Dhankx

Jigsaw vs bandsaw

Recommended Posts

So I'm about a year and a half into woodworking. I have the basic big equipment (mitre, table, jointer, planer) with proper dust collection.  Early on a bought a cheap black and decker jigsaw.  Damn thing just made me ruin a couple boards because the base plate won't stay in position - so I refuse to use it again.  Looking at my options I'm leaning towards a 160$ dewalt.  It made me think, well I'm using this jigsaw because i don't have a band saw - how much are those?  I see the Wen 9" is cheaper than the jigsaw I'm looking at.  A bandsaw OR drill press is about the only thing left I'd consider adding- mostly because of room.  I don't want to make the same mistake I made early on (buying a cheap jigsaw for instance - I sadly also bought a inferior chop saw which I suffer through).  So while logically I think a band saw is the way to go - I wanted to see if folks could recommend one that isn't ridiculously priced.  The WEN seems to have a lot of questionable reviews.

The work I do thus far is all just furniture making with nothing thicker than 2".  If I have to make curved pieces identical I clamp/screw them together, jigsaw them, then sand them to the right shape.  Probably the biggest reason I didn't go all in and get a bandsaw to begin with is the thought of having my hands so close to blade makes me nervous. I had the same problem with table saws, but I've finally improved my technique and safety procedures to get me out of table saw fear.  The jigsaw just "feels" safe.

 

Your help would be greatly appreciated :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer bandsaw safety over jigsaw. I have a decent jigsaw and a so-so bandsaw and i never touch my jigsaw. I personally feel bandsaws give better more accurate cuts than jigsaws in general though mileage may vary.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your considering a higher quality jigsaw vs an entry level bandsaw.  In the long and short run you will be better off with the jigsaw.  I'm not going to bad mouth the WEN band saw however I would suggest you keep an eye out for a used 14" or larger bandsaw.  Those small bandsaw might be OK for certain woodworkers but overall a 14" or larger will serve you better now and down the road.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I prefer bandsaw safety over jigsaw. I have a decent jigsaw and a so-so bandsaw and i never touch my jigsaw. I personally feel bandsaws give better more accurate cuts than jigsaws in general though mileage may vary.

I agree with Drew on this, the only thing I use my really overpriced jigsaw (its green) on is breaking down lumber occasionally -_-

Regarding bandsaws IMHO you really need to get into the 14" to get a good one. Depending on available funds you can find used Delta and Jet 14" bandsaws on CL in the  for $300-$500 range. If you can boost that to $1,100 the Laguna 1412 (new) is a really nice saw. I purchased a Rikon 10" a couple years back but honestly unless you are doing craft type work (thin or soft woods) its not really worth the $200 I spent on it. I ended up giving it to my daughter and buying a 1412. She sticks with pine and it works well for her.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work at Rockler and had to do a demo on the new Jet 14" band saw. I was incredibly impressed with the fit and finish of this machine. 

Off the top of my head, the best features are: 

  • 13" Resaw. Massive capacity. 
  • Really large and solid table
  • a nice tall fence for resawing applications.  
  • Two 4" dust ports. 
  • Quick release lever for blade tension 
  • smooth mechanism for raising/lowering the upper bearing-style blade guide. 
  • Price tag of $999 (That might be a sale price though) 

This saw was clearly meant to compete with the Laguna 14/12 and when I compared them side by side, the Jet was the clear winner (Nothing against the Laguna. That is a fine machine also!) 

The only negative I can see is that with the extended resaw capacity - it calls for a somewhat non-traditional size blade that might not be as readily available as the ubiquitous 93 or 93-12" blades that  most 14" bandsaws use. I think it is like 113-1/4" but don't q uote me on that. 

Anyway - just food for thought as you are pondering  the choice between a bandsaw and a jigsaw. For me, I'd take the bandsaw almost every time. There are things that a jigsaw can do that a bandsaw cannot, but the improvements in accuracy and other capabilities that you get with a bandsaw make it the better choice in my opinion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, applejackson said:

Price tag of $999 (That might be a sale price though) 

This saw was clearly meant to compete with the Laguna 14/12 and when I compared them side by side, the Jet was the clear winner (Nothing against the Laguna. That is a fine machine also!) 

The only negative I can see is that with the extended resaw capacity - it calls for a somewhat non-traditional size blade that might not be as readily available as the ubiquitous 93 or 93-12" blades that  most 14" bandsaws use. I think it is like 113-1/4" but don't q uote me on that.

Regular price is same as 1412 $1099

I should stop in and look at the jet. My only complaint that i have is the tension adjustment is on the top and I'm not a tall person, so adjustments would probably have to be done with a step ladder.

Yeah the blade length at 116-1/4" seems kind of odd. It should be able to take 116" which are somewhat standard but why not design it to a size already standard? I can take a 1" wide blade which puts it over the 1412 and i like the fence and rail system over the laguna one. Laguna's fence is beyoned terrible imo. Tighten it down and it shifts right one time and then left the next time ... :mellow:. 13" resaw vs 12" is meh and i do really like ceramic guides over ball bearing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really want one of those nice 14" like the Laguna or Jet or even the Rikon, mostly because of the resawing capacity... but all I have is a small Wen :D for now at least, it has served me well for the past 10 months or so.

I think we've moved away from the original question quite a bit, but here's my take on it: I wouldn't pay over $100 for a jigsaw because it's not meant to do precision work, but I agree the cheapest ones are unpleasant to use. I picked up a used Dewalt (the one with circular motion and a dust blower) at some point and even having a small bandsaw, I have barely touched the jigsaw.

I would tell you not to go for the 9" though, it's far too small, particularly not being able to use a 1/2" blade is troublesome. I have the 10" Wen, I've resawn 5" hardwood a couple times (slowly, but fairly accurately) with a 1/2" woodslicer blade, and cut close curves on 4" of wood with a 3/16" blade. Tension is more than enough. Get rid of or modify the fence if you do get that one though, I use a short tall fence (6" tall, only as long as the distance from the front of the table to the blade). Also, don't pay over $200 for it, it usually goes for $180 new but sometimes you'll see it for $250, especially at Amazon.

If you can save some more, or you do enough work to need faster cuts and easier setup, go for a 14", even a used one should do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems there’s a big jump in build quality and usability from the 9” bandsaws to the 10”, then again going up to 14”+

I would never buy a 9”, all the ones I’ve seen just feel flimsy and plasticy. I have a 10” Rikon and have been happy with its performance. Bandsaw cuts are in a whole different class than jigsaws. They are also much more enjoyable to use. 

One day I’ll get a 14”+ bandsaw for resawing and keep the 10” for smaller things and curves. 

I don’t even use my jigsaw for rough cutting lengths. It just collects dust. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Appreciate everyone's feedback.  I am sold on a bandsaw, but not at this time. I went ahead and bought a cheap jigsaw that has a locking base.  Here's why - and more questions :)

Out of the 10 pieces of furniture I've made so far, I've cut a curve maybe 6 times (not counting rounding edges) and it was all for the arms and back braces of Adirondack chairs (making another now).

I make things pretty damn slowly, so I can't see buying the "right" thing...this year at least. 160$ for a pimpin jigsaw is one thing, but when we start talking hundreds more it makes me pause.

The rest of what I know I want to make will have no curves, will be table/end table/night stands,etc.

JohnG has mean leaning towards a 10" when I get one. However I am intrigued:  I live on a lot of land with a lot of trees.  Can you literally take a 4" log, for example, and create rough cut lumber?  This would explain the need for a larger purchase maybe from my perspective - that would be pretty cool. 

I don't get the value of resawing - at least not to the point of a big financial investment - when I go to the lumber store I get 4/4 or 8/8 based on what I need.  Never even considered that it would be great to make the 8/8 2 4/4s myself - is that for cost savings/convenience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Dewalt jigsaw like the one you linked, but the corded version. It is a very good jigsaw, probably the best one I've ever used. But, I hardly ever use it.

I think you made the right decision to just get a cheap jigsaw to hold you over. A cheap bandsaw will be a source of endless frustration.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, JohnG said:

It seems there’s a big jump in build quality and usability from the 9” bandsaws to the 10”, then again going up to 14”+

I notice the same thing.  There are some good quality 9" saws but, these are mostly good for job site work and some have handles built in to lug them up a ladder to the roof for that sort of thing.  I run a 10" as my small bandsaw and it is very useful for many things.  For large scale curves or thick material curves it only take a couple minutes to swap blades on the larger machine which gives me a cut that requires less clean up. If your larger machine is difficult to change blades on this is a less desirable solution.

As to jig saws I run a Bosch 1591 which never disappoints.  Like someone else mentioned, it is my go-to for breaking down lumber; smooth, quick, and powerful enough for even thicker material.  It takes up hardly any room on a shelf when not in use so its a win all around for me.  Is it a replacement for a bandsaw?  Not for my use.  So much depends on what you are doing when it comes to picking the right tool for the job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gee-dub said:

I run a 10" as my small bandsaw and it is very useful for many things.

I had no idea how much I'd use my 10" bandsaw until I got it. It opens a lot of doors and can take some of the white-knuckled operations away from the table saw.

 

17 hours ago, Dhankx said:

JohnG has mean leaning towards a 10" when I get one. However I am intrigued:  I live on a lot of land with a lot of trees.  Can you literally take a 4" log, for example, and create rough cut lumber?  This would explain the need for a larger purchase maybe from my perspective - that would be pretty cool. 

I don't get the value of resawing - at least not to the point of a big financial investment - when I go to the lumber store I get 4/4 or 8/8 based on what I need.  Never even considered that it would be great to make the 8/8 2 4/4s myself - is that for cost savings/convenience?

In theory, yes you can. In practice, it might be more trouble than it's worth. It will be difficult to find pieces that are long and straight enough to be useful, and you will end up with very small stock, especially if you are trying to avoid the center and sapwood. Might be reasonable if you have sentimental value in a tree that has to be removed, you could make a small box from it.

You do have opportunity for cost savings, by being able to make multiple boards rather than a single board and a bunch of sawdust/chips. Resawing also allows you to make book matched panels without having to dig around piles of lumber trying to find a match. Or if you have a nice figured piece of 8/4+, you can end up with several panels with nice figure, or make some veneer from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Dhankx said:

I don't get the value of resawing - at least not to the point of a big financial investment - when I go to the lumber store I get 4/4 or 8/8 based on what I need.  Never even considered that it would be great to make the 8/8 2 4/4s myself - is that for cost savings/convenience?

The benefit/value of resawing is huge. With thicker stock it opens the door to being able to do more without waste. If you have a nice chunk of 8/4 and you need a 3/4 piece, what are your options? You can plane the heck out of it, causing wear on your planer knives and a huge waste of money in the mountain of dust, or you can resaw it. 

The other, possibly more important benefit is that if you have a chunk of something with spectactular grain, you can resaw multiple pieces from it and bookmatch them in the project to make a spectacular panel, table top, etc. 

 

Those are the 2 benefits that come to mind immediately, though I am sure I am forgetting a few too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.