10 Best Scroll Saw for Fretwork 2021

Looking at a fretwork piece must have made you go “Wow.” With a second thought of not being able to do that ever. That’s where you’re mistaken!

Although, Fretwork calls for detailed but complex patterns and designs in wood. To yield good results, you require the right tools. Scroll saws being the best choice for the fretwork job. Nowadays, many companies make scroll saws but not everyone has to offer the best scroll saw for fretwork.

10 Best Scroll Saws for Fretwork Reviews 2021

So, before bringing up this article, we at SAWBUZZ researched and searched the market to find 10 of the best models for you to consider for fretwork.

Here is our recommended list of top-rated Scroll saws For Fretwork as per our recommendations;

1. DEWALT DW788 20-Inch Scroll Saw – With Double Parallel Link Arm Design


Dewalt DW788 is a dependable 20-inch saw with a dual parallel link arm designed to dramatically lower the noise level and reduce the vibrations delivering extremely meticulous cuts. The exclusive arm design pivots from the back to the front of the saw lifting the blade to easily thread through the wood creating intricate geometric patterns.

The 1.3 amperes creates 400-1,750 cutting strokes per minute and between 3/4 inches to 2 inches’ deep variable stroke lengths powerful enough to craft unique puzzle pieces.

The easy to access and use controls including variable speed dial mechanism, On-off switch trigger, blade tensioning lever, and vibration dampening system are all conveniently placed on the saw’s upper arm allowing to carve the perfect interlaced decorative design required for fretwork.

The integrated 6″ x 23-3/4″ cast-iron table securely holds the material ensuring stability during cutting while the dust blower is flexible enough to keep the dust away from the workpiece. The intuitive application-specific design helps keep the workflow and outcomes smooth.

For further convenience, the unique saw arm keeps the saw’s blade perpendicular to the piece you are working on, thus minimizing any chance of over-cutting or under-cutting. Comes with keyless blade clamps for quick blade changes.

The Expert Opinion
Weighing around 56 pounds, though this saw has a heavy, sturdy feel it is small enough to easily carry it around and the cast iron table provides great support and versatility by allowing the saw to bevel 45 degrees to the left and right. Also comes with a 3 year limited, 1-year service, and 90-days money-back warranty.
Pros
  • A great reputation
  • Dual parallel link arm design
  • Variable Speed Dial
  • A great performing saw
  • OSHA, CSA, and U.L. approved
Cons
  • A bit noisy

2. Delta (40-694) 20 Inch Scroll Saw – High-Quality Performance


Backed by almost 90 years of woodworking experience, DELTA Power Equipment Corporation has been able to attain a respected name in the power tools industry, they have been focused on creating innovative masterpieces to help woodworkers, professionals, homeowners, and even beginners to craft embellished timber fretwork.

Equipped with a powerful 1.3 amps’ motor and an electronic variable speed dial to carefully adjust the strokes per minute between 400-1,750 to cut a wide arrangement of applications.

The double parallel link arm design of the saw not only improves the cutting accuracy but also lifts and locks in the raised position so that the blade can easily be adjusted for some serious frieze panels.

The raised position of the arm also facilitates blade changing and the innovative design helps minimize vibrations improving the overall cut quality. You can also adjust the bevel angle from 0 to 45 degrees to the left and right to create elaborate wooden fretworks for architectural buildings.

Comes with a tool-free blade changing clamp system for quick blade changes, an on/off trigger, variable speed adjustment dial, a proper blade tensioning lever to increase the blade’s life, and a flexible dust blower all placed on the upper arm for easy accessibility.

The Expert Opinion
This versatile and flexible scroll saw is equipped with a lot of user-friendly functions and comes with a large cutting table with tilting abilities making it the best choice for beginners or novice enthusiasts so they not only handle the long work articles easily but also maneuver the pieces in whatever direction they desire.
Pros
  • Heavy-duty saw construction
  • Adjustable large ergonomic knobs
  • 3/4″ stroke length for aggressive cuts
  • Flexible dust blower
  • On-tool organized blade storage
Cons
  • Flimsy on/off button

3. Shop Fox (W1713) 16-Inch Scroll Saw – Overall Best for Woodworking


For those who are tired of poor-performing saws, Shop Fox W1713 is crafted with precision to create precision. With the cast iron construction with the extra cutting capabilities, Shop Fox W1713 is one of the best available in the market.

A great combination of ⅛ HP, 1.2 Amp, and 120V at a really reasonable price delivering a no-load speed of 550 strokes per minute to 1650 strokes per minute, ideal for handling small to medium range tasks, and is geared more towards beginners.

This under-powered saw might not be very suitable for high-density materials but is perfectly capable to handle wood. The Scroll Saw comes with the tilt table system that bevels 45 degrees for horizontal angle cuts and the table knob locks the perfect angle to precisely cut the delicate artwork ornaments.

To make smooth interior and exterior patterns, both simple and pin-end blades can be used. The simple installation and ejection of the pin blades save you a lot of time. The hold-down foot firmly grasps the material, keeping it from rising up to accurately cut the small wood pieces.

The adaptors are available to quickly and easily change the blades. The shop vac can also be connected to the dust port placed under the table insert for complete debris collection, and the air nozzle included blows the dust away from the cut line.

The Expert Opinion
Shop Fox has been in the business of providing reliable, excellent woodworking services to their professional craftsperson as well homeowners for years. In our opinion, it is one of the best learning tools for beginners to master the art of fretwork ornamental designs.
Pros
  • Variable speed dial motor
  • Maximum 16 inches cutting width
  • Dust blower and dust port
  • Gooseneck work light
  • Plain or pin blades
Cons
  • A bit slow blade changing mechanism

4. Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Scroll Saw – Best for Small Wood Patterns


A lot of users might never have heard of Dremel before, but it is an extremely affordable and compact scroll saw with great cutting skills and a value-added maneuver feature that allows them to smoothly move the saw from one place to another.

The first of its kind scroll saw with the compact and mobility function. Simply detach the saw from its base and cut the material wherever you are, affording you the freedom of doing whatever you want.

The detachable coping mechanism allows the saw to function both as a stationary scroll saw or a portable motorized coping saw by simply removing it from its base. This compact, precision-sawing tool is simple to store, set up, and use.

The variable speed feature matches the speed of the blade with the material you are cutting. Dremel Moto-Saw is a lightweight and simple tool ideal for cutting curved patterns and has the ability to accept 10 different sorts of blades allowing you to cut a wide range of materials.

Comes with a quick clamp base that can easily be attached to any table or work surface. Features an auto-tensioning quick blade change mechanism to quickly and efficiently change the blade without any tool. Also comes with a dust port adapter to keep the line-of-sight clear and workspace pristine clean.

The Expert Opinion
This is not like any typical scroll saw, slightly different in look but don’t worry as it works exactly the same, with the added benefit of portability. Comes with good accessories including the side cutting blade perfect for making straight and curved cuts in larger wooden pieces leaving a precise, fine finish.
Pros
  • Comes with 10 cutting blades
  • Is enclosed in a hard case
  • Detachable coping mechanism
  • Auto tensioning quick blade change
  • Fast clamp base
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a miter gauge

5. SKIL (3335-07 ) 16-inch Scroll Saw – Perfect for Interior and Exterior Fretwork cuts


One of the most powerful saws with a 16 inches wide throat size to easily cut thicker wooden pieces. Whether you are interested to cut some free-form objects or wanted a standard shape or some custom-made twisted jigsaw puzzle, this 16-inch Skil scroll saw will not disappoint you.

Enjoy the convenience and improved precision with the 45 degrees wide tilting work table able to handle longer pieces offering stability and accuracy. It is perfectly capable of doing straight cuts, angled cuts, delicate interior, and freehand cutting.

The built-in dust removal system with the 1.5 inches’ dust port will keep the line-of-sight clear from saw chips. Featuring an articulated LED light will keep the workspace as well as the workpiece illuminated to accurately make the cut with the option to switch it on and off as per your preference.

Adjust the stroke rate using the electronic variable speed control according to the material being cut. It is a great tool with all the high-end features for beginners and an ideal practice solution for professionals so they can sharpen their skills without putting a huge dent in your budget.

Provides accessible in-built blade storage to keep the blades handy when needed and the tool-less blade change system ensures efficient hassle-free blade changes. Comes with an adjustable drop foot to protect your finger and minimize blade breakage.

The Expert Opinion
Every saw more or less promises everything but only a few deliver what they promise and Skil is one of them, it is a reliable scroll saw offering high performance and efficiency one needs to successfully conquer their next woodworking job. The saw stays true to its reputation, they are built to perfectly get the job done.
Pros
  • Adjustable Blade Guard Foot
  • On-tool blade storage
  • Dust Collection Port
  • Accepts both pin-end and plain-end blades
  • Variable Speed Dial
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a stand

6. WEN 3921 16-inch Two Direction Scroll Saw – A Budget- Friendly Saw


In the power tool business, bell and whistle features are rarely better, but it is in the case of Wen. The 3921 model was introduced with all the upgraded features to replace its older 3920 version. The latest two-directional cutting function opens up infinite ripping capacities, required for doing delicate cuts.

It is a budget-friendly, excellent working saw where you wouldn’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get a genuine cutting experience. Comes with a variable speed dial ranging from 550 to 1600 strokes per minute that can easily be adjusted using the turnable knob.

For a standard angle cutting, you can use either a 5-inch pinned or pinless blade as per your preference. The blade travels in the standard direction towards the back of the table and is suitable for intricate detailing. The spacious 16 x 11 inches long table allows bevel, curved, and angled cutting.

Now, instead of cutting from front to back, turn the pinned blade to a 90-degree angle to cut around the width of the table, which is ideal for longer workpieces and improves the overall cut.

The wide cast iron base makes for a 16-inch cutting depth, ripping up to 2 inches thick wood with ease, and 45 degrees’ tilt to the left help achieve the desired angle. The LED worm light is another fantastic feature used to illuminate the workpiece, is particularly useful for beginners.

The Expert Opinion
A well-built, affordable scroll saw offering a great solution to your sawing needs. The innovative design saw is highly accurate, comes with decent features, is simple to use, and lasts a really long time. It definitely is a recommended model, a choice worth your consideration.
Pros
  • Flexible worm LED light
  • 16-inch ripping capacity
  • Dust port and air pump
  • Perfect for wood cutting
  • A foot lock clamp
Cons
  • Not suitable for hard-density materials

7. BUCKTOOL 16-inch Saw with Pedal Switch – Best for Lightweight Designs


If the cut requires intricate detailing then you cannot cut them with a jigsaw or a band saw, you must cut them using a scroll saw and you wouldn’t find a brand more trustworthy than BUCKTOOL, with their exceptional quality and high-end services exceedingly meeting the demands of their craftsperson.

The well-built 1.2-ampere sturdy DC motor is powerful enough to cut a wide range of materials without making much noise or any noticeable vibrations, making it a great choice for those who are not a fan of noises and shaking that usually happens when working with these types of power tools.

Whether you are looking to start a design by drilling a hole or simply wanting to change the blade you can do so by using the pedal switch which will help to start or stop the unit with the simple tap of the foot. The hand-free operation of the saw offers better control and performance.

The feature you wouldn’t find in other tools is that the light installed is properly fixed so it wouldn’t bounce during cutting, allowing for a clear view of the cut line. The easily accessible side panel open door allows for efficient blade changes; the provided blade holders also ensure blade longevity and accuracy.

The 9×16-inch large cast-iron table that effortlessly tilts 45 degrees to the left offers precise stability and durability. The versatile tilting features create the angled and beveled cuts making it easier to do the delicate and small woodworking curves.

The Expert Opinion
The bottom line is BUCKTOOL is a budget-friendly saw that offers real-time, high-quality workhorse solutions to their clients with features to handle the most extreme challenges on the worksite without slowing down, this saw is made to successfully get the job done.
Pros
  • Quality Performance
  • 16-inch throat depth capacity
  • Fixed LED light doesn’t vibrate
  • Quick blade changing
  • Hands-free pedal switch
Cons
  • Average customer service

8. JET (JWSS-22B) 22-inch Saw – Best for Fretwork


A pioneer in creating excellent power tools, JWSS-22B is a versatile 22-inch scroll saw specialized in creating rich, detail-oriented pieces’, making it popular among DIYer enthusiasts and professional carpenters looking to master the art of woodworking.

With Jet’s revolutionary built and outclass features including a 1.3-ampere power motor and the 400 to 1550 strokes per minute (SPM) that can be adjusted using the variable electronic speed dial, you can learn the intricacies of fretwork.

You can also design beautifully decorated wooden patterns with this 68.2 lbs. heavy-duty saw that has a 22-inch throat capacity to tackle the thickest of wood. The saw’s spring-loaded arm can be tilted 45 degrees to the right and 40 degrees to the left, allowing the users to get the most out of their scrolling experience.

The top lift spring-loaded arm can be lifted up to 10 inches high and stays there until pulled down, allowing you to enjoy your work stress-free. The saw comes with a 5 years’ warranty, long enough to securely protect your investment.

The cast iron table has slots for pre-loaded blades and a built-in wrench that makes blade storage and replacement easy, and the provided slot can be mounted on either side of the saw. It also has a dust port that can be removed for cleaning saw chips and an air blower to keep the shop and cutline clean.

The Expert Opinion
It is one of the best fine-quality tools, capable of delivering consistent results for both small and large-scale projects. It has a one-step blade changing and holding method that uses the upper clamps and blade tensioning lever, as well as a removable lower blade, to quickly and efficiently change the blade.
Pros
  • 22-inch throat size
  • One step clamp and blade tensioning system
  • Accessible speed controls
  • An excellent 5-year warranty
  • Footswitch and material hold down
Cons
  • It is expensive

9. EXCALIBUR 16 Inch Scroll Saw – Best for Big Woodworking Projects


An outstanding saw with a unique head tilting function; most of the saws usually allow the tilting of the table but this heavy-duty exceptional saw tilts the head instead; it bevels 30 degrees to the left and 45 degrees to the right offering better control and accurate results.

The tilting of the blade and not the table helps keep the workpiece stable offering true, error-free cut; getting a flat, and consistent surface even when doing bevel cuts. The 1.3 amps, 120 volts’ motor with a 16-inch throat has a 2-inch thick cutting capacity.

The integrated upper and low blade guard assembly provides better protection against accidents preventing hand contact whereas the protection switch installed guards against accidental start-ups. Comes with an adjustable blade mounting system so you can raise or lower the blade position for the right cut.

Seamlessly change the blade without any tool, the finger-operated clamps allow quick and efficient blade changing. Features a spacious work table to carefully handle and secure large articles. Simply free up and lift the upper arm carefully, which will remain in place until you replace the blade and then lower it to secure it.

The saw uses a plain-end blade for accuracy and comes with a foot pedal and a stand. Featuring an on-board dust blower which is placed underneath the table carefully suck all the dust off during operation, keeping the tool as well as the article dust free.

The Expert Opinion
Every product has its negatives and positives, so does this tool, but its good outweighs its bad; the saw’s performance exceeds most of the user’s expectations. This sturdy cast-iron tool offers minimum vibrations and maximum stability with a bolt hole to easily attach it to the benchtop.
Pros
  • Saw’s unique tilting head
  • Effortless keyless blade change
  • Integrated upper and lower guards
  • Protection switch prevents accidents
  • Spacious work table
Cons
  • Need some tweaking and adjustments

10. Rikon 10-600VS 16-inch Scroll Saw – Easy to Operate Saw

 


Rikon 10-600VS is a 16-inch extremely affordable and easy operation scroll saw with a powerful 120 volts, 1.2 amps DC motor offering unparalleled performance. Its amazing stroke speed range of 550 – 1650 will efficiently get those detailed-oriented cuts done.

The multiple speed variations are easy to use and control. It might not be the most powerful or precise scroll saw in comparison to the other higher-end models, but it performs well meeting most of the user’s expectations and is noticeable for its lack of noise and excessive vibration.

It is a saw for both professionals and beginners but the price tag of $190 makes it more attractive to casual hobbyists, both groups appreciating the smooth operation and precise cutting of the Rikon 10-600VS .Moreover it is capable of giving the user nearly limitless options for detailed artwork.

Its strong cast iron base offers great stability and the large aluminum table bevels 0° to 45° to the left providing a flawless user experience. Equipped with a built-in dust port to keep the pattern lines on the work surface free of sawdust and debris.

An optional flex shaft ranging between 3,300 – 10,000 RPM is also available to assist in carving. Don’t let the budget fool you, it accepts the standard 5 inches pin-end and plain-end blades outperforming your expectations. Comes with a gooseneck work light to illuminate the dim surrounding providing better visibility.

The Expert Opinion
An affordable saw that won’t throw you off your budget. The saw’s straightforward design and simple to use operation ensure that you’ll be spending less time fiddling with understanding the saw’s function and more time creating intricate cuts and unique shapes that’s what a scroll saw is used for.
Pros
  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Easy to use and affordable
  • Ideal for novice woodworkers
  • Cast iron base for stability
  • Almost noiseless
Cons
  • A little underpowered

The Buying Guide of Best Scroll Saw for Fretwork Patterns

Since fretwork is a delicate task and requires the best of the features in a scroll saw, you may find the following guide very useful when looking for one. In this section, we list a few important features that you should consider before making a purchase.

  • Throat Size

The first and foremost feature to focus on is the throat size of a scroll saw which defines the ability of the scroll saw to make a cut deeper inside a workpiece.

For all practical reasons, the throat size attributes the available depth (or width) up to which you can push the workpiece under the saw and is usually described in terms of length between the blade and the start of holding the arm on the rear.

You can find a variety of throat sizes for the scroll saws available in the market starting from 12 inches all the way up to 30 inches. For starters and/or light to medium duty fretting, a scroll saw with a throat depth of 16 inches should do while for heavy-duty fretting, you might need a larger throat.

  • Type of Arm

The scroll saws are generally available in three distinct designs with respect to their arm. The simplest and most common design is the parallel link arm design where two arms are arranged parallel to each other with a blade connecting on one end a spring connector on the other.

When the bottom arm is pushed or pulled via the underneath pivot, it drags the upper arm with it making an up-down cutting motion of the blade. It has a built-in safety such that in case of the blade snaps, the upper arm moves out of the way and ceases moving.

The double parallel arm link is a more updated and revised design where instead of the whole arm moving, only the tip of the arms move in an up-down motion. This is useful for more aggressive cutting and has the added benefit of less vibration.

Lastly, there is the C-type arm design where a single solid C-shaped arm is arranged on a single pivot point. The blade in this design also moves along the direction of the arm in addition to the up-down cutting motion giving it the ability of larger cuts. However, this also makes it less accurate for complex patterns.

With each design having its own pros and cons, you can opt for the one best suited for your fretting job.

  • Variable Speed Control

As a rule of thumb, the speed of a scroll saw is inversely related to the control when it comes to fretting; while the high speeds may result in chipping or rough cuts. Therefore, for a quality job, you may need to change/adjust the speed for complex patterns and different materials.

The speed of the scroll saw is described in terms of strokes per minute (SPM) and may range between 400 to 3000 SPM. The softer wood and workpieces require a slow speed setting in the range of 400 to 1000 SPM while you have to enhance the speed around 2500 SPM for hardwood.

It is therefore imperative that you choose a scroll saw with appropriate maximum speed and variable speed control.

  • Blade changing mechanism

Depending upon the complexity of fretting and/or toughness of your workpiece you may need to often need to change the blade to the appropriate design.

The ability to easily and quickly change the blades becomes fairly important when you are looking for a scroll saw. In such instances, opting for a model which offers a tool-less blade change is highly recommended.

  • Vibration

Due to their up-down motion vertical to the workpiece, scroll saws have an inherent flaw of vibrations. As described above, the double parallel arm link design is the most efficient in reducing vibrations as far as the type of saw is concerned.

Once you have made up your mind for a certain type of scroll saw, you can look for additional design elements like the weight of the arm, sturdiness of base, etc. for further reducing the vibrations. It is strongly recommended to first try the scroll saw for a test run before making a final purchase.

  • Additional Features

Once the main features are decided, you can look for additional features provided on the scroll saws. These may include, bevel design to swivel the blade for angled cuts, low noise, dust removal mechanism, and LED light to illuminate the work surface.

Although these additional features are generally not a deal-breaker, you can always get an additional benefit of precision, accuracy, and ease of use while doing your fretwork.

Wrapping Up

Choosing and buying a new scroll saw for fretwork is not very easy to ensure by yourself, it might be quite daunting if you don’t have much know-how about these power tools. Either you are a beginner or even an expert, you can end up with a saw that doesn’t match up to your requirements and ideals.

With the reviews of the best scroll saws out there for fretwork and a detailed buying guide, you can make the best decision that too, way faster than you would’ve expected.

Good Luck Doing Fretwork!!

People Also Asked For Best Scroll Saws for Fretwork Work

How tight should a scroll saw blade be for fretwork?
Scroll saw blades are delicate and require a light touch to avoid snapping. For adjusting tension in the blade, place a wooden piece in front of it and increase tension slowly until it only moves to about 1/8 inch without putting any pressure sideways.
Can a scroll saw cut hardwood?
Yes, depending on the appropriate blade and speed, any scroll saw can cut hardwood (for details have a look at our buying guide). Generally, heavy-duty scroll saws are able to easily do the fretwork on Maple, Ash, walnut, Oak, etc. although sometimes curvy grain pattern of the wood has to be essentially considered for complex cutting patterns.
What is the maximum thickness of wood that a scroll saw can cut?
The size of the blade is the limiting factor when it comes to the thickness of the workpiece that can be cut from a scroll saw.Based on the common blade sizes (universal sizes), the scroll saws can cut at most 2-inch thick workpieces with a general working thickness of ¾ inch. However, it is not advisable to cut thicker hardwood as it can snap the blade or damage the saw.

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