band saw or scroll saw

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Forum topic by JIM COLLINS posted 02-04-2012 05:53 PM 7312 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 2851 days

02-04-2012 05:53 PM

I am making a flag box for my father and on the top and the door there is some curves and as I am new to woodworking I was wondering for these cuts should I have a band saw or scroll saw? I have a good jig saw, but will not attempt these cuts with that and thought that either one of those would be better and easier to use.

-- Jim in the U.P. nothing like the smell of fresh cut wood

13 replies so far

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 2355 days

#1 posted 02-04-2012 06:03 PM

If you are deciding which to buy, I would definitely go for a band saw. Much more versatile and you can do much of what you might do on a scroll saw. a scroll saw would be better for finer details, but if you are just looking to do some curves, a band saw would be great and have more general use in your shop. There is a price jump between the two, the scroll saw being lower. If you can afford it, I’d say go for the band saw.

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#2 posted 02-04-2012 06:07 PM

Both machines work well for curves. I tend to use the bandsaw if the curves are well within the blade widths capacity and the stock is relatively thick or the scroll saw for tight curves in thinner stock. You can probably cut a curve in up to 2” on most scroll saws, but it goes slower than a bandsaw.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2867 days

#3 posted 02-04-2012 06:09 PM

A scroll saw is better for detail. Stock thickness though, as stated, is limited to about two inches.
A band saw can cut thicker material, but is limited on how tight a curve can be cut on it.


View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 02-04-2012 07:00 PM

Scroll saw is much easier to set up and use for tight curves. Plus
it can do enclosed shapes easily, which a band saw cannot.

The band saw is a nearly essential machine for furniture making
and is very versatile in preparing wood and in joinery, but for
scroll work the scroll saw is king.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2947 days

#5 posted 02-05-2012 03:08 AM

I find that after a cut on my band saw, sanding is required whereas the cut on my scroll saw would not be improved with sanding. The Scroll saw is a MUCH smoother cutting tool but a lot slower. I am comparing a $325 band saw with a $2500 scroll saw though.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2337 days

#6 posted 02-05-2012 04:08 AM

A $200 scroll saw is pretty functional. A $200 band saw is crap.

Add that formula into the excellent advice given above.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#7 posted 02-05-2012 04:16 AM

I use my band saw all the time and hardly ever use my scroll saw.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View BilltheDiver's profile


255 posts in 2910 days

#8 posted 02-05-2012 08:25 AM

I have and use both. Two different tools for two different purposes. There may be some overlap, but not much. You would have to give us a lot more detail in order for anyone to prescribe which is the tool for the job you are doing.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#9 posted 02-05-2012 01:19 PM

I wouldn’t decide on which tool to buy based on one project. Unless you are doing a lot of scrolling work which a scroll saw excels at, I think for general woodworking the bandsaw is the best choice by far. So it depends on what type of work you plan doing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JIM COLLINS's profile


33 posts in 2851 days

#10 posted 02-05-2012 05:39 PM

I am looking at alot of small projects, and some have tight turns, and all the wood is 3/4 or 1 inch so I think for now I will start with a scroll saw. Like I said I am new to this. I want to thank everyone for your help and advice. cheers

-- Jim in the U.P. nothing like the smell of fresh cut wood

View MagGeorge's profile


53 posts in 2183 days

#11 posted 07-05-2012 08:21 PM

I would also go for a band saw. There is nothing you can do with a scroll saw that you cannot do with a band saw except for intricate patterns. A band saw is one of the most versatile machines in the shop.

View AHuxley's profile


663 posts in 3346 days

#12 posted 07-05-2012 08:48 PM

@MagGeorge Don’t forget inside cuts with the scroll saw. I do agree the bandsaw is one of the most versatile machines, otherwise I wouldn’t own a bunch of them.

View Heisbert's profile


34 posts in 2204 days

#13 posted 07-05-2012 09:30 PM

I absolutely agree with Ahuxley! Let’s not underestimate what a scroll saw can do but band saw is my personal favorite.

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