Old 11-24-2005, 09:45 PM
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Location: Waldorf, MD
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Default RE: Tools for the model shop - bandsaw/jigsaw/scroll saw?

Ooooh, this will start a big debate. If you do a search you will find a lot of prior discussion.
I will give you my opinion if you wish.
I have been building (kits and from plans) for more than 30 years and I have almost all the shop tools you can get. The problem is that each tool has its place and no one tool will do it all. I can tell you that I use my band saw more than any other saw in the shop. If you are going to build from plans, you are going to need to cut out parts from balsa stock. I have found nothing works better than a good band saw with a scroll cutting blade. A table top scroll saw is OK but I get much better cuts with much better control with my band saw. The one thing that a table top scroll saw will do better is to cut out a section of stock with just a hole drilled for a starting point, because you can insert the blade into the hole and begin cutting.
On the other hand the band saw can cleanly and accurately rip balsa stock so you can make stringers and true up edges. You can make a rip fence for the scroll saw but it does not cut nearly as smooth and clean as the band saw.
I my shop, I use my powered tools in the following order:
Band Saw
Table top belt/disc sander
Drill Press
Scroll Saw
Micro Table Saw
Full size table saw
The last time this question came up most of the folks who posted recommended the scroll saw, to each his own!
But, I can cut almost every part I need to scratch build an airplane with my band saw and have far less work sanding and cleaning up the parts afterwards then if I had used the scroll saw. If you watch the sales at Sears you can get a nice table top band saw and belt sander for around $200 for both. Good luck with your choice
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