Dewalt Scroll Saw Review

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

When considering a tool like a Scroll Saw, there are several manufacturers to consider. For the homeowner and entry-level user, a company like Ryobi or Porter Cable will have options that suit the occasional need. For heavy users and professionals, you have options from brands like Jet that are well regarded and pack a lot of power in a small unit but also have the price tag to match. What if your needs fall somewhere in the middle though? Maybe you need professional features but aren’t looking to spend an arm and a leg. Well, DeWalt has an option that has become a classic in the world of scroll saws for providing performance, durability and manages to remain budget conscious. Let’s check out this iconic saw from DeWalt in the DeWalt Scroll Saw Review.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review Overview

When looking at fine woodworking, there are very few tools that can give a user the type of control a Scroll Saw can. To a degree, you would consider them somewhat of a specialty tool, but their versatility is impressive when you actually have one in your shop. Scroll Saws are somewhat similar to band saws in the appearance of the machines and are often confused but their purpose is quite different. Scroll Saws provide unparalleled precision and the ability to cut intricate designs and patterns. Band Saws, on the other hand, use blades that are much thicker and are used for milling lumber and making cuts on thicker stock. As well these blades are on a continuous loop, very different than a scroll saw. Band Saws are more precise than saw a jigsaw but less than what a scroll saw could lend you. While most tools, especially saws can serve a cross purpose, where detailed work is needed a scroll saw is indispensable.

Scroll Saws use a very thin blade that moves in a reciprocating motion to cut through wood. You have a lot of control with scroll saws over other types of saws given a few of their key features. A large table and high visibility of the blade and workpiece relationship assist a lot in giving unparalleled accuracy. In scroll saw blades, the general measure of TPI, or teeth per inch will help select the ideal blade for the job. As the TPI gets higher, the finer the cut you will achieve. In addition to TPI there are also a plethora of different blade options to give you the best cut based on the material you are using. Spiral cut blades are one example, these allow cutting in every direction, something helpful in precision fretwork and internal cuts. There are even blades designed for cutting thin metals, so when it comes to scroll saws you have endless versatility. A scroll saw as a general rule provides such good cut quality that often you have little need for sanding the edges.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review Features

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The DeWalt DW788 runs on a 1.3 Amp motor, providing 400 to 1750 strokes per minute. The 15-foot cord provides adequate reach to a power source and clocks in at about 65 pounds.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The large power switch is located on the top of the arm, allowing for quick and easy operation.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

A speed adjustment knob is located behind the power switch and is adjusted by the user based on the material they are cutting.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The arm is lift-able for blade insertion through the material when needed for fretwork and inside cuts.

The parallel-link arm moves using a smooth back to front motion on the internal links, which translates to more accurate cut quality.

5-inch plain end scroll saw blades. Tool-free blade change provides easy and quick adjustments. Two wingnuts are adjusted, one above the table and one below the table for secure blade placement.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

Tension adjustments of the blade are simple, using the knob located on the front of the arm.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The cast iron table is a weighty workspace, using durable cast iron for support as well as reducing overall vibrations from the machine.

The table is adjustable using a bevel knob below the table. Both 45 degrees to the right and left.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The dust blower allows for easy adjustments of its focus due to its flexible construction. The dust blower does an excellent job of keeping the area directly around the blade free of dust and debris for better cutting.

A material hold down device allows for an added component of security of the workpiece to the table. It is easily adjusted using a small wing nut.

Maintenance is designed to be easy on the DeWalt Scroll Saw. Both the Brush Inspection Caps and the Fuse Replacement Cap are easy to access.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The Scroll Saw stand is sold separately and features holes pre-set for the Saw to be mounted.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The stand is made entirely of metal and features adjustable legs.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review Performance

The saw itself is heavy duty and you can tell by simply looking at it that it is reminiscent of the tools of yesteryear. With a little wear, you would wonder if this saw has been in use twenty plus years or not because it just looks like a tool your grandpa might have used. Now I don’t mean to say tools today aren’t great, but there is something nostalgic of walking into an old shop and knowing that those tools performed their tasks for years and have more memories than you can possibly understand. If tools could talk right?

This Scroll Saw is incredibly comfortable to use. In my previous experience, Scroll Saws often have a lot of vibration making using them for long periods of time quite difficult. DeWalt designed this saw with a parallel link arm, which prevents a significant amount of vibrations allowing incredible precision to the user. Parallel link arms differ from the standard parallel arms on most Scroll Saws. Parallel link arms are shorter, but their mechanism of movement is also different. The motor moves a rocker against two links attached to the arms. The arms rest on a bearing so as the link pushes them, the front to back motion changes to up and down. DeWalt is somewhat known for this addition to their saw, and with good reason.

The table on this saw also stands out because not only is it sturdy, but its weight also prevents resounding vibrations making it quite comfortable to use. The Scroll Saw I’ve used previously was not nearly as user-friendly and precise as this model from DeWalt. As well, the table is sized well to accommodate a multitude of workpieces.

Blade changes are easy as well with this unit. Adjusting the two simple wingnuts hold the blade secure and it took little effort to achieve the ideal blade tension. To date, I have cut an abundance of thinner wood, such as 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch pine, as well, up to 3/4 inch plywood. I have played around with 3/4 inch cedar and 4/4 inch oak as well, and nothing seemed to slow this down at all. The stock blade included with the saw was a solid performer as well and was used during testing. If you’re new to scrollwork, definitely look into Olson blades for a variety of well-performing specialty blades.

I appreciate that the arm is able to lift for internal cutting, something a lot of woodworkers will find useful. The dust blower also did its job well, creating a clean cutting path around the blade to maintain visibility. The ease of adjustment in the flexible tube also creates a lot of customization based on the user’s needs.

Assembly is quite simple with this saw and its stand. I did feel the stand could have held better instructions though. It relied on a few photos but wasn’t very detailed, so it took a bit of trial and error. With that said, it also wasn’t an altogether complicated process to figure out. Overall the stand took me probably twenty minutes to put together and is very sturdy. I love that you can adjust the height to suit your needs. As well, I appreciate that the stand is designed to not take up unneeded space in the garage by being overly bulky. The saw itself was very simple to assemble and mounts to the stand with 3 bolts. The saw is mostly pre-assembled which made set up easy. The main work here is attaching the table and installing the blade, and once your fine tuning is complete you are ready to operate. The saw is well built and designed, with each component being durable and heavy duty.

So let’s talk quickly about the one negative I found in use. The material hold down is designed with ease in mind. It is easy to adjust and does a decent job holding the material in place during use. The one gripe I would have though is that when adjusting the material hold down, upon tightening the wing nut, the hold does shift some. Now, for me, this isn’t a huge deal, as I often don’t use this feature. With continued use of a scroll saw, most users will find themselves not relying on this anyway.

To say the least this saw has inspired me to get back into the more intricate work I used to love. While working on a table with a detailed herringbone print, I encountered a lot of issues in cutting certain angles safely. When a small piece was needed outside of a handsaw there are very few ways you can truly cut them safely. This Scroll saw blew me away in its ability to give quality cuts and allowed me to safely maneuver the wood to get precise angles. I haven’t done as much detailed woodworking in recent years as I once did, but that is definitely changing.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review Value

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review

The Saw itself clocks in at $489.00, and the stand runs $74.97 at The Home Depot. Now, let’s talk about each and their value to a shop. I think the stand is a fair price considering it is ideally suited for this saw. The stand is adjustable and sturdy and it doesn’t add so much weight to the saw that you can’t move it around.

The Scroll Saw as I mentioned early on falls in a unique category with Scroll saws. There are specialty brands like Jet or Grizzly that make some amazing options but that will run double the price of this model. There are also homeowner grade brands that run less than this DeWalt but also aren’t the same quality as the DeWalt model. For me, the performance is stellar and it is a tool that should last a long time. I think this is an excellent value for the quality and build of this scroll saw.

DeWalt Scroll Saw Review Final Thoughts

It is rare that I feel a tool itself inspires you to truly do more, often my inspiration causes me to purchase the tool. This saw though, is hard not to be inspired by. There are dozens of projects that began churning in my mind the moment I made the first cut. DeWalt has a really wonderful tool in their Scroll Saw.

The standout features for me are the heavy-duty build, especially in the cast iron table. Also, the ease of adjusting the table, changing the blade and the convenient dust blower allow for superior performance and ease of use. The speed and tension settings as well allow for optimum control for the user to switch between different materials. Overall this is a tool I could not have imagined getting as much use out of as I already have. With several upcoming detailed pieces in the works, this saw will be an indispensable addition to my shop.


    • Thank you so much, John! I am glad you enjoyed it! I have really gotten so much use out of this saw, it’s definitely one of my favorite tools in the shop overall!

  1. The 788 is a great saw. When I got into scrolling I learned that a lot of serious scrollers recommended it. It’s actually produced by Somervile Design who also make the Excalibur saws (Excalibur is considered the top tier of scroll saws). 3 things worth adding:

    1. Take that material hold down and throw it away. It’s only going to get in your way.
    2. Consider Flying Dutchman blades, especially the spiral blades.
    3. There are 3 huge upgrades you can do to the saw. A light kit (Dewalt offers one), upgraded blade knobs, and most importantly, an arm lift. I use the Easy Lift by Jim Dandy Products, but there are a couple others available.

    The lack of a built in lift is the biggest shortcoming of an otherwise awesome saw. Most serious scrollers will sing the 788 for the fact that it achieves 45 degree cuts by adjusting the table rather than the saw itself like the higher end saws, but that really doesn’t bother me.

    Another good mid range saw is the Delta. Nothing Grizzly offers even comes close to the 788 or the Delta.


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