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  • Scroll saw vs band saw

    Hi,

    I know there have been a few posts about this very question which I have read with interest...

    Essentially a scroll saw has the advantage for tight curves and internal cuts etc...

    The bandsaw has the prime advantage of being able to deal with larger pieces of wood etc...

    Is there a size limit where people would not use a bandsaw due to the proximity of hands to the blade for example?

    If you were working on a piece which had only external cuts... for example cutting out a shape which did not have particularly tight turns on it... at what point would you choose a bandsaw over a scroll saw and vice-versa?

  • #2
    No hard & fast rule of thumb, other than I would use a bandsaw primarily when the wood is too thick or otherwise too large to maneuver on the scroll saw. The advantage of the scroll saw is that you get an extremely clean cut, no sanding required. However, it's not practical if the piece is too large. For example, I cut a gentle curve on some 2" thick white oak legs for a TV stand I built last year. They were too long to cut on the scroll saw and the 2" thick, hard oak would have been a challenge. I cut them on the bandsaw, but then I had the added step of sanding them smooth.

    It all depends on which one will make the cut easier and/or more effectively. It usually comes down to some sort of compromise. Heck, sometimes you have to break out the jig saw as a 3rd option.
    Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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    • #3
      I like to keep my fingers at least 2" from the bandsaw blade. On the scroll saw I have had my fingers touch the blade teeth without drawing blood. Safety is my main concern.

      Tom

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      • #4
        I was using my small bandsaw this morning and thinking about how much faster I can cut on it than on the scroll saw. I've put my fingers as close to the bandsaw blade as I do to the scroll saw blade. It would certainly hurt more if I got nicked by the bandsaw, but it is one of the most predictable saws that there is, and in 25 years using one I have never had an injury. My rule when I'm teaching is to adhere to all safety rules unless you can tell me why not. So Tom's 2" is probably a good guideline.
        At any point that I could do the job on a bandsaw, I would choose it over the scroll saw.
        Anthony
        "There's a very fine line between a groove and a rut."

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        • #5
          My bandsaw makes alot of material to be used by my scrollsaw.
          "All it Takes For the Forces of EVIL to Rule Is For Enough GOOD People To DO NOTHING!"

          Saws: Excaliber 30; Dewalt 788 'Twins', Makita SJ401 (Retired), Grizzly G1012 18" Bandsaw

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          • #6
            I use my band saw to resaw wood to the thickness I need to scroll saw with. Only time I prefer a band saw to my scroll saw is when resawing or cutting straight lines that will not work on my table saw. I find the band saw gives me an edge that must be sanded and my scroll saw does not... so the scroll saw proves to actualy be quicker im most cases.
            Hegner Polymax- 3,Hegner Multimax-3,
            "No PHD, just a DD 214"

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            • #7
              I keep a 1/2 inch resaw blade on my band saw so that is what it gets used for or if I need to rip a 2x4 or cut a big circle.
              Most of my work is very small so the scroll saw is it.
              Jim you need a jointer so you don't have to sand those edges.
              Rolf
              RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
              Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
              Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
              And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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              • #8
                I was talking about curved and irregular cuts that of coarse cannot be run through my jointer.
                Hegner Polymax- 3,Hegner Multimax-3,
                "No PHD, just a DD 214"

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                • #9
                  If you go to Judy Roberts site : About Judy Gale Roberts and Jerry Booher

                  Judy talks about Jerry Booher; "He became an expert on the band saw, so much so, that people would swear he did the sawing on a scroll saw. He really perked up when people would ask if he used a laser beam to cut the parts out."

                  If you ever go to a woodworking show that the Carter Band Saw people are at, you need to watch Alex Snodgrass do his magic with the band saw. He will cut the 3D reindeer awfully quick.

                  Myself, I have this idea that the one power tool in my shop that could hurt me the fastest and worst is my band saw. I resaw on a 14" with riser and do smaller stuff on the 10" one (4 1/2" maximum height). Both get huge respect and all the safety drills.
                  Steve.
                  EX-16, DW-788, Dremel 1680

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                  • #10
                    Steve, I have to assume that you don't have a radial arm saw or table saw.
                    Anthony
                    "There's a very fine line between a groove and a rut."

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                    • #11
                      I have a sliding compound miter and table saw, but don't have the same fear of them as the band saw. Probably should respect all of them the same.
                      Steve.
                      EX-16, DW-788, Dremel 1680

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