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Thread: Scroll Saw: Dewalt vs. Excalibur vs. Hegner?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    14

    Scroll Saw: Dewalt vs. Excalibur vs. Hegner?

    Hello all,
    I am currently in the market for a scroll saw and I am having a terrible time at choosing a saw. Before I ask which one should I buy I should break done what I am planning on using it for and inform you of one major set back.

    Currently I am addicted to carving spoons and have been using a drawknife for removing the waste. I find this to be very time consuming, a lot of work especially on the harder/denser woods and very wasteful. So this would be number one use of the saw. Second, I would like to try to make a few bowls to match the salad spoon set that is current project. Third, the girlfriend buys cutouts/ornaments from Michael's all the time for her crafting needs. To which I keep saying to her "I can make that." Currently I do not have much of an interest in doing intarsia, but, you never know what the future holds.

    The shop, is the number one issue I have. Living in small condo without a garage in Los Angeles does not afford me to have much space and I am currently using the water heater/storage closet on my balcony as my shop. My plan is to use a sturdy portable work table to place the saw on outside on the balcony when I am planning to use it and store it under my bench the rest of the time, so smaller is better.

    Let us talk saws now. I am currently torn between the Dewalt 788 20in($493.97), the Excalibur 16in($579.99) and my Dad is telling me to buy the Hegner 14in or just nut up and buy the 18in ($885/$1300). The major difference in all of these saws is that the Dewalt's and Hegner's table pivots for angled cuts. Where as the Excalibur's head pivots for cutting angles. I have also read that the Excalibur is smoother than the Dewalt. I am leaning toward the Excalibur. However, I wanted to get your-all's thoughts and opinion on the subject.

    What saw should I buy?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Posts
    4,701
    Well in for a pinch, in for a pound. I've only used the dewalt but got it on sale for under $300, if I was paying full price it would be a lot harder decision. No real complaints on the dewalt, but I'm not a full time scroller either - i think at least one person here has done the upgrade path so it'll be interesting to see what they say.

    I'm not so convinced on your user case though. Removing a lot of wood of any thickness is not in any way shape or form a scroll saws strong point. A small bandsaw would serve you somewhat better for the spoons and the bowls (there are some little 10" saws that are somewhere between toy and useful (like this rikon http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/rikon10bandsaw.aspx also available elsewhere but highland has a spiffy video). Based on my experiences the draw knife or (better) small carving axe is a whole lot faster than a scroll saw for that sort of work and you'll quickly be regretting the money spent. The scroll saw would be just the ticket for the cutouts though, and a bandsaw has the problem of not doing interior cuts for that. So if you want to just do the ornaments and maybe get into intarsia by all means rock the scrollsaw. If you really want it for spoons I'd highly recommend considering alternatives (and maybe just get a bit better at sharpening that draw knife to start with ). This from an affirmed tool junky.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998
    I'm not the best to offer an opinion, because I only mine to do small items to enhance other projects. Therefore, I bought the DeWalt several years ago because is has a good reputation and lots of "real" scroll sawyers like it. The bottom line is: it works. If you want a fancier name, go for it.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Independence, Kentucky
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    1,355
    I have the De Walt and am very happy with it, but what Ryan said you probably would be better served with a small band saw for what you want to do. A scroll saw will do it only a little slower than the band saw. Also look for a used scroll saw and you will save some money. I scored a De Walt 788 for under two hundred dollars on craigslist.
    I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    S E Washington State
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    3,777
    For scrolling I have owned 4 different saws over the years, a small Craftsman (was junk, not all craftsman saws are junk, but the model I had was), a Dewalt, a 21" Excalibur and a 22" Hegner. The last three are all good saws (IMHO). Of the three I give the Excalibur the highest marks. I don't think whether the table tilts or the head tilts is a big deal. Probably because I rarely use it. The Excalibur is just a great saw. I have it and the Hegner currently. I like to do intricate pictures and I have not been able to use the real small blades on the Hegner to accomplish the kind of cutting I like. The Hegner is a workhorse and will last forever, but it is harder to change blades on and harder to go from one inside cut to the next with, on fret work. It would do fine on you spoons though. The Excalibur will easily do both. A good gauge for me on saws is to see which ones you can see for sale used. There are lots of used Dewalt for sale, not because they are bad saw, but (this is just my opinion) people having them and really enjoy scrolling eventually want to step up to a little better saw. There are lots of used Hegners for sale because they last forever and the people wear out before the saw. You rarely see an used Excalibur for sale, because owners love them. I cannot speak for the Hawk. I have never used one.

    If you go with an Excalibur here is a great place to buy from: http://www.seyco.com/

    Even if you buy from some place else, this is a great place to get info and help. The customer service is great and they help whether your purchase from them or not.

    Came back to add, if you really get interested in scrolling and want to learn about it here is a good place to gather info: http://www.scrollsawvillage.com/
    Last edited by Paul Douglass; 08-29-2015 at 04:11 PM.
    "We the People ......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    14
    Thank you all for the input. I bought a coping saw today to use in tandem with the drawknife while I wait for the gift card I purchased with rewards point to arrive. While at the store today I played with the 10in Rikon band saw which I believe will be to top heavy for how I have to use it. I am going to start looking for a good price on the Excalibur based on Paul's advice on the saws. Is the 16 inch big enough? Will I regret not having the extra 5 inches of throat depth?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    3,022
    When I bought my saw I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews.

    There is a lot about HOW the saw makes the blade go up and down. "C" frame, link and pin, spring upper. It's been a long time so my terminology may be off.

    There was a bigger disparity in price when I was looking that what you are showing at the time I was looking. I had a crappy delta and I wanted a nice saw.

    The Delta was in the lower price range saws and the Excalibur and Hegner was in with the higher priced saws. I could not afford the higher priced saws and the Dewalt was made in the same style as the better saws, with a few minor differences.

    I bought the Delta

    I do NOT do a lot of scroll work but I like the way the Dewalt saw works.

    I would definitely do it again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Roanoke, Illinois
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    Unless you are planning on spending hundreds of hours at the saw the Dewalt will more than meet your needs. Whichever model you decide on be sure to include the foot switch. That thing is worth its weight in gold.
    Last edited by Terry Quiram; 08-30-2015 at 01:18 PM.
    Either you like bacon or you are wrong.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    S E Washington State
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    Dennis, in regards to the throat depth, that all depends on what you cut. You can cut a piece in, in theory, twice as wide as the throat depth. Not really true but close, if you learn to use spiral blades. That seems big but is you use flat blades you have to be able to turn the piece all the time so you will not be able to cut that large. I could not has a smaller saw than the 21" but that is because of the things I cut.
    "We the People ......"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    On a 20" saw you can cut 20" deep

    On a 18" saw - if you have a 20" deep cut you will wish you had the 20" saw and you will not be able to do what you wanted to do.

    That is just my thoughts on that.

    Then again - 30" would be the same argument. Where do we stop?

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