Bandsaw as substitute for table saw?

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Forum topic by mikecorwin posted 06-01-2011 11:09 PM 12864 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2577 days

06-01-2011 11:09 PM

Hi everyone, just joined the forum and am excited for all the info I’ll receive. I have a very small garage shop that leaves little room for a table saw, however I do have a Festool Circular Saw with the track and table. I can do my crosscutting, bevel and miter cuts with the Festool, however I am not too keen on ripping thinner stock with this system. Since I don’t have room for a table saw, would a bandsaw give me the same precision as a table saw for ripping wood to width? In other words, if you properly setup a bandsaw will it be as accurate as a table saw taking into account a bandsaw’s blade drift? Thanks very much for all the info in advance, Mike

20 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2834 days

#1 posted 06-01-2011 11:29 PM

The short answer is NO. But that is an open question. If you intend to perform smalllish operations and have the means to true up material after it leaves the bandsaw you could do quite a lot without a table saw. If you have intentions to do much case work you will definatly want a table saw. If you only could have one or the other the tablesaw wins handsdown.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2658 days

#2 posted 06-01-2011 11:38 PM

I am/was in the saem position as you. I have about 2/3 of a one car garage to use as a shop. I originally started off with only a bandsaw, hoping to use it for ripping in addition to all its traditional duties.
Can a bandsaw pull off the task? Yes, to an extent.
Is it a one-for-one substitute for a table saw? No. Not in my opinion. You probably won’t acheive the “same” precision as on a TS. Not consistently anyway.
You really need a quality jointer to tidy up lumber ripped on a BS. At least i do anyway.
I ended-up buying an old school 8” Craftsman TS for $40. Its on the small side, but is capable of ripping 8/4 hardwood (never tried anything thicker), has a cast iron top, and has a small footprint. I didn’t really have room for a TS, but I made room…..and it was worth it. Ripping is its primary function, but with a couple cheap, easy shopmade jigs, its capable of a whole lot more. Since making a cross cut sled, I haven’t touched my miter saw.
Honestly, I’d get a small TS before I got a BS; if I had to choose between the two.

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3488 days

#3 posted 06-01-2011 11:58 PM

I think Gary Rogowski might say something a lttle different. He is pro bandsaw and believes it should be the first tool purchased. You might take a look at some of his articles on FWW about the shop tool purchasing and use of the bandsaw

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3401 days

#4 posted 06-02-2011 12:06 AM

I’ve never seen a BS cut nearly as smooth as a TS. Any BS cuts I’ve seen need some help being smoothed out, whether from a hand plane, jointer, planer, or sander, but if you can deal with that you might be able to utilize your BS instead of getting a TS.

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

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 2979 days

#5 posted 06-02-2011 12:14 AM

Perhaps some of our European members will chime in on this topic. Here in the U.S. we are fixated on the table saw as the first and central tool in the shop. I began that way as well. But in Europe, the bandsaw is much more common than the table saw, but their work processes have been adapted to this reality. Here, all our books and articles are focused on the table saw for most operations, but that is not the only way. Andrew Crawford, certainly one of the world’s best box makers lived with only a bandsaw for over twenty years, and only recently acquired a table saw. He still only uses it for limited crosscutting operations. Bandsaw still used for most everything. So, the table saw is not the only way.

I’m trying to think of something that can ONLY be made with a table saw instead of a bandsaw. I can’t immediately think of anything, though one would get there via a somewhat different path. I have both, and would not willingly give up either (in fact, I have two bandsaws and one UniSaw) but, if I could not have my table saw with the Incra LS fence, I could still make just about anything I wanted. I would just go about it differently.

The table saw is not the ONLY way. However, we have become very comfortable with it, and here in the U.S. we tend to go to it first.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2658 days

#6 posted 06-02-2011 12:45 AM

It seems these type of threads always turn into a general BS vs TS debate.
I own both, and enjoy using the BS more than any other tool.
However, I think the actual question in this case is if a BS can rip with the same precision as a TS.
I’ve personally never heard anyone make a case that a bandsaw was as good or better than a TS for this particular operation (not to include resawing). My anecdotal experience is that the over whelming majority of woodworkers feel the TS is the absolute king of rip cuts. But dissenting opinion does certainly exsist.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3762 days

#7 posted 06-02-2011 01:09 AM

I believe a bandsaw would be ideal for a person with a small work space if he or she is doing this as a hobby and intends to cut primarily solid wood furniture. One would most likely need a jointer and planer to compliment the bandsaw. A tablesaw is used for material sheet goods and solid stock. I have a very nice tablesaw but use the bandsaw for a lot of solid wood cuts. Especially short boards. Much faster and safer with less material loss. Keep in mind my bandsaw is 24” with carbide blades. I would recommend you get at least an 18” bandsaw if substituting it for a tablesaw. Look for an older Rockwell or Powermatic 20”. They are really rugged and easy to set up.
My 2 cents

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#8 posted 06-02-2011 01:55 AM

For solid wood furniture making the band saw is a more useful
tool than the table saw.

If you have the space a table saw is nice, especially for making
utilitarian cabinetry, cutting tenons and grooves, crosscutting
and things like running mouldings with a moulding head.

A lot depends on the scale of your work and whether you need
to get paid for woodworking.

In terms of ripping on the bandsaw, I often just snap a line and
cut to it. The wood will move anyway and it’s not worth the
trouble to set the fence for many rips. With a fence the bandsaw
excels at ripping small cross-sections as well – making it very useful for
people who work small and instrument makers.

View funchuck's profile


119 posts in 3083 days

#9 posted 06-02-2011 02:12 AM

I have both and I like using the BS. I fear the table saw.

But, the table saw makes life much easier. The cuts are very smooth and ready for glue up right after it’s been run through the table saw. It can easily do dados and finger joints. I also like how you can repeat the same cut multiple times and make parts that are all the exact same dimensions.

If you try to use the BS for cutting, the cuts are rougher and not smooth at all. You’ll want to use hand planes, or a jointer/planer to smooth things out. After you smooth it out, if making the same copies of parts, the parts won’t be all the exact same dimensions, so you’ll need to work on it more to get it that way.

Both tools have their place, and it would be hard to be without either.

-- Charles from California

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3205 days

#10 posted 06-02-2011 02:36 AM

Folding contractor saws like the Ridgid take up little space when folded and can produce vey good results.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#11 posted 06-02-2011 03:26 AM

Have you looked at the small portable tablesaws. I have 2 makitas, After moving into my current shop I had room for a larger saw, but still move the portables in and out as needed, so if the larger saw is setup with a dado blade and i want to rip, i just pull out the portable. Point is, the small saws can work very weel in a very small shop.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3231 days

#12 posted 06-02-2011 03:39 AM

They are two totally different machines with each having their own purpose. Each excels at certain tasks that the other one doesn’t.

Try looking for a mobile contractor or a benchtop TS since you don’t have much room.

After jointing, planing and ripping several hundred board feet I could not imagine ripping on a BS like on a TS. Now on the other hand, with a 6-8” block of wood resawing the log into 5/4 would be the choice on a BS.

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Dan Katz's profile

Dan Katz

51 posts in 2664 days

#13 posted 04-20-2013 05:13 PM

Hi Guys,
I know it’s been a while since this discussion started, but I just turned 64 and as a gift to myself
I pulled the plug on my old Delta contractor saw. I decided that until I can afford a SawStop I’m going to use only my Rockwell 20” band saw, planer and jointer for my wood processing. I concider myself extremly
lucky, blessed and highly favored to still have all my digets. So I’m quiting while I’m still ahead.
I’m thinking of setting up a long outfeed table and maybe some sort of sliding sled to do straight line ripping on the bandsaw. If I can’t sell the old saw I may use it as router station and disc sander. I only use solid woods and do a lot of turning. Making square blanks on the band saw is easy and safe. Any sugesstions?

-- VillageCarver,Chattanooga

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3713 days

#14 posted 04-20-2013 05:27 PM

To the OP : ”if you properly setup a bandsaw” , you’ll have no drift to worry about : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1929 days

#15 posted 04-20-2013 08:20 PM

I wouldnt fall into “the bandsaw is safe”.
A bandsaw can remove fingers very quickly.
Some old 2001 stats I found.
TS 38000
BS 4500
RAS 2700.

What is interesting. the RAS had fewer injuries then the BS. The RAS was pretty widely used back then.
Of course the TS is used much much more, then and now.
Just saying, the BS will cut you also -be careful!

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