“I have a 10″ band saw. I am considering selling it and getting a 14″ band saw. Would I be better off keeping the 10″ band saw and getting a scroll saw?”
Submitted by: Daryl Bender
WWGOA Editor Response:
While band saws and scroll saws are slightly similar, they’re not the same. The big question on your purchase is, “What will you use the tool for?” If your woodworking is going in a direction that requires cutting thick stock, such as prepping large bowl blanks or resawing wide boards, an upgrade to a 14″ band saw is a good idea. Along with the greater capacity comes a larger motor that will help horse through heavier cuts. Remember that the thickness capacity on many band saws hovers around 6″, unless you go to a large machine or get a 14″ machine that accepts a riser block. A riser block is an accessory you can purchase that, once added to the body of the saw, increases the thickness capacity by another 6″. So, using a riser block, you could have a 14″ band saw with a 12″ thickness capacity. (By the way, 14″ refers to the diameter of the band saw wheels.) If your intended use of a band saw is to cut gentle curves in flat stock– for instance, a curved apron on the bottom of a piece of furniture, wheels for toys, or prepping small bowl blanks, you’d probably be OK keeping your 10″ band saw.
Scroll saws excel at cutting extremely tight curves, including 90-degree corners. When the right blade is used, they leave behind an edge that requires little, if any, sanding. Thickness capacity on most scroll saws top out at about 2″. Scroll saws are capable of pierce cuts, meaning an internal cut, made in a piece, with no entry or exit cut. This can be done by drilling a hole in your material and threading the scroll saw blade through it. This cannot be done on a band saw.
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Are precision scroll saw blades worth the money?
Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:
I’m not much of a scroll saw user, but I have been recommended Flying Dutchman by a few experts. They work great for me.
Wood Workers Guild of America Expert
Do you use a brush to clean your band saw wheels? What would be good to clean them with, like alcohol or WD40???
Thank for the question, here is the reply from the experts:
I use mineral spirits on a Scotch Brite pad. Alcohol should work as well although I haven’t tried it. I wouldn’t suggest WD40 as it might cause the blade to slip on the tire.
Woodworkers Guild of America
My sister in law knows i do some woodworking, but I’m an amateur. She hands me wooden Maronite Crucifix (like a regular cross but with three cross members). Its about 3/4 inch thick and about a foot tall with simple curved embellishments. She asks if i can duplicate it and i say, “sure, not a problem”, thinking to myself i can use a jigsaw to knock it out in no time.Then she says “can you make 75 for church fundraiser”. To which I replied “maaaaayyyyybe”. So I think i can do 75, but not with a jigsaw. I was thinking of getting a band saw or a scroll saw which are both on my wish list. Which would work better on a project like this?
Hi Gerald. If there are no inside cuts, then a bandsaw would be your best bet. A bandsaw with a 1/4″ or 1/8″ blade would be the fastest if you can use one on the project. If you have to cut out inside of a contained area, then you would have to use a scroll saw because you can thread the blade through a drilled hole. And if you can justify getting a bandsaw you’ll find tons of use for it in your woodworking. I don’t use my scroll saw very often.
I create small wood assemblage and mixed media sculptures and am trying to buy a inexpensive scroll or table jig saw that will help me cut out custom shapes. I like the ease of changing blades with the Rockwell Bladerunner but it seems to only take the bigger t-shaped blades. I’m interested in say a #7 or #9 blade for small details. How much detail can you get on something like the Bladerunner and will I have as much variety in saw blades as a scroll saw?
If I would like to cut out a last name (in cursive) to glue to a wood round so it’s 3D should I purchase a bandsaw or a scroll saw?
What is the best saw to cut out guitars? Scroll saw or band saw
Hi Marlo. If you are referring to cutting out the body of an electric guitar, or resawing wood for the body of an acoustic guitar, you would want a bandsaw for this.
I’ve got a Laguna 14” bandsaw and a DeWalt scroll saw. I use the bandsaw nearly every day; the scroll saw barely gets used. Plus, the bandsaw is mobile and I move it to make room for the car in my garage workshop. The scroll saw is on a fixed stand. I thought I would get into cutting marquetry inlays, but I haven’t advanced to that. The only time I ever cut marquetry was by hand using a special table and a hand fret saw. Having a scroll saw is a luxury. It’s about the last thing you should buy.
Is it safe to say a Scroll saw can do what a Band saw can do , but the Band saw cant do what a scroll saw can do? with the exception of stock size? If im sticking to small projects, if would be more beneficial to buy a Scroll Saw, Right?
Hi Dean. At a high level, this statement is accurate. The main thing that a bandsaw cannot do is to make a cut that is fully enclosed. The main thing that a scroll saw cannot do is to handle thicker stock. If you are sticking with small projects using thin material you can mostly likely get by with a scroll saw.
[…] more guides and tips on how to operate both saws safely while getting maximum performance at WWGOA. WWGOA gives great tips for all wood-related […]
Hello! What would be the best tool for cutting a cross cut of an extremely hard pinecone? I want to make a jewelry pendant from it. Thank you so much!
Hi Sarah. I have not tried doing this, so I can’t say with certainty but I believe that either one of these tools would work for this. You’ll need to create a jig to hold it securely as you cut it.
A bandsaw is a great addition to any workshop, so much so that it should be your first choice when it comes to cutting timber as it’s safe, easy to set up and use, and is extremely versatile.
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One can and I have made pierce cuts with a band saw. Drill the hole and then make up a band thru the hole. When done, cut the band. Not I don’t have a band welder, I braze with a scarf joint. At 83 I haven’t used this very often.
Separating and re-welding a bandsaw blade is done quite often in the metal industry. A blade welder attachment is an asset in this operation.