The Excalibur brand of power tools is a top choice for woodworking professionals and enthusiasts. Since the first Excalibur scroll saw rolled off the production line in 1982 at the headquarters of original manufacturer Sommerville Design, Excalibur have established their reputation as an industry leader.
Innovative design and quality construction are synonymous with all Excalibur products. Industry giant, General International, acquired Sommerville Design in 2003. Rebranded as “Excalibur by General International,” Excalibur products are one of the most successful brands under the company’s umbrella.
General International continue to design and build outstanding woodworking tools based on a proud heritage of quality, innovation, and functionality. The company’s Asian manufacturing partners build every Excalibur product to stringent design standards, and each unit is quality inspected before shipment from the factory floor.
We reviewed the flagship scroll saw models from Excalibur in this review. If you’re considering investing in this woodworking equipment, use this information to make an informed purchase decision.
The Excalibur Scroll Saw – Essential Carpentry Tools
Scroll saws are essential equipment for any carpenter that plans on cutting beautiful, unique designs into their woodworking projects. The art form of scrolling transforms the manufacturing and design process of your woodworking projects. This bench-mounted power tool allows for detailed, precision cutting of wood, metal, or plastic.
Jigsaws are a favorite tool for cutting intricate designs. However, they lack control and precision when operating at high speeds, or cutting thick materials. Scroll saws give the carpenter improved handling and control of the blade and the material cut. Scroll saws come as a complete bench unit, and many offer the following features as standard on all models:
- 16 and 21-inch models are standard sizes for scroll saws, measured by the distance between body and blade.
- Built-in work light for improved visibility during low-light conditions.
- A sawdust blower keeps debris away from the working area.
- Variable speed control for efficient bevel and compound cutting of a variety of materials.
- Tilting head for enhanced control of materials during cutting.
- Tool-free blade change improves artisan and workshop productivity.
We reviewed the two most popular scroll saws from the Excalibur range, the 16-inch, and 21-inch scroll saw models. We based our review on the above criteria as well as the table size, operation, and versatility of use.
The Excalibur Scroll Saw
We recommend the Excalibur scroll saw for any scrolling project you have lined up. This piece of kit has everything you would expect in a top-quality power tool product from a leading manufacturer. Here’s what you can expect in design and performance from both the 16-inch and 21-inch models.
Cutting Table and Tilting Head
The most innovative feature of this saw is its tilting head. The design provides operators with a stable platform when cutting at an angle. Most scroll saws require the carpenter to tilt the table for angled cuts. However, the entire head of the Excalibur scroll saw tilts 45º to the right or 38° left (for 21″) 30° left (for 16″) giving the operator enhanced control over the machine and materials during operation.
The cutting table for both models features thick, folded steel fabrications suited for industrial use. The blade arm lever feels slightly over-engineered, but any carpenter will appreciate the heavy-duty feel in their hands during winding.
Operators have enhanced control of materials and the ability to produce safe and accurate cuts in wood, plastic or metal. The upper and lower parallel arms are designed for industrial use, keeping the blade straight during the cut while preventing any deflection that could take the cut off-course.
Power up the saw by clicking the rubber “on-off” switch and adjust the variable speed control for precision cutting while working with different materials.
Tilt the blade arm up to 35° left, or up to 45° right, with the large twist knob and hold it in place with the locking lever. For industrial use, consider purchasing the optional steel stand for improved stability and vibration reduction.
The saws draw their power from adjustable brush motors that alter horizontal oscillation. Setting up the saw is easy. Fit a pin-less blade between the clamps, tighten the clamps with lock knobs and adjust the blade tension to suit. The tensioning lever confines the movement mechanism to the very front of the machine, improving safety and control during use.
Turn the variable selector knob to select your speed setting for the grade of material to be cut before activating the machine by hitting the rubber “on-off” switch. The safety features include a removable top and bottom wire guard to protect your fingers. The segmented blower fitted under the table extracts debris through holes in the blade area to the dust bag.
Both scroll saw models start up quickly and silently, with the most intriguing operating feature being the lack of vibration that you would expect from using this powerful tool. The machine effortlessly cuts wood and plastic, with very little vibrational feedback through the blade into the material.
Keep spare blades on hand by using the convenient holders for blade tubes located at the side of the machine.
The Excalibur Scroll Saw 21 inch (Excalibur – EX-21)
- 13-1/2-inch x 23-1/2-inch table surface.
- 21-inch throat capacity.
- 2-inch maximum cutting depth.
- Suited for industrial use.
- Professional build quality.
- Cuts through the most robust materials.
- Pin-less blades as standard.
- Large tilting table surface.
- Well priced for a DIY machine.
The Excalibur Scroll Saw 16 inch (Excalibur – EX-16)
- 16-inch throat capacity.
- 2-inch cutting depth.
- 12-inch x 18-1/2-inch cutting table.
- Reliable for a smaller machine.
- Suits carpentry enthusiasts or hobby use.
- Versatile operation.
- Noisy mechanism.
- Expensive, but good value for money.
Comparing the Two Excalibur Scroll Saws
Both scroll saw models include the following features:
- Unique “tilting head” design tilts 30° left for 16″, 38° for 21″ and 45° right.
- 120-Volt 1.3-Amp constant torque permanent magnet motor.
- Quick release blade clamps, no tools required.
- On-board cutting light for low-light operation.
- Easily accessible adjustable tension and speed controls.
- Variable speed control: 400 to 1400 strokes per minute.
- Dust collector kit enables direct dust extraction with built-in dust blower.
- Upper and lower blade guard assembly prevent unintentional injury.
- Prevent accidental start-up with the switch protection device.
- Organized blade storage system.
- Includes a limited lifetime warranty.
- Standard 2-year Limited Warranty.
- Operation manual.
Both scroll saws feature innovative design and quality construction components that ensure a long and productive service life. The powerful motor cuts through various grades of materials without hanging up or losing power during operation.
While both machines are highly functional and accurate, we feel that there is a clear difference between the tools regarding end-user and operating conditions.
Excalibur built the 16-inch with the hobbyist carpenter in mind. It’s more compact than the 21-inch version making it easy to transport between job sites and an ideal choice for mobile workshops.
The 21-inch will serve as the ideal machine for heavy-duty use in workshops and commercial applications. For superior operating performance, we recommend you purchase the adjustable steel stand. The stand provides added support and vibration dampening while allowing you to set up the machine anywhere in your workshop.
Where to Buy the Excalibur Scroll Saw Series
General International distribute the Excalibur range of scroll saws through their network of authorized resellers and agents. The best way to order your Excalibur scroll saw is through a reputable online dealer with guaranteed shipping services.
Online retailers lack the overheads and operating expenses of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, so you can expect to get a better deal online.
Does the Excalibur Make the Cut? – Comparing Other Scroll Saws
The Excalibur series by General International is the gold standard of scroll saws. While they may be slightly more expensive than other brands, they offer a level of quality and operating perfection that can’t be beaten by any other manufacturer.
If we had to choose one competitor to the Excalibur series, it would be the Jet 727200K scroll saw. This saw features a compact design, raised work surface, and foot switch. Operators can adjust the stand to 4 different heights using the leveling feet – 24-3/4″, 26-3/4″, 28-3/4″ or 31-3/4″.
With its 5-year limited warranty, the Jet is a product worth considering. However, we feel that the adjustable tilting table of the Excalibur series makes it a superior machine. Coupled with convenient features, such as the quick-release blade system, outstanding safety features, and a lower price tag, the Excalibur is the better deal.
Wrapping Up – A Quick Summary
- Excalibur has over 35-years’ experience in manufacturing premium quality scroll saws.
- Backed by one of the world’s most reputable and respected tooling giants; General International.
- Unique design and safety features for enhanced operator performance.
- Available in 16-inch and 21-inch models for industrial and DIY use.
- Variable speed operation for cutting any material.
- Tension control for maximum blade cutting efficiency.
- Well priced in comparison to competitors.
- Available online from authorized resellers and agents.
The Excalibur scroll saw series from General International offers a complete solution for any DIY or industrial scrolling application. Benefit from advanced design technology backed by a limited warranty. For the best scroll saw at the best price, choose an Excalibur.