Scroll Saw Vs. Band Saw -Which One Should You Have In Your Workshop?

Feature Differences Between Scroll Saws And Band Saws

These two are some of the most important tools that you can have in your workshop. With a band saw, you can deliver the best outside cuts for a unique set of patterns.

However, it is impossible to get the best isolated interior cuts with a band saw, and that is where scroll saws come in handy. While a scroll saw can deliver the best interior cuts, there are many times when your success is limited to curves with a specific radius, especially wider minimum ones.

A band saw does offer some straight detailed cuts, but the scroll saw takes this a notch higher, with finer details. Scroll saws can cut inside the piece of wood while a band saw cannot. This is because the band saw is a restricted perimeter cutter, while scroll saws, on the other hand, offer you the ability to enjoy utmost flexibility in your cuts.

Because of the ability of the band saw to deliver straight cuts, it is often used in the workshop as a re-sawing machine. This is a procedure where you derive smaller sections of the piece of timber you are working on, from a larger piece of timber by sectioning it along the grain.

Value Differences Between Scroll Saws And Band Saws

When you are thinking of the value of your purchase, nothing is more important than what you want to achieve in the long run. Your purchase decision should be based on your unique needs when using the saw.

Value band saws

Band Saws

Value scroll saws

Scroll Saws

In terms of value, each of these saws will serve you perfectly. The ease of use or precision of the results, however, will vary depending on what you want. At the same time, you will get more value from using either of these saws when you use the right saw for the right project.

Any woodworker who has been in the industry for years will tell you, irrespective of your preference between the two, they are all amazing and highly effective, but for different purposes.

The Level Of Precision Of The Cuts

Band Saws

Band saws are incredibly powerful tools. They are ideal for commercial and huge projects. Owing to their build, these saws can hold their own on huge projects very easily. They are constructed with thick blades and generally, operate in a downward motion.

Precision of the cuts band saws

Given the nature of these saws and their performance, precision is unfortunately not one of the best features they are known for. This, not with standing, in case you are ever thinking about getting the right saw that can easily cut through wood, especially thick wood, band saws are what you should get.

Scroll Saws

When discussing some of the top features of scroll saws, at the top of your list would be precision. These saws are easy to handle, making it easier for you to get that amazing finish when cutting through your wooden planks.

Precision of the cuts scroll saws

The scroll saw has a unique oscillating blade which helps a great deal in precision. The oscillating blade works up and down, compared to the restricted downward motion of the band saws. It is this convenient motion that makes the scroll saws deliver a better cut in terms of precision than the band saws.

Difference In Sizes

Band Saws

Band saws have blades that loop and are longer

Regarding the size, band saws are generally the bigger of the two. You will realize that band saws have blades that loop and are longer. They are as big as 6 – 11 feet in size, compared to scroll saws.

Scroll Saws

Scroll saws have shorter blades

Scroll saws, on the other hand, have shorter blades. Their blades can be anywhere between 5 and 6 inches in size. You will find scroll saws grouped depending on the size of the throat – the distance between the rear frame of the scroll saw and the blade. This also helps to determine the best size of wood that the scroll saw can be used to cut.

For smaller scroll saws, the throat can be as small as 12 inches, while they go as long as 30 inches in case you are looking at commercial scroll saws.

Real Stories

I cannot claim superior knowledge of band saws or scroll saws because I know there are people who have far more years of experience in this than I do. But, for the time I have been woodworking, I often use the band saw to get rough cuts for different shapes. Once I am done with this, I will then have to sand them or plane them to make them as smooth as I need to.

My band saw also comes in handy when I need to re-saw huge chunks of wood into smaller and thinner pieces. However, what I know for sure is that with a band saw, I cannot deliver the final outcome or final shape that I have in mind. Now, this is where my scroll saw will be useful.

The smaller slices of wood I get from my band saw can be even thinner (very, very thin) when I pass them through the scroll saw. I use a DeWalt, so you can trust me when I tell you the quality is nothing short of amazing. With the right blade, I can get the pieces as thin as I need them. Mostly, this is work that is hassle and fret-free, given that I usually remove and replace the blades very easily.

Jeff:
Woodworking for 3 years straight, started as a hobby.

Pros And Cons

Scroll Saw Pros

Removable blade – This is actually one of the best things about the scroll blade. With a removable blade, you are able to enjoy the best of interior cutting without an entry slot.

Segmentation – When using a scroll saw, there is very little kerf produced. Therefore, this makes your work easier especially when you are working on intarsia projects or segmentation and jigsaw puzzles.

Precision – With a scroll saw you are able to get some attractive pieces produced in the workshop and to the highest standards possible.

Different blade sizes – You are able to cut with blades that are small or thin, even allowing you to thread through a hole as small as 1/32”. This allows you to create some smoothened edges that do not need sanding.

Affordable – Due to the fact that scroll saws are quite affordable, you can easily settle into woodworking as a hobby, and a rewarding one too. You can buy one and through your hobby, start earning some money on the side.

Band Saw Pros

No restriction – Like most of the cutting tools you will find in the workshop, the band saw is not restricted to a specific type of material. This means that you are free to use it when cutting different types of wood or timber, as long as you get the right blade for the surface you are cutting.

Feature-rich – There are a number of features that are designed into the band saws, which allow you to get some good straight cuts all the time. These include a miter gauge and a rip fence.

Better results – Compared with most of the cutting tools you will come across, you can get better results with a band saw than things like a chainsaw. The main reason for this difference is the quality of the blades you get with a band saw.

Reduced wastage – Band saws generally have a smaller kerf compared to any of the other tools you might come across. For this reason, there is a significant reduction in wastage while you are working.

Band Saws Pros

Scroll Saw Cons

Overheating – Majority of the scroll saws you will come across are electric. Therefore, you will definitely have to deal with the overheating challenge that most electric tools are plagued with. In most cases, this happens when the saw is being overused. You can, however, avoid this by using the right blade for the right purpose and ensure the appropriate tension.

Blown fuse – These saws consume as much electricity to increase the likelihood that it will trip your circuit breaker and blow your fuse from time to time. In case the scroll saw is not working, you should have the fuse box looked at first because this is usually the easiest source of trouble.

Blade tension – The precision and accuracy you can get from the scroll saw depends on the tension of its blade. If you notice that you are struggling to cut on a straight line, it might be time to tighten the saw blade. Before you do this, however, go through the user manual so you can do it right.

Vibrating table – While the removable blade offers you the best of interior cutting, it also makes the table vibrate a lot, which can cause you some discomfort especially when you want to be very precise with the cutting.

Band Saw Cons

Band saws cons

Breaking blades – This is a common problem with band saws, and in most cases, it happens as a result of user mistakes. Some of the reasons why you might end up with a broken blade include using the wrong blade, excessive feeding or using the wrong blade tension.

Rough cuts – This usually happens when you have a blade that is damaged or dull, using the wrong speed or feed and insufficient band tension. Without checking these, you will end up with cuts that are not as smooth as you would have been accustomed to.

Stripped teeth – When your feed pressure is higher than it should be, you will end up with stripped teeth. Other reasons why you might have this problem include running the blade in reverse motion, using a new blade that has not been properly prepared, or coming into contact with a very hard spot when you are cutting the piece of wood.

Inaccurate cuts – This usually happens when the blade you are using is damaged, or you are not using the correct blade for the piece of wood you are cutting. Also, make sure that the guides are not loose or worn.

Using A Scroll Saw

One of the best things about a scroll saw is that it is one of the tools that has so many advantages compared to any other sawing machines. The following are some of the uses to which you might be able to benefit from a scroll saw:

Accommodate More work 

​The scroll saw has a uniquely small cutting capacity. However, it makes up for this with a variable speed motor with good controls at the front. This has some good power that allows the blade to rotate and deliver more work for you.

Has a disc sander

Other than the fact that it has a disc sander which will come in handy for you from time to time; it also has a flex shaft attachment through which you can add more than 150 tool accessories.

Intricate patterns

Due to its small size, you are able to get the best and most intricate patterns around and inside the perimeter of the wooden surfaces, you are working with. The scroll saw, therefore, delivers smooth and clean cuts for which you will need very little sanding if necessary.

Scroll saws, owing to their size, are perfect when you need precision cuts. They are ideal for small sculptures and jigsaw cuts, or simply intricate craft designs. In case you are looking for the right saw that would allow you extreme accuracy on whatever you are working on, this is what you should be looking for.

Besides, most of the scroll saws come with a foot pedal, which means your hands are free to control the saw and the wooden piece you are working on.

Using A Band Saw

As you advance in your pursuit of perfection in woodworking, you must understand how important each tool you have is and when to use them. The following are some of the things that you should be able to do:

Re-sawing –

This simply refers to the process where you saw the wooden plank along the width. You will end up with two pieces of wood whose inner faces are identical. It would be useful when you are perhaps preparing panels for cabinet doors that will be installed side-by-side.

Resetting the edges –

 You do not always have to use the edge of the boards as they are derived from the sawmill. Instead, you can rework the edge and make it better to suit your needs. with a band saw, you can realign the figure of the board along the length.

Making veneers –

 When you are working with a thick veneer there are a lot of possibilities that you can look forward to. With a band saw, you can saw the board into very thin slices according to your desired needs and specifications. This allows you a good chance of getting the most use out of a highly figured board and giving your work a precise and defined look.

One of the main reasons why you will appreciate the band saw is the perfect combination of accuracy and speed when you are working. It is perfect for those who want to churn out lots of work in a very short time.

Experience Of A User

I have had a 10” band saw for a long time, and was thinking of letting it go and replacing it with a 14” band saw. However, I was advised to get a scroll saw instead. According to my mentor, these two saws generally do the same thing, but the scroll saw will deliver finer performance than the band saw. There are intricate cuts that I will not be able to get from the band saw, and that is where the scroll saw will be useful.

I followed his counsel and got a scroll saw, and everything is just as he had mentioned. In fact, with the scroll saw I can get 90-degree corners and even work on curves that are too tight to imagine working with a band saw. One thing I noticed is that when I use a scroll saw, and the correct blade, when I am through, in most cases I do not need to sand the surface. Also, with the scroll saw, I can get pierce cuts with minimal effort.

Jeff:
Woodworking for 3 years straight, started as a hobby.

Scroll Saw vs. Band Saw On A Budget

In case you are working on a tight budget, you would want to know which one of these two would be ideal for you. You could be starting out as a beginner in woodworking, and for that reason, it would be wise to go for something that will not hurt you financially.

Band saw on a budget

Band saws are generally commercial equipment. Even at first glance, you will see from their structure, and their price reflects the commercial nature. They are considered a better alternative for someone who engages in woodworking as a commercial venture. For this purpose, you would need something that has some incredible cutting edge when you are working.

On the face of it, scroll saws are the cheaper of the two. For the average DIY enthusiast, the scroll saw would be ideal, especially if you are not undertaking any heavy projects. In case you are worried about spending, you will also be better off with the scroll saw; relatively affordable, and anyone can purchase, compared to band saws.

In short, the scroll saw is more affordable compared to the band saw. However, this blanket comparison can be misleading. Technically, comparing these two in terms of price is valid only to the point where you consider their relative performance to what your desired use.

scroll saw on a budget

Scroll saws are available from under $100 and you can even get some in the market for up to $2,000 or even higher.

When you look at the performance of either saw relative to the use to which you will put it and compare with the cost, the band saw is just as affordable.

Safety Focus

Irrespective of whether you are using a band saw, a scroll saw or any other power appliance for that matter, if you do not use it right, and for the correct purpose, you are risking a lot, especially your safety. There are a number of safety procedures that you must follow when using these tools to ensure you do not just get the right results, but stay safe while at it.

Safety focus
  • Always have your goggles and safety clothing on. If possible, have a face shield alongside the goggles.
  • Hearing protection is mandatory. Make sure the hearing protection gear you have is compatible with the noise frequency and level of the noise that emanates from your workshop.
  • Most people ignore this, but it is just as important – ensure you have the right footwear.
  • Always keep your fingers from the blade’s path as far as possible· When the saw is running, make sure the wheel covers are closed.
  • When you are getting to the end of your cut, lower the feed pressure.
  • Make sure there is sufficient lighting in the room to allow you to see the lines along which the saw is running much better. This will make it easier for you to get a clean cut.
  • Before you turn on the saw, inspect the blades. Make sure they are sharp, and none is bent or dull – this is the easiest way to avoid uneven cuts.

Summary

Scroll saws are practical and useful for a variety of fun crafts especially when your desire is utmost precision. Band saws feature continuous cutting action and the presence of a broad working table makes them deliver the best control and cleaner cuts.

In case you are worried about your budget, a scroll saw would be the best selection for you. Even though band saws are more expensive, if your budget allows, you can still shop around and with some good information, land an awesome bargain.

For a small, intricate project, a scroll saw will serve you well enough. On the other hand, a band saw is good when you need an increased productivity since they allow you full control of everything you are using.

​If you have any questions about or suggestions for this article, get them heard in the comments section and we’ll make sure to reply as soon as possible. Don’t be shy to share this article if you found it informative.

David Deen
 

I am David Deen. I love spaces and home improvement is my passion. To me, every space in your home needs attention and manipulation. To unleash my creativity, I take ideas from many home improvement blogs. The step-by-step instructions explained by experts allows me to live my dreams.

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