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Scroll Saw?


foreigner
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ok, i'm about to cut my first body and i have no idea what to use. I have access to a scroll saw and a jig saw (not my own) and i saw a 9" bandsaw for about $100 today, so if all else fails i could simply purchase that. However, before i go to shell out cash, i just wanted to know if it would be possible to cut my body with the scroll saw. I've got about 2 1/8" of solid burled maple, so it's pretty hefty, and i'm not sure that a jig saw would handle it too well.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

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I bought a 9" GMC bandsaw at lowes and so far she cuts decently for a really low end saw. I cut 2" mahogany without a problem. All I did was cut reliefs into the wood in the thighter bends. Its got about 2 hours cutting time on it and she is still running fine. If you have the money though go with a 12 or 14" bandsaw second hand if you want a deal. I will be upgrading to a bigger one eventually cause I am amazed at what I can do with a bandsaw(resawing, cutting aluminum, plastics,etc)

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Since you are trying to work with existing equipment, I'll try to answer likewise.

I would stay away from the scroll saw for this application - wrong tool for the job.

It is possible to use a jigsaw for this job. It will take care to do it well and lots of patience to do the clean up sanding depending on your sanding equipment. The jig saw should have decent power with a depth of cut sufficient for your body thickness. I'd suggest a fairly aggressive blade (buy several) - it won't cut as smooth but you will have lots of sanding anyway. Cut well outside your line as a jig saw blade has a tendency to angle away from the perpendicular so your body sides won't be square to the top. That will need to be cleaned up with sanding so you want to leave a margin for error so your body doesn't turn out undersized. I cut out a Tele body from 1 3/4" alder with this method and cleaned up the edges with hand sanding. It came out well but I didn't enjoy it.

I have a Delta 9" bandsaw that I got from Lowes for $99. Its not a great bandsaw but if you take care to set it up and keep it up and use the proper blade sizes it will work on guitar bodies and necks. I have used it for 3 bodies now including a LP mahogany/maple blank that was 2 1/2" thick. I have also used it to cut out neck blanks from 3" laminated mahogany. Again, care must be taken but it can work. Do I wish I had a better bandsaw - sure, but this will work.

Good luck.

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I recently bought a used Grizzly 12" table top bandsaw. The only thing I have used it for so far is to try and cut the peg head down to final size on my Strat copy. That didn't work out too well. The blade kept straying. The blade followed the cut exactly at the bottom of the blade, but wandered at the top of the cut.

I don't know if I didn't have the blade tension set high enough or if this was just too much of a cut for this small of a saw. I was also using a 3/8" blade. A guy I work with told me that a thinner blade would wander less, but I thought just the opposite, a thicker blade would be less likely to wander.

I am anxious to see how this saw does on a smaller cut, like a body blank out of 6/4 Mahogany or an 8/4 piece of Ash. Any ideas ?

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you're probably looking at that 9" delta bandsaw, i advise to stay away from it. Ive gone through 2 in about 4 hours of work in total without something making me furious. I would advise something more powerful than a 1/3 HP machine. I would just save up a little more and better saw for your money

i had that exact same bandsaw...as long as the blades are sharp and properly tensioned it cuts well and with a little care,forethought, and PATIENCE it does the job much better than a jigsaw.and you get the luxury of 90 degree sides,which you don't get with a jigsaw

yes you have to be creative and yes,a bigger,better bandsaw would be easier...but on a limited budget the 9" works great

cut slow and 1/3 hp is sufficient.

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well, being the day after thanksgiving, all stores are just getting rid of crap, and sears had this 9" craftsman 1/2 horsepower bandsaw for $119. Seeing all of your reactions to the mere mention of a scroll saw for this application gets me thinking that it might be $119 well spent.

So, perhaps in the morning i'll go and lighten the ol' bank account...

Thanks a lot for all of your input, guys.

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might be $119 well spent

The debate rages on! 9in bandsaw vs scroll saw vs 14in bandsaw. I my opinion, unless you are cutting out wooden jewelry, small craft items or anything but thin stock, it is a waste of $119. I have the 9in Delta and don't use it for anything but the above mentioned tasks. Tabletop bandsaws were never designed for the purpose of cutting out guitar bodies from 8/4 stock. Sure, it can be done with the perfect combo of a well tuned blade and perfect tension adjustment, but the stress you would be putting on the motor and bearings could be enough to trash your saw......The upper guide bearing itself costs over $25, and that will be your first part to fail.....and if you have to replace any of the machinings around that bearing, you are lookind at another $20+......I know, I made the repairs on the saw that I have which was given to me in the above described state of disrepair.

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most of us don't use them on a daily basis.that makes all thedifference in the world.

for me,cutting out about 2 bodies and 2 necks a year,that bandsaw works fine.and you can hear if you are putting a strain on the motor and back off your cutting speed.

but a 14" bandsaw costs about $500 and up.for me,and most others on this board i think,that is out of the question.

but if you CAN afford a 14",it is definately superior

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Wes......You have to keep in mind that most of these guys on their first project have little or no woodworking experience and would have no idea how to judge if they are placing unnecessary force on their machines and tooling. Cost is certainly a factor and I totally understand financial concerns when trying to tool up a shop, but I hope everyone buys the best tools that they can afford, so they don't have to buy them again!

You're one of the PG'ers that, I believe, offers solid advice and insight.....keep up the good work.

Once I find the floor in my building/shop, I'll give you guys a tour. I finished my last art projects for the year and I'm just now finding my table saw!

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I don't think there is any doubt which tool most people would choose if they could. The 9" bandsaws are only hobbiest machines.

However, in my case, it was a next step to take after building my first guitar using a jig saw. So far, I have used the 9" bandsaw for 3 thick mahogany/maple guitars and mahogany necks. Even if it died now, which it hasn't, that saw would have cost me $33 per guitar. That's less than the cost of the MOP inlays for each one.

I think the machine for me was quite suitable as a stepping stone. When I grow up, I hope to have a nice 14" saw.

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I think the machine for me was quite suitable as a stepping stone. When I grow up, I hope to have a nice 14" saw.

My uncle was given a 14in Delta bandsaw by his father (my Grand Dad) in the early 1940's....That saw is still in use to this day and my uncle is now in his late 70's......So if you by good stuff the first time around, it will serve you well if you take care of it and the cost to use it, is next to nothing.

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My uncle was given a 14in Delta bandsaw by his father (my Grand Dad) in the early 1940's....That saw is still in use to this day and my uncle is now in his late 70's......So if you by good stuff the first time around, it will serve you well if you take care of it and the cost to use it, is next to nothing.

No doubt. When I decide to spend the money, that is what I'll do. In the meantime, I'll use my 9" saw.

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Here is another vote for the Delta 9". Personally I do about 3 or 4 bodies per year. I use this bandsaw pretty much everyday, only an hour in the week, more on the weekend. I bought it a year ago.

I read a million posts including all the user comments on Amazon saying "This thing is just crap". Well, I disagree completely. I think most people who are dissing this saw just don't know how to set it up or don't know to respect its limits. The only bad thing I found to be true is that the blade that comes with it tends to stray to the left. I called Delta about this and they imediately sent me a new blade, free of charge. This one was a "real" Delta". (They probably put a cheap taiwanese in the original box which is pretty stupid.)

Ever since I installed it and set it up properly following instructions found on the web, this thing has been working like a charm. Just go nice and slow, don't cut hardwood thicker then 2 or 2-1/4 and this is a great inexpensive saw. Would I trade it for a 14"? So far, I have not had the need. Remember that the bigger saws also take up more room. If that's an issue for you (as it is for me) you have to factor that in also.

I think a lot of these Delta Shopmaster entry level tools are really quite a bargain. Again, just know how to take care of it and respect its limits.

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I called Delta about this and they imediately sent me a new blade, free of charge.

More than likely the one that was sent by Delta was also a cheap Taiwanese blade.....The blade that came with it probably had problems with its kerf to begin with.... Delta manufactures very little product in the US any more.

I know I trash the use of any 9in bandsaw for cutting out bodies, but I don't understand how you are able to keep the body stable and flat while you are making the cut, and forget about having enough clearance from the throat to make tight radius cuts. Personally, I sometimes wonder if my 14in Delta is too small and should I use my 36in Powermatic.

The stability concerns I have raise a safety issue. When you are cutting a body, you are dealing with a 20in x 14in block of wood weighing @10lbs. With a small table, and the laws of physics, this could allow the block to become unbalanced and possibly lift off the table placing your digits in harm's way.

I'm not going to change anyone's mind, but there are more things to think about that the cost. Safety doesn't appear to be the first thing one anyone's mind and it should be.

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The stability concerns I have raise a safety issue. When you are cutting a body, you are dealing with a 20in x 14in block of wood weighing @10lbs. With a small table, and the laws of physics, this could allow the block to become unbalanced and possibly lift off the table placing your digits in harm's way.

that just doesn't happen....but you could always recess the saw into a bench...thereby putting the saw's table at the same height as the table top,giving you a much larger flat surface to work with.

you do have to get creative on the cutaways....flipping the body over and giving relief cuts and such.some people just plain cannot afford a 14" saw...especially on their very first project.

i recently had my 9" bandsaw stolen.at least it was only a $100 saw

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Gee, I've cut every single body I've ever made (prolly well over 50)

...on a $100.00 Home Depot Delta -Scroll Saw-. Imagine that.

Still gots all mah digits too. :D:DB)

AND I'm happy with it, I don't feel the need to buy any bandsaw.

AND my scroll saw does double duty as a scroll saw too, so I can do intricate cuts on veneer-thicknessed wood wid no worries man.

I realize this isn't for everyone, but I sometimes laugh at the notion that you have to have huge machines to get the job done. I think creativity and thoroughly understanding the machines you DO have and their limits goes farther sometimes than a big machine.

Just another opinion.

If I were to upgrade, I would probably get a scroll saw with a bigger motor and deeper throat, that'd do it for me, but I've had this one for 8-9 years now, and it's not showing any signs of letting up soon.

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Dunno.

But odd thing...they sell many different thickness blades for scrollsaws, from as thin as a hair to almost jigsaw-thickness thick.

They recommend the thicker the wood, the thicker the blade to use.

But I've found the thick blades, once they bend, will give you that 'jigsaw' effect, where as you go around a corner, the bottom of the blade will cut a wider swath than the top (which can be dangerous when doing an inside curve, you can cut across your outline into the body), but on a scrollsaw, once the blade does that, it will keep it's form and continue to do it, so I stopped using the thick blades and just use regular medium blades, even when cutting a 2" thick body blank. I just go slow and it gives a better cut than a thick blade and doesn't warp as easily.

But like I said, I don't expect everyone to follow suit, but it does work just great for me, I have no complaints with this system at all. If it didn't do the job, I wouldn't be using it for 9 years. :D

But I like and enjoy having small portable equipment around, most people WANT huge machines, I don't.

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But I like and enjoy having small portable equipment around, most people WANT huge machines, I don't.

well since i had my planer and bandsaw stolen,i have to move all my stuff in and out of the house all of the time(can't leave them in the garage anymore)

so i hear you about portable stuff

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