Jigsaw vs Bandsaw: The Ultimate Guide

As a non-wood-worker, the term ‘saw’ might seem simple and universal to you. But the truth is that the world of saws is huge, complex and really detailed.

Each saw has a different functionality when compared with the other and it is important to know this functionality before using them.

Every woodworker always has confusion between Jigsaw vs Bandsaw because of their respective functionalities. As a beginner, you might get confused about being exposed to the multitude of tools available in the market. When I initially started the woodworking for my DIY projects, I wanted to build a few cabinets and shelves.

During the procedure, I had to cut various curves for my bookshelf but wasn’t sure about the saw that should be used.

I ended up going for a bandsaw instead of the jigsaw and things became really difficult. It is only after browsing enough about woodworking, I realized that a Jigsaw is most suitable to make curves without any deflection in the cut.

While I hoped that I had someone who could have told me the difference between Jigsaw and a Bandsaw; I decided to help the beginners by writing this guide which displays the variations between the two major types of saws that are popular among DIY workers, carpenters, woodworkers and even the carvers.

Overview: Jigsaw vs Bandsaw

At a glance, Bandsaw and Jigsaw look exactly similar. Both the saws are known to use a thin blade for the cutting straight lines and as well as the corners in the piece. All the cuts are made through the dynamic moment of the thin blade, where the method can provide control over the cut.

It is easier to make cuts using the bandsaw and jigsaw because of their structure. Both of these saws can also cut corners well.

However, the jigsaw is preferred to make curves while bandsaw is used for cutting lines and also for re-sawing the thin pieces.

What is a Jigsaw?

The Jigsaw is an actual handheld saw which uses a reciprocating thin blade to make various cuts.

One of the very important reasons why people use jigsaw is because it has the ability to make curves on a wide range of materials. It is also extremely comfortable to use. Similar to hand saw jigsaw uses a blade which is mounted on the upper body.

When you place the piece on the work table, the blade makes perpendicular cuts through up and down motion. The small blade of jigsaw allows the users to make curves with accuracy.

As a Power Tool, it requires the motor power to work. As a tool, it is most beneficial for all the onsite works but also can play a crucial role in the DIY projects.

The saws in the market come in two different types, the corded saw and the cordless saw. Jigsaw is extremely safe to use which is why it is one of those initial saws that any beginner would want to buy.

Functionality of a Jigsaw

A jigsaw is known to use a narrow blade of 12.7cm long (which is about 5 inches). It is usually mounted on the C-shaped hand like the hand saw.

Through the gentle up and down motion of the blade, the saw makes perpendicular cuts to the worktable. Because of the smaller size of the blade, it can be used to form complicated curves.

The cuts can also be made within the holes that are made instead of the bank. The blade of the jigsaw can easily be separated and therefore, you can always re-dock it with various other blades for internal and external cutting purposes.

Versatility of Cuts

Contrary to the beliefs, Jigsaw is not only good for making curved cuts. It can also be used for making straight lines, angled lines and a lot more. This power tool has many blades which can be used to make whatever kind of cut you would want.

The jigsaw has become proficient because of its ability to cut through all kinds of materials including drywall, plastic, metal and even wood. Irrespective of the type of material, it can make efficient cuts that are required for your woodworking project. It also works on many virtual surfaces, when you have used the right blade.

Because of its ability to perform all kinds of cuts, it is also known as a poor man’s saw with reciprocating actions. Jigsaw, even when it is not as stable as demolition saw, it is used to create rough cuts.

Jigsaw Blade Selection

The most important thing about a jigsaw is that you have to make sure that you’re picking the right blade. The cut of the saw is often dependent on the length, width, material and as well as the tooth configuration of your jigsaw. Based on the blade choice, your cuts will differ without any additional chirping.

For example, if you’re looking to make longer straight cuts, you should go with a wider blade so that the cut can be done in a go. If you are trying to make curves, you should go with narrow blade so that there are not accidental cuts. Apart from the size of the blade, the tooth configurations are important because the blades with larger teeth can make faster cuts.

The blades with smaller teeth can make slower cuts, but the results of these cuts are usually smoother when compared with the prior cuts.

When to Use?

In cases where you want to make a cut on the interior of a piece without disturbing the outer edge, you should opt for jigsaw so that your precision does not meddle. Apart from that, jigsaw can be easily operated and permits you to make various cuts without disturbing the outer/inner edge.

Most of the carpenters and woodworkers use jigsaw when they want to make accurate curved cuts because of its ability to make curves.

Despite of the complexity of the curve, a jigsaw will allow you to make the cut with an ease because of the blade motion. Even as a beginner, you can use this tool in order to cut along the line and pull the wood out within minutes.

What is a Band Saw?

The band saw, unlike Jigsaw uses a thicker and larger blade and hence, is convenient to make straight cuts. It is not a reciprocating saw and therefore, can be handheld either. 

The band is connected from one end to another end in order to create a circular band. The saw doesn’t contain a C shaped arm and therefore is mounted on the fixed wheels which are located above and below the cutting table. Using these wheels, the motion of the blade is enabled as the teeth start working in a consistent manner.

Whenever the blade saw is used on the wood, the up and down motion of the blade forms cuts. There are many types of band saws that are available in the market and all of them are powered.

These models include shorter band saws, mounted band saws, cabinet models, benchtop models and the bandsaws with large motors. By making the right choice of the blade based on the need, you can see some consistent and extraordinary results.

Functionality of Bandsaw

The bandsaw is initially named after the blade that has been used. The band is a blade which is extremely thin with a width which varies between 11/8 inch.

The ends of the bandsaw are met in order to form a circular band as it is mounted on the two wheels which produce the movement. The teeth of the bandpass through the wood in a consistent manner as if it is fed through the sheet. The radius of the curve cutting depends on the width of the blade and therefore, it can’t be used to make cuts of all sizes.

The band saw is used for re-sawing when the wooden board is passed on the blade from one edge to the other, in order to create thinner boards. If you want to create various joints, you can use the bandsaw so that there is no additional waste.

Versatility of Cuts

The band saw is the versatile power tool that you can find in the market. However, it requires many adjustments so that it can work effectively based on the type of cut.

For each bandsaw task, you might have to change the saw blade so that it can work in the correct fashion. The adjustment of the bandsaw includes adjustment of the wheel, the finishing of the band, the fixing of the new blade and as well as the positioning of the desk.

Despite the configuration, the bandsaw has intense abilities which can’t be matched with any other saws. For people who usually work with 2″ to 4″ inch timbers, the band saw can be of utmost use. Additionally, people who are targeting for accurate curves can get better results with the help of a bandsaw.

Bandsaw Blade Selection

Band saws are known to have the guiding guards which will allow you to minimize the exposure of the blade. Therefore, even when you have chosen the wider blade or the narrower blade, you can reduce the possibility of cutting yourself.

When compared to Jigsaw, this feature enhances safety even when you are moving at a higher speed. The band saw should be fixed with an accurate blade so that it won’t send any rough wood in your head and cause an injury. 

You can also use a drill vice in order to stop the unnecessary moment of the wood. The blade of the bandsaw should be sharpened from time to time in order to reduce the injuries from it, wearing out. An important thing about band saws is that horizontal band saws are relatively less dangerous than the vertical band saws.

When to Use a Band Saw?

Bandsaws are exclusively used for the re-sawing purposes. When you want to make longer cuts, you can opt for a Bandsaw with a wider blade and larger teeth. In fact, you can use bandsaws for making other kinds of cuts as well.

The motion of the bandsaw is responsible for re-sawing the wood with an ease. In case if you are wondering what re-sawing is, it is the act of cutting a wood in half across the thickest part. For example, if you have a 1*4 wood; re-sawing the wood in the middle would make it a 2*4. But when do people need to re-saw?

When a person is making a veneer, they usually need thin layers of wood. Therefore, bandsaw can be used to make the thin layers of wood in order to make veneers without generating waste.

So, do you need a Bandsaw or a Jigsaw – Jigsaw vs Bandsaw:

Both Jigsaw and Bandsaw can cut curves, but they are not interchangeable. The functionality of both the saws is extremely different.

The jigsaw is responsible for making complex, narrow cuts while the bandsaw is responsible for making wider cuts. With a jigsaw, one can make curves of all kinds while the bandsaw is responsible for re-sawing with either manual tools or table saw tools.

In cases where you want to pass the saw through the entire length of the wood and split it, the bandsaw is recommended but if you want to make cuts of short lengths, you should go with the jigsaw.

While both of the saws use thin blades to cut through the wood, they have few similarities and differences that should be considered, based on the purpose of the cut.

When to Use Jigsaw vs Bandsaw?

Jigsaw is one of those convenient tools which can be used for several types of basic cuts. A good saw with the right blade configuration can handle any material and can excel in making tight shorter cuts and circular cuts.

A bandsaw, however, is used for re-sawing. It is expensive and larger, but out of all is a bit dangerous to use. Therefore, it should only be used on experience and also when you have something very important to cut.

Jigsaw vs Bandsaw: Similarities

  • Both can make cuts with the up and down motion of the blade
  • Both can be used to make straight cuts
  • Both can cut the corners and around
  • Cuts of both are highly dependent on the type of blade used

Jigsaw vs Bandsaw: Differences

Jigsaw

Bandsaw

The jigsaw is lightweight and is small, therefore can be handheld.The bandsaw is cumbersome, heavy and large. It is immobile and can’t be handheld.
The jigsaw blade is usually attached on the top of the saw, while the bottom is left unattached. This is why this saw is reciprocating saw.The bandsaw has a blade which is connected to a band. The blade is mounted on the wheels which allow the blade to pass through the cutting material.
The jigsaw is suitable for rough cutting and general cutting purposes. It is a convenient tool to use, even when it is not so precise.The bandsaw is used for large-scale accurate cutting. It is mostly used to cut larger pieces of lumber and wood.
The jigsaw can make smaller cuts but can’t be used for making larger cuts in line. However, it can make curves of all types.The bandsaw can be used for resawing which is something that jigsaw can’t do.

Conclusion

Wrapping up, it is not simple to say that one saw is better than the latter when we analyze Jigsaw vs Bandsaw. The functionality of both the saws depends on the type of material, the type of cut and the type of blade that you’re using. At times, the usage also depends on your expertise and skills.

While the risks are low when you’re using a jigsaw, the bandsaw has a higher probability of causing injuries. Coming back to the question, which saw should one buy, one should have both. Every person should have a band saw because it is preferred for heavy re-sawing and wood cutting.

They should also have a jigsaw because it is handy for making simpler cuts without tedious work. That being said, as a beginner/DIYer; both of these saws will help you in learning about the types of wood cutting as well. 

Therefore, buy both of these saws and start working on simpler projects to get a hold on their workability so that you can use them effectively down the line without wasting much time and effort on other power tools.

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