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Thread: Band Saw vs Scroll Saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Houston
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    Band Saw vs Scroll Saw

    Ok...

    So I have some woodwork I will be doing...my family knows I like to make things that are interesting and fun. But I work with hand power tools, and have just now gotten to a point where I have room for table based equipment...so the list is growing of things to spend money on...

    An interesting request came from my cousin...he's in a frat in college, as a sophmore...you know all the fun frat things college kids do. Well he's been asked by the president of the local chapter to look into creating paddles for each member of the frat, as a presentation gift when they graduate...

    And as I'm the only one in the family who enjoys woodwork, he thought of me...ain't that nice!

    So, my original thought was to get a scroll saw, as those seem to do that sort of work...but someone popped up and told me I should look at a band saw instead...

    So I guess I'm confused, what are the different applications of each saw?

    Thanks,

    Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Kalamazoo, MI
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    Hi Jeff,

    I have a 14" floor model b.s. and a 30" scroll saw. Most of my contour cutting I do in the bs. The scroll saw really shines with the thinner material 1/4" and under...just too slow for anything thicker.

    My vote is for a band saw. Either a benchtop or floor model.
    Kyle in K'zoo
    Screws are kinda like knots, if you can't use the right one, use lots of 'em.
    The greatest tragedy in life is the gruesome murder of a beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts.

  3. #3
    Scroll saws and bandsaws are generally used to perform the same cuts, but the scroll saw is used for the smaller dimension cuts and the bandsaw for the bigger.

    The issue is Horse Power, and most scroll saws say a maximum thickness of 2" of wood. I would consider this measurement to be on the optimistic side of things, and would not want to have to do too much 2" thick cutting on a scroll saw. The other issue is burning, since the small gullets on a scroll saw have a hard time clearing all that saw-dust.

    The otherside of the equation is also equally true; I wouldn't want to have to do too much fine work on a bandsaw.

    I would consider the paddles as a starting point and look to the future to see what possible demands I would have to tackle, since a scroll saw or bandsaw should be able to make paddles quite well.

    Perhaps, at the same time, you should also consider getting a metal detector, so that you don't accidentally leave any rusty nails in those paddles!

  4. bandsaw.

    Scroll saws can do a lot that BS can't:
    tiny, tiny, contours and super-narrow-radius curves
    insert blade through ahole and then begin to cut
    less dangerous (relatively speaking) because of slower cut

    Bandsaws are
    faster
    easier to cut a straight line
    usable in thicker wood


    None of those things are what you need right now: Paddles are thicker wood; they don't have intricate curves, and if you're making alot of them you'll like the speed of a BS.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Jeff, in my limited experience (and others, please feel free to spank me if I'm wrong), a band saw is used for rough-cutting of shapes, which are then fine-tuned by sanding or planing; rough-cutting of blanks for turning; re-sawing thick slabs of wood into thinner pieces, and various other uses. You usually cannot get down to a final shape on a band saw. The blades can range from 1/2" to 3" (and perhaps more), and they are circular and run on wheels enclosed in the top and bottom of the machine. They are large, stand-alone machines and can be very costly, depending on how big they are.

    A scroll saw, on the other hand, is used for fine work--like cutting small shapes on thinner stock - I have a DeWalt and it will cut up to about 1" material with the right blade. The blades can be very fine--small as a pencil lead and the teeth are much finer. The blades are usually about 5-6" long and fit into a mechanism that moves up and down, with the cut coming on the downward movement. The blades are easily removed and replaced. Scroll saws are used a lot for fretwork - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fretwork and http://www.alwaysvictorian.com/accents.htm. The machines are table-top ones, and can be moved around relatively easily to a benchtop or installed on a dedicated stand.

    For your application--paddles for the fraternity--you would probably be using 1/2 to 3/4" material, fairly large pieces, as much as 2 feet long and 4-6" wide. A scroll saw won't handle that size material well. You would probably want a band saw, but with a narrower blade so that you could make the curves at the handle end easily. You would cut out your rough shape, as close to the guidelines as possible, then plane or sand down to the guidelines to finalize your shape.

    From the paddles I've seen, you will also need to roundover the edges with a router or chamfer them with a plane, and figure out a way to break the edges of the hole in the handle for the leather thong hanger so the sharp edge doesn't end up cutting the thong.

    As I said, feel free to spank me if anything I've said herein is plain wrong. I'm sure I haven't covered ALL of the bases, but based on my experience....

    Nancy

    Nancy
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
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    ___________________________
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  6. #6
    For something like that you could probably make do with a jigsaw. Depnding on the curves of the paddle, I'd think a spindle sander or disk sander would be more important.

    Just make a template with of the paddle. Then use the jig saw to rough cut to the line and some double stick tape and a pattern bit to trim things up. Then a roundover bit around the edges and you're done.

    Of course if you're trying to justify a new purchase then for this instance a band saw would make more sense. But it really depends on what you plan on doing in the future. I've used a scroll saw to cut fretwork in 7/8" thick cherry before and it came out beautiful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Well in justifying in my own mind...yes I think I will need some sort of machine to make this happen. When I asked my cousin about what we were looking at, he shows in the last five years about 30 guys graduate from his frat. We are looking at a basic template, probably in something like Birch for the regular members, and for graduating seniors who held an officer position, something in an exotic, he already has a person who will be painting each one by hand....they really aren't skimping on this, which really suprised me..

    I did a paddle for his older brother when he was graduating, to give to the president of the frat who was retiring, cut with a jigsaw and then hand sanded down...and to be honest, I think cutting 30 or so a year that way would probably drive me right bonkers...

    But I hadn't thought of a router with a roundover bit and then a spindle sander/disk sander to help finish it off...

    Hmmmmmmm....

    Since I'm setting up my shop, and for now small things are all I will be building...I think workbench mounted tools will be best, and I should be able to pick one up a month without invading too much into my budget...*laugh*.

    But now I know, and with that information I think I would be abusing a scroll saw for this kind of work...so it seems a bandsaw is indeed the way to go...

    Then a Spindle Sander

    Then a Mini Lathe...for other fun things.

    Yeah...this is gonna be fun...

    Thanks to y'all for the input

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Yates
    Since I'm setting up my shop, and for now small things are all I will be building...I think workbench mounted tools will be best, and I should be able to pick one up a month without invading too much into my budget...*laugh*.

    But now I know, and with that information I think I would be abusing a scroll saw for this kind of work...so it seems a bandsaw is indeed the way to go...

    Then a Spindle Sander

    Then a Mini Lathe...for other fun things.

    Yeah...this is gonna be fun...

    Thanks to y'all for the input
    Jeff, you are having entirely too much fun with this. Since you have all this money to spend on these things, and having too much fun, just send all your spare $$$ to me and I'll put them to good use. When you get ready to buy a mini-lathe, PM me and let's talk.

    Nancy
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Carlyle IL
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    To answer your question.... Get the bandsaw. Rikon makes a nice benchtop 10 or 12 inch BS. Its around $180 at local Woodcraft Stores.

    No you really don't need it for your paddles. Jigsaw, Circular saw with a guide, a drill and a router with a straight cutting bit that has a bearing is all you really need.

    Make a master template and then use the router with the bearing and straight cutting bit to make exact duplicates. A round over bit will soften the edges.

    BUT.....since most WW'r like new tools, ignore the second paragraph regarding the jigsaw and circularsaws .

    Actually, I think you need to buy a router table as well!!!!!!

    Joe

  10. #10
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    Bandsaw for the rough blanks. Router with a straight bit for the template work,and a roundover bit for final shaping. Make a really nice template though for the router work. Any deviation in the template will be replicated in the final piece.

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