Excali EX 21, update one


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Established Member
18 Feb 2011
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Switzerland, near Basel
As my original post about buying an Excalibur Ex 21 a few weeks back created some interest, and left a couple of points open, I thought an update may also be of interest.

1. Table protection:

I couldn’t find a big enough bit of flat & hard ali so have tried the transparent self-adhesive book covering film and it seems OK (so far). A few very small wrinkles in the plastic don’t seem to cause any problems with moving the job around on the table when cutting. To make a reasonable job of the covering I removed the table from the machine – easy, 4 nuts & bolts (see pix).

Table Off-C.jpg

2. Dust extraction:

While the table was off I used that opportunity to improve the extraction. There is no separate insert with hole for the blade and already the hole in the bottom of the thin transparent plastic under the table was becoming a bit ragged (lots of blade changes). I therefore enlarged the hole slightly with a gasket punch and improved the fixing of the transparent plastic sheet to the table underside with double-sided carpet tape, to prevent a few minor suction leaks (see pix).

Table Under 1-C.jpg

Table Under 2-C.jpg

3. Work light:

I already had an illuminated magnifying lamp (used mainly over my small metal working lathe). I’ve now rigged a stand from off cuts and can move that lamp from lathe to scroll saw at will. The pictures show a rather odd (and ugly) stand arrangement because I needed 2 goes at it – first it was just 2 softwood discs screwed to the bench top with a hole in the centre to allow the lamp to swivel. OK, but that arrangement meant the first swivel of the arm sometimes fouled the table, preventing me adjusting the light arm into exactly the position I wanted. Hence the lash up shown in the picture – certainly not pretty, but functional! (And the varnish overspill doesn’t look as bad in real life as in the pix - honest).

Lamp Holder-C.jpg

4. Foot switch:

Chippygeoff was dead right; once you have a foot switch you’ll wonder how you ever managed without. But what a palaver getting it!
- As per my original post, Dictum didn’t have it, hadn’t heard of it, AND it’s not shown in the German/French manual that comes with the machine. But it is shown in the English manual.
- And as also already posted, E-mails to both the local distributor and to the manufacturer, General International in Canada, produced nil response (and YES, I did have both delivery and read receipts for each E-mail).
- So I called GI (good old Skype!) and the Service Dept wasn’t sure if the one in the English manual (110 Volts/60 Hz in Canada) was OK here or not (we’re 220 Volts/50 Hz).
- So got put through to the manager of GI’s export dept. No comment at all about nil replies to E-mails to his company and to his distributor, but did say that I couldn’t use the foot switch shown in the English manual because it’s not CE approved. When I asked him what I should do/where I could get a foot switch, he asked me if I; A) wanted him to do a web search for me, and/or; B) asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to buy 5,000 off switches to cover the cost of getting CE approval!
- I then asked said manager if he was in charge of the “Kunden Abwehr Kommando”. When he asked for a translation of that I explained that this means a department whose job is to protect the rest of the company from its customers! (And then rang off while wishing him a good afternoon. I didn't swear once, honest injuns).
- Then I remembered UK is same voltage and frequency as Switzerland and of course, remembered good old Axi - “Aren’t they UK distributors for Excali?” Yes they are, and a search of their web site showed a foot switch apparently suitable for the EX 21. Fortunately I read the web description of the switch carefully and it stated “suitable for machines with an NVR switch”. The Ex 21 hasn’t got an NVR, so an E-mail query (promptly answered as usual with Axi) confirmed that their web site search thingy is wrong, that foot switch is NOT suitable for the EX 21! And they had nothing else suitable either.
- Then I called the Excali distributor for this area (in Vallorbe, the French part of Switzerland, and the same company that makes 1st class needle files, and Pegas scroll saw blades). Perhaps I should have called them earlier because the reason why I got no answer to my previous 2 E-mails to them was my messages were going to a different part of the company/group (NO, I made no comment at all – VERY restrained of me I thought)!
- Anyway the young girl was very helpful and confirmed they DO have a foot switch, but NO, she couldn’t sell it to me, nor did she know how much it cost – it turns out they’re wholesalers, not retailers. But she did send me the name and address of the retailer “nearest” to me (about 2 hours drive away).
- Contacted him and it turned out he’s a one-man-band away on hols/not often in the office, AND he has no stock of anything Excali on the shelf. But eventually I placed the order with him (which the people in Vallorbe had to send off to me) and it arrived just yesterday.
- Chopped off the moulded-on German plug (not compatible with Swiss) fitted a Swiss plug and it worked. SUCCESS!
- And as above, it’s GREAT! (Maybe even worth all that palaver). In the next update I’ll explain why I’m so keen on a foot switch now.
- But if anyone (in UK for example) wants to know how/where to get one, I now know. Cost is approx 80 Swiss Francs (my local “retailer” is so keen on his business that I haven’t got the bill yet!) and at roughly 50 quid that doesn’t compare all that well to the roughly USD 30 I’ve seen on Amazon USA for the US version. But at least it works on 220-240 Volts/50 Hz.

If anyone’s still with me and interested I’ll post a couple of pix of things I’ve been doing with the saw (definitely nothing special mind) in a couple of days time.

All complete 1-C.jpg

All complete 3-C.jpg

Regards to all readers (perhaps that should read “waders”?)



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What a performance to buy a foot-switch I thought companies were in business anxious to sell their wares to customers?
Hi Andy. So pleased you eventually got a foot switch sorted out, it's so much more convenient. I hate it when companies don't reply to e-mails. I recently sent an e-mail off to a company and they did not bother to reply so I sent them another e-mail asking if they could give me a quote on several wood working machines, within ten minutes my phone was ringing. I said I had decided to buy from a different manufacturer.

Your set up looks very impressive and it must be a joy to spend time on the saw now everything is complete.
It is a joy Geoff. And thanks for your guidance earlier.

The only problem is that as I walk through the cellar, e.g. on the way to mow the lawn, as per SWMBO's instructions, I'm always tempted to have another little go on the saw. Then SWMBO catches me re-handed and I get it in the neck!