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first scroll saw


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7 Jul 2019
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N Yorks
what would be a beginner scroll saw.

the axi craft ones look and feel solid and i have had a nosey round on rutlands and i like the idea of a rotary shaft on the side.

screfix do a titan one by could be dubious quality

what would be the best. not looking to spend more than £150 or thereabouts so hegner is out of the question. although they do have some at school, and i can say they are very nice to use


Established Member
29 May 2018
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Stortford, Herts, UK
nev":2mbhqat1 said:

It is rumoured, however, that some folk dip their toe in the water, so to speak, with less prestigious machines.

Now you'ver been scrolling a couple of years, Nev, what did you make of the Ferm? How long did it last?

I ask as only last week I stumbled on a Ferm FFZ-400n and , as I'd been toying with playing about with a scroll saw, I too have become an owner. I can see some shortcomings. The bellows on mine has gone too. There is a slight vibration. The 400n also takes only pinned blades and Axminster have stopped doing the conversion adaptor that folk kept finding a problem with them breaking. Also, the tensioning wheel is a bit of a faff, where some machines have a nifty leaver to release the tension to free the blades.

All I'm wanting to do is "embellishments" to my lathe turnings, but I'll probably upgrade soon. But what did you do, Nev?


Established Member
21 Jan 2011
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The green and wetter end of the M4.
I must admit to not doing toooo much with it. :oops:
It s still there on the bench but gathering dust .
I would say that its good enough for simple stuff and getting the hang of things but I did get a little frustrated with the blade changing/ snapping at the clamp etc.
I am a bit of a tinkerer so adapting/ bodging it to be a little ''better'' was not an obstacle but some people would rather things work properly without 'adaptation'.
I haven't used any other machines so cant compare it.

I had fun with it, learned a lot and I still have some of the results on display in the house so yes, if its cheap enough and you realise there are limitations and frustrations (or that could just be me) built in to it that may not be present in superior machines it could be worth a punt.


Established Member
18 Feb 2011
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Switzerland, near Basel
IMO, an awful lot depends on what you want to do with a scroll saw, and how often.

As so often in life, unless you can find a mate or a club where you can play with one for a good while, then most probably the only way you'll find out is by buying one and "see how you get on". It's a pipper, isn't it?

Example 1. I owned a Dremel Moto Saw (one with a power take off on the side - model no longer made now), bought back in the early 1980s. By all reasonable standards, and especially as I would judge it now, it was pretty awful - only their own special (short) pinned blades could be used, a "pressed tin" table, no dust extraction or dust cut line blower, pretty awful blade tensioning system, and single speed. BUT it DID cut, and I used it fairly often (after a lot of practice) to cut out fairly precise ply formers and such for model aircraft use, plus a fair bit of "general" stuff like the odd toy. BUT I wasn't trying any really fancy stuff (Intarsia, complex toys, fretwork, etc, like you'll see from the experts on here - NOT me BTW).

Then reading this Forum encouraged me into something "better" which was labelled Einhell (NOT the current model).

That became "Example 2". It had a cast iron table, would take pinless blades, though neither the blade change nor the tensioning system were up to much, and blade changing (e.g. for internal cuts) was a bit of a pain. But it DID have a bellows-type cutline blower (but the bellows soon packed up!) and it did have variable speed. Better than "Example 1" above? Yup, but only a bit really, AND even with care and practice, the end result wasn't a lot better than achieved with "Example 1". Maybe it took a bit less time to produce a result than with Example 1, that's all. AND the thing vibrated a lot, not to mention soon started needing remedial fettling 'cos it was poorly made, bolts came loose, and had a warped upper arm (my guess, the casting was removed from mould while still too hot).

So now I'm the proud owner of an Excalbur 21, which to me is the bees knees (and several other owners here agree with that too). We'll call that "Example 3".

So does Example 3 produce "better"/more accurate results than the other 2? Yes, to a certain extent. By which I mean that you still have to practice, but overall it seems "easier"/less of a hassle to produce those results than it was with the previous 2 machines - AND I'm now doing rather more complex work than I was with the above 2 machines too. AND a bit faster than with either Examples 1 or 2 probably. In short, just using it is an absolute delight, AND it frequently gets used for a lot of other "general" stuff beyond the above typical scroll saw work.

But now for the "price crunch":

Example 1: Even if it was still made, the Dremel above would cost roughly 100 to 150 quid today (there's a newer version out now - no power take off - which costs roughly that). But from what I can see of it, that new model suffers from all the same limitations that my old model did.

Example 2: That Einhell (and the current newer version with that badge) is almost certainly "the same" as so many other "cloned" machines, all the same apart from colour and name badge and all coming from the same one or two Chinese factories. According to label/supplier and available discounts at the time, all these machines can be bought from between about 50 and 200+ quid (but see below). My Einhell cost the equivalent of about 180 quid if I remember rightly.
AND BTW, it's a personal thought, but I don't see any great need for a power take off. There's plenty of other good ways of driving sanding discs, drums, and flex shafts. So I would not allow the presence/lack of such addition to influence my buying decision for a scroll saw.

Example 3: Brilliant, and never a moment's hesitation in over 5 years. BUT it cost over 550 quid equivalent back then, so it should be a (much) better machines than the other 2 shouldn't it?
And now BTW, there's a Axminster Tools version of my machine which seems to be "the same" as mine and a bit cheaper (allowing for inflation). BUT there have been a couple of members with that Axi machine here who have started to get problems, so who knows?

In short, it seems to me that as always, you get what you pay for.

If you want to just "have a go" then buy the cheapest you can find - it will at least cut (with the right blade). But if you get into scrolling a bit more than just cutting something "every so often", then it'll probably soon become a right PITA to use. At which point you face (another) decision:

1. Go for "good/best" (e.g. Hegner, Excalibur, Delta - if you can find one - or perhaps the Axi Excalibur or Hegner clones). In all cases I think that these days you'll be looking at an investment of at least 400 to 500 quid - BUT you'll have a machine that'll last your lifetime.

2. Look for the same but second hand. A lot will depend on where you live and how patient you can be. though

3. Put up with your original cheapo.

It's been asked before, but AFAIK, there's really nothing much between those (not always) "cheapo Chinesium machines" and the good brand name stuff. A few of these machines try to put themselves "somewhere up there in the middle range" and I certainly haven't seen all of those, but from those I have seen discussed on here, they seem to be at heart just the same old same old Chinesium machines, perhaps with a bit of tarting up extra features.

So in the end, I'm only using my own personal experience plus different wording to "extend" what's already up in the sticky at the top of this Section.

But HTH anyway. Good luck.