bought a 12" Jet a couple of months ago and really like
it. I may be like a 16 year old kid with an Escort who
thinks he owns a race car, but it has done everything
I have asked of it so far. Mostly I use if for "Scroll
Saw" type work through 3/4" pine, but have resawn some
3" and 4" oak with no problems.
you use the bandsaw to cut curves, you need a narrow
enough blade. I know when I've been too idle to change
to the correct size its jumped around the too tight
curves...leaving a saw tooth finish
Also plan your cuts so you don't end up getting trapped
in a difficult sharp change of direction. Make a series
of straight cuts in from the outside edge so close to
the line that you meet up with them as you bandsaw.
Practice cutting a line outside your final line by 1/2"
or so. This will give you a sense of the flow and how
much steering you need to do. Then go round the line
again this time closer. So what if it takes three passes.
It's how you learn and get better.
The blade must be sharp, tensioned, and not have an
excessive slop between the blade and the guide blocks.
Lastly take it as slowly as you like, the bandsaw will
not burn the wood as deeply as a T/S or router bit.
If all else fails you could try a scroll saw.
think that a bandsaw is a great tool to have in the
shop. There are three basic direction you can go.
1. The 14 inch Delta or any one of the clones of this
saw. Almost all tool manufactures are building one of
these. They are good general purpose machines. The main
advantage is that there are 100's of accessories and
add on that are made for this saw. But, it is the low
end of Bandsaws for a full shop.
2. There are a class of industrial used Bandsaws that
will do everything you want to do. The issue here is
you have to me very mechanical and may have to fix or
rebuild them. But, you end up with a great tool
3. There are the new industrial saws. Expensive and
they will resaw all day as well as do the general bandsaw
away from the three wheel [bandsaw] bench top models.
They are notorious for breaking blades due to the small
diameter of their wheels. If you are looking for something
to cut curves in 3/4 to 1 1/2 stock and don't want to
spend a lot of money they will do fine just have a spare
blade on hand at all times but if you are looking to
resaw or do some heavy duty cutting then save up for
the 14" two wheel models or larger. You will be much
happier in the end.
bought a closed-stand 14" Jet bandsaw a couple weeks
ago. I did quite a bit of research--both on the web
and with real live woodworkers (imagine that).
I'll be using the bandsaw for a number of reasons: cutting
curves in table legs (current projects include some
cabriole-style legs), re-sawing boards for book matching
panels and building jewelry boxes, etc. I considered
some of the higher end machines: an 18" Jet, a Laguna
16 (about the same price as the 18" Jet), even the Inca.
But I decided that the Jet was "good enough" for now.
If I start making more money from my woodworking endeavors,
I may upgrade the saw. But only when I have to.
I also considered the 14" Delta. The Jet was about 250
or 300 less than the Delta. Although the Delta felt
a bit more solid, I didn't think it was worth the price.
They both have the same horsepower engine (1HP), take
the same size blades (105" with riser blocks). So I
went ahead and bought the Jet along with two Timber
wolf blades, six-inch riser blocks. The miter gauge
and fence with resaw capabilities were included in a
So far I've been very happy. After taking a sample cut
with the stock blade, I immediately replaced it with
a Timber wolf 1/2" blade, and it slices through everything
I've thrown at it with ease.
I didn't even consider anything less than a 14". The
12" or 9" models out there just don't have the power
or the ability to resaw boards that are more than a
couple inches thick.
are good for some fancy cuts. Jigsaws are good
for when you can put the piece on saw horses or other
props. For small pieces, with lots of tight turns, try
a scrollsaw. It is bench mounted, but the thin
blade lets you turn on a dime without relief cuts required
by a bandsaw. So think of what you want to do. Fret
work is a job for scrollsaws only.
can do some detailed cuts, but that's not what they
do best. The bandsaw is a versatile tool for general
stock prep. You can re-saw thin slices for building
your own panels. You can use it to cut tenons or curves
for rockers or chair backs. For detailed scroll work
a jigsaw or scrollsaw is the right tool.
think that both the jigsaw and bandsaw are very useful
tools but for really different purposes.
jigsaw is portable and fairly low powered. It's
really not good at cutting thick stock. I use mine primarily
for sheet goods. New models of jigsaws have orbital
cutting action. I highly recommend this feature. Combined
with a high quality blade, an orbital jigsaw makes short
work of cutting out patterns in plywood.
bandsaw is a high powered stationary tool. The
popular hobby 14" bandsaws have at least a 3/4 HP induction
motor instead of the small universal motor found on
jigsaws. This allows the bandsaw to cut through THICK
stock, up to 6 or 12 inches thick.
really fine curve cutting work, I agree that a scrollsaw
is the best option.
- Ned Mellon
to a woodworking store and see the book section. A bandsaw
is great for getting pieces close to actual size, or
cutting circles. It is a pretty good all around saw,
it will not replace a table saw. A scrollsaw
is for doing really fancy cuts mostly for small fret
work. Also good for doing inside cuts -- which a bandsaw
can't do. This is about the only thing I can tell you
without you actually seeing the saws and reading the
books about them.
- Jim Reed
is a major woodworking saw. It can rip, re-saw and cross
cut. It has been used by major furniture makers as their
only power saw. It and good set of hand tools and you
can build anything. The scrollsaw is a craft
toy. OK that is a bit harsh. It is a very good tool
for small detailed work like marquetry.
- Lou Williams
Which make [of jigsaw] does not matter as much
as which features. I recommend that you buy one that
has a barrel grip for better control (as opposed to
a top handle grip), a bearing guide close to the base
plate to keep the blade straight, and an adjustable
motion that moves the blade forward and back as you
cut instead of straight up and down which makes faster
rough cuts on thick stock. I have a DeWalt, but the
Bosch is also very highly regarded... and any good name
with these features will give you great results.
Bandsaws can rip, tear, and smash, so to speak.
A scrollsaw is far from a toy. It can do very
delicate cuts. Yes, all fret work is done on a scrollsaw,
but it too can be used for more than art work. Ever
see a mantel clock with fancy, tight turn top molding?
Or a grandfather clock that was "fully dressed"? I use
it for wood 1/16 to 5/4" thick.
As for which I would recommend, you first have to decide
what you are mainly going to do. For me, call me greedy
(or a tool nut), I needed both. But I don't build furniture.
I do a lot of custom knick-knack type work. So, figure
out what you want to do and go from there.
If you're buying quality tools a scrollsaw will
cost half what a band saw will. DON'T BUY CHEAP TOOLS!
I'd pick the bandsaw first. However, $150 spent
on a good jigsaw might be the best compromise
until you can spent a couple hundred on a scrollsaw
or more on a bandsaw.