Delta Machinery is generally well-known in
woodworking circles as a company/manufacturer that produces quality tools
for all levels of woodworking skill. Their 16" Variable Speed Scroll Saws
are no different. The model under the spotlight today is
Model SS250 (or similar Model 50-540).
This model is one of Delta's lower end scroll saws,
however, it offers excellent value for money for the hobbyist, amateur or
established woodworker not requiring a 'production-style' machine.
Out of the box, the Delta scroll saw requires only a
small amount of assembly on behalf of the user. The table and locking
handles come unassembled, most likely to help prevent damage during
shipping. The table is covered in a protective grease paper to prevent
rust and requires removal of the paper cover and then cleaning of the
table with kerosene before use to remove the grease coating. Once this has
been accomplished, a nice smooth, well-machined table top was revealed. It
is now your choice whether you apply a paste wax film on the table to
prevent further rust, which is highly recommended!
Assembling the table
to the scroll saw is relatively straight forward and only involves
inserting two special screws and locknuts (provided) to secure the table
in place. The table/tilt lock knob assembly is then fitted just as easily.
Step-by-Step instructions are provided with well illustrated pictures in
the accompanying manual, which is really great to see and makes assembly a
painless and frustration-free process.
Next the hold-down rod and air
blower assembly is fixed to the saw. Again, just a few turns of the hex
wrench and this is easily accomplished. Attach the air blower hose to the
air outlet on the hold-down mechanism and you are connected and just about
ready to go. The inclusion of a small tool holder bracket is a great idea.
The tool holder attaches to the rear arm of the saw on the right-hand side
and will hold Delta's lower clamp adjustment tool and about 30-odd scroll
saw blades in the cylindrical pipe-like pocket.
Overall assembly time
took around 10-15 minutes. Quite respectable!
Important Scroll Saw Tip
Scroll saws, by nature,
produce quite a lot of vibration when in use. They are but
one of many tools that need to be clamped or bolted to a solid
stand before use. It is dangerous to use a scroll saw that is not
to a solid stand. Excessive vibration will also damage the saw
or cause them to wear much faster that usual.
Securing/Clamping the Delta 16" V/S Scroll Saw
manufacture their own Scroll Saw Stand (Model 40-654)
however it will only accept the 18" and 20" Delta Scroll Saws, so you will
have to find or build your own stand for the Delta if you do not have a
sturdy workbench or other location to secure it to.
The SS250 features
4 locations on the base to insert bolts for clamping. Each point also
feature rubber soles and upper lips for improved vibration cushioning.
These points will take around a 7-8mm diameter bolt comfortably. While I
achieved good success bolting the Delta to my workbench, my basement has a
solid brick bar with hard pine top. I found clamping the scroll saw to
this provided virtually no vibration whatsoever, even at highest saw
speed. The perfect scroll saw setup! The location of the clamping
holes/points makes bolt-clamping or C-clamp fastening very fast and
Quickset II Blade Change System & Blade
Without a doubt, one of the primary concerns of the scroll saw artist is
the ability to be able to achieve fast blade changes to allow
inside/fretwork cuts to be achieved efficiently. When you are working on a
project requiring hundreds of individual inside cuts, the time it takes to
release and re-insert blades into your pre-drilled starter holes becomes
essential, unless you have all the time in world that is. Many of us
don't, so this is a common question one asks when deciding on a scroll saw
Thankfully, Delta have come up with an efficient blade
clamping system called the Quickset II system. The system basically
entails the use of 2 quick-release levers to release and re-engage the top
blade clamp. The basic procedure for this is as follows (please refer to
our pictures to the right as well):
1. Release blade tension lever - simply pull it forward (takes less
than half a second). Some woodworkers choose to remove the table insert
first if required.
2. Undo the Quickset II chuck-locking lever which releases the
blade from the upper clamp. (this is a lever which opens and closes a
small clamp-type attachment that holds the actual blade... much like a
3. With blade released, insert in next hole for cutting.
4. Insert blade back into Quickset II blade clamp and engage the
upper-clamp lever to tighten.
5. Re-engage the blade tension lever.
6. Done! Start scrolling.
The upper chuck/clamp assembly also features a small adjustable
locknut. Adjusting this locknut allows various widths of scroll saw blades
to be used and held firmly in place.
While tension is usually quickly applied and released via the main
tension locking lever, further tension adjustments can be made with the
addition tensioning knob situated on the top arm of the saw. This knob
will generally set the overall tension of the blade and should be used to
attain that 'High C' sound woodworkers often refer to when the blade is
'plucked'. This usually indicates correct blade tension.
A blade change for inside cuts can indeed be done in around 10-15
seconds. It will in fact likely take you longer to insert the blade into
the next pre-drilled hole!
The bottom (under the table) blade chuck is open and closed using a
special blade chuck tool provided with the scroll saw. This long
hex-wrench type tool includes an elongated hew-end wrench which is
attached to a parallel guide pole. When the pole is located into the lower
blade holder, the hex wrench will automatically align with the blade
holder screw which is used to pen and close the lower blade check. Fairly
simple operation and the tool means you don't have to reach under the
table to adjust the lower blade chuck/clamp.
The Delta SS250 In Operation
I have been using this scroll saw
for over 18 months now and so far, the saw has performed very
well. An important factor in maintaining acceptable results with
your saw and extending the life of the motor is to use quality
scroll saw blades and change them over before they become too
dull or blunt. There are a number of good blade manufacturers
around, but I personally prefer Olson Scroll Saw Blades.
They are high-quality blades and available locally to me at a
good price. Flying Dutchmen blades are also highly recommended
by others and available in the USA.
Let's take a look at a few of the operational features of the Delta
SS250 itself. The variable speed control dial and power switch are located
on the front left side of the machine. If you have the scroll saw sitting
at hip level, and are a tall person, the table can sometimes get in the
way of the controls. This is no big deal really, it just means you have to
reach down and under a little to access the machines controls. One
well-noted issue with the variable speed knob, is that it is a little
inaccurate through its physical range in controlling the saw speed. What I
mean by this is, that you can reach full speed (1800rpm) on the knob when
it is only about 60% of the way through its physical range, so trying to
judge a specific speed by using the knob and gauge around it is difficult.
After a little bit of use, it is not too difficult to set your desired
speed and be pretty accurate in doing so. A recognized safety feature of
the ON/OFF switch assembly is that a special padlock can be inserted to
prevent the machine being switched on or used when you are not around.
great if you have curious young ones that sometimes sneak into the shop on
For angled cuts, the table itself tilts left from 0-45 degrees
and is fastened with a standard lever-type fastening system. Not
too much excitement there. The dust blower is a little
disappointing on the Delta SS250. It is really only effective at
full speed. Anything lower, and it doesn't have enough 'puff' to
effectively clear the dust away. A simple, cost-effective
solution is to buy a small fish tank air blower motor (or other
similar device) and rig it up to the Delta. While it is a minor
inconvenience and an additional expense, the extra 'puff' this
addition will provide will blow all dust away from your work
quickly and efficiently allowing you to enjoy a continuous clear
view of your blade and cutting line.
The Delta performed well with a wide variety of thickness cuts. Its
maximum cut capacity is 2" high, which is pretty much standard for
machines of this size. One must remember that the throat size (16" on the
SS250) is something to consider if you plan to scroll saw larger pieces.
I have only ever cut plastic on the Delta once before (I haven't really
had a need to cut much else other than wood), but with the appropriate
blade and speed settings, no problems were encountered. The Delta
performed satisfactorily on hardwoods as well. As a test, I attempted to
carve through some Ipe, a known dense hardwood, and managed to do
so successfully, although feed rate must be reduced in order not to strain
the small motor and Ipe has a tendency to dull blades really fast
The SS250, when properly clamped to a vibration-proof surface
is very quiet as one would expect from a small induction motor.
With the proper tensioning, a quality blade in place and a
little wax/lubricant rubbed on the blade, cutting through most
woods is also a quiet affair.
Lubrication of the machine is necessary to maintain good performance
and to prolong the life of your machine. Delta's manual states this should
be done after each 20 hours of use. As a personal rule, when starting to
use any new piece of machinery, I usually let it run for a minute or two
and then give it a little 'lube' right from the start. I have found this
to work well for many tools. I then usually cut 25% off the recommended
lubrication intervals. So if Delta says 20, I will lubricate the required
components every 15 hours of use. Lubricating the Delta SS250 is fairly
simple and involves the removal of the plastic side plate on the "C"
section of the saw. It is then a matter of lubricating four points on the
machine, 2 of which require the removal of pivot bolts. It is no drama and
provides a little 'therapy' knowing that your extra care will earn your
machine a healthy lifespan.
There really isn't too much more to say
about the Delta SS250 short of actually giving you some scroll
For around US$99, The Delta SS250 is a great
scroll saw for almost all non-production purposes and even for
some small production purposes as well if suitable for the task.
It is an ideal saw for the beginner, and despite the small issue
with the air blower and a need for an external light source, it
offers excellent value for money. Recommended!
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Delta 16" Photos
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written permission prohibited
Nicely machined round and flat working
Powered By a quiet
1/4 HP induction motor.
Left tilting table: 0 - 45 degrees.
The handy tool caddy.
Table angle gauge and
Rubber feet shown here front and back (and more on other
side) help dampen vibrations when saw is clamped or bolted down
to a table.
Quickset II System:
A - Global Tension Knob
B - Tension Release Lever
C - Chuck Release Lever
The integrated dust blower is only really effective at full
The ON/OFF Switch and variable speed control. You may
even notice the holes in front of the switch to attach a special padlock
for additional safety.
Scroll Saws are great tools and can be used for a
variety of purposes. Here is a quick scroll saw project I am part way
through, cut on the Delta SS250 Scroll Saw.