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!