Which Saw to Buy?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by lab7654 posted 07-18-2012 03:16 AM 2225 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2268 days

07-18-2012 03:16 AM

I’m on the fence about whether I should drop the coin on either a tablesaw or a bandsaw. Budget is usually an issue for me, so I have to buy and save for tools one at a time. But with this, I get a better appreciation for them when I finally get my hands on them :). Any thoughts on which should come first? I already have both, but my bandsaw is a 9” Harbor Freight one and the tablesaw is an off-brand, cheap contractor one.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

25 replies so far

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2207 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 03:20 AM

Defiantly start with the table saw. Any size bandsaw is fine for basic curves. Go for a nice used contractor or hybrid saw like grizzly or ridgid off of craigslist. Then, do the same for a Larger bandsaw. I say table saw first because the table saw is one of the most used tools and needs to be 100% accurate which is hard on a cheap contractor saw.

View Denvy's profile


49 posts in 2161 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 03:32 AM

You may get different opinions, when you figure out what you are going to focus on making, the choice should be obvious. Consider; if you are making furniture, the table saw would be best. If you were going to make Ink pens, turn them on a lathe, then I would definitely get the best band saw that I can afford at the time. I started with a 14 inch band saw, then gave that to my Son when I found a 17 inch General for 1, A 14 inch Grizley may be a consideration. The band saw can rough out blanks for pens but for furniture the surface is too
rough for reasonable completion of most projects. Ok, it still boils down to your choice. Make it when you are ready-pull the trigger.

-- Denvy, Tualatin, Oregon USA

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2268 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 03:35 AM

I’ve been leaning heavily towards the tablesaw anyway, but a bandsaw would be nice for resawing. I’m probably going with the tablesaw, unless I find an amazing deal on a bandsaw… but then again I could probably afford both in that case.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View NormG's profile


6134 posts in 3025 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 03:46 AM

Table saw first

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

View Denvy's profile


49 posts in 2161 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 03:47 AM

With a limited budget, or if space is a concern, give some consideration to the Ryobi with folding stand, sliding right side of table, you can slide the right side out and insert a personally built to fit router “insert”. I built one and it is easy to drop in and take out if the larger table is not desired. The Ryobi new runs between 199 and 225 depending on the promotion and sale price at the time. I bought one, had it for 3 years, gave it to my daughter who claimed to “need” one. Then I bought a new one and the fence is good but it is not a beesmeyer. The fence is accurate but care should be taken to make sure you know if it is lined up really straight. With lack of attention the fence can be locked in crooked and that will ruin your cut and spoil a nice cut. Choose wisely it is a tool that will be very useful. Oh and consider using an 8 inch blade, 1/16 inch thick, It will not obviously cut as deeply as a 10 inch blade but the motor will give you more power and if you are only cutting 3/4 inch boards, you will have plenty of blade and more strength from your motor.

-- Denvy, Tualatin, Oregon USA

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2499 days

#6 posted 07-18-2012 04:08 AM

Hold everything I think i need to know more after a good read of the Anarchist tool chest recommended by Bill I saw Chris say that if your a hand tool guy the top three are a band saw as a hand saw and you already have a table saw so don’t jump yet second was not a jointer but a lunch box planer. If you use hand planes I agree with this. As you can joint and flatten with a no 5 or larger. and third a mortising machine. this one i need to think about OK i am done i can buy it. However if you really want a saw I have to ask which one is your weakest link this also means what do you make for example if you make rocking chairs by all means forget the table saw and get the best band saw you can afford . but on the other hand if you primarily make cabinetry and box goods then go with the table saw. You see our advise we give you is secondary to what you know yourself . You know what you want you know what you build. If you are a power tool guy I would live with the lesser tools for a while and I would get a jointer but that is me I can make a cheep saw work I did it for a long time I had a 8 in direct drive saw and a melamine fence that attached to the table i made out of particle board. it got me by it was accurate enough to make the chair parts i needed to make enough money to buy a real table saw and I sold hundreds of Adirondack chairs that were cut out using a delta table top band saw. I worked hard sold lots of chairs and built a nice shop that can make anything along the way i started hoarding hand tools and i still do I like hand tool work less noise more fun but some times i need to get things done fast and machines make milling wood child’s play compared to flattening boards with a hand plane so I ask you before you buy what do you make and what is the weakest link in your production.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2268 days

#7 posted 07-18-2012 05:25 AM

Ok, definitely the tablesaw. I’ve had models in mind for each saw, so that isn’t an issue. Probably going with the Ridgid R4512. That and the Craftsman 21833, and Masterforce 2400036 are all pretty much the same saw, but the Ridgid seems to get better reviews and is $100+ cheaper where I live.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View ELCfinefurniture's profile


112 posts in 2342 days

#8 posted 07-18-2012 07:04 AM

I personaly would go table saw before bandsaw.
That is a VERY hard choice. I would saw I use them evenly. However the tablesaw takes the cake for me when doing fine work. I never do anything finished OFF the bandsaw. That being said if you are handtool savvy and dont feel you need the table saw for some of its features and want to try out curved work I MIGHT go the bandsaw route.
But overall I would say tablesaw.

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2290 days

#9 posted 07-18-2012 07:23 AM


View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#10 posted 07-18-2012 11:46 AM

It depends on what you cut most, but the majority of shops feature a good TS.

The Right Table Saw for Your Shop

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

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3096 days

#11 posted 07-18-2012 01:19 PM

This decision should be based on what you want to do and what other tools you have.

For example, if you already had a miter saw and a plunge saw (like Festool’s) your need for a table saw is less.

If you already have a good jig saw or scroll saw, your need for a bandsaw is less.

A bandsaw is kind of a “special application” tool. Some people never do anything that requires a bandsaw. Other people use one all the time.

You may want a bandsaw for resawing. My advice— Don’t bother with a lightweight, lower powered bandsaw for resawing. I use a 2 hp, 18” bandsaw for resawing and it still goes pretty slow.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Heisbert's profile


34 posts in 2201 days

#12 posted 07-20-2012 04:19 PM

If I were you, I’ll continue saving until I can afford to buy a powerful band saw. A band saw that can do all the cuts and will last long enough that you wont need to replace it. In that way you can save again if you still want to go for a table saw.

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2298 days

#13 posted 07-20-2012 04:23 PM

Table saw would be best. You are not going to do that much resawing. I have a bandsaw and I have never resawed on it. Plus if you want a bandsaw that can do resawing the are very pricey. I would get a table saw first.


View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#14 posted 07-20-2012 04:27 PM

I do not mean to be unpleasant, but it seems that we have a post like this one each week. (same about dust collector)
lab7654 why don’t make search on this site to see everything that has been written about table saws in the last year or “saw” ( no done on purpose).

-- Bert

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3669 days

#15 posted 07-20-2012 04:31 PM

An inexpensive off-brand contractor saw can be tuned and
jigged-up to do accurate work.

A cheaply made band saw will always frustrate you as you
explore its limits. A good band saw will help expand your
vision of what is possible for you in woodworking.

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics