As long as we continue to use wood for various purposes, woodcutters will never go out of use. I mean, how else do you cut down trees into logs and finally into the required size? There are tons of different types of saws with varying functions available today, from simple hand saws to more sophisticated options like the miter saw and more.
If you’re a woodworker, you know the importance of these saws in your work. Sometimes it is impossible to get the type of shape you want without some particular saws. Other times, some of these saws perform similar actions so that they can be substitutes for each other. This wide variety also means getting all the saws for your workshop is difficult.
Band saws and scroll saws have come a long way and always seem to find themselves in the same conversations as people keep trying to understand their differences. If you’re among the people confused about these two saws, a guide like this will serve as an eye opener for you.
The two saws follow the same principles, but they are far from being the same. This is why a lot of people find it challenging when they have to choose one amongst them. Here is a guide explaining what these saws are and highlighting their differences to make your decision easier.
1. Band Saw
A band saw is a powerful tool with a flat working surface and a sharp running blade. It sports a column with a horizontal arm running perpendicularly to the working surface while the arm holds the blade which runs through the table. The worktable is open at the back and front to allow you to cut longer materials.
Power is a recurring factor when discussing band saws as the saw comes with a lot of power which is evident in its revolution per minute index. This power translates to an ability to cut thicker materials with ease.
There are two wheel systems available for you here, with one above the cutting wheel and the other below. The wheel system is equipped with a set of equally distributed metal teeth.
When it comes to band saw blades, you’ll find a long, continuous band made from metal. A band saw can fit different types of blades, with larger blades reserved for tedious work on thick materials, while smaller blades are useful when the precision of the cut is required. This versatile saw will cut the metal if you put it in the right blade type.
The material placed on the worktable and under the band blade is cut in a continuous downward motion enhanced by the wheels. This saw delivers fast cutting and commercial-level capacity. Physically, the band saw is a large saw with the ability to do several different tasks.
Making straight and angled cuts with the band saw is easy, but you’ll need to do more when making curves and corners. The sheer power and size of this saw mean extra precaution needs to be taken when using the saw.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Band Saw
- The blades here are thicker, which loosely means they have more quality. Issues of blade breaking are minimized here with this blade strength available.
- It produces less sawdust which reduces the amount of material that is wasted. It also reduces dust in the workplace, which can affect the respiratory system without proper protection.
- The saw is compatible with different blades, including broad blades for cutting metals and other thicker materials.
- It can cut thicker materials as the saw is large with a worktable open at both ends to allow for longer material, while the more robust blade makes cutting faster.
- The powerful motor of the band saw means you can cut your materials faster. It also means you can cut materials of different sizes. The revolution per minute of these saws is high.
- Band saws are expensive and require a considerable investment to purchase.
- They are not the best for extreme angles and when making delicate cuts. The type of blade makes cutting curves difficult when the power and speed lead to less precision.
- It requires maintenance a lot.
2. Scroll Saw
Scroll saw is named after one of its major uses, which is to make scrollwork. Scrollwork involves cutting fancy designs with a lot of curves and corners. This saw sports a worktable and a small blade used in making those delicate cuts.
The horizontal arm with the blade runs vertically. The blade is thin and short, with the width of the blade being about a quarter inch. You can use the foot pedal to make cuts using this saw.
The distance between the blade and the back end of the saw, otherwise known as the throat size, is considered when looking at scroll saws. Choosing between scroll saws with long or short throat sizes depends on your needs.
This saw feels like a sewing machine with the blades working in an up and down motion to cut the piece while you feed it the material. There are different types of band saws available, with the blade size the major difference.
Even though their blades are thin, you can cut materials of up to 20 lbs thickness. Good when cutting wood or other low thickness materials like plastic and plexiglass.
Scroll saw will handle pieces not thicker than 2 inches and not too long because of the throat size available. You can change the blades quickly by utilizing the tension knobs available. There are also two types of scroll saw blades available which are the pin end and plain end blades.
Making inside cuts with the scroll saw is also as easy as it gets, unlike many other saws. The scroll saw is relatively small when compared to similar saw types. It uses electricity while the speed can be adjusted using the speed knob or the pedal below it.
You can tilt the table and lock it in that position when you want to make angled cuts to your material. This saw may not be the cheapest in the market, but it is considered a more affordable option when looking at similar saw types. Since the power in the scroll saw is minimal, the saw is relatively more saved than most.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Scroll Saw
- The variable speed of the scroll saw makes cutting easier. The tension adjustment knob helps in this regard, as well as making quick blade changes.
- It offers the precision of cut with the help of its thin blade and tension adjustment knob. You can make delicate cuts around corners and curves with the scroll saw.
- The foot pedal gives you more control over the speed of the cut and also the option of using that or the speed knob available.
- Portable as it takes up less space compared to similar saws, thus giving you more room in your workstation.
- Perfect for delicate cuts because of its blade size and working principle. It can start cutting from the middle of the piece without any issue.
- Minimal dust helps to reduce material wastage and dust in the workstation.
- It is not suitable for cutting large materials because of the size of the saw and its blade.
- The vibrations produced by this saw can affect your cut .
- Less power means slower cut and lower ability to cut different materials.
Also Read: How to Replace or Change a Circular Saw Blade?
Differences Between Band Saw and Scroll Saw
Scroll saws and band saws may have similar styles, but they are not the same. They possess several differences that should be considered when trying to understand the two saws.
One of the biggest differences between the two saws is their uses. Band saws are mostly used when cutting thicker wood materials because of their power and broad blade—favored by professionals because of this ability.
Scroll saws, on the other hand, are better suited for precise cuts around curves and corners. They are perfect for making designs and art with craftspeople the major beneficiaries.
Size of Material
The size of the material to be cut is another major differentiating factor between a scroll saw and a band saw. Band saws can cut long and thick materials up to 30 inches wide.
The large throat, worktable, and blade sizes help to influence this. Scroll saws handle smaller materials when compared to the band saw. It is only suited for cutting materials ¼ inches wide and 8 inches long.
Safety is just as important as any other factor on this list. It becomes even more prominent when considering where the saws will be used and by whom. Scroll saws are safer since they are smaller, less powerful, and generally less intrusive. Band saws, on the other hand, feel like industrial machines as they are louder and more powerful.
The cutting actions of the two saws are different, with the band saw blade moving in a downward continuous loop along the wheels. The scroll saw, on the other hand, moves in a downward and upward movement.
The band saw features broader blades to allow it to put the extra power to use while cutting thick materials. The blade is a long continuous loop and is wide. For a scroll saw, the blade is thin and short, which helps it make those intricate cuts easily, but it also means it cannot cut thick materials.
Type of Cut
For making curves and designs, the scroll saw is the best option for you, seeing that the thin short blades are designed to make this possible. For making straight and angled cuts, band saws will do the job well for you.
Many people do not have an unlimited budget for their saws which means the cost of the saw will come into consideration. Typically, power tools do not come cheap; however, some are more expensive than others.
The band saw is the more expensive option as they are preferred by professionals. Scroll saws, however, present more affordable options since craftspeople and DIY lovers are the major users.
Even though the type of blade you use affects the cutting speed, band saws are generally faster, and this is in no small part to their more powerful motors, which make a higher revolution per minute. Scroll saws are slower since they are less powerful.
When to Use Band Saw and Scroll Saw?
Use a bandsaw when working with large wood projects, projects requiring different materials and for resawing. The powerful motor, blade, and table size make it easier to handle this type of cut. Professionals are more likely to use this saw because of the extra power it brings and the ability to cut large pieces.
You should also use band saws for straight lines and angled cuts. Do not use band saws if you want to make inside cuts or delicate cuts. Also, if the piece is really small, a band saw can rip it apart because of its size and power.
Use a scroll saw for detailed and intricate cuts like when making designs and craftsmanship. The saw should be used when dealing with small materials as the blades make it possible to handle these smaller pieces without ripping them apart.
The saw is suitable for inside cuts and provides precise cuts. You can also make plunge cuts with the scroll saw. This saw is not suitable when dealing with larger pieces, usually greater than 1 inch in width. They also struggle when making straight cuts.
Scroll saws and band saws are not as common as some other saws like the table saw. They possess several advantages that many struggle to select which among the two they should use.
This struggle is often due to the lack of understanding of their working principles and differences. By understanding how the two saws differ, the decision on which to choose becomes straightforward based on your needs.