PORTER-CABLE 16" Variable Speed Scroll Saw with Stand - Router Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default PORTER-CABLE 16" Variable Speed Scroll Saw with Stand

I was looking for an entry-level scroll saw and was bouncing between the Ryobi and Craftsman 16" variable speed scroll saws, which were both $120. I watched many vids from Steve Good on Youtube, YouTube - sdgood's Channel. He talked about what to expect with the Craftsman SS and I also watched his "Scroll Saw Basic" video series.

Knowing a little about what to expect from these scroll saws, I was going to get one of them until I ran into the Porter Cable SS at Lowes, which replaced the Hitachi SS they carried. The PC was $180 and included a stand and thought "what have I got to lose" (besides $180) and so I brought it home.

1: The PC included 2 blades, thought the box says it only comes with one. It didn't matter because I stopped at the Rockler store and the guy recommended the #5 reverse tooth and #2 skip tooth blades. I asked him what about the spiral blades, and he didn't recommend those for beginners. I then asked him what about cutting 3/4" plywood and he recommended the #7 skip tooth bladed.

2: I didn't have the right spray adhesive to put the pattern on, but I did have some 3M Drywall Corner Bead spray adhesive so I used it instead. I only put it on the pattern I printed and not on the wood also, otherwise it would be permanent.

3: After putting the pattern on, I wrapped it with clear packing tape, both to help keep the pattern down, and to make the bottom slick so it slides easier. I was a little too hasty and it had too many bubbles I couldn't get out, but oh well.

4: I remembered Steve Good said that scroll saws don't always cut straight (straight as far as parallel to the scroll saw arm), they cut at an angle and so once I found out what angle to put the piece on the table it was pretty easy to use. Notice the knob that holds the hold-down. It turned out that it was the same thread and size as the top thumbscrew that held the blade in, so I switched it and now changing blades is that much more easier.

5: I've never used as scroll saw, so I didn't know how tight the blade should be. I put the original pinned blade back in and plucked it like a fiddle to hear what the "ting" sound was supposed to sound like. I then took it out and replaced it with the plain-end Olson ones I got. It was a bear trying to put the blade in the bottom because I couldn't see what I was doing, till I found out I could simply pop out the plastic insert on the table to feed the blade in.

6: The blade would slip whenever I tried to tighten it, until I remembered a tip I read on the scrollsawer.com website. They recommended sanding the tips of the blades and it would tighten much easier. I did a quick swipe on a sandpaper block on each side until it was scratched and shiny, but don't do this too much because the blades are very thin. It was painless to tighten the blade after that.

7: I used the same Harbor Freight heat gun that Steve Good used and it was on sale for $9. I started on the corner, then I worked left to right to get the whole side rolling up. Don't leave it on an area too long or the tape will melt and the paper will start to burn. When I was done, it was real sticky while it was hot, but once it cooled off it was barely tacky. He said mineral spirits will wipe it clean.

I learned a few things along the way. First, the line you are cutting on may be thicker than the saw blade, so you might want to pick a side to cut on. Use the right blade for the job. This project was 3/4" birch or oak plywood and I used two #5 blades for the entire project (none broken, one bent). Let the blade do the cutting, don't push too hard. I would bet that I would get better results from a thinner piece of plywood.

My 9 year old daughter loved this piece when she saw it and claimed it as hers! My older one (17) was jealous and wants me to make her one, but I have another plan for her. I saw Steve Good or someone else dip the cut piece into a tub of stain or finish, which makes sense since you can't get into all the nooks and crannies with a brush. I need to find out what kind of stain/finish he used to protect it.

PORTER-CABLE 16" Variable Speed Scroll Saw with Stand Model #: PCB370SS

I would like to give credit to the one who designed it, but I forgot where I found it. I just searched the net for free patterns and found it.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 02:39 PM
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Hi Paulo,

Scroll sawing is a lot of fun and you can look forward to many pleasurable hours work. Don't forget to get the girls started with it too. Kids tend to learn it incredibly easy and become skilled in no time at all.

I used to use spray adhesive, but I found it messy and I didn't like having to use mineral spirits which isn't particularly healthy if you inhale it. Instead I now use the water soluble glue stick that works like a lipstick tube. If you make sure to cover the back of your pattern adequately it will hold the pattern down perfectly. Packing tape works well, but I also find that a pain, so I don't normally use it. I think most folks use it more to keep the pattern from lifting underway than just to lubricate the blade. When finished with sawing just spray a fine water mist on your cut out piece, give it a little time to soak into the paper, then just remove with a knife or your fingernail. It comes right off and a quick wipe takes any remaining residue. Believe me when I say this is a lot easier and healthier method.

Mike, an American living in Norway

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In my shop theory and practice are united. Nothing comes out right and nobody knows why.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 03:04 PM
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great first project! Caution, scrolling can be addictive......

I second the caution against spiral blades, I've ruined a few projects because of my inability to control them.

Congrats on the saw!

1 John 1:9
Fredericksburg, VA

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 07:31 PM
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hi Paulo,

i go into lowes very often as it is the only big box store in town.

i saw that scrollsaw in there the other day and it looked great.

i know nothing about scrollsaws and after viewing the forum had thought the dewalt was the way to go.

i do think the dewalt is overpriced, but i thought the same about the dewalt 12" slide saw, that is til i got one.

but im eager to hear more about the porter cable scrollsaw from you.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 07:45 PM
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Hi Paulo,
I too was in LOWES day before yesterday and saw that exact saw. Well as I am currently without my bandsaw, this scroll saw followed me home. I did make some cuts with the installed blade and was very pleased with the results, when the project is finished I will post pictures. This will not replace a bandsaw but it is not designed to. I sold my 20" old delta and ordered a new 20" Oliver yesterday, can hardly wait for it to arrive.
Your project is awesome, I hope I can do as well even tho my project does not require so many delicate cuts. Very Nice. Robbie
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 08:07 PM
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Paulo congrats on the new saw! Looks like you are a natural!

EGO postulo , EGO venalicium , EGO incidere.
I measured, I marked, I cut.
Latin instructions for firewood.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice and all the kind words. I think it turned out pretty good as a first project, but I have my eye on some other ones already.

I was at Rockler and noticed the Dewalt SS is slanted at an angle. I want to measure the front height and angle and somehow modifying this stand so the SS is tilted for more comfort.

Also, if you look closedly on pic 4, the top view, you will see the legs of the step stool I used to sit on. It was the only thing I had to sit on and it was not comfortable. I need to find a comfortable stool and also maybe one of those lights with a magnifying glass on it to see smaller stuff.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-01-2010, 07:12 AM
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one thing that i might add it the blades you use will defineatly make a difference in your projects.

i use flying dutchman blades that i get from Mike's Workshop English featuring: my life story, a cancer survivor, scrollsawing samples and tips, community service, list of favorite sites and Flying Dutchman fretsaw blades for sale..

his blades are reasonably priced and you cant beat the cut. if you call him he is really helpful and can answer most of your questions.

good luck

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2010, 10:25 AM
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I have a Hitachi CW40...Same as the Porter Cable. I made a few mods and it's great.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2010, 04:55 PM
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Good job Paulo...looks great...For some reason I thought you traced the outline on the workpiece and then only cut the timber and reused the pattern? Regards...AL
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