bandsaw or a lathe?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 11-27-2008 04:23 AM 2177 views 0 times favorited 45 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13345 posts in 3911 days

11-27-2008 04:23 AM

I am wondering do you need these two tools in a woodworking shop? I am thinking I can by without these two tools, I have the basic tools you need to do woodworking.

45 replies so far

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3828 days

#1 posted 11-27-2008 04:43 AM

I use my bandsaw on a regular basis, from cutting arches to resawing veneer. It’s as valuable to me as my tablesaw. The lathe is just a cool tool to have, but for the most part it sits.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View FrankoManini's profile


40 posts in 3753 days

#2 posted 11-27-2008 04:45 AM

I view the bandsaw as a very essential tool. In fact, if i were to do it all again, it would be my FIRST tool, yes, even before the table saw. I didn’t get my bandsaw until I bought my lathe. Then I discovered that if you have a lathe and want to turn bowls, you better have a bandsaw.

It all boils down to what kind of work you want to do, and how you want to do it. Some people will never buy a powertool, others gotta have it all. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

A lathe is not an essential tool, but it can do things that are nearly impossible without a lathe… it’s a specialty tool in my book, unless all you want to do is turn, then you’re gonna need a lathe! ;-)

-- - If my wife asks, I got ALL of my tools on sale.

View ChuckM's profile


615 posts in 3904 days

#3 posted 11-27-2008 05:00 AM

I think you’ve answered your question yourself: “I am thinking I can (get?) by without these two tools, I have the basic tools you need to do woodworking.” Did someone suggest you need those two tools?

You don’t need any of the two tools you mentioned unless you:

a) need to turn things (pens, bowls, rails, legs, etc.) and
b) need to saw curves, resaw (which can also done on a tablesaw in many, but not all, cases safely, if you know how to), cut dovetails with a jig, make sculpted boxes, etc.

If you do need to cut curves in small stocks, scrollsaw is an alternative. Again, if you do it to often, a jigsaw will do.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3961 days

#4 posted 11-27-2008 05:01 AM

Bandsaw – yes! There are more times that I wished for a bandsaw and didn’t have one. Now that I have one myself, I use it just as much as any of my other power tools.

Lathe – depends on what you want to do (as in what you want to make). Shaker or Mission style funiture, you wont use it much, but if you want to make elaborate pieces, the lathe is the tool you will need.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3911 days

#5 posted 11-27-2008 05:04 AM

Right now I use a B&D jigsaw for curve cutting I would like to get a Bosch as soon as I get the funds. Lathes is one of those tools that maybe will help if I even start building furniture with turn pieces.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4113 days

#6 posted 11-27-2008 05:04 AM

I went a long time without a bandsaw and did just fine. But now that I have one, I wouldn’t want to go without again. I love having a lathe, and I use mine several times a week, but I wouldn’t consider it essential.

-- -- --

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3911 days

#7 posted 11-27-2008 05:05 AM

I mostly do Shaker and simple funiture of my own design.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4123 days

#8 posted 11-27-2008 05:24 AM


-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3857 days

#9 posted 11-27-2008 05:36 AM

I use my bandsaw all the time. Turning is a somewhat specialized skill. I had a lathe for years and gave it away because all it was doing was taking up space.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4006 days

#10 posted 11-27-2008 05:44 AM

Bandsaw! i use it all the time. its is something that you need. i used to think that i didn’t need one. now i have 2, one with a 1/4 blade and a light for detail work and one with a 3/4” blade and a nice fence for resawing. a lathe is also a wonderful thing to have. i love mine and it expands the projects that i can do a lot because i can turn pieces instead of just staying flat.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4456 days

#11 posted 11-27-2008 06:23 AM

You can certainly live without either one, but I would go with a bandsaw first, A bandsaw will come in handy for the everyday type of projects you are already doing. Woodturning is sort of a whole different ball game.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4565 days

#12 posted 11-27-2008 06:50 AM

some people love the lathe (I find it meditative) but don’t know if i’d feel up to turning legs for a bed or dining room table – plus I’d need to talk my wife into letting me upgrade to a LATHE. my (small l) lathe will do for now. Fortunately these things can be purchased ready to go. There is a lot you can do with a Tablesaw – but nothing you can’t do without a circular saw or hand saws and some jigs. Some people swear by the band saw vs. table saw, it all boils down to personal preference and what you find yourself needing to do the projects you want (or have) to do.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4005 days

#13 posted 11-27-2008 06:58 AM

Give me a nice lathe and a bandsaw and I will give you all my other tools, but that’s just me.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3958 days

#14 posted 11-27-2008 06:59 AM

I hate my bandsaw. I never use it. It just sits there. It would be nice to resaw once in a while, but most things can be cut with a jig saw.

A lathe has alot of hidden costs. Chucks, chisles, guards, rests, and more. It is kind of a “needs its own shop” tool.

I am on the fence, man. Good luck.

-- christopheralan

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3886 days

#15 posted 11-27-2008 07:01 AM

You can make Windsor chairs with a lathe and some handtools – and
efficiently too. You can make furniture with a bandsaw and a planer
with decent efficiency too.

For furnituremaking a power saw for ripping is useful…because ripping
by hand is tedious. It could be a bandsaw or a table saw. Either will

I like to turn. It’s fun, even if you make nothing that matters too
much – croquet sets, mismatched bowls, candlesticks… at least
you learn and have some fun.

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