Scroll Saw Vs. Band Saw

A saw is an essential tool in a host of different contexts. Sometimes, you find yourself in a position where you must choose between different types, or you want to know what kind of application suits one saw versus another.

The scroll saw, and band saw are two options that may find themselves in your crosshairs. Depending on the jobs you’re going to be tackling, you may find that one or the other is incredibly optimal.

That’s why it’s always recommended to consider your typical use case before settling on a purchase decision. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place for an extensive comparison of these two saw types. After the thorough breakdown, you should be in a great position to choose one or both excellent tools.

Scroll Saw

You’re going to find that the scroll saw has an aesthetic that closely resembles a sewing machine. The blade that accompanies this design moves vertically. Apart from the visual aspect, the motion is also a callback to a sewing machine. That’s because you would be pushing your workpiece in and out, just like you would with a piece of clothing when making a pattern.

As you can imagine, this design lends itself to excellent maneuverability. Additionally, you have various blades that you can opt for, based on the job you are carrying out. You should note, however, that the blades here are not the thickest in the world. Unfortunately, that also translates to their durability, which is less than stellar.

Functionality

Why would you be using a scroll saw? It’s typically the attention to detail that necessitates one of these units. So, your scroll saw would be your go-to when you are carrying out intricate cuts or jobs that require precision and delicacy. You get an excellent finish on any edge you cut, making it perfect for animal patterns, jigsaw puzzles, etc.

One of the standout features is the ability to use both hands to focus on the movement of your workpiece. That’s because this saw type includes a foot pedal, which is responsible for the unit’s operation.

The kinds of cuts you can get with a scroll saw include round, angled, or your traditional straight cuts. Interestingly, you can remove the blade and place it directly into the center of your workpiece. In doing so, you can easily carve interior designs that include basic shapes or miniature patterns. Of course, this is not typical of most saws.

The safety you get with your scroll saw is undeniable. Since it focuses on precision, there is much less power present than other saw types. Additionally, since you are using a foot pedal to keep the blade running, you can focus on the positioning of your hands to keep them away from injury.

As far as price is concerned, there is no average. On the one hand, you can find scroll saws that cost no more than $100, While on the other hand, there are more elaborate models closer to the $1,000 range.

Pros

What does the scroll saw do well? here are the upsides that matter most:

  • Large pieces of board can be accommodated for work
  • Detailed and precise cuts for the workloads that require it
  • Hi customizability
  • Safety is built into the design

Cons

In what areas does the scroll saw falter? Remember these downsides as you make your decision:

  • A good one is likely going to be quite expensive
  • Even with the precision present, angles on the extreme side are going to present a challenge
  • The design is synonymous with a complicated readjusting process
  • The thin build quality of the blade means more frequent or placement than that which you would expect from other models

Band Saw

With the scroll saw out of the way, it’s time to shift gears to the band saw. Even with the sewing machine design that the scroll saw has, it’s still not as large as this variation. The movement style here is rotational on a band. This kind of motion translates to high versatility, meaning there are many applications that your band saw is well suited for.

The blades present here are on the thicker side of the spectrum, which means more excellent durability and fewer replacements to worry about. Additionally, the greater surface area and weight mean faster cuts than the scroll saw at the expense of a smooth finish.

Don’t expect to be making any tight corners, but you can use some incredibly thick workpieces with no challenge your band saw. You tend to find that furniture maker are the most common users of this saw type, especially given its appropriateness for crafting curved table and chair legs.

Functionality

Band saws work incredibly well for both angled and straight cuts. It tends to make defined cuts in wood, which may or may not be curved. Of course, applications that do not require a refined finish are best suited to this kind of saw.

It does a tremendous job of handling both the straights and the angles, which is especially useful when such cuts need to be made on more significant and thicker pieces of wood. You can’t do the inner cuts like you could with the scroll saw, but you can’t beat the band saw if you are thinking about making furniture.

The band saw’s power, size, and composition make it a potentially dangerous tool that requires quite a bit of care and caution. They’re not so unsafe that just using one is dangerous, but you want to pay attention to hand positioning and eye protection.

Band saws are also priced along with a broad range, but they are comparatively the more expensive option of the two. For example, you can expect to pay well over $1,000 for the high-end band saw compared to a $900 scroll saw.

Pros

The band saw excels in these areas:

  • Its blade size and power make it a prime candidate for large and thick wooden workloads
  • There is tremendous reach, making for greater efficiency
  • The blade durability is top-notch, meaning less is going to be spent on getting replacements
  • Band saws are highly suited to jobs that don’t require intricate cuts or excellent finishes

Cons:

Remember to consider these downsides if you are interested in a bandsaw:

  • You are almost always going to be spending quite a hefty sum to get your hands on one
  • Readjustment is a complex task
  • If you have extreme angles to tackle, the band saw is not for you
  • The design is not inherently safe, which means the possibility for injury is greater

Final Remarks – Choosing Your Saw

In some areas, the band saw, and scroll saw can overlap. However, consider the likely scope of your projects to determine which one to choose.

For ornate and crafting projects, the intricacy the scroll saw provides would be better suited to you. As you’ve likely gathered by now, Band saws are much better if you are making furniture.

Your level of expertise should also be a factor. Scroll saws are inherently safer, which makes them the better choice for newer users. 

The applicable budget also cannot be forgotten. The scroll saw is a better option if you are looking for a lower price. However, if woodworking and construction are on your schedule and the cost is less of a restriction, go with a band saw.

The point here is to think about the intended utilization and the other variables at hand. Your decision should then become a no-brainer.

Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.

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