Re: Delta SS350LS 16" Scroll Saw Review



This unit is a reject. Return it for a replacement new saw. Not even a factory re-built should be as bad as your pictures.
There must be absolutely no side to side motion of the blade during the up/down stroke. There could be very a limited amount of front to back motion during the full cycle of the stoke as well; front to back in the range of 1/32" or less. Use a very small square, and manually walk the saw with blade thru a full cycle slowly and verify the blade remains a constant distance side to side and very little movement front to back. Blade must remain at constant angle to table.
Don't care about price range, the above must be for a scroll saw to perform as intended by the buyer. Implied warranty and all that.
However, don't confuse viewing blade by the strobe effect from florescence lights with side to side motion. Without any wood to cut, the blade will flex with vibration on any scroll saw. Loading of the blade into the QuickSet II blade holder is a common cause of front to back motion of over 1/8 inch or more.
A scroll saw comes from the coping saw. Fine detailed work. It needs to be a precise to function correctly. What ever the price. Compare with a cheap router, would you accept a router that had a 3/64 inch wobble (runout) in the main shaft? I don't think so. Would you accept a cheap router where the collet locking nut had two of the six corners rounded over? I would hope not.
At least contact the Service web site and find a Service Center to see if you saw's warranty can replace the upper arm assembly. http://www.dewaltservicenet.com / (Delta, DeWalt, and PG service)
Aside: When checking for quality scroll saw, an overlooked but very important test is the flatness of the table outside edge to the center. Too many times at the factory, the center hole for the table insert, is punched. If an error in production occurs they will re-punch the hole, causing the center to deflect. Re-punching the hole is a cheaper repair than other fixes. Straight edge test should allow less than piece of newspaper. (Really long post as to why this table top gap is so bad. ) Remember, test outside edge to center, without the insert.
Phil
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Phil-In-Mich. said:

Done. See addendum for an overview of modern QC.

You would think... I'm beginning to think that much of the stuff that is sold in this modern economy sits in a basement corner somewhere in suburbia - the owners neither caring or willing to invest the time necessary to learn it's proper use. It's just more stuff to horde. Average America isn't what it used to be...
The saw's primary intended use is to add curved details to segmented woodturnings which normally only contain straight edged designs. Similar to intarsia. I have become bored with the flat, and the uninteresting. Other uses include natural design cutouts in chair backs, garden furniture and such. "The Last Supper" done in 32 different exotic woods is not on the agenda, however.
And thanks, Phil for the info. I have a moderately long and checkered past with the wrec under other nyms, and used to participate here quite a bit, but now, not so much. As well, woodworking tends to be a fall/winter/spring thing here due to the sweltering heat. I see things have changed in the spam, sporge arena, but I still see a few familiar faces. Greetings to them all.
Greg G.
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Greg:
Well done! Taking back that messed up Delta scroll saw was just what was needed. I suspect the store was trying to sell you some sort of re-packaged warehouse 2nds. Saws that were sold once before, returned for defect, and warehouse re-packaged instead of sending to factory for re-building. But to find two more bad saws in stock---wow, as you stated, really says something about selling practices and the consumer.
Your link to the differences between the two saws---just amazing how bad that saw on the left is.
Anyway, about your scrolling to add a segmentation insert to a turned project.... There are several Internet forums (web browser access) that are focused on Scroll Sawing with turning folks stopping by. My recommendation is: http://wmyoung.proboards107.com / A small but talented group of both turners and scroll sawyers. They at least could point to other support forums for your project(s) you have in mind. I normally visit: http://www.scrollsawer.com/forum/index.php ? which is mostly just scroll sawyers
Also, for your scroll saw blades for the segmentation / full depth marguetry I emphatically urge you to try Flying Dutchman or Pegas scroll saw blades. (both are ONLY available by Web purchase, no retail stores.) Flying Dutchman Brand: http://www.mikesworkshop.com / Pegas Blades: http://www.bearwood.com / There are other outlets on the web for Pegas brand, Google. Aside: Flying Dutchman is a brand name used in the North America. In the EU the blades are sold by another brand name.
Since your technique may involve stack cutting two different woods, Keep in mind the Bandsaw mantra of not too many teeth, and allow for chip clearance out of the kerf. In other words, the Flying Dutchman XL series of blades, or the Pegas Skip tooth design of blades, and keep the total thickness of the wood to under 1-1/4 inch. (your Delta has a little under 1-1/2" stoke, you want each tooth at some point in the up/down cycle to exit the wood, above or below, for chip clearance.)
Sorry for the long post.
Phil
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Phil-In-Mich. said:

Actually, I believe they came from the factory this way. The boxes were sealed, taped only once, and the contents were undisturbed. The dealer actually has a pretty good reputation, and the manager is painfully aware of the problems with certain products. The young fellow who handled the return was inexperienced and unknown to me.

Well, the performance difference certainly made the effort worthwhile.

Thanks for the links. The only blades I have at the moment are Olson skip tooth blades, 11.5 TPI and 20 TPI, made in Germany. I also have a few assorted fine tooth spiral blades from EU. Are the blades you mention really that different and in what way?

Hey, Phil, I appreciate the information. I'm a relative newbie at scroll sawing. At this point, proper tensioning seems to be my biggest quandary. I'm tuning to a high E. ;-)
Greg G.
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Greg:


Tell you what, Go to Mike's workshop link, and get Mike's Email address. Explain to him about the thick sawing you want to do (total wood thickness over 1"), and about the turning segmentation bit. Mike may send you two sample blades to try out. Mike also sells a sample pack of his blades real cheap with a dozen blades for each of the 5 styles (60 total) for your own try-out; an very good deal.
(BTW: in scroll sawing we only talk about size number of the blade, #5, #2, or #00 (short hand version #00= # 2/0 for double 'aught.) We don't normally get into TPI, since in skip tooth blades, the tooth 'count' for TPI normally includes the missing teeth! (This is just tradition in scroll sawing, don't be alarmed. Real long post as to why.) And then what about counting TPI when you have a Double Tooth-skip, or a Double Tooth-Double Skip design?)
Anyway. save two brand new Olson blades, same size and style as the two blades from Mike, most likely a #5, and do your own comparison, side-by-side as it were. This is important: Do the Test On Your Own Saw with your own wood with your specific scroll saw skill level. No mater what I may claim as to why FD blades are better, you will find out in about 20 seconds yourself. 30 seconds tops.
Trust me on this, Mike giving you a sample of his blades to try out is a DAMM good business practice on his part. Once you get a 'taste' for his product you will be coming back for another hit, real soon. You just might end up like so many of us scroll sawyers, shuffling up on the Internet corner mumbling: "Mike, Mike, Please I need another packet of blades, man. You gotta help me out, I have needs, Man....<wiping nose with back of shaky hand>." Oh Yeah!, his giving you a 'taste' for his blades is Good business! They're that much better than Olson, Sears, Vermont American, and Delta blades.
{sorry for the humor}
Phil
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Phil-In-Mich. said:

I noticed that offer on the site, but for the small cost of the blades, plus free shipping, I wouldn't even go there. I'll just order a few and see how it goes.

Yes, I've noticed that, but I've also noticed that the blade designations change from brand to brand. One mfgs #5 isn't always the same as another's. Further confusing the issue...

These seem to dull pretty quickly, and also seem to flex excessively. Could be my technique, but if I don't apply some feed pressure, they just won't cut, but if I do, they flex and create a cut that is deeper at the top than on the bottom.

Great, just what I need. Another unhealthy obsession/addiction. ;-) Like all these tools and $22 bd.ft. wood isn't bad enough...
Thanks again,
Greg G.
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Oh, how true. But what you will discover, the slight differences between brands don't matter a whole lot.

You just tripped about 3 different alarms on the new-to-hobby-mistakes-that-everyone-makes alert box. Nothing serious. But beyond the help on this newsgroup. This place really is about power tools and mainstream woodworking.
Scroll saw hobby involves moving the wood past the blade with eye-hand co-ordination. That means a skill, that means a learning curve, that means practice. Easy learning curve, and don't take long. But a skill is a skill, and practice means practice. Practice means making mistakes and making firewood instead something to show off. No jigs or fixtures like mainstream woodworking. Just time at the saw.
Next rainy (snowy?) overcast, gloomy, windy, winter's day (night?)..... Lots of reading and videos at Rick's place http://www.scrollsaws.com /
Focused Internet forum on scroll sawing (basic, International members, very polite forum board) sponsored by hobby magazine: http://www.scrollsawer.com/forum/index.php ? Lots of help getting over newbie learning curve. There are other Internet places for scroll sawing. (I normally would recommend you also visit the Wood Magazine forum. But their new software for the board just plain sucks. Worst forum software on the Internet.)
Basic book for new scroll sawyers: Scroll Saw Workbook by John Nelson Published by Fox Chapel
Several other books are also being sold just for the new to scroll saw. Way too many to list all the good books. The late Patrick Spielman wrote many a good book for the beginner.
Phil
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I have been scrolling for about 10 years. I tried a number of different blades. Flying Dutchman are the best I have tried. Mike even gives free samples.
Ray
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Ray said:

Thanks, Ray, for the input. I'll give 'em a shot.
Does he also carry women? I could use some free samples. ;-)
Greg G.
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ADDENDUM:
Today, I ventured out into the sea of commuter lemmings to return the "defective" scroll saw. And while the sales guy rebuked my visual inspections of the remaining saws with "Well no one else has complained about these", I opened three more boxes. As for other people complaining, it speaks both to new user (in)experience and the fact that many of these may not be opened until after Christmas. Just wait, Dude...
Feeling more than a bit like Goldilocks, I opened box one, it had the same defect; Box two, ditto; But the third box was just right. Funny how the last box you look in always contains what you're looking for.
Including the original, that's a 75% rejection rate. Nice Going, Guys!
Anyway, this replacement saw performs much better. The zero clearance insert I fabricated for the original saw simply would not stay put due to the blade's unpredictable vacillation - even after mowing through a piece of wood or two. On the replacement saw, it's rock steady. Also missing is the tear out of the wood fibers around the cut. This particular saw cuts clean. The following picture dramatically illustrates the difference between the two upper arm/clamp assemblies:
http://webpages.charter.net/videodoctor/images/SS350LS_06.jpg
The tables on both are roughly milled, as per most all Delta products as of late, but is a nice size and the rearward extension is useful for additional support. The table insert opening is level in this saw, but was canted on the original. The original table had grind marks measuring up to .008", but was planar. The grind on the new table is better, measuring about .003", and is flat with the exception of a small crescent shaped .008" bump at the right rear of the insert opening. At least it projects upwards, so removing the lump and polishing the grind marks from the table should be straightforward. After all, inexpensive has it's price...
The motor retains speed throughout varying loads (the controller IC pretty much guarantees that much), and with a coarse blade, I had no trouble sawing detail into 1.5" pine or 3/4" oak, ash and walnut.
The aluminum clamshell housings actually fit together properly on this unit, unlike the original, but I don't know if any of the threads are stripped - and at this point, I don't really _want_ to know...
So at this point, I am venturing to say that these saws do offer a bargain if you can avoid the lemons. Much beefier than the $160 Hitachi or the $199 Dremel, but not as finely machined as the $500 Dewalt. And you get a fairly sturdy three-legged steel stand to boot. If you are interested in one of these saws, support your local woodworking dealer and buy where you can inspect the unit before purchase. Rockler is currently selling these units for $159 - while supplies last.
Greg G.
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