The Best Scroll Saw

Scroll Saw Reviews

Our Top Pick is the Proxxon 37090 DSH/E

Scroll saws are a tool used in woodworking that allows for fine precision cuts to complete decorative work, often referred to as fretwork. The fine blade works on thinner pieces of wood to create designs and cuts that enhance the look of specialized wood pieces. Scroll saws first became available in the late 1800’s and today there are over 50 models available to consumers.

Common uses for the scroll saw includes uses for making detailed furniture, miniature wood pieces, clocks, restoring antiques, children’s toys and other products that require intricate design work. The saw has the ability to make straight, angled and curved cuts in very small, detailed and intricate patterns.

After extensive review and testing of scroll saws in all price ranges the Proxxon 37090 is a mid-range saw with the bells and whistles found in more expensive models, and at the top of the pack when compared to other saws in the same price range. It has the power and control to make precision cuts consistently, low vibration even when at full throttle, and easy blade changes.

Who Should Buy This

Woodworking artists that are seeking the ability to take their woodworking pieces to the next level will benefit from owning a scroll saw. Once you have the learned the basics of wood working and design you can add character and value with more intricate woodwork. This will help to personalize your designs and create individual masterpieces. Top quality saws can be used for wooden pieces along with plastic and even fiberglass design work.

What Makes a Good Scroll Saw?

Scroll saws are designed to handle very detailed woodwork. They can take a rough piece of wood and create pictures and detailed work that no other saw can achieve. That being said a few features that make the woodworker’s job easier include the size of the motor and the ability to run it at variable speeds. The throat capacity will determine the size of wood or material you are able to work with. The handle will either be parallel or C-arm. Both release stress on the hand and let you guide the saw with precision. The saws can be mounted or used freehand. Mounted or table versions will allow for more precise cuts than free hand sawing.

Scroll SawA scroll saw has the up and down reciprocating action of the blade which requires a steady saw with low vibration to make detailed cuts. Lower end models are acceptable for larger pieces or pieces with less detail, because they tend to have higher rates of vibration when the saw is operating. If you choose a saw with a parallel arm system you will get less vibration in the saw than with the C-arm. The blade tensioner can be at the rear or above the blade and allows you to adjust the tension of the blade depending on your needs. Blade tension with affect the level of precision that you can achieve and will be adjusted based on the material you are cutting.

The blade chosen will be determined by the type of wood that is being cut. The speed used will also be determined by the material you have chosen. Softer woods like maple and poplar are able to handle faster blade speeds. Using the correct blade will allow you to make tight cuts with most any type of wood. You are able to have controlled accuracy for fully internal cuts with ease.

When choosing a saw you need to consider the different kinds of wood you want to work with, and the features that you will need to accomplish the design work you need. The quality of your finished product will largely be determined by the quality of your saw and the sharpness of the blade. If you plan to do a lot of detailed work it is wise to invest in a saw that will show off your work in the best possible way.

Additional features to look for include a tear drop table that allows you to tilt the table for beveled cuts. A blower which will keep the cut clear of sawdust, and a dust port to capture sawdust and reduce cleanup. A variable speed motor will allow you to operate from 400 to 1750 SPM (stokes per minute) giving you greater control over the blade action.

How We Tested

We began our test with an extensive search of the available scroll saws on the market. We discovered that prices and quality varied widely. For someone just getting started or only needing occasional work the lower end models might suffice. For hobbyist or semiprofessionals the mid-range models offer the best balance in value and features, giving you low vibration, easy and fast blade changes and other features that make your cuts more accurate and allow you to work more efficiently. Once we narrowed the field to those better quality models we tested the saws and research online blogs and recommendations and experiences of professionals. Lastly we researched Amazon and found what every day customers were saying about our top picks.

Our Pick

Specifications

  

Power of Motor 200 watts
Maximum Capacity for Wood 1 ½ inches
Maximum Capacity for Plastic 1 3/16 inches
Maximum Capacity for Non Ferrous Materials 25/64 inches
Weight of Saw 8.6 Pounds
Blade Speed Range 200 to 1500 SPM
Stroke Length ¾ table size and 14 ¼ X 7 3/32 for miter cuts Throat Depth 15 3/4
Bevel Angle Range Tilts up to 45 degrees
Dimensions 24 X 15 X 13.3
Warranty 2 Years

The Proxxon DSH/E is one of the quietest saws available at its price point. The 200 watt motor gives enough power for the most precision cuts without the vibration that generally comes with more power. This saw has a large throat and the ability to cut pieces of material to nearly 16 inches. The depth allows you to take on wood pieces up to 1 ½ inches and plastic up to .81 inches.

The variable speed motor allows you to make stokes as low as 200 spm or as high as 1500 spm, giving you the ability to work with many different pieces of material efficiently. The base is made from cast iron with rubber feet on the bottom. This provides a strong and secure surface for cutting and minimizes the vibration when the saw is in operation. You also have the ability to bolt to saw to the surface for more permanent placement.

With the Proxxon 37090 you will be able to efficiently cut wood, Plexiglas, fiberglass, leather and cork material. If you want to make puzzles, build wooden toys or even restore antique furniture, this saw will get the job done. The design of the saw gives you very clean cuts which will reduce the amount of sanding required for a finished look.

The Proxxon takes standard pin saw blades. Blades without a pin can also be used but must be clamped into place with a toggle screw. The saw arm offers a clear view to the back of the saw. There is a quick release tension lever which makes it easy for interior cuts. The saw also includes a dust blower with a nozzle that is adjustable. This feature ensures the saw dust does not settle on the material being cut offering you a clear line of site.

Who Else Likes It

The guys at Scroll Saw Reviews had this to say about it: “The Proxxon 37090 DSH/E Scroll Saw is among the best and most versatile scroll saws today…it is the perfect machine to begin your workshop training with. Most other models in this category will not be able to offer the versatility that this machine does…you will find that even at full throttle it operates silently, making it an ideal machine to have in your home workshop.”

Amazon reviewers gave it 4 out of 5 stars from 18 reviews. One 5 star review described their experience with the saw alike this: “The Proxxon 37090 DSH/E Scroll Saw is the best scroll saw my husband has ever had, and he has had many saws…we are very happy with it. We have so many pattern and painting books now we can make all kinds of things for gifts for family and friends.”

The Step Up

Dewalt DW788 offers a 20 inch scroll saw as opposed to the 16 inch saw we have recommended. This high grade saw is mostly for professional and semiprofessional use. If you have projects that require the saw on a daily basis, this more powerful saw will keep going long after your projects are finished. The saw has a fast set up and is ready to use out of the box. Blade changes are fast and the 1.3 amp design gives you all the power you need for the most precision cuts. Blade tension and changes are tool-less. The saw is both portable and compact. This heavy duty machine offers more features than the average woodworker will need, but has the power and accuracy for making professional looking woodworking designs. The saw is priced at 493.97 and comes with a 1 year warranty.

Top Scroll Saw Comparison

Position
Visual
Tool
RPM
Amperage
Warranty (Years)
1Proxxon1,500
1.82
2
2Dremel M 2,250
0.60
2
3Black & Decker3,000
3.20
2
4Rockwell1,700
1.20
2
5Craftsman1,600
1.60
1
6WEN1,600
1.20
2
7Proxxon DS2, 500
0.77
2
8Shop Fox1,700
1.20
1
9Dremel1,600
1.40
2
10Delta1,750
1.30
5
11Skil1,700
1.20
3
12Rockwell Portable3,000
5.50
3

Care Use and Maintenance

The scroll saw requires the same basic safety standards of any power tool, which includes using safety glasses and a dust mask. Anytime you work with cutting materials there are shavings that become airborne and can impact breathing. Safety glasses keeps your line of sight clear and can prevent damage to the eyes from particles that can fly from the machine. It is always best to follow the safety instructions from the owner’s manual closely.

The blades on the scroll saw are not as hearty as the blades found on other saws. This means that when in use the saw guide the blade carefully around the pattern design ensuring that you do not force the cut. If you apply too much pressure the cuts will not be as accurate and the blade can break.

Because of the precision work you need to be in a well-lit area and work on a very sturdy surface. During the cut keep constant pressure on the piece creating cuts that will be uniform. You can adjust the feed rate to speed up or slow down the cuts as needed. Make turns gradually to reduce the need for sanding. Fine grit sandpaper can smooth any rough edges that were created during the cut.

When you have finished a cut be sure to back the blade out carefully so you do not make unintentional cuts and you do not damage the blade.

Maintenance includes regular lubrication and ensuring that the blade area is clear of debris.

Wrapping It Up

Scroll saws are an amazing tool for those looking to make detailed cuts and create intricate designs in your wood work. Whether you want to build toys, letters, puzzles or figurines, the scroll saw makes a fine precision cut to produce beautiful designs.

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