Ask WWGOA: Bandsaw vs. Scroll Saw

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“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.

George Vondriska

Managing Editor

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13 Responses to “Ask WWGOA: Bandsaw vs. Scroll Saw”

  1. DOC

    Are precision scroll saw blades worth the money?

  2. Thomas Thompson

    Do you use a brush to clean your band saw wheels? What would be good to clean them with, like alcohol or WD40???

  3. gerald

    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?

  4. deb rosenbaum

    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?

  5. Shai

    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?

  6. Marlo

    What is the best saw to cut out guitars? Scroll saw or band saw

  7. Dean

    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?

  8. Band Saw vs Scroll Saw [Which One Should you Choose?]

    […] 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 […]

  9. Sarah

    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!

  10. Roy A

    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.