Scroll Saw or Band Saw first

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Forum topic by jonlan posted 05-01-2016 03:02 PM 524 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 309 days

05-01-2016 03:02 PM

Hi All – Looking for more advice on how you guys use these tools.

The next power tool Im after is a scroll or band saw. I think eventually I’d like to have both, but Im trying to prioritize from a cost and shop size perspective. Here’s my current thought process on each tool…

Scroll Saw – I like the idea that it’s technically a bench top tool but can be stand mounted as well. The third bay of my garage is my wood shop so space is at a premium. There are times that I need to do intricate saw work and my jig saw just isnt small or accurate enough. This is the cheaper of the two tools as well.

Band Saw – I’d really like to start resawing lumber into planks. I have an almost unlimited supply of smaller logs that I could very easily turn into project planks with a band saw. I think I can do most of the pattern cutting that I would do on the scroll saw with this as well (except the times I need to pop the blade into the middle of a board). This is the more expensive tool.

Given that the scroll saw will likely be stand mounted at some point, Im not sure if the band saw really takes up that much more space. I’m trying really hard to buy tools that I wont feel the need to upgrade later when I have the space. Im still kicking myself for buying a benchtop drill press when in reality a floor standing unit really takes up just as much space considering it sits on a stand and would have been much more powerful.

One of the bigger applications Im interested in is pattern or template making. I imagine I could use either saw to make templates though. Or do people prefer one over the other for that application? Im guessing you could use either considering you’d need to sand the template edges smooth in most case after using either.

Lots of rambling here – but Im curious for those of you that have both which one you’d recommend getting first and why.


12 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2797 days

#1 posted 05-01-2016 03:08 PM

It really depends on what sort of work you do. I’d guess that a lot more woodworkers have bandsaws than scroll saws, because a BS is more versatile. I got a scroll saw when I first started out, due mostly to ignorance, but had the fortunate insight to exchange for a small BS. I find more uses for a BS for sure, but YMMV. A hand jigsaw can do a lot of what a scroll saw does until you’re able to acquire both.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View mrg's profile


655 posts in 2421 days

#2 posted 05-01-2016 03:15 PM

I have both. It depends on the type of work you are doing.

A scroll saw is great if you are doing small intricate work that you need to do on the inside of a piece, you draw it drill a small hole and feed the blade through and cut. I find I don’t use my scroll saw all that often. I bought it thinking I was going to keep making scroll saw bowls etc.

The band saw on the other hand gets used way more often then I thought I would use use it. You can cut large pieces, do curves etc. Resaw boards and cut logs.

It will all depend on what you are going to be doing on what would be the best buy. You are the only one that knows how you work.

-- mrg

View Clarkie's profile


380 posts in 1263 days

#3 posted 05-01-2016 03:39 PM

Go with a decent bandsaw and you have the best of the both. Using a 1/8” blade will enable you to do intricate work for hobby work. Do get at least a 14” bandsaw so you are able to get work done properly. Try and find an older model 14” Delta, you’ll be in hog heaven for work-ability. Keeping in mind the old saying, “you can do small work and big work with a large machine, but only small work with the small machine”

. Have fun, make some dust.

View marc_rosen's profile


76 posts in 2603 days

#4 posted 05-01-2016 05:12 PM

Hey Jonlan,
I’ll also would recommend the bandsaw if you were only going to get one tool. I have and use both interchageably. And to go along with Clarkie’s comment about using a 1/8 inch blade you may want to look into getting a device by Carter called a Stabilizer.

If however you intend to do a lot of “closed in” scroll sawing (I don’t know the correct term but it involves drilling a hole in your workpiece, inserting the blade through that hole, and and cutting out the waste without cutting through to the edge of your piece) then the bandsaw would be less practical as you would need to cut and weld the blade as needed.

Getting back to the bandsaw, you’d have more capacity to cut thicker pieces even with the 1/8 inch blade and a Stabilizer (or equivalent product).

Hope this was helpful, Marc

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5107 posts in 2616 days

#5 posted 05-01-2016 06:07 PM


-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View bbasiaga's profile


731 posts in 1417 days

#6 posted 05-01-2016 07:20 PM

I saw somewhere…maybe on here, maybe YouTube, where a guy rigged up his jig saw in to a wooden base with a remote switch, and used it like a scroll saw. Do that, and buy a bandsaw now. Best of both worlds.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Redoak49's profile


1820 posts in 1410 days

#7 posted 05-01-2016 08:21 PM

It all depends on what kind of projects you want to do.

I like doing scroll saw projects. I also use my scroll saw to created router templates.

A bandsaw is probably more flexible. I would get a good 14” band saw. You will be able to do resaw work and also use a small blade. Yes, you can use a small blade on a 16” or 18” bandsaw but not as easy. Also, as mentioned, putting a Carter Stabilizer on a band saw makes it cut very tight turns.

I have a Hegner scroll saw, a 16” Jet Band Saw and a 10” Rikon Band saw with a Carter Stabilizer. I use all of these routinely.

View jesinfla's profile


274 posts in 559 days

#8 posted 05-01-2016 09:20 PM

I’ve been on the fence about this also, since the purchase of these are coming up for me in the next few months.

I made a scroll saw out of my jig saw using plans I found on the internet – it’s housed in a small table top cabinet like enclosure and for me works good enough that I’m more than likely going the band saw route.

Then again I don’t do intricate cut work either.

Good luck in your decision.

Btw, I just bought a bench top drill and made a rolling cart for it – the cart is preferable for my small shop because I also get to add drawers and shelves to it and I can move it out the way. and add other tools to the cart.

-- They said I could be anything... So I became Sarcastic! They also said making drawers is easy... I think they lied :(

View Tuckered's profile


5 posts in 181 days

#9 posted 05-01-2016 09:23 PM

I have both but would buy a bandsaw first. Soooo much more can be accomplished.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2344 days

#10 posted 05-01-2016 11:09 PM

I have both. One 14” band saw, with a riser, that I use primarily for re-sawing boards to 3/8” to use on my scroll saws. Any cut on the band saw will require sanding of the cut to make it smooth. Any cut on a scroll saw (not spiral blades though) will give an extremely smooth surface. In fact any sanding of the cut surface would degrade it I make small crafty projects. Inlay work, intarsia and compound cutting so I had a scroll saw before I bought the band saw. My scroll saw cost more than my band saw. There are scroll saw available for under $400 but I do not recommend them. (been there done that) I have a Grizzly band saw and Hegner scroll saws.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 842 days

#11 posted 05-02-2016 11:30 AM

Yep! Kinda what Jim said! As a scroll sawyer myself, the scroll saw has its place, & at times, can be used for other things, buuuuut not resawin’. Trust me, if you have plans of doing much scroll saw work, you’re going to need a band saw. Depending on the work you’re planning on doing, were I you, I would prioritize it. Scroll saw blades average about $3/dozen. Band saw blades go from $25 – $50, depending on what you buy. In our shop, I make everything from beer steins to dream catchers on the scroll saw. I cut my own feathers for the dream catchers, so you’re looking at 3/16” material or less. I re saw the material on the band saw, hand sand it, & cut it. Not saying a feller couldn’t cut the feathers on the band saw, I don’t know. I also make signs, do fretwork of all kinds. If you’re interested in looking, my FB page is Sawdust Haven. I gave up loading pix here. But seriously, it just depends on you & what type of work you’re wanting to do. JMO.

-- Sawdust703

View RandyinFlorida's profile


172 posts in 1489 days

#12 posted 05-03-2016 02:52 PM

I started with a scrollsaw. I was able to make small bandsaw boxes, and many other small items that had I a Bandsaw they would have been easier and faster to make but I learned. And that was the best part. Then when I bought into a bandsaw I chose Grizzly.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

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