Ease of Use
Summary : Solid, but Lacking in Features
For my birthday recently my wife purchased me a Craftsman 16″ Variable Speed Scroll Saw. (That’s right fella’s she’s all mine) Having never owned a scroll saw, and quickly realizing that I’m a novice to this tool; I’ll do my best to give an honest review of this tool.
But… Before I can start I have to give a little insight to my scroll saw bias’.
I’ve been doing the “woodworking thing”, for a few years now and I’ve always thought I had all of the tools that I needed. I also have always had two opinions when it came to scroll saws. The first was that anything that I needed to do with a scroll saw could just as easily be done with a band saw and a router. My second opinion was that these things were for people who like to make really intricate wood details. A tool for a wood-carver, or a tool for a whittler. After owning a scroll saw for less than a month now; I still believe my opinions are correct…. Mostly…. What I’m discovering though is how much easier it is to make more accurate cuts for smaller projects. I’m currently working on a music box project, where I wanted to make a small rounded cut into the base. In the past I would have gone straight to the bandsaw for this. I chose to use my scroll saw to do this work and even though I screwed up a few times, I quickly learned that this was going to be a tool that I’ll use going forward.
The scroll saw I have is the Craftsman 16″ variable speed scroll saw(Model # 21602). This was a good introduction model for me. Craftsman hand tools I almost always give 5 star kudos too. Power tools on the other hand I think craftsman is that great middle model. It balances cost with performance, and amount of use. I’ll be the first to say if your going to use your scroll saw intensely or for professional uses this model is probably not for you. For everyone else though it seems to be pretty solid.
The saw allows for cutting wood up to 2″ thick. I’ve only cut wood that is 3/4″ thick and it did excellent work on it. I have cut pine and oak wood with various widths and for both hard and soft woods it seemed to handle the job nicely. It uses standard 5″ blades and can use both the straight blade and those that have a pin on the end of them. The saw came with four blades to help get you going. Depending on what types of wood you’ll be cutting there are various size blades. The manual includes a pretty good chart on what to use for this. Another nice feature is that the saw base can be adjusted to a 45″ degree angle allowing for beveled cuts. The saw includes a dust port, although from what I can tell most of the dust stays on the top of the table. There is a small dust blower on the top of the table which helps somewhat. There is a blade holder on the side of the saw, but its a little flaky because there is nothing that keeps them in place. If your saw is going to stay in a stationary position and not be moved around then no big deal. If however, you have a small shop like me and move tools left and right those blades won’t stay there for long.
I think my biggest complaint for this saw was the initial setup of the saw. Usually when I get a new power tool everything is set and calibrated before receiving it. Only occasionally do you need to make a minor adjustment. This was the case for the scroll saw. The table was not level when set to 0°. No problem though, there is an adjustment screw located under the table plate that is adjustable. On my setup it was WAY off so I had to really adjust the screw. It makes you question was there any testing done on this before it was boxed? Somehow I doubt that. After leveling the table with the adjustment screw I also had to adjust the measure screw to point it to 0°.
Overall I like the saw, and think it’s a great starter saw. If you’re a serious SS’er™ (“Scroll Sawer”, I just created that term ) then you may want to look at other models that have more features, and are a little more rugged. If you’re a casual woodworker who enjoys playing around with these tools, then the Craftsman 16″ Scroll Saw is an excellent way to go.
Looking for more information? Check out the Craftsman 16″ Variable Speed Scroll Saw Manual