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Old 04-28-2011, 05:38 PM
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Location: Arroyo Grande, CA
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Default RE: Band saw or scroll saw

I'll agree with Tony, the bandsaw is a better tool for outside cuts. It is especially good on thin delicate cuts at there is no up motion to snag the wood an pull it up. I have both a band saw and a scroll saw and the usage is at least 100 to 1 in favor of the band saw. You can rip long pieces of wood, set angles of cut and generally cut really straight lines if you set up a fence or use the protractor head. If you tame the speed down it will cut aluminum withfew problems.

For a lot of inside cutting, the scroll saw is good. Until I got the scroll saw, I used a wide throat Jewelers saw with 2/0 blade for all my inside cutting. It was a little slower, but the results were good, and it is a lot easier to store when not in use than the scroll saw.. For stuff like lightening holes, a drill bit and/or a burr in the flex shaft was very adequate, and you didn't have to unmount the blade are remount it for each piece.

Like a lot of things in the work shop, it all boils down to a mater of personal taste. There are a lot of guys who wouldn't own a band saw and really prefer the scroll saw. Their opinion is as valid as my preference for the band saw. It is a tool they like, are comfortable using and gets the job done for them. Same as my band saw is for me. If you could, try out both before you buy. Maybe a high school shop class if they still have such things. Or some of the guys in you club will have one or both of the machines. Then you don't get a let down feeling the first time you use it and it isn't what you expected.

If you geta scroll saw, get one with a wide range of speeds, a variable speed is really needed. Get one with at least a 14" throat, bigger is better. Get one with a cast Iron/aluminum table. Plastic and sheet metal isn't a good choice. Ipicked up a Craftsman 16" a couple years back at a clearance sale at the local OSH store. I've had one of the little Drimll jig saws before and there is just no comparison between the two. Once I discovered that the high speed setting was causing me problems and tamed down the machine, it works very well. A blade change, or putting the blade through the work for inside cuts took a bit of getting used to, but things go much smoother now that I have learned the machine.

I think you will be happy with either machine if you give it time and learn to use it. And you shop isn't complete without one of them.