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question-tm.jpgWe’re getting a little tired of doing scroll work with a jigsaw, so we’re thinking about picking up a small dedicated scroll saw.  We’ve got a few coming in for review, but we’d love to hear your recommendations.

You’ll note that there’s a pretty big difference in price between the two in the photo above.  The Task Force on the left goes for $99, while the Delta Shopmaster is marked $219.  While I’m sure the Delta’s worth more, is it worth the extra $119?

Let us know in comments, especially if you have one that you’re happy with.


11 Responses to Reader Question: Can you recommend a good scroll saw?

  1. James says:

    Fine Woodworking #177 has an article on choosing a midrange scroll saw. If you have an online subscription, you can read the article here:


    The article contains a lot of good information and concludes that the DeWALT DW788 is the best overall and the Dremel 1800 is the best value. Since both of those are more expensive than the Delta, which is not reviewed, I’d recommend reading the article to see what to look for.

  2. nrChris says:

    Funny that this came up today, James. This weekend I read a review of the DeWALT DW788. You can read it at:


    Certainly worth looking at. Not a tool that is really on my radar at this point, but I know that my father upgraded his scroll saw recently for one reason–the need for a pedal foot control. Makes sense, but something to consider if you are planning on doing delicate work requiring both hands.

  3. Paul says:

    I have an older Delta scrollsaw. I think I paid something around $129 for it. I think the saw I have works well. The scrollsaw I have looks a lot like the machine on the left in the picture of this post. Really, the work that you can do on a scrollsaw is unique to the machine. Jigsaw, heh, don’t make me laugh! I have seen some pretty impressive bandsaw work. But no, jigsaws don’t even come close to what scrollsaws are capable of doing. That’s like saying sure I can cut dovetails with my circular saw.

    Hey nrChris I’d like to see your father scrollsawing with one hand. Me, I always use two, with no footswitch. I’ve done a fair bit of scrollsawing and I cannot imagine the situation where a footswitch would be needed.

    I would only need to upgrade my current scrollsaw if I determined that I needed more throat clearance, my machine only has 16 inches, or wanted a smoother, or more powerful unit. I heard someplace that at the time at least, my Delta was considered one of the smoothest cutting machines in its class. I think that the Hawks are top of the line scrollsaws. I’m just not that involved in scrollsawing for that sort of an investment in equipment though.

    Here is a link to Hawk scrollsaws in case you want to check out “the best” to compare what you’re getting to. Lord knows, for what they’re charging their machines had better be the best!


  4. Riskable says:

    My wife (the scroll saw expert) says that the DeWalt 788 is the best. It is expensive though…


    “No person is free until they can tell the truth without retaliation, live without debt, and change their mind without disaffection. This is freedom from religion, freedom from inequity, and freedom from dogma.”

  5. Phillip says:

    I really love my Ridgid 16501 scroll saw (several years old already), but unfortunately it is an orphan. Ridgid has discontinued this saw. It has been an impressive little jewel, though for a cheap, lightweight saw it really has no drawbacks for the hobbyist. My next saw to replace this one would be the Dewalt.

  6. nrChris says:


    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that my old man is scrolling one-handed. 😉 There is certainly a level of concentration needed sometimes, which is more of what I had in mind. Particularly where you can hold delicate work with both hands while killing the saw with the foot switch. I have carelessly backed into the blade when letting go of a work piece to reach for the switch. Good for you if you have never made that mistake.

  7. Brew says:

    If you want higher end, go with a Hawk.

  8. My first scroll was a Ridgid and liked it very much. Unfortunately I used it quite a bit cutting 1″ wood and the motor finally gave out. Ridgid doesn’t make scroll saws anymore.
    Last Christmas my kids bought me a Delta, BAD NEWS. First, it wouldn’t take any blades with the holding bit which turned out to be a disaster. The Delta couldn’t hold the blade tight enough so the blade kept slipping out. Under no circumstances would I ever use a Delta again even if someone gave it to me at no charge.
    Make sure, in whatever you decide, that your next scroll saw has holders that accept pin blades. Also, ensure that the blade at the top is easy to undo in case you make a lot of projects that require drilling a hole, undoing the blade, then inserting it, that makes everything much easier.

    Feel free to email me at: Fschnepel@aol.com inf you have any further questions.
    That’s about it, have fun and Merry Christmas

  9. Larry Walden says:

    Don’t know what the end result of this post was but there seem to be some people who don’t know much about scroll sawing.I have 2 OLD Delta’s, an RBI Hawk, Delta C arm and a cheap Delta with quick lock upper blade. A footswitch is a necessity. If I were to buy another saw it would be a Dewalt. I have been scrolling for 55 years. The Dewalt and excalibur along eith the olders rigid arm saws are the only ones that the blade goes straight up and down. Just my 2 cents worth.

  10. I just purchased a used Delta Shopmaster, and I’m seriously happy with the quality and function. One month ago I bought a brand new Delta 20″ scroll saw for about $400, and promptly refunded it back to the store because it was a lemony POS, the table had about 1/4″ of play, the guide wouldn’t tighten correctly, and the motor became loose and all but fell off within about 4 hours of use. Delta dropped the ball on their 20″ saw, but if you can find an old Delta shopmaster you won’t be disappointed. I’ve also found the Black and Decker BT4000 to be an awesome scroll saw.

  11. ROBERT E. ROCKWELL says:


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