Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw Review
The Dewalt DW788 scroll saw, also known as the Dewalt DW788 or just DW788 has become very popular with many scroll saw users because of its quality.
This is no surprise as Dewalt has a good reputation for producing good quality, reliable tools.
It is liked because compared to scroll saws in the cheaper range that can be difficult to change blades, set up or that vibrate badly, this machine is a pleasure to use.
As mentioned this machine is easy to set up. All you need to do is connect the table to the connection pin at the back of the saw. The next step is to screw the two screws underneath and adjust the table so it is set to zero (then the blade will be 90 degrees to the table).
The DW788 has a twenty inch throat, meaning that you can work on quite large pieces of work.
The Dewalt DW788 is in the mid price range. Although scroll saws can be purchased for a lower price you will probably never regret paying a bit more to get a machine you will be really happy with.
This scroll saw uses pinless blades, which can be difficult to insert in some saws but in the DW788 it is easy because there are two large screws to clamp the blade into the blade holders that are very accessible and therefore no tools are necessary to insert or change blades.
A good tip is that it is easier to feed the blade through from the top into the bottom clamp, especially if you are doing fretwork.
Few would argue that the quality of the work that can be produced from a DW788 is outstanding. The blades that come with the machine have not always been given such high regard however, so it is probably best to put better quality blades in the machine to allow it to produce the finest work that is possible.
For the DW788 the blade is tightened and loosened by a lever (which has numbered settings), this is located at the front of the upper arm.
The table is large and of cast iron construction and turns 45 degrees to the left or right.
Some users wax the table, but others have had them teflon coated to eliminate the need for this.
Bearings on this machine are great quality and will probably last for the life of the scroll saw. However they can show signs of wear and they can be replaced. The DW788 takes HK0609 Needle Bearings 6x7x9. These are available on the internet including Amazon.
Before you change the bearings it is recommended that you check with your DeWalt manual as the guarantee may be void if you change them
Most scroll saws use a reciprocating parallel arm system, that see saws with the blade to bring it up and down. The Dewalt DW788 uses a parallel link system, still using see saw arms, but the arms are shorter, being connected to the back of the tool with a longer link.
This reduces vibration, making the DW788 quieter and more pleasant to use.
Overcoming Problems Of Blades Bending With The Dewalt DW788
Some users of the DW788 have found that the blades bend slightly and they realise that the blade is bent when they try and feed it through a small hole in wood to do fretwork.
What often causes this is a burr on the allen screw and thumb screw that hold the blade clamps in place.
The answer to this is to take the allen screw and thumb screw off and file the burrs off.
This is usually cased by the blade clamps having a build up of oil on them. This is caused by new blades that are coated with a very thin film of oil.
For this reason it is best to clean the oil off by using sand paper on the blades before you insert them.
Cleaning the blade clamps of oil regularly can also prevent this from happing.
Some people have been tempted to over tighten the blade clamps which will just result in stripping the thread of the blade clamp or breaking it.
The Flexible Blower
Most scroll saws have a blower near the blade to blow the sawdust away as it is produced during sawing. On some models, this blows the sawdust towards the user, which is very annoying.
On the DW788 there is a flexible blower so you can direct it to blow the saw dust away from you at a more convenient angle.
The Dewalt DW788 is in the mid price range. A lower priced scroll saw will cost about $100 to $200 whereas the top priced scrollsaws are in the $2000 bracket and the DW788 scrollsaw is around $400 to $500.
I would be happy to recommend it as a good scroll saw. Because it is well designed and a pleasure to use, if you are a beginner you will enjoy scrollsawing more, and if you are experienced you will want a scrollsaw of this quality.
I think it is fair to say that is one of the most popular scroll saws, although you can buy cheaper, you will probably be happier with this one in the long run.
Dewalt Service Centers
Being a well established and reputable company Dewalt has many service centers in the U.S. Canada and worldwide.
This is good for you as a customer as you can rest assured that if there is a problem with your scroll saw (or any other Dewalt tool) you can get it repaired by an authorised dealer.
Typical services offered by a Dewalt service center or approved repair shop will include: striping tools down for inspection, cleaning and lubricating moving parts and replacing damaged components.
Everything will then be tested for safety and performance.
Dewalt DW788 Accessories
Most of the parts on your DW788 can be replaced. In addition to this there are also some accessories available:
Dewalt DW7881 Scroll Saw Work Light
This light is useful for highlighting the working area.
It has a flexible neck so you can position it to the area best suited and comes with a one year guarantee.
Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw Stand
If you do not have much work space then this will be the ideal accessory to compliment your DW788 scroll saw.
It is very sturdy and can be bolted to the floor, with the holes already made for this.
The legs are adjustable so you can set it to the optimum height to work at.
You can put casters on (with brakes) so that your scroll saw can easily be maneuvered around your workshop, this can be a bonus for cleaning any sawdust after you have been using your scroll saw.
Dewalt DW788 Dust Collection System
This dust collector is available from Bigfootproducts.ca and is made especially for the DW788.
It consist of a dust collection tray with a port that connects to a hose. It is installed under the table of the scroll saw (this takes about thirty seconds).
Any sawdust that falls through the hole in the table where the blade is sucked into the tray beneath and this prevents you breathing it in. Bigfoot products charge $29.95 for this and it has proved very popular because of the ease of installation, effectiveness and price.
The Click-N-Lock Lift Arm
This is also sold by Bigfootproducts.ca
The company says it will not invalidate your guarantee.
It allows the arm of your scroll saw to be kept in the upright position, which is useful when you want to change a blade.
It comes with two bolts, two acrylic washers and the saw arm itself.
To install it you simply remove two bolts on the arm of the saw, then you put the lift arm on to the arm of the saw with the bolts and washers provided.
Then to lock and lift the arm you just raise it, listen for the click to make sure the arm is locked in place, ready for blade installation.
To release the arm, lift the scroll saw arm slightly, pull out the lifting lock arm and lower the head.
This lift arm seems to be the most popular with users because the installation only takes around ten minutes and there are no heavy bars to install.
The company sells this for $29.99
Bigfootproducts.ca also sell an alternative to the liftarm called a leverlift (for easy blade changes).
This it says can be installed in about one minute. It is made of durable plastic.
To install it you simply remove a Philips screw on the front cover of the scroll saw and then put the leverlift to the side of the saw.
It folds up neatly when not being used and when you want to change a blade you raise the arm of the scroll saw and bring the leverlift down 90 degrees to support the arm, ready for the blade change.
This leaves both of your hands free to change the scroll saw blade. Once the blade is changed you simply push the leverlift up flush with the scroll saw arm, then it is tucked safely away.
Bigfootproducts.ca sell this for $12.95
Unique 3D Scrollsawing Clamp
Another useful accessory from Bigfootproducts.ca is a clamping system called the Press-N-Grip.
This is a clamp with two springs that holds the item to be cut safely within the clamp.
This jig holds the wood securely without slipping. This is ideal for 3D patterns and stacked patterns as it holds the wood firmly whilst you work on it.
Bigfootproducts.ca sell this for $29.95
Raymond DeWalt was a skilled woodworker and whilst he was working at a woodworking factory (Seabrook Farms) to overcome the space limitations, and the need to increase the workforce, having an inventive mind Raymond DeWalt designed a radial arm saw.
This enabled lengths of wood to be cut along the width, plus at most angles as the circular saw blade was very versatile and could be raised and lowered and the angle changed.
This was a revolutionary advance in the usual fixed saws of the time and allowed more work to be produced in the same place by just one operator.
So in 1924 Raymond E. DeWalt founded his radial arm saw promoted as “The Wonder Worker”.
This was extremely successful and other tools were soon developed by DeWalt.
In the 1990s the first portable electric power tools were designed and sold by DeWalt including powered cordless drills.
History Of Scroll Saws
The scroll saw’s history originated with the use of fretsaws. These are hand held saws with a fine blade usually five inches long, with a U-shaped metal frame that is between ten and twenty inches in length.
This allows the user to cut very tight curves.
The fretsaw has been around since the 1500s and is the forerunner of the scroll saw.
Although the fretsaw allowed very tight corners to be produced on wood, a machine with a table and a powered blade would make frets awing much more practical, thus the powered fretsaw was invented around 1865.
This enabled the blade’s angle to remain vertical and the wood fed through it.
The treadle driven fretsaws would make bird cages, ornaments and decorated wall sconces.
They proved very popular and thousands were manufactured and sold.
They were used for leisure activities and as with today’s scroll saws the beautiful objects produced by them would also be sold as well.
There is some doubt as to the exact beginnings of the scroll saw because of the different names given to these machines, some were called fretsaws of jigsaws, but the term scroll saw became popular for them.
Intarsia With The DW788
The DW788 is the ideal scroll saw for intarsia work because it has virtually no vibration and making accurate cuts is therefore much easier with this scroll saw.
Intarsia uses different pieces of wood, to create a mosaic or jigsaw like picture.
Different coloured woods, light and dark are usually used and the grain of the wood can be used for artistic effect.
The pieces of wood have any edges carefully sanded so that they interlink perfectly and are usually stuck to a piece of wood to create the desired image.
Animals re a popular image for intarsia, but there is really no limit on what has and can be created with imagination.
There are many excellent books on intarsia using a scrollsaw, that take you through the different steps to create stunning pieces of work. They usually have plans included and encourage you to look out for pieces of wood that will be ideal for different intarsia projects.
Whilst on the subject of scroll saw books, I think that most people will benefit from owning at least one book if not more.
Whatever level of scrollsawing you are at you will benefit.
If you are a beginner you will learn the basics including how to make different sorts of cuts including exterior cuts, interior cuts and corners, and how to cut small or thin objects.
Then how to perform stack cuts including different methods.
Also how to cut hard and soft woods and materials such as plastic and even metals.
Then how to make different objects from intarsia and puzzles, to all of the other attractive things such as ornaments, ornamental boxes, shells and 3D items
Even experienced scrollsawers will be able to learn from these books.
Scroll Saw Pattern Books
Another sort of scroll saw book you will want to own is a scroll saw pattern book.
You can download free scroll saw patterns and you can certainly make some great items from them.
Owning your own book with a variety of the sort of things that you want to make will often be an advantage.
Some of these can be purchased for just a few dollars and can have hundreds of patterns for you to choose from.
This will save you the time and cost of printing free patterns out, and with a book you have the advantage of having all your patterns in one safe, tidy place.
Another advantage with a book is that there will also be some excellent advice on how to get the most out of your scrollsaw as these books are often written by people with years of experience in using a scroll saw and will provide you with good advice and help.
As you become an experienced scrollsawer you may find that you want to specialise in making one type of item such as attractive wooden boxes, Christmas ornaments or chess sets.
Then you would want to own your own book that covered one of these subjects, again you can find plenty of books like these written by people who have plenty of experience to offer you.
As you can see, although you will benefit from and treasure one scrollsaw book, once you have one, you could start your own interesting and rewarding library of scroll saw books.
Scroll Saw Clubs
If you want to find out more about the DW788 scroll saw (or other scroll saws) there are plenty of scroll saw clubs available.
These often have experienced members who can give you useful advice on how to use the scroll saw and get the best results from it.
There are also scroll saw workshops and courses that are aimed at beginners to advanced users. These will help to give you a lot of help whatever your level of experience – just Google to find the nearest ones to you.
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