Scroll Saw vs Band Saw [Which One Do I Use?]

People with limited woodworking knowledge have a hard time understanding the difference between bandsaw vs scroll saw when it comes to their actual cutting abilities. They seem similar to the untrained eye, which is why it’s difficult to estimate which one would be better to own. Should you choose a band saw or scroll saw?

What if there are a few tips we can give you to make that differentiation clearer? You can look at them as being the counterparts of the jigsaw and the table saw in terms of precision, size, and power.The point is they’re not both made for the same types of projects.

Check out this scroll saw versus band saw comparison video

This article will give you information on the basics of using each saw as well as the intended use. They’re both capable of making very intricate cuts, but the differences become clear once you know how the mechanics actually work. Before you start your project it is important that you do your research and find a good band saw or excellent scroll saw that fits your needs.

Bandsaw Overview

If you’re familiar with table saws and jigsaws, then you’ll have no problem associating the band saw as being a table saw to the scroll saw’s jigsaw. The band saw favors speed and ripping power as opposed to the fine finish and slower cutting speed of the scroll saw. In fact, here are some great bandsaw choices for woodworking which will clearly highlight the differences presented in this article.

ryobi professional band saw

The band saw makes use of a very long blade that spins across two wheels. This is why it’s called a band saw, because the blade itself resembles a band. These blades come in different sizes of length and width and also thickness.

To use a band saw, you must first set the tension of the blade according to the type of wood you’re cutting. Once the tension is set, according to the instructions in the owner’s manual, you will also have to adjust the height of the blade guard. This helps dampen the sideways wobbling effect of the blade, which can happen if you use it on a small piece of wood with too much of the blade exposed above it.

When you think band saw vs. scroll saw you’re really trying to compare specialty saws. What a band saw will do better than a scroll saw is the ability to cut faster and thicker material. Unlike the limitations of a table saw vs. a jigsaw, the band saw does have the ability to also do curved cuts like a scroll saw, and quite accurately too since you can use both hands to guide the material into the blade.

Scroll Saw Overview

The scroll saw also relies on tension to secure its blade, but unlike a band saw the scroll saw uses an up and down cutting motion rather than a continuous one. This is why the scroll saw is very much like a jigsaw. In fact, you’ll have an easier time creating a wooden jigsaw puzzle with a scroll saw than you would with a handheld jigsaw because of the superior stability you get from cutting on a workbench and having both hands free.

proxxon scroll saw for smaller projects

Both band saws and scroll saws have adjustable speed settings and bevel settings. How you operate them depends on each particular saw.

Another key difference between how these two saws work is how quickly you can adjust a scroll saw to make pierce cuts. Because the blade is so thin and the superior end of the blade is not held in place by an intricate mechanism, you can just unlock it and thread the blade through your drilled hole. You can then lock it back in place and proceed to make cutouts following your favorite patterns.

The adjustability of angles during curved cuts is also superior with scroll saws. You can turn your wood to 90 degrees abruptly without worrying about ruining the interior edge and getting a lot of feedback. You can also follow very intricate and close angle cutting patterns. This is not something easily achieved with a band saw.

Band Saw vs Scroll Saw: Safety Tips

Both machines are really safe to use since they almost never present the risk of kickback. The scroll saw also produces very little dust from its cuts, no matter how tightly you take curves. This also helps improve the visibility over the cutting line.

It’s also worth noting that scroll saws are some of the first tools everyone learns to use in woodworking classes. You always get a clear view of what you’re cutting as well as of all your fingers and the positioning. It doesn’t get safer and easier to use than an entry-level friendly cutting tool.

The band saw may seem a bit more dangerous at first glance but only because it is bigger in size. The band blade may seem like a hazard but the fact that very little of it is actually exposed means that there’s no reason to worry.

In addition, the blade guards on band saws are very big.Besides covering the blade to prevent injuries, they also further stabilize the blade to give you as little feedback as possible when making curved cuts. You can check out some more guides and tips on how to operate both saws safely while getting maximum performance at WWGOA. WWGOA gives great tips for all wood-related questions.

Conclusion: Band Saw versus Scroll Saw?

The similarities between the band and scroll saw can really be boiled down to being able to perform the same types of cuts and giving you the ability to guide the wood with both your hands. In terms of actual performance and intended use, they couldn’t be further apart. Size matters but in the case of the bandsaw vs. scroll saw, each size is better at something than the other.

You’ll always prefer a scroll saw if you work with intricate patterns, you create small jigsaw puzzles, toys, and anything that involves pierce cutting with a fine finish. For those of you that work with large pieces of material, a band saw will offer more ripping power, the option to perform deep cuts, and, depending on the quality of the blade, even resawing (ripping wood vertically).

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