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Old 05-02-2011, 08:03 PM   #11
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Hitachi cw40, Tradesman VS4000W, Craftsman 21601, Rexon VS4001A or VS4002A, Porter Cable PCB370ss, Scheppach Deco 405 are all the same basic saw made by Rexon. The Hitachi, Tradesman, Craftsman, and more recently Porter Cable flourish on Craigslist in the States and many times can be found with little or no wear and tear. The Tradesman I bought ($70) was turned on once by a lady, and it scared her so bad she never used it. I gave it to a friend hoping to entice him into the hobby. The Rexon manufactured saws are good enough to give you a taste for the hobby and figure out whether or not you really want to throw out the big bucks.

For me personally, the number one thing I got from moving to the more expensive saws was the much simpler blade changes (which entailed top feeding). The lower blade clamp, even with the dust shield removed, is awkward, and I despised fighting that bottom clamp. Others complain of the durability of these saws.

-------Randy

Last edited by hotshot; 05-02-2011 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:51 PM   #12
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Well, Matt, now that you are really confused, I would suggest buying a saw that you can return, if you are not happy with it. Locally, if you have a Lowes, they carry the Porter Cable saw, I think for $ 180.00 ? That's what they listed them at in our Magazine anyway. You have to be the judge, whether or not you like it.
Oh, Eileen, don't know about the level on your table, but, it doesn't have to be level, it needs to be square with your blade, is all. Your blade must cut perpendicular(straight up & down) in your work piece.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:06 PM   #13
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Without being an expert (I've been into woodworking for less than a year), I'd agree with what someone above wrote: spend as much as you can afford. My experience in general is that you get what you pay for!

When it comes to anything that has got with tools, hand- or electrical, it's so much more fun to work with real stuff. It might be tempting to spend as little as possible, but you'll soon regret being cheap, becauce things won't work as you wish they would - and you'll end up with a bad result.

My experience with scrollsaws isn't great, but I allready regret that I didn't spend a little more on my band saw. And my routing experience says that working with a $10 router bit is ok. But since I got myself a couple of $75 bits, I'll never buy $10 bits again (unless I intend to wreck them.)
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ubgoofy2003 View Post
Oh, Eileen, don't know about the level on your table, but, it doesn't have to be level, it needs to be square with your blade, is all. Your blade must cut perpendicular(straight up & down) in your work piece.
Eileen was talking about the angle gauge that is fitted to the front top of the saw. It isn't perfectly flush with the table, so wood can catch on the edge of the plastic. The plastic also scratches because of the wood constantly riding over it, so it gets harder to read with wear. The Hitachi cw-40 and the identical Tradesman had this under the table out of the way so it wasn't an issue.

-------Randy
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #15
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Matt, I had the Dremel 1680 for several years and finally switched to the Dewalt DW788. What a difference and well worth the money. I did my research on the saws at "http://scrollit.com/scroll_saw_frequently_asked_ques.htm". The big difference between the dremel and the dewalt is the time spent changing blades and vibration.,
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:59 AM   #16
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Wow! Amazing responses. Now it's time for me to get you all up to date on what has transpired so far. Let me preface this by saying to those of you interested in scroll sawing and a beginner, take these posts seriously and you'll save the frustration I endured (am enduring?).

Alright, my tail begins at Harbor Freight. I think to myself, "self, this saw is $60, surely we can at least determine the viability of this endeavor with this saw." to which I promptly respond "Yes and don't call me shirley!".

Now with my harbor freight saw I find that the blades are "pin end" oh no! That's what everyone counseled me against! Ahh but there in the box are magical "plain end adapters" Eureka! Embarrassing moment averted..or so I thought.

2 hours or so of fumbling with the pin end adapters I get them setup. Only to find I have the blade in backwards.. "Ok, I learned alot, surely it will be faster this next time". Sadly, it was not.

"Ok, ok, blades in right, let's fire this up!" to which I promptly discover how important it is to set the tension right. "Bang! Pow! clunk clunk clunk"

Tighten the tension, loosen the tension, working slowly I finally get it right, all along thinking to myself. "Wow, each inner cut could take a month at this rate". However, not to be dismayed it's done! Haha I've mastered this! Now I will cut something! (time elapsed 2.2 hours).

Saw is running? Check! Feeding scrap? Check! Wait what's this?? the tension knob is so "loose" that the vibration of the unit is loosening the tension!! wait no stop..wait "bang, pow...clunk clunk clunk.."

Complete disassembly later I discover that I'm in over my head, I go back to this forum and see all these great posts.. so I promptly remove my expensive blade, pack up the saw, and get out my return receipt.

Where do I go from here? Well now that I'm a virtual expert at what not to do and what I don't like, I think I'll have Lowes show me the porter cable and the DW788. I have so many DeWalt tools that I'm betting that's what I'll go with.

Hopefully you've found my follow up humorous, and hopefully it helps a "short pants scroller" in the future.

Matt
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:56 AM   #17
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Update!

Well after long consideration I decided the best first step for me would be the Porter Cable unit at Lowes. They've got a great return policy so it sounded like the best situation, give it a try, if it works great, if not, oh well.

Alright, so I got the Porter Cable setup, tensioned, and ready to cut. I started by cutting out the jig that Jim Kape uses for chess pieces.. Which was a very smart first move, I was able to make adjustments to my "hand" and learned exactly how to place a saw blade, plus what happens when you make a mistake and the blade snaps, Wow!

In the end I cut my first chess piece from Cedar.



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Amazing isn't it? It's got such a perfect line, clean, simple. It was a bear to make, but well worth it.

-Matt
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:58 AM   #18
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ahhaha, just kidding, I played that joke on my wife and she fell for it. Poor girl stood there saying "it's nice. you tried hard honey, you'll get there."

Then I pulled out this one.



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She was stunned.

Thanks Jim, you book, patterns, and guidance are impeccable!

Matt
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:28 PM   #19
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Hazmat, let me give you some hints that may make your time with the PC more pleasant.

1. Take the "hold down" off, take the knob from the "hold down" and put that in your top clamp to make blade changes easier. This is the first thing I would do. If you have already removed the "hold down", which you probably have, go dig out the knob.
(edited the above: due to being an idiot, I original called the "hold down" a "blade guide")

2. The saw has dust collection, and I guess that could be nice. What is nicer, is taking the left dust shield off, exposing the bottom clamp for much easier blade changes. I think you will gladly give up the dust collection capability in favor of saving your hands and making those painful bottom clamp changes much easier. Trust me on this one and just try it.

3. If you use spirals on this saw, you will either want to purchase the flat end blades, or take pliers and straighten out the last .5" on each end. Else, you will get hockey sticks and frustration, you will know what I mean if you don't take this advice.

4. When you change angle on the table, you don't need to crank down on the knob that tightnen the table in place. Just put a "little" torque on it and it will hold fine. You don't want to wear that out.

Have fun with the saw.

-------Randy

Last edited by hotshot; 05-09-2011 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:51 PM   #20
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Randy,

Thanks for the tips, I'd stumbled across pretty much all of them on my own (hockey sticks, perfect visual!).

Switching the top and bottom "thumb screws" sounds like a stroke of genius, however which part is the "blade guide"? Can you take a picture to show me?

Cut a few more pieces today, there's really an art to tensioning this thing right for different woods. There was a sale on poplar 2x2 at the lumber yard (.88/ft, I'm in Florida, so lumber yards are rare!), so it was a real switch to go from cedar to poplar.

Anyway, having fun and learning more each day, any of you guys invest in a magnifying glass with light to save your eyes?

Thanks!

Matt
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