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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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HALL OF FAMER
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I have never used this particular model, but through my experience in scrolling, I will give my honest opinion.
The single arm upper blade mechanism can provide a lot of vibrations on the table. These vibrations can translate onto your work piece making precision next to impossible. I had similar experiences with a 16" Ryobi that I had years ago. A very rough cutting saw but I made the best of it.
It claims to have a maximum metal cutting capacity of 2". I find this very hard to believe. I have a higher end scroll saw and I would never expect it to be able to cut 2" thick metal. Just because the capacity is 2", doesn't mean that the machine would cut it.
I'm not sure of your project list or what you have in mind for scrolling projects, but I can tell you, that you will find yourself a little limited with a 16" throat. I worked on a 16" for years and finally got fed up with fighting the smaller throat depth.
Another issue I see with this saw is the fact that the upper arm does not lift up, which means that you have to basically bend your blades to get them into the entry holes for any kind of fretwork. This essentially weakens your blades and makes interior cuts a total pain in the butt. You are constantly craning your neck to see underneath a piece to try and find the entry hole to feed your blade. A top loading blade with a raising top arm is a much better design feature that you might want to consider if you plan on doing any kind of fretwork.
The blades on this machine are installed with a tool. I've had many scroll saws and it wasn't until I got one that was a tooless blade change that I realized what torture I was putting myself through with a tooled blade change. One of my saws needed 2 separate tools to change a blade and you don't realize what a pain it is until you start doing some serious fretwork. It's at this time that you will appreciate not having to use a tool to install a blade. The fact that this particular saw doesn't provide you with anywhere to keep these blade changing tools leads me to believe that you would eventually misplace them. After all, a scroll saw isn't something that you use every day and it's easy to misplace a small little wrench or key when they don't have a specific home.
The hold down foot, appears to be a little on the flimsy side and although I never use them, for a beginner, a foot can be a handy thing until you get the hang of it. It also looks like the tension adjustment is at the back of the saw. This seems a little cumbersome to me but that is just an opinion.
The reviews of this saw are terrible but I don't put too much faith in reviews. After all, it seems that the only time people call in or write in to a company is when they have a problem. There could be 5000 users that love the saw but never bothered to write in. With that being said, I personally, would steer away from this particular unit. Not because of the reviews, but because my personal experience with scrolling tells me that this saw screams frustration for a scroller.
I know it's easy for me to say, but my personal opinion, would be to spend a little more and get a saw that will give you a fair shot at scrolling and all it's possibilities. It is a very relaxing hobby that I love but I can say, from personal experience, that all that relaxation will go right out the window with one POS scroll saw and a poorly designed tool.
Kenbo's opinion? I would pass on this "great deal". The frustrations will outweigh the savings.
Hope this helps.
 

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It looks fairly similar to the Skil that I am currently using, and also from personal experience I can tell you that needing a tool for a blade change is terrible. Not to mention having to reach all the way to the back of the saw to tension the blade. The vibration is the worst part though. My saw literally walks around the table I set it on when in use.

Kenbo, are there any options between something like this and the DW788? I'm saving for the DeWalt (I wish I could afford an Excalibur like yours) but I'm curious if there was an option in between the two that you might recommend. Everyone on the forum knows that you are the scrolling guy, so I greatly respect your opinion
 

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The DW788 saw is an awesome beginners saw that will give the user many years of enjoyment. I've worked on one for years before I got my Excalibur and I still have one in my shop.
I see that Amazon has the DW788 for about $470
DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw - Amazon.com

The also have the Delta 40-695 for about $500.
Delta Power Equipment Corporation 40-695-Scroll Saw-20-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw - Amazon.com
I've never worked on this saw but it seems to have the same features as the DW788. It is actually the bigger brother the the 40-690 which came with glowing reviews. (again though, I don't put too much faith in reviews)
I know that these prices are a little higher than most want to spend on an entry tool that they don't even know if they are going to use very often, but in my experience, when it comes to scrolling, you get what you pay for. A smoother running saw will improve your experience, which in turn, will great improve your chances of continuing with scrolling. If you have a cheaper saw and a poor experience, you are more likely to toss it to the side and not bother with it.
 

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Sorry, I got carried away and didn't answer your question. I have yet to find an "in between" option for the DW788. Anything below the DW788 seems to have issues that make it frustrating. Sorry I couldn't give you a more positive answer.
 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the comments. I have never actually used a scroll saw so I know nothing about then. The only reason I was looking at this one is because of the mark down of almost 50%. Even with this savings, I don't want to waste any $$. I actually looked at a DeWalt 20" about 8 months ago on a stand that was almost new. The lady that was selling her husbands equipment due to health issues wanted $450 and I didn't have the heart to try & talk her down any.

If I ever get the chance for a good deal on the DeWalt then I may look into that unit a bit more.

Thanks again for the comments. They are definitely appreciated.
 

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Thanks for the info Kenbo! That is the conclusion I had already come to, so no need to apologize for a seemingly negative response. Even with the crumby saw, I still find it enjoyable. Now that I have your advice, I can show the wife that "Kenbo says I need the more expensive saw" hahahahaha

Burb, I know what you mean about not being able to try and work a better deal due to the reason for selling. I've actually come across a couple of DW788's on my local craigslist, one from a pawn shop and one from a guy who was obviously just selling a tool to make a profit. After thinking about it for a while, I came to the conclusion that a tool like this is probably best purchased brand new with a warranty of some kind. I'll probably start with just the saw and purchase the stand and light when the funding allows for it. That's just my opinion anyway.
 

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Just FYI.........if you can get the DW788 at a cheaper price without the lamp and stand, GO FOR IT!!!! The stand for the DeWalt is nothing more than 4 adjustable legs and a homemade stand can easily be made from some 2X4. I know, I've done it. As far as the light goes.....there is nothing......and I mean nothing special about the work light for the DW788. It is nothing more than a gooseneck lamp. For most of my scrolling, I use a lighted magnifier anyway so a built in work lamp would never be used. Think down the road and decide if you will need or plan on using a magnifier. If you plan on it, the magnifiers come with built in lights anyway and your work light becomes useless. Save the extra dollars and don't be so set on getting the stand and light.
Just saying.
 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
While I sincerely value the opinions of Kenbo & others, I will say I bit the bullet & bought this scroll saw today. The main reason was they dropped the price to $48, which is the lowest they would go per manager. Based on the coding, the next level was to destroy item & write off. (Yes, this happens ALOT) I figure for $52 total investment, it will work for a while as any scroll saw over $100 is pretty much out of my price range at the moment.

BTW, it does NOT require a tool to change the blades. Its done with a hand screw on top & bottom.

So, I figure this weekend I will get it out to play with it. It did not come with blades so I will need to get some. Any suggestions on blade brands, TPIs, etc will be greatly appreciated.
 

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I use strictly Olson blades and I have never had a problem.
Depending on what thickness you are cutting, I will give you a rough breakdown. This is by no means a complete listing.
You may also want to purchase the blades in a "reverse tooth" style as they cut on the down and the up stroke and reduce burring of the wood.
1/4" thick-#2 blade
1/2" thick-#3 blade or #5 blade
3/4" thick-#7 blade
I have also found that Olson's PGT blades last much longer, but they are more expensive.
Here is a PDF with Olson's blade sizes and their use.
View attachment blade usage.pdf
 

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Hey Burb, congrats on the new purchase! That's great news on the tool less blade change. I was at Slowe's yesterday and looked at the PC just to see what it was like. It seems a lot beefier than my dinky little Skil. Post some pictures and let us know how it works for you. Also, watch Kenbo's YouTube videos about scrolling, he's got a lot of good tips!

Kenbo, I watched your video about blades, and I plan on ordering some Olson's soon. My question is, where do you order them from? I have some in my shopping cart on a couple of the big name retailers online, but I really don't want to spend $7.50 on shipping $7.00 worth of blades... The description of the blades on these sites are also a little vague.
 

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Burb,

You practically stole that saw and I'm sure you'll enjoy it! I had the Hitachi that Lowe's used to sell. The PC you bought is an upgraded version of the Hitachi (I wonder who really makes that saw?). Anyway, I did a few projects with it and think it's a good mid-level scroll saw that will work fine until you're ready to move up to a big-boy saw like a DeWalt 788 or a really big boy saw like the Excalibur.

Last spring I saw a DW788 on CL for $200 with stand and light. I checked it out and it was in nearly new condition so I replaced the Hitachi (Sold it to a friend and he's been happy). No doubt, the DW is a very nice saw. But you can do good stuff with your PC, too, and at that price you couldn't go wrong. You can always sell it for more than you bought it for.

One thing I did with my Hitachi that may or may not apply to your PC: The lower blade clamp was really hard for me to get at with my fat fingers. I took the surrounding piece of plastic off the saw and cut the access hole out to a bigger size (using the scroll saw!) That helped a lot.

And using good blades is essential! Olson or Flying Dutchman are great.

Bill
 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the blade advice guys. I will be checking out Kenbo's (and others) scroll saw videos to learn lots of stuff as I've never actually used one.

And it looks like I will be ordering blades in the next week or so. Until then I'll try out the saw with the 2 factory blades. How bad can they really be??? :)

Mark
 

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HALL OF FAMER
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Hey Burb, congrats on the new purchase! That's great news on the tool less blade change. I was at Slowe's yesterday and looked at the PC just to see what it was like. It seems a lot beefier than my dinky little Skil. Post some pictures and let us know how it works for you. Also, watch Kenbo's YouTube videos about scrolling, he's got a lot of good tips!

Kenbo, I watched your video about blades, and I plan on ordering some Olson's soon. My question is, where do you order them from? I have some in my shopping cart on a couple of the big name retailers online, but I really don't want to spend $7.50 on shipping $7.00 worth of blades... The description of the blades on these sites are also a little vague.

Being Canadian, I order my blades from a Canadian supplier. I order in bulk to reduce my shipping costs overall. I think I pay $7 for shipping but the total order is about $300+ worth of blades. I order from The Stockade.
 
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