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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Default Scroll saw question.

I've got 2 scroll saws. But may want another. I've got a probably 20 year old Craftsman in the shop. Apparently they were changing models, so I got a $170 or so saw, new in the box, for $35. Pinned blades, which is perfect for what I use it for, still works great, not getting rid of it, but it is in the shop.

I want a saw I can use in a spare room, in the house. Swapped for a Delta 40-540 which is in the spare room now, and would be perfect... Except it will only take pinless blades. I do not want pinless blades, pin blades work so much better for what I do. So thinking of getting another saw, and getting rid of this.

Been looking.
A General International, 16", variable speed, can be had for $68 and change, with free shipping.
A Wen, 16", variable speed, can be had for $83 and change, with free shipping.

Both have 4 out of 5 stars ratings. I've never even seen ether, let alone tried one.

For the price I'd like to get a General International, but I'd never heard of them before. I have at least heard of the Wen, and it seems to be a good tool, so wouldn't mind paying a bit more for one.

So, I'd like opinions from people who have actually used them as to what they think of them. All want one for is close cutting my designs out, no fancy sawing, so don't need a expensive, top of the line saw, just something that works decent.

Found out that Amazon sells a conversion kit, for about $23 to convert 'most' saws to pinned, or pinless, blades. Asked if it would work for my Delta. Got a 'I think so' answer. That didn't cut it with me, want a yes or a no response.

Thanks

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 07:36 AM
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Theo, I would get the Wen because they have a better name in the USA. I can't really remember but it might be Tom that got a Wen drill press and he really liked it. I do know they are a lot of fun and there are so many different things you can make.

I have neuropathy in my legs and feet and if I live long enough I will be in a wheelchair. I plan on doing a lot of scroll saw work then.
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Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 07:39 AM
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Why don't you like pin less blades? They went pin less so smaller blades could be used and threaded through smaller holes in the work. The larger blades are still usable in these saws too, but also need to be pin less. I haven't used pinned scroll saw blades in well over 30 years.

I have no idea what type of scroll sawing that you do, but the scroll sawing world changed radically when they came out with scroll saws that pulled the blade up as well as down. The saws available before this relied on spring tension to return the blade to it's up position. Bind the blade in one of these old spring return saws and the mechanical linkage that pulls the blade down will come up and buckle the blade, breaking it. The newer design scroll saws that mechanically pull the blade in both the up and down direction don't break blades. You can actually wear the blades out before you need to replace them. Newer saws are also much easier to install and remove the blades, and you can set and repeat the blade tension in them as well. I could never make the scroll saw projects that I do now back when I had one of those old pinned blade saws. I spent years fighting with those old saws before they cam out with the newer designed pin less saws and the mechanical design that pulls the blade up as well as down.

Theo, you should try out one of these newer design scroll saws before even considering another pinned blade saw. They are a real eye opener, and light years ahead of pinned blade scroll saws. Yes, they will cost a bit more, but they will save you money in broken blades and frustration time, fiddling with pinned blade and blade tension problems and they cut much better too.

Charley
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Last edited by CharleyL; 10-09-2018 at 07:44 AM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 11:35 AM
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Theo,

I'm surprised you haven't heard of ''The General'' before. They WERE a very reputable and quality manufacturer of all types of stationary tools aimed at high end users such as schools and professional shops. I own a floor model drill press and a ceiling hung air cleaner with their name on them. Unfortunately, a few years ago when China came in the picture, they could not offer the quality they were known for at prices to compete, so they closed shop. Since then Steel City acquired the rights to some models of table saws and I'm not sure what else and some production is in the USA, but I would think that the scroll saw MIGHT be an Asian production with the General International name on it, just like the Wen is probably also Asian made. The General used to manufacture here in Quebec in an Industrial town named Drummondville. Sad that such a fine brand is now just history except for a few models made in the USA.
Dan

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post
Theo, I would get the Wen because they have a better name in the USA. I can't really remember but it might be Tom that got a Wen drill press and he really liked it. I do know they are a lot of fun and there are so many different things you can make.

I have neuropathy in my legs and feet and if I live long enough I will be in a wheelchair. I plan on doing a lot of scroll saw work then.
Yeah, have heard favorable reports on various Wen tools, so wouldn't have an issue spending a couple more $ and getting one.

I've got bad knees, and back. Now use a chair n the shop, for about everything but my drill press, and band saw. Band saw needs tuning, so haven't been using it, and would need to stand to tune it. So, a stand WILL be made for it, so I can sit while tuning it, and than using it. Anything more than a minute or so standing in the same place, means I have to move, or sit. Can't get any work done moving, so will make a stand will be made for the drill press too. Got a sabre saw upside down in a stand, and since I don't need to do precision sawing, use that, works well for me. Anyway, my bench saw needs adjusting, so will get that adjusted, then it will be a stand for it also. All the stands will be pretty easily shifted when putting away or pulling out for use - in my small shop I need that. Once I get those things done about the only things I will need to get up for is to get more wood. My planer is at a height just right to stand and use, or sit and use - lucked out on that one. And have a very nice office chair that will be going into the shop - on casters, swivels, has arms, very comfortable seat and back, and the back leans back a bit, not a cheap chair when new, but apparently the owner thought a cleaner chair was needed, and I got this one for $7.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CharleyL View Post
Why don't you like pin less blades? They went pin less so smaller blades could be used and threaded through smaller holes in the work. The larger blades are still usable in these saws too, but also need to be pin less. I haven't used pinned scroll saw blades in well over 30 years.
My saw will take pinless also. Tried some when I first got the saw. PITA to put in, slower to put in, and prone to break way too often. With pin blades, can hook the bottom in place, pull down some sort of lever thingy on top, hook the top of the blade in place, and good to go. I get the heaviest blades I can find, and the coarsest teeth. Basically, cut an occasional straight line, the rest of my cutting is done close to the line of my designs;I then sand down to the line, so it doesn't matter if the cut is a tad rough. I don't do any inside cuts, period. I don't do any fancy cutting, period. Pinless blades will not do it for me, otherwise I would just use the Delta.
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"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Theo,

I'm surprised you haven't heard of ''The General'' before. They WERE a very reputable and quality manufacturer of all types of stationary tools aimed at high end users such as schools and professional shops.
Nope, don't ever recall hearing of them before. Not fantastically surprising tho, first no shop, so didn't care. Then got the shop, and could only afford used tools; most of them still usable/used too.

I guess I'll just have to research some more. A lot of stuff coming out of China, too much in my opinion, some good, some not so good. My Chinese drill presses, bench sander, bench saw, couple of angle grinders, are about 21-22 years old, and still going. Definitely not top of the line, any of them, but what I could afford at the time, and did/do what I want. Doubt seriously any of them will get replaced, unless they die. Hmm, not sure where my scroll saw came from, probably China too, but it still works well, so not replacing it.
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"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Danman1957 View Post
Theo,

I'm surprised you haven't heard of ''The General'' before. They WERE a very reputable and quality manufacturer of all types of stationary tools aimed at high end users such as schools and professional shops. I own a floor model drill press and a ceiling hung air cleaner with their name on them. Unfortunately, a few years ago when China came in the picture, they could not offer the quality they were known for at prices to compete, so they closed shop. Since then Steel City acquired the rights to some models of table saws and I'm not sure what else and some production is in the USA, but I would think that the scroll saw MIGHT be an Asian production with the General International name on it, just like the Wen is probably also Asian made. The General used to manufacture here in Quebec in an Industrial town named Drummondville. Sad that such a fine brand is now just history except for a few models made in the USA.
Dan
Dan, I have a General cabinet saw and their 14" band saw. Fabulous tools. I got mine from a place north of here on the Saugeen River called Wellbeck Sawmills. They had a vast array of stationary power tools when I bought mine in about the mid-seventies. Shipped by rail from Drummondville to Wellbeck and trucked south to me all for no cost shipping at the time. When they closed in Drummondville, I believe Steel City added the "International" to the General name to make it a little easier to swallow in the U.S.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 04:42 PM
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I have three WEN items, and my Rikon band saw is identical to the WEN. So I like the brand pretty well. I think the secret of eliminating the vibration is heavy weight on the base, I think much of the vibration comes from small imbalances on the cam that makes it ricprocate. WE has been very good on replacements, particularly if you get it from HD, Amazon or another store where you order online. If you get one, let us know how it works for you. The one negative thing I remember was that the blower is very weak so you have to keep it close. Not sure how sawdust extraction works on a scroll saw. With thin material it could cause problems, but if you're using it in the house, maybe you'd be able to use a small vacuum just for that saw?

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure how sawdust extraction works on a scroll saw. With thin material it could cause problems, but if you're using it in the house, maybe you'd be able to use a small vacuum just for that saw?
I've googled scroll saw dust collectors, loads of ideas out there, including some good ones. Don't believe I ever cut anything thinner than 1/4" plywood, and that very, very, few times. Usually 1/2" plywood. Not sure if I'll use a shop vac, or house vacuum. Maybe a dustbuster even. Right now thinking of a small shop vac, enclosing the entire base of the saw, with a slight gap at the top, so saw dust that doesn't go down the center, will eventually go off the sides, in the gap, then sucked into the vac. Subject to change if I run across something more efficient.
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"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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