I distinctly remember a little over a year ago thinking to myself “If only I had a table saw, I could do anything I needed to do!” How naive I was. After picking up a cheap saw and struggling for a year with it, I am just now getting to where I can make some really great cuts with it. This was after, though, building a huge sled twice the size of the saw’s table and making other small adjustments as I went and countless other one time use jigs for certain cuts. All of this and I need a new blade seeing as I almost set fire to a piece of purple heart a few weeks ago. Crazy, I know.
Now, in retrospect, there isn’t woodworker alive who didn’t by a tool he didn’t need or before he was ready for it. In the rush of declaring yourself as a hobbyist or professional, we all get into that buy cheap and buy now mentality that is very understandable at first. Honestly, we all remember the rationality of it when it happened even if we shake our heads about it now and poke fun. Still, this is one of those lessons that comes with the territory. Something you have to learn by mistake since none of us listen to the advice of our peers and mentors on this one.
This brings me to my actual thought for this post. Last weekend while cruising the area garage sales, I came across a descent deal on a Craftsman 12in Band Saw-Sander. A crazy weekend and week day schedule kept me from doing hardly anything with it except for two nights ago. At about 8:30, I had the saw in the shop and was systematically unscrewing and unbolting everything I could from the old frame to brush out and wide down with WD-40. At ten, I had just enough time to put the new blade I bought on the way home from work on and fire it up.
Let me say this: I’m astonished at what this (a relatively low end band saw) has the potential of doing. My scrap box has already been ground down into a fine coating for the floor. Most of it was pine of various shapes and thicknesses, but there were a few pieces of rock maple in amongst other things. Easiest cuts I ever made.
So, now I’m wondering why it is that I didn’t spend the money for the table saw on a band saw? For the last couple days I have pondered this a bit and I starting to wonder more about other parts of this. Is the band saw not usually seen as an easy to use cutting machine? Are there really that many cuts that a new woodworker can’t do on a band saw but could on a table saw? Is there a hidden danger in a band saw that isn’t present in the table saw (likely the opposite there)? Do non-woodworkers not really know enough about woodworking to see the advantages of the band saw over a table saw?
More likely, I’m guessing it is the last piece. I know that I knew what a band saw was when I first started, but its possible that I assumed it was only for curved or scrolled cuts. Sort of a granddaddy of a scroll saw. Had I paid more attention to some of books I have read and internet articles and blogs too, maybe I would have made a different decision.
Well, for now, I have one of both and the versatility that comes with that. I’ve already planned out how to make a few cuts on the band saw that I would have used the table for. On top of that, I’m probably going to go broke on extra materials over the next little while building attachments and jigs to make those cuts. Christmas season will definately be a learning experience.
-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/