Scroll Saw vs Band Saw: Which is Best for Your Needs?
When budget or space restraints make you choose between two different saws, the decisions can be quite tricky. The scroll saw and the band saw are both great saws to own. They each have some strengths and weaknesses that should be discussed before making your final purchase. In this guide, we will help break down the difference between a scroll saw and a band saw and help you determine which one you should purchase.
Scroll Saw OverviewA scroll saw looks a bit like a sewing machine. The blade on a scroll saw will move up and down. You can take the piece you are working with and maneuver it in and out of the scroll saw blade to get the desired cut that you want. It does function quite similarly to a sewing machine that you would be pushing the clothing in and out of to design your pattern.
There are several types of scroll saw blades available depending on the kind of work that you are trying to do. The blades will be narrow and typically not as strong as other options.
The essential functions of a scroll saw will be to make intricate and delicate cuts. The edge that you get when using a saw like this is going to be very finished. If you are looking to make things like a jigsaw puzzle or an intricate sign, the scroll saw is a great choice. Scroll saws also have a foot pedal that helps you operate them with your foot and allows both hands-free to guide your work.
Types of Cuts
Scrolls saws can make straight, angled, or round cuts. Perhaps the most exciting type of cut that a scroll saw can do involved removing the blade and inserting it into the center of your workpiece. When you take the blade out, you can put it back through the center of your piece of wood and carve out circles or other shapes in the interior of your design. This is a feature that most saws do not offer.
Band Saw OverviewA band saw is a bit different than a scroll saw for several reasons. For starters, this is a much larger saw, and it cuts differently than the scroll saw. A band saws blade will rotate on a band as opposed to just moving up and down as the scroll saw. Band saws are versatile saws that can be used for a variety of purposes.
The band saw blades are thicker and more reliable than a scroll saw blade. This makes them faster at cutting but makes the cut a bit more coarse. You can’t make super tight turns, like with a scroll saw, but you can use thick wood, which a scroll saw won’t accommodate. Band saws are popular with furniture makers because you can easily use one to make curved legs for tables and chairs.
A band saw is used to make cuts in wood (and some other materials). The band saw works very well with straight and angled cuts, but you can get it to cut round corners as well. Since the band saw is a bit larger and more powerful than the scroll saw, the cuts are going to be rougher.
Types of Cuts
Band saws cut angles and straights very well. Since they are stronger and more powerful than the scroll saw, you can use a band saw to cut a large piece of plywood. Band saws do not allow you to cut an inner circle in a piece of wood the way that a scroll saw does. If you are working on building furniture, the band saw is a great tool.
Which Saw is Right for Your Needs?
A scroll saw and a band saw are similar in the work that they can do; however, there are a few differences that should be considered before you make your final purchase.
What Are You Cutting?
If you are making a jigsaw puzzle for your children, there is no question that you will need a scroll saw and not a band saw. Very detailed and intricate work will not go as well with the band saw.
If you are a person that likes crafting and ornate projects, the scroll saw is going to be a much better choice.
With a band saw, you can still make round, straight, or angled cuts, and that makes it quite versatile. The problem is that the cut itself will be a bit rougher.
If you are building a dining room chair and the cut is rougher, you can sand and finish it and have it come out beautifully. But back to the example of the jigsaw puzzle, this is going to be a bit harder to create if the cut itself is harsh.
Who Is Doing The Cutting?
How long have you been working with saws? Is this a saw you are buying to teach your children how to work with tools? If you want a very safe saw that is great for teaching children to work with tools, the scroll saw will be the way to go.
The band saw is not the most dangerous saw on the market, but it is louder, larger, and more powerful. As we mentioned earlier, the scroll saw is very similar to a sewing machine. If you think of a residential sewing machine, you can compare the band saw to a commercial sewing machine.
The price difference between these two saws is not going to be enough to help you make a decision. Many professional woodworkers will want to have both a scroll saw and a band saw; unfortunately, that is not a reality for most homeowners. If your projects are more construction type and woodworking, we suggest going with the band saw. If you want to make intricate crafts, get a great scroll saw.
- See also: Bandsaw vs Jigsaw: Pros, Cons, and FAQ
Choosing between a scroll saw and a band saw is difficult because in a perfect world you would have both. If you are a person that does a variety of projects, you can probably get away with purchasing either one of these tools. If, however, you work with thicker and heavier materials and you want fast and powerful work, the band saw is the way to go. For real detail-oriented crafters that want to spend time working on intricate pieces, the scroll saw will work best.