Scroll saws are a tool needing precision, accuracy, and patience – and a combination of the three can result in some beautiful shapes and cuts that can only be made with this particular saw.
- Both the DW788 & 3921 are at the top of the class in the scroll saw the market
- DeWalt’s DW788 includes a parallel-linked arm, which is slowly replacing previous arm designs
- WEN’s 3921 is a quality scroll saw for a great value, proving cheaper than the DW788
- Both models stay relatively grounded with additional features – only including features that improve your quality of work
- The DW788 and 3921 are designed for all experience levels – so you won’t be facing a steep learning curve
Why are we looking at these two scroll saws over the many found on the market? Well, it’s simple.
These two scroll saws are the best you can find in the aisles of your hardware store, in regards to value for money, and the quality of the innovative designs, resulting in high-quality cuts. And that’s exactly what you want out of a premier scroll saw.
A Background Into The DeWalt DW788 & WEN 3921 Scroll Saw
Both of these models from DeWalt and WEN are amongst the top tier of scroll saws with respect to their output and quality of work they produce.
DeWalt is a manufacturer of power tools which need no introduction.
Quality can always be assured with a DeWalt product, and there are no different expectations with the DW788 Scroll Saw.
WEN has manufactured power tools since 1957, and have an impressive list of tools available across their wide range.
The WEN 3921 Scroll Saw is an updated version of the well-liked WEN 3920 Scroll Saw, with the most notable difference between that and its’ predecessor being the tool-less blade change feature.
Why Are We Looking Into These Two Particular Models?
As we touched on briefly at the beginning of this article, the reason we’re looking at these two models, in particular, is that they are both on the premier-end of quality when comparing to alternative scroll saws, even though there is quite a large price jump between the two.
This makes it perfect to compare – and hopefully makes your decision a little easier when you’re weighing up your options.
The DeWalt model is priced on the higher end of scroll saws, yet the quality is unmatched – put simply, it’s a DeWalt product, and you know exactly what you’re getting.
We’ll be looking at some of the features on the DW788 a little bit later in the article – and there are many of them, which combine to make a scroll saw which is designed with all experience levels in mind.
WEN, on the other hand – is at the cheaper end of the price range, and this is something you’ll notice almost immediately when comparing the two.
However, even though WEN’s 3921 Scroll Saw is cheaper – it doesn’t compromise in regards to its’ quality, output, additional features and overall performance.
It’s a surprise to see such a quality product at this price range, and this can often scare people into thinking that it may be a lower-tier product.
This isn’t the case with the 3921 – and is a very affordable option when placed to brands with more pull power, and is as equally placed in quality.
General Features Of Scroll Saws
A scroll saw is a particular type of saw that is used to cut intricate shapes and curved lines into materials, and is a saw known for its’ finesse and accuracy more so than its’ power.
Due to this, the features of scroll saws are slightly different when compared to a table, jig or bandsaw.
Here are some general features you’ll find on a scroll saw, with a quick explanation as to its’ use.
There are three distinct arm types of a scroll saw – a C Arm, Parallel Type, and Parallel-Linked arm. The latter is the latest in advancement of the scroll saw.
The arm is linked to the motor, and the different arm types can result in different types of cuts (when comparing output, power wise). This is essentially the most important aspect of the scroll saw.
If you’ve used other woodworking tools in the past, this is a term you’d be quite familiar with.
The throat size is the term given to the amount of space from the blade to the back of the table’s surface, which gives a guide of the sizes of material you’re able to work with.
Typically, you can find throat sizes on scroll saws marked at 16” and 20”, although there are models which fit outside this range.
I’ve already stated that the arm is the most important feature, yet without the blade – you can’t cut.
Blades are different on scroll saws than other saws you may be familiar with – being quite smaller and thinner, as well as mounted vertically to both the top and bottom of the saw.
Blades can be found that fit an array of cuts used – so it’s important to locate the perfect blade for your chosen application.
What Are Some Good Projects For These Scroll Saws?
Scroll Saws are designed for accuracy, and finesse.
Due to this, projects which involve extreme intricacies regarding cuts are those which can be made with scroll saws.
Here are a few examples of some cuts you’d be using a scroll saw for:
- Interior cuts (known as intarsia projects)
- Dovetail joints
- Angled cuts
- Letter and complex shape cuts
- Cuts at awkward angles
- Zigzag cuts
- Circles and 90 cuts
- Designing plaques
Of course, these are just some examples of cuts and projects which can be made on a scroll saw.
With a creative imagination, you can design some incredibly beautiful work using these saws.
The DW788 is one of the best in its’ class, and you only have to have a quick look online to see the demand for this scroll saw.
Naturally, there’s a reason as to why there is such a high demand for this model, with a list of impressive specifications and innovative features culminating in a scroll saw that is designed for all experience levels in mind.
- 1.3 Amp Motor
- Table Size of 16” x 23-¾”
- 20” Throat size
- Weight of 56 lbs
- Variable speed trigger of 400-1750 SPM
- Stroke length of ¾” – 2”
- Double parallel linked arm design
- Tool-less blade changes
- Blade tension Knob
- Adjustable table
Features & Parallel Linked Arm
There are a number of features made available with the DeWalt DW788, and I’ll be doing my best to explain them for you – so you have all the necessary information you’ll need to decide upon what to purchase.
The cast iron table has a throat size of 20” – which is quite a broad space for you to make cuts on larger materials.
Paired with a stroke length that varies between ¾” to 2” and you’ll already notice the quality which is reflected in your work.
The main feature of the DW788 however, would be the parallel-linked arm.
This is often seen as superior to alternative arms due to the reduced vibration and added versatility they provide when cutting.
The arm on this model is no different.
It pivots from the back of the scroll saw to the front, shortening the amount of distance the arm can cover – which results in a reduced vibration.
What does this result in?
That’s right, cleaner cuts.
You’ll be able to switch blades effortlessly, with the tool-less blade change feature.
This is a design feature in which DeWalt have added across a majority of their power tools.
The parallel linked arm also features the variable switch trigger, the blade tensioning knob, dust blower and the power switch, which all sit on the top of the arm itself.
This provides an extra dimension of convenience when cutting – which gives you complete control over every aspect upon being switched on.
The WEN 3921 Scroll Saw is an updated version of the well-liked WEN 3920 Scroll Saw, which had an older, keyed blade change feature – an aspect which is now obsolete in the 3921 model.
- 16” Throat size
- Dimensions of 26.38” x 13” x 14.75”
- Weight of 26 lbs
- Accepts blades in two directions
- Variable speed of 550 – 1650 SPM
- Tool-less blade changes
- Onboard storage
- Inclusive dust port, blower and light for increased visibility
Features & Multi-Positional Blade
WEN’s scroll saw includes a 16” throat size, with dimensions of 26.38” x 13” x 14.75”.
It weighs 26 lbs, which is not the heaviest or lightest scroll saw you’ll find – sitting somewhere in the middle.
It has a variable speed option, which can range between speed of a minimum of 550 SPM, and a maximum of 1650 SPM.
Like the DeWalt model, the 3921 includes a tool-less blade change option, which is in the form of a thumb screw on top of the saw’s arm.
There are a number of well-rounded assisting features that highlight the 3921’s value for money, also.
These are the dust port and blower, adjustable light, and the onboard storage.
Of course – these are features which are generally found on scroll saws, yet at the cost that WEN prices the model at – they shouldn’t be inclusive features at all, giving customers a lot more value for the money they spend – which is incredibly affordable.
Last of the features we’re looking at – is the multi-positional blade options the WEN 3921 provides you with.
This is my favourite feature on this model, and I’ll explain why.
The two directions you can choose between are standard, and 90°. The extra blade positioning gives, as WEN claim, ‘infinite ripping capacity”.
Whilst it may not be infinite ripping capacity, it sure does increase your ability to cut through wood, allowing for incredibly complicated designs and shapes to be made.
Which is what you’re using a scroll saw for, isn’t it?
So there we have it – a complete comparison between the two models, in what is a finish measured by the slightest of inches.
These are two quality scroll saws, and both won’t let you down – whichever the option you prefer.
For me, the DeWalt DW788 is the winner in this comparison.
For the price you pay, you’ll be getting a modern, top-of-the-line scroll saw that doesn’t overweigh itself with additional features and accessories, instead focusing upon the bare-bone features that make a quality scroll saw.
If you can definitely pay the higher-end price, you’ll have a scroll saw which won’t let you down for the many years to come.
If tht DeWalt DW788 is slightly outside of your affordability range – then look no further than the WEN 3291.
It’s a cheaper model – yet you shouldn’t be scared off by the price, as the quality is equally up there with the DW788.
The WEN 3291 wins when comparing value for money, and it’s great to see that there are scroll saws available across a range of for all consumers.
What do you think, though?
Do you have a preference between the two models?
I’d like to hear your thoughts – feel free to leave them below.