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1 1 b american woodworker ▲ 1997 buyer s guide

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©Types of Scrollsaws

Scrollsaws

othing beats a scrollsaw when it comes to cutting intricate curves. With its delicate blade and reciprocating cutting action» a scrollsaw lets you make hairpin turns and inside cuts in wood and other materials.

Power isn't important when you're choosing a scrollsaw—the delicate blade will probably break before the machine's modest motor bogs down. By selecting the right type of blade, tailoring the cutting speed to the material, and controlling the feed rate, you can cut wood up to 2 in. thick. But many

¿V • •■ . ' X \. ■ i i&MM^&m woodworkers love this machine for the fine fretwork and marquetry they can

A' as i-y.*V.5v: J5 -4V ivv Jf'-v. WOE^A/iyJm ^' x^tm create in thinner stock.

Features to Consider

Benchtop vs. Floor Models

A benchtop scrollsaw is worth considering if you'll need to stow it frequently or if you're on a tight budget. Keep in mind, however, that it should be bolted down in use, because scrollsaws are inherently prone to vibration.

If you'll be doing a lot of scrollsaw work, consider a floor model. Many of these are simply benchtop models attached to sheet-metal stands for increased stability.

Cutting; Speed

With scrollsaws, speed is measured in strokes per minute (spm), and there are several speed choices. Scrollsaws are available in single-, multiple-, and variable-speed models. Lower speeds— 200 spm, tor example—are good for cutting plastics and metals, and for making

Curvy cuts. The scrollsaw fills the hill when you want to cut fretwork, marquetry, puzzles or anything intricate.

Parallel-Arm Saws

On these models, the arms are connected at their back ends by a threaded rod. But they pivot separately on the saw frame, moving the blade straight up and down. This vertical cutting action is good for extra-fine work and anywhere you need a perfectly square cut.

Parallel-Link Saw s

This variation on the parallel-arm design is available on Excalibur scrollsaws. These models also have vertical cutting action.

On these saws, blades are held between two ends of a single C-shaped casting that moves up and down. Since the C-arm saw blade moves in a slight art, the cutting action is more aggressive. But it also tends to be slightly rougher than the cutting action of a parallel-arm saw.

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