Copyright 2019
Tidewater Woodworking GuildSite by President:Jim Francis Vice President: Scott Fell Treasurer:Greg Guertin

TWWWG Heading imageman glitter
September 2019
Weekend woodworking projects or football?
Web Links At the Meeting Last Meeting Notes Tip of the Month Editors Notes
Product Reviews

What's In The Newsletter

  • Presidents Report & Program Info
  • Elections
  • Scroll Saw Blades
  • Is The Radial Arm Saw Dead?

From the President ...

 Happy September from west of the Missouri River (i.e. Wyoming, Washington, etc.)!  Bow season is in and the deer and elk are migrating to safer spots in the Big Horn Mountains.  In addition, the drop in temperatures is making sleeping under the weight of many blankets a treat.  To celebrate these occurrences, we'll have our annual picnic (6:00 PM) at Pat Lester's house on our regular meeting night.  Cost is $3 per person, and the Guild will pick up what the fee doesn't cover.  In addition, Pat could use some help setting up and cooking.  If you've got the time, please give him a call to volunteer.  In addition, please let him know that you'll be coming so that he can buy an adequate amount of food.  Pats address is 1450 Plantation Lakes Circle, Chesapeake, VA.  If you have not already done so, please RSVP to Pat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The program for this month will feature Dan Krum on the topic of vacuum clamping systems; should be an informative session.  For those that don't know Dan, he's spent a fair amount of time at Marc Adams' School of Woodworking, so he's acquired a significant amount of skill.  Finally, please spend some time thinking and talking about the November officer elections; we need a new president.  Thanks, and see you soon.

Jim Francis

   Return to Top


 It’s time to start thinking about who the next president of the guild will be for this position.  Jim Francis, current president, has served his three terms in a row and must step down. Also, since our last meeting, Scott Fell is going to have to step down as Vice President and Greg Guertin as Treasurer.  That means that we need to come up with a whole new slate of candidates for the 2020 calendar year!  It’s YOUR guild and it is in need of leadership for next year.  Please think very much about the guild, its future and direction as you contemplate stepping forward as a candidate for one of the positions.  This needs to be done in September as our by-laws specify that the candidates for these positions need to be introduced in the October newsletter.  For your reference I have copied out the responsibilities of these positions from the by-laws


The President shall have general charge and supervision of the affairs and property of the TWWWG, subject to such rules and regulations as may from time to time be made by the Executive Board. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Guild and Executive Board and shall be an ex-officio member of all committees. He/She shall appoint committee Chairmen, where not expressly assigned in these Bylaws.


The Vice President shall preside in the absence of the President, shall assume the duties of the President upon a vacancy in that office, and shall have such powers and perform such duties as may from time to time be prescribed by the President, or the Executive Board. The Vice-President shall be the Chairman of the Program Committee.

In the event that both offices of President and Vice-President should become vacant or those officers are absent or incapacitated to act, the Executive Board shall elect one of their members to fill the vacancy in the office of President.


The Treasurer shall be responsible for the receipt, disbursement and custody of all membership fees [annual dues] and other monies belonging to the TWWWG. The Treasurer shall receive all monies and bills, and similar property belonging to the TWWWG and safely keep the same in the name of the Tidewater Woodworkers Guild, depositing all monies to the credit of the TWWWG in such depositories as may be designated by the Executive Board. He/she will make current disbursements prescribed by the President or Executive Board, [see monetary limits, below], shall keep such financial records as may be required by the Executive Board as well as make an annual report and such other reports as may be prescribed by the Executive Board. The TWWWG shall pay all authorized expenses of the Treasurer incurred on behalf of the Guild. The books of the Treasurer shall at all times be open to inspection by the members of the Executive Board.

  Return to Top

 Scroll Saw Blades

 I was looking at Karl’s posting of his Christmas tree scroll saw project that is now on our web site under TIPS and became very interest in it because it was a simple project to build for the holidays.  From our September meeting date of the 23rd of this month it will be only 92 days before Christmas and I, the procrastinator, need to get going on holiday projects before burning the midnight oil in December.  This brought me to the realization that since I own a scroll saw I know nothing about scroll saw blades.  I thought the only differences between blades was teeth count and if they have a pin or not.  So what is a 7R or 8R scroll saw blade?  For those not into scroll saws I thought this would be a good primer on the various blades.  I found this information on the Olson Saw Companies web site and will provide you with the condensed version of the chart.


PGT – Precision Ground Teeth

PGT® blades have razor sharp reverse teeth with widely spaced gullets for cutting straighter, faster, smoother, more accurately. PGT’s minimize burning & provide the ultimate sandfreesplinterless finish with a clean edge. Double tooth style is especially good for hardwoods.

Crown Tooth

Unique Crown Tooth blades cut on both up and down strokes. Two way cutting action provides a smooth, splinterless finish, and clean edges. When worn, the blade can be turned over for cutting with a fresh set of teeth!

Reverse Tooth

Reverse Tooth blades have skip style teeth and reverse teeth that eliminate underside tearout and provide a smooth, splinter-free finish.

Flat End Spiral

Flat End Spiral blades are the same as regular spiral blades, but with flat ends for easier blade installation and retention.


Spiral blades saw in all directions with 360º cutting capability. Excellent for 0º radius scroll/fret work – no need to turn the workpiece. Bevel cut letters and numbers.

Mach Speed

Precision milled Mach blades have widely spaced gullets that minimize burning and provide rapid chip removal. Reverse teeth cut on the upstroke and eliminate underside tearout.

Skip Tooth

Skip tooth blades are excellent for fast cuts that provide smooth finishes and good chip clearance. Universal No. 3/0 – 5 blade sizes can be used to cut cold rolled steel, copper, brass, aluminum sheet and bronze. Soft metal up to 1/8″ thick can be cut easily, whether single sheets or several thin sheets in a stack cut.

Pin End

Pin End scroll saw blades are for machines that require 5″ pin end blades. They are perfect for Sears Craftsman, Penn State, Delta, Ryobi and all 15″ and 16″ imported scroll saws that require pin end blades.

Double Tooth

Double tooth blades have two teeth together followed by a flat space for efficient chip removal. They cut fast, leaving clean edges in wood and plastic.

Regular Tooth

For general purpose cutting.  Use lower numbers for tighter radii and higher numbers for more general purpose cuts.



Is The Radial Arm Saw Dead?

 A few weeks ago I was in my attic with my son looking at all of the various pieces of lumber that he has “stored” there in anticipation of building some project.  You see, he is an architect and it takes him several years to draw up plans for me to build his project, hence the pile of lumber just sits in the attic.  Anyway, while he was looking at the lumber I was looking at a 10” Craftsman radial arm saw that was given to me about 10 years ago.  The saw is in working order and I even have the new base that I received from the product recall to bring the saw into safety compliance.  One day I will get it out of the attic and fully restore it to its original condition but as I thought more and more about the saw I said to myself that I do not see them being sold in stores any more.  That led me to do a little research to see if the radial arm saw was really dead or was it just my imagination?

The radial arm saw was invented by Raymond Elmer DeWalt and patented and sold as the Wonder-Worker radial arm saw in 1925.  It was an extremely popular saw and by 1978 Sears under the Craftsman name had sold over 2 million radial arm saws.  I don’t have figures of how many were sold by DeWalt, Delta, Black & Decker, Rockwell and other manufacturers but there were certainly a lot.  So when did the saw loose its popularity?

The saw had its pluses and minuses.  On the plus side it can crosscut and make miters, but it also can be set up to cut other joinery, like dadoes.  On the minus side it can be finicky to set up and keep square but perhaps the greatest complaint against the saw was the blade rotation.  The blade rotation is toward the user and in the hands of someone not used to using one it can cause the motor and blade to walk quickly across the top of the work piece toward the operator!

The last tool review I can find on the radial arm saw dates back to a Fine Woodworking article in August of 2002.  In fact, Fine Woodworking wrote an editorial back in July of 2010 by Tom McKenna called “Is The Radial Arm Saw On Its Last Legs?”

In 1964 Rockwell International introduced the first miter saw or as it is now commonly called, the chop saw.  While there is a technical difference between a chop saw (downward 90 degree cut only) and a miter saw (mitered cuts and compound angle cuts), these saws started to eat into the popularity of the radial arm saw.  One of the big reasons for the popularity of the miter saw was that Rockwell decided not to patent the saw and hence many manufacturers jumped on the band wagon.  One of the big selling points of the miter saw was that the blade rotation was away from the operator as opposed to toward the operator in the radial arm saw.  The miter saws also evolved into sliding compound miter saws with both 10” and 12” blade combinations.  A 12” compound miter saw could now do most of the work that a radial arm saw could accomplish.

As we move into the modern era, DeWalt, Delta, Black & Decker, Rockwell, or Craftsman no longer offer the radial arm saw for sale.  So is the product dead?  There is but a single U.S. company still making the radial arm saw: the Original Saw Co. of Britt, Iowa. Two Italian-made models, manufactured by Maggi and Omga, are imported by U.S. distributors, but annual sales are now measured in the hundreds, not the thousands.  The Original Saw Co. bought rights to the DeWalt design—everything but the DeWalt name—from Lancaster Machinery and opened shop in 1990. It proudly carries on a legacy now nearly a century old.  Even though these new models are pricey, starting around $4,800, sales of these units are on the increase.  So who buys these units?  Well you will not see these radial arm saws on the Saturday DIY shows but take a look at some of the cabinet shops.  These units typically are equipped with a 12” blade and a 3 horsepower motor and a 24” crosscut capacity, perfect for a shop that frequently cuts kitchen counters and other wide, heavy materials.  The other big markets for these saws include the big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes.  These stores do not sell the saw but employees use them to cut lumber for customers.

    Return to Top

Joomla Template: from JoomlaShack