Eclipse Review:                                                                  

At the Pontiac 2002 picnic I purchased an Eclipse. So now I can help answer more of the questions about it. Also had the opportunity to get pictures of the inside of the saw.

DSCN0006.JPG (110734 bytes) DSCN0003.JPG (112252 bytes) DSCN0005.JPG (80979 bytes) DSCN0011.JPG (122691 bytes) See a mpeg of the saw inside running HERE


My post on the WOOD Discussion group Board

I have tried the Eclipse at one of the picnics. It is a smooth running saw and quiet. It appears to be built for heavy duty use, but also uses the weight to dampen the vibration. But it uses the same blade stroke as the old rigid arm spring loaded saws. This does not allow the sawdust to clear form the cut as well as today's saws. The 1 1/2" stroke makes it hard to use the reverse tooth blades, that are designed for a 5/8" stroke. The top speed of the saw is slow which helps keep down the vibration, but also makes the cutting rate slow too. This is not a problem for those who do not cut for pay, but for their own enjoyment. The large control head on the top arm seems to obstruct vision of the work piece , and overhead lighting.


Email from Tony Burns:

Rick, i question your review on the Eclipse Saw. I own two of them and i use them for commercial cutting. Your observations on the saw are way out in left field- there speed may seem slower but with there increased longer stroke , they cut even faster than 9 out of ten saws- The only 3 saws in the world that cut this fast are the Hegner Polymax , the Old style Delta C arm ( US made model ) and the Eclipse.( I put the delta here because of its agressive cutting C arm action- even thou its kills blades quickly.) I have found that with its practically perfect up and down motion that i can cut almost flawlessly detail better than any other saw .You should run that Eclipse of yours more than just using it as a part of your collection - its made to take a lickin and keep on ticking. I feel its the finest built saw in the world. I hope i haven't offended you , I think your a super guy-- anyone who loves scrollsaws as much as you do cant be all bad.



Email sent to me by John Polhemus with a better review of the saw:

Subject: Your Eclipse reply
   Date:  Sat, 15 Apr 2000 08:15:37 -0700
   From: John Polhemus <>

Hello Rick,

As Joanne said, I know you're a dedicted Delta man. That's fine, I guess everybody is dedicated to whatever saw they believe in. I switched to the Eclipse, for the reasons below.

You're entitled to your opinions of course, as am I, but your reply to Chuck made statements that just aren't true. My reply won't fit the space allowed for posting so I Emailed it to Chuck.

As a courtesy, I am sending it to you as well. Please don't consider it an attack on you or Delta. Your fretwork is beautiful, It's a credit to you and your Delta.
Rick's reply about the Eclipse voices opinions that, while he is certainly entitled to, are based in part on assumptions and do not present the facts about the Eclipse. I now own the saw he cut on at the 1999 IL picnic.

I should qualify (perhaps disqualify?) my comments about the Eclipse. After intensively investigating the Eclipse with an open mind, I have become quite biased in favor of it. Ernie Mellon and I have also become close friends. I paid the full price for my saw, just as anyone else will pay.

I do not, have not or plan to receive compensation of any kind for my endorsement or sales referred by me. I am not in any way connected to Eclipse other than owning one, being a friend of Ernie's and wanting to help him succeed.

I first heard about the Eclipse prototype when my wife got back from the 1997 PA picnic where Ernie first introduced it. I doubted her impression of it, even after talking with Ernie on the phone in great detail about the saw a few days after the picnic. I didn't see and try it myself until
The 1998 PA picnic. I was impressed by the saw and Ernie allowed me to spend several Saturdays after the picnic cutting anything I cared to bring to his shop. I became convinced it was the saw for me. In time, he allowed me to take the prototype home while he worked on the production model, which was finished just before the 1999 IL picnic.

The following are quotes from Rick's reply followed by my comments on them.

"It appears to be built for heavy duty use, but also uses the weight to dampen the vibration. But it uses the same blade stroke as the old ridgid arm spring loaded saws. This does not allow the sawdust to clear form the cut as well as todays saws."

The Eclipse does bear a resemblance to the old rigid arm saws. Likely , that's why he assumes it "uses the same blade stroke as the ... Spring loaded saws." It is however true constant tension saw, not spring loaded. The weight of the thick wall cast aluminum frame does dampen vibration
But its chief purpose is to provide rigidity that surpasses that found in any other scroll saw. The rigidity of all saws depends on the blade holder mountings, the material and construction of the arms, and how it's all supported. The movable mass of the arms creates much of the vibration
All manufactures must counter balance. This movable mass does not exist in the Eclipse. The total weight of all the moving parts (excluding the motor of course) is just under one pound, less than what one arm on some saws weight. I don't know why he assumes the sawdust doesn't clear from the cut. A considerable amount of the work I do involves backing the blade through
The kerf just sawn. I've never had any problem whatsoever with sawdust blocking the kerf.
"The 1 1/2" stroke makes it hard to use the reverse tooth blades, that are designed for a 5/8" stroke."

The tables cutting surface height relative to the bottom of the blade in the full up stroke determines if the reverse teeth extend above the table Oscillating Loop Drive System:
The easiest way to describe this unique patented drive system is to compare it to the blade on a band saw. If you remove the cover from a band saw and rotate one of the wheels back and forth, the blade moves up and down, it becomes an 'oscillating loop'. On the Eclipse, the 'oscillating loop' is formed by the blade clamped in the blade holders which are connected by a toothed belt that travels within the frame of the saw. The toothed belt can't slip because of the matching teeth on the pulleys and drive hub. The belt will not stretch and is rated to withstand 400 lbs.

Rigid, thick wall, cast aluminum frame:
A major component in providing the extreme rigidity and superior performance of the ECLIPSE. The rigidity of conventionally designed saws is dependent on the blade holder mountings, the material and construction of their arms, and how it's all supported. The moving mass of the arms must be counter balanced to minimize vibration. This movable mass does not exist in the  ECLIPSE saw. Instead of moving parallel arms, C arm or link drive components that cause much of the vibration in other saw designs, the ultra-light Oscillating Drive Loop System makes the ECLIPSE nearly vibration free. (see Low reciprocating weight: below)

True vertical blade travel:
The ultimate control in tight and delicate cutting. No elliptical motion at all. The elliptical motion that exists in movable arm saws is a law of physics, it can be minimized by stroke length and pivot action, but not eliminated. Tight and delicate work is easily damaged by this motion.
While this motion is not much of a problem with simple cutting, it too is much more enjoyable without it.
1-1/2 inch stroke:
This stroke length uses 50% or more of the blade (depending on a saws stroke length) than most saws. More teeth clear the work on each stroke, so more sawdust is ejected. The long stroke length reduces heat and extends blade life. To demonstrate, rub your hands together in fast short
strokes. Friction gets pretty hot doesn't it? Now rub your hands together with longer and slower strokes. Much cooler with just as much or more distance that your hands travel. A slower speed with the longer stroke achieves a greater cutting rate than other saws running full speed. Example: a saw with a 7/8 inch stroke running at 1750 strokes per minute will have 1531
inches of blade travel per minute (.875 x 1750 = 1531). An ECLIPSE would only need to run 1021 strokes per minute to achieve the same rate (1.5 x 1021 = 1531). Of course, if you want to run the ECLIPSE at the factory set limit of 1350 strokes per minute you'll increase your inches of blade travel to 2025 (1.5 x 1350 = 2025). Most saws have a stroke length of only 1/2 to 7/8 of an inch. Increasing their stroke length results in significantly greater vibration and elliptical motion. Excessive elliptical motion will cause out of square cuts in turns and tight radiuses, especially in thicker stock. It also makes backing the blade into a corner an exercise in futility.

Automatic shut off:
Break a blade on any other scroll saw, what happens? A loud bang and terrible clatter till you shut it off. Scares you every time no matter how long you've been a cutter. Do it while cutting in public and everyone jumps! It tends to really annoy the vendors in the booths around you
too. The upper arm and broken blade stop moving on some saws, while the bottom arm keeps clattering. On other saws both arms and broken blade keep going. Break a blade on the ECLIPSE and there's no bang, no clatter, no people jumping (including you) it just shuts itself off before you even realize you broke a blade. No lie!  This and the next feature will make it the only saw you'll want to do shows with.

Exposed moving parts:
Except for the blade and blade holders, there are no exposed moving parts. Typical scroll saws have a few places you need to keep an eye on when cutting in public at shows, or at home for that matter. A finger in the hole through the deck for the pitman arm, a hand stuck between the arm
And table, both can yield a big pinch and a big law suit. Not a problem on the ECLIPSE.

Up front, eye level controls panel:
All controls, on / off, variable speed, light and hour meter are mounted in an easy to see and use place, right in front of your face where they should be.

Up front tensioning lever:
Makes piercing work quick and easy, just flip the lever to remove and restore tension. Built in stops in the blade clamps assure that the same tension is maintained with each piercing cut. A built in limit switch will not allow the saw to turn on when the tension is off.

Soft touch adjustable blade clamp lever:
Ever get sore fingers from loosening and tightening the upper blade clamp when doing a lot of pierce work? This lever requires just a gentle bit of pressure to tighten. The lever is also adjustable so you can have it point where you want it to when the saw is running. Ernie chose to use a cap
Head screw to clamp the lower end of the blade. The clearance under the table is better that way, it's a bit lighter than a knob or lever would be (less vibration to counter) and you don't need to loosen and tighten it all the time like the upper one anyway. The supplied wrench loosens it.

Table insert:
Removed, provides clear unobstructed view of table tilt scale and lower blade holder for blade changing from above the table. Flip the insert over and a recess in the insert will accept a disc of 1/8" scrap wood or plexiglass to provide zero clearance when you need it.

Unobstructed blade changing:
The large table insert hole is positioned mostly forward of the blade. Removing the table insert provides a clear view of the lower blade holder and table tilt scale from above the table. The table tilt trunnions are both behind the blade holder assembly so nothing but open space and a Clear view makes changing the blade as simple as it can possibly be.

Easy view table tilt scale:
The indicator and scale are set off center and to the side of the lower blade holder housing and is easily viewed from above the table through the table insert hole. Table tilts 45 degrees left or right.

Table tilt mechanism:
True double trunnion and cradle tilt system. My dictionary defines a trunnion as the projection from a part that rests in a matching cradle so the part can pivot. On the ECLIPSE, the trunnions and cradles are machined to fit each other exactly. A locking bar spanning the distance between
The two trunnions pulls them down firmly into the cradles, creating pressure the entire length of the mated surfaces for a rock solid table. The surface of the table is the true tilt axis. What is commonly found on most other saws would be more accurately defined as a pintle tilt system. My
dictionary defines a pintle as a bolt or pin on which another part turns, in this case, the saw table. Often, the front pintle also serves to lock the table in the desired position. This gives only a very small area of pressure, the area immediately beneath the head of the pintle to hold the table in place. Additionally, the play in the slot that travels over the pintle makes maintaining the table lock difficult. Many saws appear at first glance to have trunnion and cradle type pivots, but are really pintle type pivots.
Thick oversized cast iron table:
Large oversized support area for large delicate cuttings. Acts as a counter weight for the rigid casting of the saw frame, preventing the saw from being top heavy. The cast iron dampens the sound of the materials being cut as well. Aluminum or thin tables can be quite noisy and irritating.

Built in mini Halogen work light:
The well placed adjustable lamp, about the size of your thumb, puts a bright field of light right where you want it without getting in the way. The bulb is rated for 8,000 hours and produces unnoticed heat.

Adjustable segmented air blower line:
Blows the dust away from you instead of in your face. 90 degree angle at the end of the air line means the line won't  block your view by curving in front of the blade. The air line can be set unobtrusively to either side of the blade.

Hour meter:
How long did that job take? Turn the power to the saw on with the keyed switch, do your prep work, cut the piece and check the meter. Helps in pricing your work. Meter stops when the keyed switch is turned off, continues when turned back on. Handy for jobs that take more than a day. A reset button clears the meter for the next job.

Piston air pump and check valve:
The piston air pump with it's Teflon compression ring and check valve to prevent back flow of sawdust outperforms and outlasts bellows type pumps. Loss of elasticity, pin holes, cracks and dry rot of rubber or plastic bellows are not problems experienced with a piston pump.

20 inch throat:
Ample for nearly any job. Larger than most popular low to mid range saws. Higher ranged saws have similar throat depths. The space it takes up in the shop or show booth is appealing as well.

7 permanently lubricated sealed needle bearings:
Sealed needle bearings throughout the drive system provide superior support and longer life than  ball bearings. Obviously, they're also superior to the oil impregnated bushings found in many saws.

4 space age ceramic bearings:
The upper and lower blade holders travel in ceramic bearings, spaced to provide maximum support. Each blade holder and ceramic bearing assembly is wick lubricated with an independent, easily filled and viewed bubble window reservoir. This system provides a metered, drip free lubrication to the bearings and blade holders that requires only a minimal amount of attention from the operator.

Low reciprocating weight:
The vibration causing enemy of any machine. The combined weight of all the moving parts (excluding the the motor of course) is under 1 lb. That's less than just one arm on a lot of saws!

Simply the smoothest:
Not an idle claim. This saw runs so smooth you can balance pennies on their edges while it runs.

Sturdy adjustable height stand:
1 1/2 inch box steel legs. Heavy duty industrial grade feet with three inch adjustment range.

Real key lock power switch:
Not only does this keep the kids from messing with your saw, the real key instead of a plastic plug makes your wife (or husband) have to use your old saw unless they're a locksmith.and serve their purpose. They do on the Eclipse. The 1 1/12" stroke length means 50% or more  of the blade (depending on a saws stroke length) is used for cutting and has nothing to do with the design of reverse tooth blades.

"The top speed of the saw is slow which helps keep down the vibration, but also makes the cutting rate slow too.  This is not a problem for those who do not cut for pay, but for their own enjoyment."

Of course that helps counter vibration, but the cutting rate is faster. He mentions a 5/8" stroke above. On a saw running at 1750 strokes per minute, there will be 1093.75 inches of blade travel per minute (.625 x 1750 = 1093.75). The Eclipse has a 1 1/2" stroke and 1350 strokes per minute
For 2025 inches of blade travel per minute (1.5 x 1350 = 2025). I do cut for pay and this significantly greater cutting rate is an enjoyment.

"The large control head on the top arm seems to obstruct vision of the workpiece , and overhead lighting."

I noticed that the tables cutting surface of Rick's saw at the picnic was higher than The Eclipse's. If the Eclipse were raised to the same height the prefers, the upper frame wouldn't obstruct his vision. Because of a disability, I prefer it even lower than it was at the picnic, as I cut
sitting in an executives office chair. Ernie accommodated my needs by making shorter legs for my saw. Ms. Lockwood noted in her reply that Ernie invited her opinion of his saw and redesigned the hold down based on her suggestions. Ernie invited Rick's opinion as well. The built in light fixture was redesigned and made adjustable to suit the user as a result of Rick's comments at the 1999 IL picnic. The table insert has also been redesigned based on the invited opinion of another professional cutter, Tony Burns. The motive behind the design and construction of the Eclipse was to create a saw for professional cutters, with their input, built to
standards no other saw manufacturer adheres to because it would interfere with profits.

"I have tried the Eclipse at one of the picnics. It is a smooth running saw and quiet."

OK, I admit he's right about that!

The following is a review I wrote on the Eclipse:
The ECLIPSE Scroll Saw features and advantages Uncompromised design and construction
for the serious and professional scroll sawyer Concept, patented design and construction by

Ernie C. Mellon
11700 Lock Lane
New Kent, VA  23124
804-779-3549 (voice or fax)

Current price $1,495
A review by John Polhemus, JP Woodworks

"Mr. Mellon is a Master Industrial Machinist who retired early from a major telecommunications corporation to pursue his desire to design and produce the ECLIPSE scroll saw, manufactured to standards unmatched by any other manufacturer of scroll saws. Ernie is also an accomplished scroll sawyer and carver, well acquainted with the needs and demands of todays scroll sawyers. His attention to details such as controls placement, unobstructed blade changing and clear view of the table tilt scale, viewed from above the table, are just a few of the most visible features that set his saw apart from all others. The quality inside, not readily visible, also testifies to his commitment to uncompromiseable standards. This saw will be passed down for generations to come." - John Polhemus, JP Woodworks Waldorf, MD  301-843-7380