Bandsaw vs. Planer - Which to purchase?

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Forum topic by Richard Miller posted 04-08-2012 02:46 AM 8452 views 1 time favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Richard Miller

20 posts in 2539 days

04-08-2012 02:46 AM

Ok, let me preface this whole thing by saying…I am very much an amateur wannabe. I have built a couple of things, my router table, my workbench of which I think I did pretty well on them, they are basic though. I’ve done a few small boxes which is what I’m trending toward, doing smaller items. I’m sure I will expand in the future but right now, that’s where it’s at. And let me reiterate, at this stage, it is more of a hobby but is serious. I don’t need something that will stand up under “production” use. Right now, I can visualize the largest wood I would be resawing or planing would be maybe 6-8 inches in width, thickness, depth, however you look at it and maybe up to 18-24 inches long. Like I say, smallish boxes and stuff like that.

I have the funds to purchase a low end planer or a bandsaw but not both at this time. I have looked at the Porter-Cable PC305TS and the DeWalt DW734 as my options since I want to get them from a close by source, Lowes or HD. The DeWalt is definitely the better of the 2 but is a few bucks over what I can comfortably cough up.

I know next to nothing about bandsaws but there are a few that fall within my budget and planer knowledge is about the same. Since the pieces of wood I’m visualizing using would not be more that 2 feet long at a time and no wider than 6.8 inches. I understand that wood run through a planer should be of a minimum length and then you have the snipe to worry about, more from the PC than from the DeWalt. As much as I would like to get the DeWalt planer, that’s probably pretty much out of the question at the moment so it’s between the Porter-Cable and a bandsaw.

Even after planing, I’m going to need to sand and then there’s the wood lost from snipe. I’m thinking that resawing may be what I want to do at the moment. I can go from cutting a board in half to shaving off 1/4 or 1/8” (I’m presuming) and then sand to finish. You know, the more I write this, the more I think I’m answering my own question. The planer is pretty much a single purpose item whereas the bandsaw can have many secondary uses. I guess if I go bandsaw, low end, bench top or floor stand version would be the question.

Any and all advice would be appreciated and considered.


-- Richard

51 replies so far

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2469 days

#1 posted 04-08-2012 02:55 AM

You CAN resaw on a table saw. Look on youtube. It’s not perfect but doable. A jigsaw can cut curves for you.

I’d get the planer first as properly dimentioned lumber is critical to each project.

For planers I recently upgraded to the new Ridgid 4331. It is in my eyes, the best value in a planer on the market.

For $399, you get a 15 amp motor, a cutterhead lock, 3 knives, in/outfeed tables included. The dust port is also included and has a shop vac style adapter if you don’t have a dust collector yet. I get minimal to no snipe, and this is a beefy stout machine for $399.

Just my 2 cents…

View thebigvise's profile


191 posts in 2864 days

#2 posted 04-08-2012 03:04 AM

Without question, I’d get a planer. Norm Abram said that the three most important tools are the table saw, the jointer, and the planer. A band saw is a nice addition, but it is not fundamental to most projects. I agree with bullethead that properly dimensioned lumber is essential to any project, and the three named power tools are needed to accomplish this fundamental early step.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View NormG's profile


5928 posts in 2967 days

#3 posted 04-08-2012 03:08 AM

Chicken or the egg. Planer. I have the dw==dw734, great machine, no snipe yet

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2250 days

#4 posted 04-08-2012 03:45 AM

There isn’t a planer out there for under $600 that’s any good. I’d go with the band saw. Check out the BS at HF, It’s a good one. It’s the same thing as what Lowes carries under the PC label, but it has 4 speeds. I still don’t know why you need 4 speeds with a BS but….

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Loren's profile


10249 posts in 3611 days

#5 posted 04-08-2012 05:01 AM

Whatever your tool situation you need to have some
way of getting board faces parallel and the boards
free of significant cup and twist. This means using
a bench and hand planes if you lack the machinery.

Boards can be worked to thickness with hand planes
but it is a little tiring to do it. Neither a planer nor
a bandsaw nor any other machine is essential to
making things from boards. You do however need
some way of dimensioning your boards to size and
some way of making joints to attach the boards to
one another. Hand planes, some chisels and a
hand saw can serve.

View wee3's profile


76 posts in 2235 days

#6 posted 04-08-2012 05:23 AM

Planer,get the best you can afford,good luck.

-- BiLL @wee3

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3540 days

#7 posted 04-08-2012 05:42 AM

With a planner you need dust collection unless you want to just let chips fly everywhere. cheep band saws are a real pain from my experience. I think I would explore the used market on Craigslist and get the best tool for the best money you can afford in either tool. If you can afford a dust collector then I would get the planner first,if not a band saw.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


403 posts in 2985 days

#8 posted 04-08-2012 06:17 AM

I own both a bandsaw and the DW734 planer. I love both but I definitely recommend getting the planer first. I often tell people that no one tool paid for itself faster than my planer. Personally, I’m with Jim in thinking that if you buy a sub-$500 bandsaw with the intent of re-sawing even small boards, all you will be buying is a lot of frustration. On top of that, you still need to plane boards after you re-saw them so it’s not an either or situation.

For what it’s worth, I bought my DW734 at a Lowes when it was reduced as overstock and I paid about $340 for it. You won’t touch a good bandsaw (at least not new) capable of re-sawing 8” wide stock for less than $350.

Finally, if you’re cash limited, I would recommend buying a good condition used quality planer or bandsaw rather than buying a new cheapo. New is gone the minute you use it one time but quality lasts for years.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Richard Miller's profile

Richard Miller

20 posts in 2539 days

#9 posted 04-08-2012 06:29 AM

Well, those aren’t the answers I wanted to hear but then again, I wasn’t looking for confirmation of what I wanted. I wanted to hear what would be the best path to take. I’ve tried resawing on the TS but I just don’t quite have it right just yet. Course, with a planer, any little problem from that can be taken care of. I’ll check out the Rigid also since it is the same cost as the DeWalt 734. Thanks for all the input. I sill think I’d like a band saw but maybe I’ll go the scrollsaw route instead. As for hand planes, my Dad could use the heck out of one but I may as well be using a bush hog; just have no knack for it.

-- Richard

View Boxguy's profile


2615 posts in 2231 days

#10 posted 04-08-2012 07:01 AM


I would go with planer. It opens up whole new vistas of what you can do with wood and what wood you can use. Standard dimensions work well if you are building houses or rough projects, but are too limiting for building nice boxes or any refined work. With a planer, any scrap wood source can become part of a project (assuming you avoid nails, staples, and screws).

Always buy the best tools you can afford. None of my early tools were new. Cheaply made tools always, always, always lead to disappointment. They will rob you of any fun you might have working wood and will let you down when you need them the most.

-- Big Al in IN

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2469 days

#11 posted 04-08-2012 01:56 PM

Richard, the DW 734 is better than the OLD Ridgid 4330. Make sure you looke at the NEW Ridgid 4331.

734 vs 4331 is a toss up to me, for the hobbiest, both will serve well and pay for themselves…..see where you can get the best price.

At the post office you can 10% off coupon at HD in a “moving change of address packet”, also I asked the HD mgr about a discount on my new planer and I had the choice of 10% off being retired military or for opening a HD credit card.

Best of luck!

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3359 days

#12 posted 04-08-2012 04:26 PM

I would go with a good quality planer first, OR which ever you find a super good deal on first. Just remember, resawing can be done on the table saw to a limited extent and the old jig saw can do a lot of what the band saw can.

So unless you run across a brand new Powermatic band saw with all the whistles and bells for $500, I recommend getting the planer.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4901 posts in 3924 days

#13 posted 04-08-2012 04:38 PM

Stay away from the new PC stuff. Get the DeWalt.


View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3200 days

#14 posted 04-08-2012 04:47 PM

Craig’s List! Look for a while in the tools section and don’t be in a rush to buy. If it’s anything like the listings in my area, you’ll get both tools for about what you would pay for one new one.

I’d tell you about some of the great deals I’ve found, but you’d just bang your head against the keyboard… The last purchase I made from someone on Craig’s List was for a big floor model lathe (Grizzly G1495) and the duplicator attachment (Grizzly G1067Z) They both were only $200. I had to remove a little rust and one screw was broken off and had to be removed and another one substituted. Not too bad for about $1500 worth of tools new from Grizzly.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View dhazelton's profile


2754 posts in 2260 days

#15 posted 04-08-2012 06:33 PM

I think you need to analyze the types of projects you want to do and your source of wood. You talk about large blocks of wood that you want to utilize to get 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch slabs. Can’t to that with a planer (you can but there would be a heck of a lot of waste). There’s a variety of ways to smooth wood as you already know. I would probably buy one of the more powerful Grizzly band saws for resawing. Or I would look on Craigslist/eBay for an older Delta 14 inch band saw that you could upgrade to at least a 1 hp motor. You wouldn’t even need a riser block with the dimensions you describe. There are also a lot of the Delta 24 inch scroll saws out there for in the hundred dollar range, and they are monsters! There is a TON of used quality stuff out there. I personally shy away from Harbor Freight for anything with a motor, but that’s just me and people have had decent results with their equipment.

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