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Jigsaw instead of Bandsaw?

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Forum topic by NoSpace posted 01-02-2015 08:03 PM 3599 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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NoSpace

73 posts in 704 days


01-02-2015 08:03 PM

Hi,

I am an beginning woodworker with a bit of home DIY experience. So far, everything I’ve built falls under the categories of “shelf” or “cabinet” and is square or with straight angles. I’ve only cut curves in simple aprons for bookshelves. With pine, that’s worked out well using my blue Ryobi jigsaw, but I up’d my game with my latest bookshelf and used 3/4 inch (Home Depot) maple and the blade nearly melted after an eighth of an inch of cutting. I bought some new blades and eventually got through it alright with no burning, but the deflection was terrible and it took an hour or so of grinding with a dremel to make the pieces look good (enough).

In addition to the need of cutting some curves in plancks, I would like to try cutting cabriole legs for a small table—since I haven’t made a table yet, and in general I want to get away from the pure box look. As I understand it, to make a proper leg requires square stock “3”-”4” thick and I’m scratching my head at how to accomplish all this as efficiently as possible. For me, unfortunately, efficiency includes the phsyical footprint of the tool itself. I live in a small SoCal track home, and I have only a small portion of my garage and a tiny space at the side of my house to work with.

Acquiring a floor-standing bandsaw is a remote possibility, if I can put it on wheels, and store it in the one place I can, and build a cabinet around it. Then I would need to wheel it a few feet to the edge of the garage to use it and I would sacrifice space for other tools and it would be a bit of work, and it would also be some conflict wth the Mrs. to pull it off. But do I have an alternative? A coping saw or bow saw I guess are on the table, but as for power tools, I can only think of a jigsaw. The way I imagine it, if a jigsaw upgrade could get me to a place where I could cut my aprons in hardwood and at least 3” stock for legs (with some imaginative clamping) with roughly the same accuracy that I cut 3/4 inch pine with my Ryobi, then the problem may be solved that way. The biggest loss may be the inability to resaw, which I’d like to be able to do in a limited fashion for now (basically cut the 3/4” x 1 1/2” Home Depot hardwood strips in half). But are the main curve-cutting tasks I want to do even feasible with a jigsaw?

I realize blade deflection is the primary concern here, and I believe there may be only two jigsaws on the market that are even in the running for this task, the Festool Carvex or the Mafell p1cc. The Carvex has an updated guide system and the Mafell has some kind of rocket science that gets around guides altogether, and the reviews I’ve read lead me to believe either could handle aprons in 3/4” hardwood without delfecting but not so sure about the leg stock, as it’s not a common jigsaw task for a youtube video. And would simple resawing be possible?

Another possibility is a smaller band saw, say, the Craftsman 21400. I could get that on wheels and hide it easier than a floor-standing model, and that’s an inexpensive option. But then, will any bench-mount band saw have enough power to cut leg stock or to realistically resaw? If so, then for the price, this might be the best option. Often times, true capabilities are tough for me to glean from the reviews I’ve read or watched.

thanks for any input.


24 replies so far

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1643 posts in 1781 days


#1 posted 01-02-2015 08:26 PM

I’ve got a 9” bench top bandsaw that will cut just fine up to its full capacity but that’s a mere 3” of height. Whatever bandsaw you get, the critical issue is the blade. You want a maximum of 3tpi if you can get it. Smaller teeth than that will tend to clog and bog down. Weld joints need to be good as well.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View Crank50's profile

Crank50

173 posts in 1040 days


#2 posted 01-02-2015 09:06 PM

I have a small Rikon 10” band saw and it can resaw nicely up to 4 3/8”. Great little saw. Can usually be found for sale at around $199. Wood Slicer resaw blades are available for this saw also.

Sears sells the same saw under the Craftsman logo. Careful though. the Craftsman 9” looks very similar but is not the same at all.

Another option is a used Craftsman 12”. There are thousands out there and usually can be found on Craigs List for around $100 or less. These are not cast iron like the Rikon mentioned above, but seem to be pretty popular.

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

3940 posts in 1957 days


#3 posted 01-02-2015 09:34 PM

There is another jigsaw that will cut straight sided curves, the Bosch JS 572 (and the discontinued 1590/91). But I think a benchtop bandsaw will do what you want, and probably cost less.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1489 days


#4 posted 01-02-2015 11:08 PM

The Ryobi (and similar cheap jigsaws) don’t control side deflection well. The Bosch does pretty well, as do some others, such as Porter Cable (not sure of model number) that have adjustable side blade supports. But part of the reason for blade deflection is inadvertently putting sideways pressure on the saw as you’re cutting, probably due to an attempt to follow the line, which the jigsaw would prefer not to do. You have to push the blade directly along the curve, avoiding any side pressure as much as possible. Alternating hard and soft grain don’t help.

One jigsaw that can handle quite heavy material (certainly up to 2-bys) is the old Wen Allsaw. I mean the metal bodied ones, not the later cheesy plastic ones. I doubt you can find blades for them nowadays, but it’s not hard to grind down the shank on reciprocating saw blades to fit, and there’s a generous spectrum of blades for those saws, including very long ones. They’re very powerful, and have a full 1 inch stroke. But they deflect as easily as any jigsaw with poor technique.

Really, the bandsaw is far more capable than any jigsaw, except for sawing interior cuts. My favorite description of the jigsaw: the saw that can do everything, but nothing well.

I gather from your mentioning of Festool and Mafell that space is more of a consideration than cost.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

1915 posts in 1219 days


#5 posted 01-02-2015 11:20 PM

It won’t turn your Ryobi into a Bosch or a band saw, but try putting a Bosch jigsaw blade in your Ryobi. No, really, it DOES make a difference.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

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Moron

5032 posts in 3357 days


#6 posted 01-03-2015 01:05 AM

Festool makes a jigsaw that has a few patents
It costs as much as a bandsaw but fits in a drawer

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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NoSpace

73 posts in 704 days


#7 posted 01-03-2015 03:11 AM

Thanks all. I stopped by Lowe’s just to eyeball the size of the 9” saw (skill) they have there and it’s smaller than I expected, which encouraged me. I’ll head tomorrow to check the craftsman; by the dimensions online, if I mount to a caster wheel setup, I should be able to gut out a platform/shelf thing and repurpose to slide this saw under. If I put stained doors on this thing to hide it, that might be enough of a peace offering … ;)

Any questions toward that quotes below are to anyone who has the answer…


You want a maximum of 3tpi if you can get it

I gather “Timber Wolf” is an acceptable brand? Would I want two different thicknesses, one for re-saw and one for curves? Also, the site says 3 tpi is for “rough cuts”, but with the 10” saw’s low power, are you saying I’d better just use that for everything?


Sears sells the same saw under the Craftsman logo

Yes—this is the one I’m looking at. Any input on the blade question above as you have this very saw?

But part of the reason for blade deflection is inadvertently putting sideways pressure…

I’m positive I made this mistake and that just compounded the problem. I learned the term “deflection” after I made the cut and researched the issue.. ;)


I gather from your mentioning of Festool and Mafell that space is more of a consideration than cost

Yeah, I mean, it’s not like I’ve got a bunch of high-end gear or anything; either of those brands would be several steps up from the absolute best tool I own, but if cutting a decent curve in hardwood requires it sans a big band saw, then there’s worse thing I’ve dropped a grand on in my life. I’m beginning to feel a little more confident the 10” craftsman can handle the basic stuff I need to do and that I can store it. It’s just hard to believe at 168$ a tool like that can do anything impressive but if it can, it can. If I can put this on wheels and store it like I think now, at that price, it might be foolish not to try it, even if it doesn’t work out.

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Moron

5032 posts in 3357 days


#8 posted 01-03-2015 05:22 AM

tools are like our own asses

when they are young

they fit in drawers

when they are old

they barely fit in a barn

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Crank50

173 posts in 1040 days


#9 posted 01-03-2015 06:01 PM

Here is a link to Highland Woodworking in Atlanta. They are the source for the Wood Slicer resaw blade that fits the Rikon/Sears 10” bandsaws. The blade length is 70.5”

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/rikon10bandsaw.aspx

They also sell other brands of blades and I have their 3/16”, 1/4” as well as the 1/2” Wood Slicer. I have been very happy with this saw and these blades.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4225 posts in 1663 days


#10 posted 01-03-2015 06:23 PM

You can usually find the smaller (9-10”) bench top band saws on CL for really cheap.. I routinely see them in the $20-$30 range, usually no more than about $50 depending on model. The older craftsman and deltas are nice little saws. I’d stay away from the newer, mostly all plastic models (like Ryobi) and the three wheelers (I’ve heard they are hard on blades due to the smaller diameter wheels used). And yes, two blades are better than trying to use one for both re-sawing and curves. A 1/4” for curves (or smaller depending on how tight of curves you will be cutting), and the largest your saw can handle for re-sawing will be a good start.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

3940 posts in 1957 days


#11 posted 01-03-2015 06:43 PM

Brad makes a good point, the benchtop bandsaws show fairly regularly on CL, and usually at fire sale prices.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1489 days


#12 posted 01-03-2015 07:52 PM

The smaller bandsaws are very limited for resawing, aside from the height constraint. This is because resaw blades need to be fairly wide (1/2” minimum, I would think, though many people use 3/4”). These wider blades are also thicker, and don’t flex over the smaller wheels so easily, which means more metal fatigue due to flexing, and blade breakage. Also, smaller saws may not be able to tension a wider blade properly. Guys (and gals) who use these smaller saws can address this better than I can.

For curve cutting, you want a blade narrow enough to make the curve you want to cut. If the blade is too narrow, it will be harder to follow a straight or widely sweeping curve. It’s all a balancing act. Also, you can use more TPI with a curve cutting blade (as opposed to resawing). One thing you’ll find is that a bandsaw is a much more efficient tool than a jigsaw.

Do get a high quality blade. Typically, the blades that come with bandsaws are not greatly loved by lumberjocks.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

3059 posts in 1750 days


#13 posted 01-03-2015 08:30 PM

I have an old Craftsman jigsaw that is so old, the thing is all metal. It’s variable speed and can be set at any angle I want.
The key to using a jigsaw is not to push it, let it do the work slowly. You may need to make some kerf cuts to get the tight curves done.

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

View daddywoofdawg's profile

daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1039 days


#14 posted 01-03-2015 08:42 PM

If your doing a curved corner and then straight across the curved again.I’m guessing that is/was the shape you were/are making,then you can use a skil saw for the straight line between the two curves.a jigsaw is for curved cuts it really sucks for straight cuts and isn’t meant for such;but if you have too the put a straight edge clamped for the shoe of the saw to ride against.
I also have the 10”craftsman and have it mounted to a wooden tv stand on casters.look at the thrift stores for cabinet you can add wheels/casters to;saves on lumber and time costs and you have something functional till you build your dream one.depending on where you live look up habitat restore I think that’s what it’s called they have used cabinets and some times recycled lumber cheap.

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NoSpace

73 posts in 704 days


#15 posted 01-04-2015 07:57 AM

I went to Sears today and bought the 10” Craftsman. Put it together but haven’t turned it on yet; getting its little home ready.


I have a small Rikon 10” band saw and it can resaw nicely up to 4 3/8”. Great little saw… have their 3/16”, 1/4” as well as the 1/2” Wood Slicer

Good enough for me Crank50; I’ve ordered the 1/2 “slicer” and the 3/16th from Highlander as you’ve
recommended.


Do get a high quality blade. Typically, the blades that come with bandsaws are not greatly loved by lumberjocks

Blades are on the way. Yeah, my first semi-real project was a desk, and I built it with a carpet knife and a basic miter saw because my Ryobi circular saw scared me to use it. I became convinced that the blade that came with it might not be good enough so I bought a mid-grade Diablo and one of those Kreg fences and it was a totally new machine. Since then I upgrade every tool to the best blade that, what you folks call the BORG, has to offer. Even the Jigsaw blade I mentioned that I burned was a Bosch, it was just too thin and too many teeth I take it for maple. I assume I’ll need to tread carefully with the 3/16th I just bought.


I have an old Craftsman jigsaw that is so old, the thing is all metal…

A lot more metal back then eh? Honestly, this little Craftsman looks like a real tool, I was kind of surprised when I saw it in the store.


I also have the 10”craftsman and have it mounted to a wooden tv stand on casters…and you have
something functional till you build your dream one.

It’s encouraging to know a few of you folks use these small saws and are happy with them. Anyway, phase 1 is complete and though I’m not sure it’s my dream, the caster-fitted cart is finished. In my case, I have space issues, so the cart itself is 1/4 inch off the ground and the saw 1 3/4 inches.

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