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Ponderings #23: Table Saw Versus Bandsaw

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 12-06-2008 04:13 PM 1960 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: The End Result Versus The Process Part 23 of Ponderings series Part 24: So Many Sketches That I Think I'm A Painter Or Something! »

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Luckily, I was finally able to make mine. As many of you know, i’m extremely space limited. Any stationary power tools (a) can’t be stationary and (b) must fit within a 6’x6’ room that also contains a freezer and hot water heater. Granted, at some point I’d like to convert to a tankless hot water heater, but that’s a subject for another day. This space limitation is part of the reason I focused early on hand tools. Let’s face it, a rip and cross cut hand saw takes up a lot less space than a table saw. Any can see that.

However, I personally don’t enjoy hand sawing for length or width, so why should I do it? We do have power saws out there that will do a lot of this work for us thankfully. Of course, if you enjoy doing that by hand, more power to you. I honestly wish I did. It doesn’t take nearly as much time as people think, but it wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed in my attempts. Still, I’ll try again (especially since I not only didn’t enjoy it, but sucked at it as well ;) ). All this to talk about my selection between the two saws.

For me, I’ve decided on the bandsaw to start with. For me, it was the versatility having the bandsaw would give to me, versus the table saw. The ability to resaw boards, cutting curves on thicker stock, as well as still having the ability to rip and crosscut boards. I love furniture with curves, and personally think the bandsaw will serve my purposes well.

Now, first I want to be clear that I’m not knocking the table saw. There is a lot it does very well. However, I haven’t been able to figure out anything that the table saw can do that can’t be replicated with other tools to some extent (though maybe not nearly as well). Sheet goods can be broken down with a circular saw and a straight edge, a fence, or a guide. Dados can be cut with a router. Repeated crosscuts can be done with a miter saw and a jig.

In my dream shop, it’s obvious that I would have both. However, I don’t have my dream shop, and I’m not likely to ever have it. As we let the current credit crisis pass (my credit is improving but past mistakes are still being cleaned up by me, hence having to wait), I hate the idea of being without some means of woodworking. To build a shop that could probably house the shop I’d be happy with, it would take more money than I can easily get my hands on. I can possibly enclose a portion of the back porch (depending on the building codes and such), but i won’t be nearly big enough to do all I’d like, which is why I felt I had to pick one.

Of course, this could all change by this time next week ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!



18 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3282 days


#1 posted 12-06-2008 04:29 PM

Given your space limitations going with a bandsaw is a good choice. You can do a number of the same operations on it as you can a table saw and it is inherently safer to operate when compared with a table saw. Obviously the best solution is to have them both but if you are faced with an either/or scenario the bandsaw is, in my opinion, the more versatile tool and it has a much smaller footprint as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#2 posted 12-06-2008 04:38 PM

Thanks Scott. I forgot to mention the safety issue, which was part of the decision. My wife is much more comfortable with the idea of a bandsaw than the Whirling Blade of Death™ ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View douginaz's profile

douginaz

220 posts in 3463 days


#3 posted 12-06-2008 05:04 PM

Well now that you have made your decision – which bandsaw are you going with?
Inquiring minds want to know :)
Later,
Doug in AZ.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at http://www.wittywife.com

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#4 posted 12-06-2008 05:18 PM

I’m looking at the Grizzly G0555 Ultimate Bandsaw, or the G0555X. However, I’m not firm on that one just yet. Still a lot to look at to make the best decision possible, ya know? ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View woodsmithshop's profile

woodsmithshop

1253 posts in 3006 days


#5 posted 12-06-2008 06:05 PM

when faced with a desperate situation, the determined woodworker will find a way!!!!!

-- Smitty!!!

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#6 posted 12-06-2008 06:18 PM

Very true. Necessity truly is the mother of invention…or adaption in this case ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3482 days


#7 posted 12-06-2008 06:21 PM

Have you at all considered sticking with hand tools for the moment?
You will probalby get more joy from this than compensating yourself every moment you are in that small space.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View rtb's profile

rtb

1101 posts in 3174 days


#8 posted 12-06-2008 06:31 PM

Hey Cat, don’t over look some of the less expensice like the Rigid & Delta both fine machines at , i believe less $$$, which might give you a head start on the table saw or whatever your next tool may be. Don’t forget an assortment of blades, they are an absolute must to do all the things that you mentioned. also how much large resawing do you have in mind? It takes a lot more power to slices off of a 8-10 in. high piece than it does a 4-6 in piece. NOW is the time to think Horsepower. I know you have probably considered these things already but if you haven’t perhaps there is a kernal or two in there that you might want to consider.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#9 posted 12-06-2008 06:49 PM

Bob: I have, but for a lot of stuff, I just don’t like using hand tools for those tasks, hence the bandsaw. Hand tools will still be a big part of what I do, but if it ain’t fun, why do it? So far as the small space is concerned, I’ll actually be wheeling this bad boy outside for cuts, so it won’t be operating in a space that small. Honestly, I’d go nuts trying to stay in a room that tiny.

RTB: I haven’t ruled either the Delta or the Rigid out, I just haven’t had much chance to do a hard comparison. They both have one huge advantage over the Grizzly though…I can get them locally ;). As for blades, I’m right there with you on that one. I have to do a lot of research still on what I need, but I figured I’d have to switch blades out.

Now, onto the resawing, I honestly have no idea how large a piece I’ll be resawing. At the moment, I’m stuck having to buy from BORGs, so I don’t have to worry to much with making 8/4 boards into 4/4 or anything. I’m simply looking ahead a bit. While I’d ideally like a monster 20” bandsaw or something similar, I’m not sure I can afford something that big. I appreciate the suggestion about horsepower. It’s something I keep in mind, but it was more of a “I know I’m supposed to keep this in mind” rather than really understanding why. Much appreciated.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3760 days


#10 posted 12-06-2008 07:29 PM

If you don’t have much room, check on the various saw guides for your circular saw.

It will make your saw almost as accurate as a tablesaw.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#11 posted 12-06-2008 07:56 PM

Dick: I picked up something similar from Home Depot right after Thanksgiving, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. I’m looking forward to giving it a shot and seeing what it can do. In fact, I hope to be trying it out next weekend. My thinking was the same as yours. This is really more of a ripping fence for circular saws, but it has a pretty long reach (24” IIRC), so it should do just fine :)

It’s also important to note that it’ll be a little while before I pull the trigger on the bandsaw, partially because of money, but mostly space. I currently have a lot of my grandmother’s stuff still in that storage room, so I’ll be upgrading my powered hand tools (new jig saw, possible upgrade on my circular saw, etc) and picking up a router (it just does to many things not to have one).

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3760 days


#12 posted 12-06-2008 08:59 PM

I was going to mention that a table mounted router, would be a good tool to have in a confined shop.

There’s usually some good buys, this time of the year, but don’t buy a 1/4” router. I’ve had much more success with

the 1/2”. I have never had a 1/2” bit break off, & they charge the same for 1/2” bits.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#13 posted 12-06-2008 09:11 PM

Dick: I’ve already got my eye on a Dewalt multiple base router kit. I intend to mount the fixed base in a table and use the plunge base for other stuff. And I hear ya about 1/2” collets. Personally, I don’t really understand why they even still make 1/4” collets since I’ve never heard a good thing about them.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3346 days


#14 posted 12-06-2008 09:26 PM

1/4”: Some routers can only use that size bit, a hand router for example.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#15 posted 12-06-2008 09:51 PM

Fair enough. Of course, everything out there for newbies says to steer clear of 1/4” collets (or at least make sure it has both), so I surmised that it was evil or something ;)

Thanks for clearing that up.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

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