dewalt dw788 scroll saw problems

3 Common Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw Problems [Solutions Included]

The Dewalt DW788 scroll saw is a popular choice among woodworkers for its combination of features, performance, and durability. However, even the best tools have their issues. The most common Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw problems that you can face are:

  • Inconsistent speed control
  • Inaccurate cuts
  • Faulty switch issues

There are several other Dewalt DW788 scroll saw problems that require your attention. To know all about them and their effective solutions, make sure you read the whole article.

Common Problems with Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw & Fixes

While using the Dewalt DW788 scroll, you can witness several problems. In the following table, we have summarized the reasons and quick solutions for those problems. 

Inconsistent speed controlNot Being Dust ProofClean the tool or replace the speed control potentiometer
Inaccurate cutsMisalignment with the tableCheck and adjust the table 
Faulty Switch IssuesLack of protection from dustInstall a foot switch

However, there’s more to it. To know details about each reason and solution, read along. We have carefully analyzed the problems and explained the solutions in detail.

Inconsistent Speed Control

Problem 1: Inconsistent Speed Control

You may experience erratic behavior with the speed control of the Dewalt DW788 scroll saw. When adjusting the speed, the saw may run too fast or stop entirely.

Reason 1: Not Being Dust Proof

This particular saw is not sawdust-proof, and it can accumulate dirt easily. This can lead to erratic behavior. 


  • Cleaning the tool is the first solution. You should try turning it back and forth several times or use compressed air to clean it. The side panel housing the speed control needs to be removed for effective cleaning.
  • If cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue, you need to replace the speed control potentiometer. DeWalt sells the entire speed control electronics board, but the potentiometer alone can be purchased from electronics supply stores for a fraction of the cost.

Reason 2: Broken Fuse

If the fuse is faulty, it can lead the saw to stop entirely.


Verify if the fuse is intact and check the foot switch functionality. Directly plugging the saw into the outlet without the foot switch can help diagnose the issue.

Problem 2: Inaccurate Cuts 

Inaccurate Cuts

Sometimes the accuracy of the cuts can be compromised, leading to difficulties in maintaining the desired shapes, especially in intricate projects.

Reason 1: Misalignment With the Table

Table misalignment can disrupt the user’s cutting experience. 


  • Check and adjust the table to ensure it is square with the blade, addressing potential deflection issues.
  • If misalignment is identified, inserting washers at the appropriate mounts can help correct the front-to-back alignment.

Reason 2: Play in the Pivot Arms

The amount of play in the upper and lower pivot arms affects the stability and precision of the cuts.


  • Consider adjusting the upper and lower pivot arms for a tighter fit.
  • Ensure that all screws holding the pivot arms are securely tightened to minimize any unwanted movement.

Bonus: While thinking of precision, you should also know how to sharpen saw blade

Problem 3: Faulty Switch Issues

Due to lack of proper maintenance, the switch of this saw malfunctions impacting the saw’s functionality.

Reason 1: Lack of Protection from Dust

The scroll saw, when not in use, might not have sufficient protection to prevent sawdust from entering the switch area.


  • Consider installing a foot switch as an alternative control method. This reduces exposure of the primary switch to sawdust.
  • Cover the original switch with a plastic bag when not in use to shield it from sawdust, preventing potential malfunctions.

Reason 2: Wear and Tear

Over time switches can undergo wear and tear, affecting their reliability.


  • In cases of irreparable damage or wear, ordering a new switch is a practical solution.
  • Incorporate regular switch maintenance, such as cleaning and inspection, to prolong its lifespan and prevent unexpected failures.

Pro Tip: For ultimate efficiency, check out these amazing saws suitable for precise cutting.

Tips to Prevent Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw Problems

To avoid frequent issues with your Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw, it’s important to perform regular maintenance. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Always unplug the saw before making any adjustments or repairs.
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions and troubleshooting advice.
  • Use genuine Dewalt parts for repairs.
  • Clean and lubricate the saw regularly to prevent problems.
  • Store the saw in a dry, safe place when not in use.


Why Does My Scroll Saw Blade Keep Breaking?

There are several potential reasons for scroll saw blade breakage, such as using an inappropriate blade for the material, excessive blade tension, or feeding the material too quickly.

What Is The Best Thickness For A Scroll Saw?

For most home users, scroll saws with a 16- or 18-inch capacity are ideal. The depth of cut typically ranges between 1 ¾ and 2 ¼ inches.

Can You Adjust The Speed On A Scroll Saw?

The saw’s speed can be adjusted by turning the adjustment knob, with manufacturers measuring speed in strokes per minute (SPM).

Closing Words

Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw problems require regular maintenance and proper care to avoid issues. 

Problems such as inconsistent speed control, inaccurate cuts, and faulty switch issues

are quite common. However, you can easily resolve these problems by following our guidelines in this article.

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