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scroll or bandsaw:

which to buy

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david siokes07/03/2016 20:39:00
14 forum posts
2 photos

hi chaps , im new to this hobby but have plans id like to build and require a saw , have seen a home bench bandsaw at toolstation at £99 and a scroll saw for alittle more , which is best to get for cutting out parts ? thanks

David Marks 108/03/2016 06:58:46
255 forum posts
44 photos

David - I have both types of machine but find I use the bandsaw far more often than the scroll saw. The scroll saw is much better suited to fine work on thinner material. Also, by drilling a pilot hole and inserting the blade through the hole you can also cut out internal shapes e.g. taking the centre out of a bulkhead. You cannot do that with a bandsaw, but a bandsaw will tackle thicker material. Suggest that you look at the specification for other machines as the info avail able from Toolstation is very limited.

You will find that most machinery of this type is now made in China and the same basic machine is marketed by a variety of suppliers although the machine(s) will be badged to suit the supplier. Aim to get a machine with the most powerful motor available and/or affordable.

Banjoman08/03/2016 08:56:34
1145 forum posts
2423 photos

There was a fairly extensive discussion of the respective merits (and indeed necessity -- or not!) of band and scroll saws in the early parts of the Tiddler by Vic Smeed thread (**LINK**); my own contribution to that discussion was quite similar to what David Marks 1 just said, namely the following (I quote):

"I'd say that that depends on what one's priorities are.

A bandsaw has the disadvantage that it simply cannot be used to do internal cuts like cutting out the interior of a closed frame. Because the blade is a continous loop, you just cannot get it in there without at some place cutting through the periphery.

With a scroll saw this is not a problem: one just slacks off the blade tension, unhooks the blade at one end, threads it through an initial drilled or otherwise created hole, hooks it back up and retensions the blade.

On the other hand I have found it neigh on impossible to do a perfectly straight cut with my table top scroll saw: even with a guide for the workpiece, the blade is too flexible and it just won't cut dead straight. On that point the bandsaw is many times better, and with a bit of normal care makes it easy enough to do long, straight cuts.

As for curves, I find the bandsaw better for getting a nice, smooth and gradual curvature, whereas the scroll saw, with its much thinner blade, can make tighter turns.

When looking at these kinds of saw don't forget to take into account that they both suffer to some extent from throat issues. Not of the coughing kind, but they both have a limit as to which depth of workpiece will pass between the blade and the back pillar.

These two types of saw are thus not, I think, so much alternatives for each other as complimentary. What the one does very well the other does less well so, and vice versa.

Having both, I'd say that if I could have only one of them I would plump for the bandsaw, which I use much more than my scroll saw."


Dave Milbourn08/03/2016 09:17:37
4025 forum posts
282 photos

I too have both types and would heartily agree with every word that /Mattias has just written.

Dave M

ashley needham08/03/2016 09:48:45
6920 forum posts
201 photos

As above. I have a two-wheel bandsaw from Machine mart, of 190mm throat capacity (on par for small machines) and it will take 1/4 inch deep blades, so you can get some reasonably tight curves with it.


Paul T08/03/2016 13:14:52
7188 forum posts
1214 photos
2 articles

I also have both types and would agree with Mattias.

david siokes08/03/2016 15:57:37
14 forum posts
2 photos

Thank you gentlemen , think for now i will opt for bandsaw and hand cut any internal pieces with my fretsaw by hand this is a great site with some fantastic people whom are kind with their know how! many thanks

Paul T08/03/2016 16:42:38
7188 forum posts
1214 photos
2 articles

Hi David

You could invest in a cheap jigsaw to cut all of those awkward little corners.

There is one at Argos for £11.99

Challenge - 650W M1Q-DD7-65 Variable Speed Jigsaw - 240V - Black

Edited By Paul T on 08/03/2016 16:47:05

Mark Jarvis 213/03/2016 17:45:35
217 forum posts

I agree with Paul T, i use a band saw and a jigsaw, the bandsaw for the major cuts and the jigsaw for the internal cuts, the benifit of the jigsaw is there are many sizes and shapes of blade available very easily, Poundshops, B&Q etc.


ashley needham13/03/2016 19:06:34
6920 forum posts
201 photos

Can a jigsaw replicate the 90 degree sort of turn performance of a scroll saw though?? I bought a scroll saw for doing windows and so on, I cant see a jigsaw doing the same??? Obviously if Paul T says "use a jigsaw" than who am I to disagree...but..

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