At some point, every woodworker would need to increase their arsenal to get jobs done. Most DIYers or beginners may have a difficult time selecting the right saw. This is down to two main factors, which are budget and understanding of the tools.
This article makes a comparison between two similar-looking but different working saws. They are, the scroll saw and the band saw.
The appearance of both saws tends to make beginners feel they have the same functionalities. Reading through, you will better understand the workings of both saws and know the best one for you.
What is a scroll saw?
By definition, a scroll saw is a saw used to make intricate carvings in wood, and other materials. It may be electric or powered by a pedal.
Scroll saws cut thin wood of about 1 to 1.5 inches.
The design features a thin short blade that moves up and down at high speed. A foot pedal is used to control the speed of the blade.
One of the most important features to look at before buying a scroll saw is the throat size.
The throat size is the distance from the blade to the back of the saw.
A bigger throat will accommodate larger boards.
What is a band saw?
While a band saw looks like a scroll saw, their designs are quite different.
This power saw is fitted with a long teethed blade attached to two or more wheels. As the wheels move the blade drives downwards to make cuts on wood, or metal.
The band saw can cut through much thicker materials than the scroll saw and makes very straight cuts. The band saw is a more industrial tool and is mainly used by professionals.
The blade on a band saw moves in one direction making, straight cuts as it does not create so many vibrations.
Uses of a scroll saw
Precisely, scroll saws are used to create clean, intricate cuts on small wood. They are used in carving jigsaw puzzles and making fine edges on figurines.
The main feature where the scroll saw excels and the band saw is not capable of doing is making inside cuts. Scroll saws are used to create patterns, carving shapes, numbers, and shapes from wood.
If you need to make very detailed curved cuts, you will need to use a scroll saw.
Note, the wood should only be a few inches thick because the blades are delicate.
Uses of band saw
The band saw is used to make quick accurate cuts that require a lot of force than the scroll saw can provide.
They are used to cut through thicker wood. They make outside angled cuts fast and accurately.
A jigsaw can in fact make the cuts a band saw makes, but the band saw allows for better control and accuracy.
While a band saw can not be used for inside cuts, The size and thickness of the blade allow it to cut thick materials. A downside to using the band saw is that the finished product is rough on the edges.
Band saws are used for woodwork, metalwork, and lumbering purposes.
If you need to make rip cuts on large boards, the band saw is the right choice here.
The difference between the scroll saw and the band saw
By now you should have seen some of the differences between these saws. Let us look at them a little more closely.
For projects requiring intricate designs, the scroll saw is the right tool for the job. They have thin blades, so be sure to use them on thin wood.
The band saw’s design makes it a great tool for straight and angle cuts on thick wood, metal, and other materials.
The size of the stock determines which saw to use for cutting.
The bigger and stronger blades of the band saw can cut materials up to 30 inches in thickness.
The scroll saw has thin blades measuring only as thick as 8 inches max. They are used for cutting wood up to 1.5 inches.
Scroll saws make cutting curves and circular edges easy. They are the best tool for making detailed cuts on wood. They make inside cuts that band saws can not do.
Band saws are the preferred option if you have to make straight cuts.
Using band saws for intricate designs will produce less precise edges, and can reduce the wood’s integrity.
A band saw offers a lot more versatility, since it can make a wider range of cuts. However, it is better for ripping and cutting larger materials, it is used to make regular cuts. For more precise intricate cuts, the scroll saw is the way to go.
While both saws are relatively safe, Band saws require more care when used. Kids can use scroll saws for learning purposes. The power and size of the band saw, calls for more concentration when using. Ensure you wear protective gear when using saws.
Power tools are expensive. Both saws have a wide range of prices, but band saws tend to be more expensive.
Scroll saws are cheaper than band saws. A lot of DIYers and woodwork enthusiasts use scroll saws. The band saw is a more industrial tool and is used by professionals.
Having to make a decision between a scroll saw and a band saw is not entirely up to you. The job to be done plays a major role in choosing the right tool.
If your projects require you to make very precise intricate designs, you will need to go for the scroll saw. Especially if you need to make inside cuts on wood.
Otherwise, you can go for the band saw if you make more straight cuts on thicker wood. This might be a better choice since the band saw is capable of making angular cuts as well as curved cuts. You will have to be more creative and sacrifice some precision though.