Scroll saws are one of the favorite woodworking machines of just about everybody that likes to work with wood. One of the easiest saws to learn how to use, it's also reasonably safe and it allows you to get as creative as you want. You can create designs and patterns just from your imagination or you can buy plans and patterns at just about any skill level you're comfortable with.
Scrollsaws are available in several price ranges. As with most things, you get what you pay for. You'll find that the lower end scroll saws are pretty basic and the features that you really need just aren't there.
The saws in the mid price range include a lot more features. Before settling for a saw based on price, brand, or some other variable you should decide which features you'd like to have. The list below is a few of the features you need to decide on before buying your saw.
Variable speed or multi speed... The speeds of most scrollsaws run from about 400 strokes per minute on up to 1800 strokes. Depending on what you're cutting you may want a speed other than the stepped speed of a multi-speed. Personally I like the variable speed. Several times I've adjusted my stroke speed by 50 or so strokes per minute to get a better cut.
Blade changing... If you're patient you may not mind changing blades using allen wrenches or some other hand tool. Myself, I prefer a tool-less blade changing system. It takes a lot of time off a project that requires a lot of blind hole work.
Table tilt...There are scrollsaw tables in every price range that will only tilt to one side. This could be a problem on some projects. I definately prefer tables that tilt to either sides.
Dust blower... Obviously, this is a feature that you don't want to do without. Your cuts will be a lot straighter if you can always see your cut line.
Throat Depth... The depth from the blade to the back of the arm has to be long enough to accept the work that you normally do. This throat depth normally ranges from 12" to 24". Im most cases the deeper the better.
Optional Add-ons...These are the extras that you would use around a scroll saw such as a foot switch, work light, and stand. Depending on the brand and model, these may come with your saw or you may have to buy them separate. You may be able to save some money by choosing a model that doesn't include items that you won't need.
Warranty and repair parts... Warranties vary a lot among scrollsaws. You'll find new saws without any warranty and other scroll saws with a multi year warranty. The dealer you buy it from plays a big part in how good the warranty is and if repair parts are available.
Performance... If at all possible, try it before you buy it. Some scrollsaws are very bouncy, making it hard to get a clean cut. Some machines break blades very easily, and there are many that are underpowered for the capacity that's built into them. (My opinion).
Buy the best scroll saw you can afford. Whether new or used, you'll be happier with a saw that you can afford and with one that does what you want it to do without giving you a lot of problems. Think about the features you want and don't settle for less.
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Need some scrolling ideas? ScrollSaw Pattern Books