM
You know Craftsman tools are what they are: Mid-level, entry level tools of sorta good quality. I own several Craftsman tools I actually like. Mostly. Its a niche market. I've been looking at scroll saws a bit and this thing is pretty primitive from what I can see. But it was free!

I went out today and got all sorts of blades that might improve the performance. We shall see, but I'm getting this funny feeling that this thing is either going to end up gathering sawdust in a dark corner of the shop or being used as a nifty boat anchor. Or I could give it away to another wood worker. Pass on the tool!

Like fruitcakes, I believe there is actually only one scroll saw that is being passed on from owner to wishful owner.