Between a Scroll Saw, Bandsaw, and a Jigsaw – which one do you need? Each type has various characteristics and made for specific purposes. If you are new to woodworking, here’s your complete guide in determining the difference between a Scroll Saw Vs. Band Saw Vs. Jigsaw.
The scroll saw is suitable if you want to have a fine and very detailed cut, but there’s a limitation with the material’s thickness. On the other hand, a Bandsaw is perfect if you’re working on a colossal kind of project like building and designing furniture because it can cut through 2 inches and more. Finally, a Jigsaw is the smallest and most portable of the three. It features a bevel action to cut both irregular and straight cut so that you can cut up to a 45-degree angle.
This article is a comprehensive guide in understanding the difference between a scroll saw, bandsaw, and a jigsaw. We’ve also included vital information about each type to help you pick the right one for the job. So, get ready to know when and where to use each saw for a specific purpose.
What is a Scroll Saw?
A scroll saw is a handy power device for cutting intricate curves different materials other than wood that also include metal and plastic. It has a small and narrow vertically-mounted saw blade, which moves up and down to cut your wood. It is robust and firm enough to perform delicate cuts for various applications that weigh 5 to 20 lbs and runs a 120-volt motor.
- Why Use the Scroll Saw? A scroll saw is suitable for woodworkers who require efficiency, and precision for every cut. These woodworkers need to cut through various materials and make exquisite designs. It is lightweight, so even DIY enthusiasts can use it with ease. It’s available in both corded and cordless models.
- When to Use a Scroll Saw? A scroll saw is a specialty saw that has a vast range of capabilities, but it stands out when the project is about clean and intricate cuts that are less than 1-inch thick. Most often, people use a scroll saw to create cool jigsaw puzzles and other small sculptures. Additionally, it is ideal for projects like wooden letters, numbers, names, plaques with detailed, animals, and silhouettes.
- What are the Pros and Cons of Scroll Saw?
|Scroll saws can cut various shapes with ease, so you can save time and reduce wasted materials.||Scroll saws may not be suitable to support thick and extra heavy materials of more than 3/4 inch in thickness.|
|Scroll saws cut intricately and accurately every time.||Scroll saws may also not be ideal for straights cuts because they tend to swerve or wander, which affects the cut quality.|
|Scroll saws are the ideal tool for artwork projects like clocks and puzzles as well as cutting arcs that are as small as the head of a pin.|
|Scroll saws produce a thin kerf that allows pieces to fit back together, which is suitable for a jigsaw puzzle.|
|Scroll saws can cut starting in the middle part of the material to make highly detailed artwork out of wood like landscapes and portraits.|
What is Bandsaw?
A bandsaw is another power tool that uses a long sharp blade, instead of the circular ones. It has a continuous band of metal teeth stretch between two or more wheels for cutting. Bandsaws are most useful in slicing large materials – either it requires straight or curved cuts. They weigh between 15 to 40 lbs and can run a 120-volt motor.
- Why Use Bandsaw? Its sturdy and thin blade can cut through different material – from small pieces of wood too thick slabs of lumber. Bandsaws are ideal for all carpenters, woodworkers, contractors, and hobbyists. It may be huge, or more often floor-mounted Bandsaws make precise cuts with its long sharp blade.
- When to Use Bandsaw? It is another specialty saw that’s exceptionally versatile and has more power for cutting small to abundant materials that are more than 2-inch thick. However, it depends on the throat or the room between the work surface and the top blade. Bandsaws come in different widths and tooth style for its sharp edge to allow variations in its cuts. Generally, it is ideal for furniture making, shelves, trim, and planter boxes.
- What are the Pros and Cons of Bandsaw?
|Bandsaws can cut various materials, with accurate and precise results.||Bandsaws require regular maintenance because they are often prominent in size with a large motor.|
|Bandsaws can cut big curves in massive solid wood, and create rip cuts in thick hardwood.||Bandsaws may produce rough edge cuts because it makes very aggressive slices, so you should choose your blade correctly.|
|Bandsaws accept broader blades to produce smoother and straighter cuts.||It is almost impossible to make inside or plunge cuts because it has a fixed blade on the band. Bandsaws have limited cut through the perimeter because of its fixed blade.|
|Bandsaws offer impressive Speed and accuracy.|
What is Jigsaw?
A Jigsaw is like a small bandsaw used for cutting both straight, irregular, and angled cuts. It has an electric motor that can cut up to 45 degrees angle on various materials but may limit with thickness. They are the most portable, and handy cutting saw to use in your working station. A Jigsaws weighs 10 to 40 lbs and can handle 120 volts to function, which is enough to cut through thick and small to medium materials.
- Why Use Jigsaw? Jigsaws are incredibly portable and durable because it can cut through various wood in different shapes and patterns. They are lightweight, versatile, and efficient. Generally, it is ideal to use only small to medium materials. A Jigsaw is suitable for DIY and general contractor use. Take note that it is crucial to get the right kind of blade for each type of slice and your lumber.
- When to Use Jigsaw? Jigsaws are perfect for cutting the interior of a workpiece without meddling its outer edge. Most carpenters and woodworkers prefer using a jigsaw when they want to make quick cuts with high accuracy. However, it may be cut up to 3-inch thick materials depending on your attached blade.
- What are the Pros and Cons of Jigsaw?
|A jigsaw can make quick and accurate straight and even intricate cuts.||A jigsaw is only suitable for light projects and may be susceptible to damage.|
|A jigsaw is the most affordable of the three saws, and the easiest to handle because it is lightweight.||A jigsaw can do straight and curved cuts, but it can’t do larger slices for furniture and similar projects.|
|A jigsaw is suitable for rough cutting and other general cutting purposes.|
An In-depth Comparison of Scroll Saw VS Band Saw VS Jigsaw
With many types of saws out there, it is confusing to pick the right saw for each project. To help you decide on which one do you need and to choose, you need to have a better understanding of each power saw. So, here’s an in-depth comparison of a scroll saw, bandsaw, and a jigsaw for your every specific task.
- Blade Thickness. A scroll saw uses thin and delicate blades of approximately 1/4 inch thick and 8 inches long, but it is not enough to cut thick pieces of wood. A bandsaw has a thicker blade that can cut through 6 inches up to 30 inches material. Meanwhile, a Jigsaw has the thinnest blade at 2 to 15 mm that can slice 3-inch thick wood accurately.
- Blade Movement. The blade of scroll saws move up and down, which makes it perfect for detail work, and even do inside cuts. Bandsaws have a continuous and flexible knife that continually runs in a downward motion. On the other hand, Jigsaws have a motor that drives its blade in a rapid up-and-down motion.
- Versatility. A scroll saw, and a jigsaw offers more versatility because you can do various types of slices. Meanwhile, a bandsaw is usually best suited for regular cuts.
- Portability. Both scroll saws and jigsaws are portable, with excellent motor power, and precision. A bandsaw, on the other hand, is floor-mounted. So, it offers less mobility and versatility.
- Price. A jigsaw is the cheapest of the three. However, due to its limitation, you can go with a scroll for crafting and DIY purposes. A bandsaw is the most expensive of them all because it’s mostly for commercials and professionals who require extensive work.
- Blades. All saws use different kinds of saw blades. More often, each sharp edge has a varying number of teeth and depth. Choosing depends on your material and the type of finish that you want to achieve. Also, they are all replaceable.
How to Choose the Right Power Saw?
When it comes to power saws, the key to get the right product is to understand the right features that would match your project. Say, for example, you are an amateur woodworker who would start as a hobbyist. From there, you want to be futuristic of what you want to become in the future. Do you want to be a professional woodworker? Start a business out of it? Or do you wish to remain to pursue woodworking as a hobby?
These questions need specific answers because it’s how you will decide the features that your power saw should have. Once you have answers and figure out what you need, here are the characteristics that your power saw should know. Take note, this is a guide for any power saw and not limited scroll saw, bandsaw, and jigsaw only.
- Power Input. It determines if the tool can cut through more extensive and thicker materials. Watts represents power, wherein higher of it means more strength and dynamism. It also means that saw is more comfortable to tackle more demanding and more complicated elements.
- Cutting Stamina. Higher power input equals to higher cutting ability. It measures if the power saw can take on any all materials that you require to cut. For example, if you want to build products from thick wooden panels, then you might want to search for maximum cutting capabilities.
- Keyless Blade Changing System. It is a new and extraordinary feature that most power saws already have today. Keyless System allows you to change the blade without using a wrench. It is beneficial for a faster procedure, efficiency, and safer way to change sharp edges.
- Variable Speed Motor. It will allow you to modulate the tempo of the blade, depending on the material that you have to cut and the result that you want to achieve. Variable Speed makes the saw versatile for most types of wood.
- Dust Extraction Port. It’s another distinctive feature that most saws have today. As you know, prolonged exposure is not suitable for your health. So, choose a power saw that has a dust extraction port, or dust extraction-friendly so that you can suction and remove piles of dust from your saw and your whole workplace. This feature helps you to have a cleaner and safer area.
- Throat size. It is the distance from the front of the blade going to the working surface. Usually, it depends on the extent that you’re cutting. IF you want to take on broader and thicker materials, make sure to get a power saw with the more bottomless throat.
The Different Types of Scroll Saws
Scroll Saws have to types, which includes – Plain Scroll Saws and Pin-End Scroll Saw. However, other kinds will allow you to make any interior cuts. It can also support what each type of Scroll Saw can do. For now, we will only be focusing on the two main types.
- Plain Scroll Saws. Also known as Flat-end or Unpinned Blades – they are more versatile and more comfortable to feed through any woodcraft. They have flat blades the need a clamp on both top and bottom sides. This type is primarily for intricate interior cuts on thinner pieces of wood.
- Pin End Scroll Saws. They have a bit thicker blades and may produce rougher cuts, that’s why most woodworkers prefer not to use it. This type is less versatile and creates limited intricate cuts.
The Different Types of Bandsaws
Bandsaws also have various kinds for different applications, saw designs, sizes, and weight material. Regardless of what you’re sawing, you have to know the specific types and design of bandsaws to help you pick the right one for your project.
- Vertical Bandsaw. It is the most common type that runs a blade from the top-down. Throughout time, this type of bandsaw has become more automated to use, especially in structural sawing applications.
- General Purpose Pivot Style Horizontal Saws. It’s another common type that can equip many options for more productivity. It includes metering capabilities, material shuttling, and even bundle clamping capabilities for maximum utilization. Horizontal Saws have a Pivot (Scissor) style of motion, which is ideal for small projects with occasional metal cutting.
- Dual and Single Column Sawing Systems. It is more robust and expensive than the first two types mentioned. The Dual and Single Systems have a bigger blade, approximately 1.5 inches or higher, that rises up and down to provide a smooth motion throughout the sawing process. This type is suitable for heavy-duty sawing applications.
- Horizontal Structural Saws. It is almost similar to Horizontal Saws and Dual Column bandsaws with some additional features like Angled Heads, Taller Vises and broader capacities. This type is excellent in structural fabricators and other heavy-duty applications, too.
The Different Types of Jigsaws
Jigsaws are less complicated, and they have the most straightforward types, including – Corded Jigsaws, Cordless Jigsaws, and Pneumatic Jigsaws. It all depends on the manufacturers on how they want to play with all the different features, but they all follow a standard protocol in creating a Jigsaw.
- Corded Jigsaws. These types of Jigsaws run mainly on electricity. They have an unlimited power for as long as there’s a continuous supply of current. Corded models are reliable and have the most strength in cutting because they have a constant power supply. Most corded jigsaws run through a range of different wattages ranging from 400W to 900W.
- Cordless Jigsaws. It may be less potent than the corded models, but mobility is the best feature. For as long as you keep the battery fully charged, it has the strength to cut materials that’s almost the same with a corded model. Take note that its power depends on the voltage of the battery, which may range from 12 to 36V.
- Pneumatic Jigsaws. These types work in connection with air compressors. They are mighty but may be limited to the power that the air compressor can provide. Pneumatic Jigsaws are for heavy-duty cutting, especially for hardwood, fiberglass, and metal. Additionally, they have a self-cooling feature to prevent overheating and more lightweight than corded types.
The Styles of Blades for Scroll Saw, Bandsaw, and Jigsaw
One common denominator for these types of saw is that their blades are perpendicular. It is different from circular blades that you’d see in other saws. Whether it moves in an upward or downward motion, each saw uses specific sharp edges intended for the particular use to achieve desired results. So, here’s a table showing you the various blades for Scroll Saw, Bandsaw, and Jigsaw.
|Standard Tooth Blade. A fundamental cutting edge with a teeth pattern that has the same distance apart. However, they produce a little noise because it has more friction.||Hook Tooth Blades. They have more closely spaced teeth sets, which is ideal for cutting hardwoods, harder non-ferrous metals, and plastics.||Carbon-Steel Jigsaw Blade. It is the most common cutting edge for a jigsaw for cutting materials like wood and PVC pipes. Carbon-Steel is flexible, but they tend to become dull more frequent than the other types.|
|Skip Tooth Blade. It features a pattern wherein every other tooth is missing. The best choice for most beginners because it cuts a little slower, but produces smooth cuts.||Skip Tooth Blades. In contrast to the first one, this kind has widely spaced teeth sets. It has optimal chip clearance for cutting softer metals, and also for soft, non-ferrous metals like aluminum. Additionally, they have deep gullets and are best for general woodwork.||Bi-Metal Jigsaw Blades. They are more powerful that can also cut through metals with their hardened teeth. It has a carbon-steel and high-speed steel body, which makes it flexible and wear-resistant.|
|Double Tooth Blade. It has a large gap between two sets of teeth that also leaves a smooth cut, but slower Speed.||Wavy and Raker-Set Tooth Blades. They are most effective in cutting ferrous metal in horizontal bandsaws because of their curved teeth pattern, with a rounded back.||Carbide Jigsaw Blades. They have the most potent cutting capacity that can also provide smooth results even on harder materials. Carbide has the most exceptional heat resistance and the most durable.|
|Reverse Tooth Blade. It has almost the same teeth pattern with skip tooth blade, except that the last few gears face upwards. It prevents tear-outs at the bottom edge when cutting plywood.||Blades Without Teeth. This type is primarily for cutting fragile materials like ceramics, plastics, and other thin and sensitive wood. It offers smooth cuts with its tungsten carbide chips surface bonded to the teeth.|
|Precision Ground Tooth Blade. It has a smaller set of teeth ground down. An excellent option for doing straight lines, but may not be suitable for beginners.|
|Spiral Blades. It has a tooth pattern on all sides for cutting in all directions. These are too technical to use, and hard to do clean cuts, so it’s only recommended for particular circumstances.|
Which Do You Need?
So, which one will you choose? Picking between a scroll saw, band saw, and a jigsaw depends on your purpose as well as the material that you want to cut. A scroll saw can only cut material from 1/2 to 1-inch thick. It is primarily for DIY enthusiasts and hobbyist woodworkers who are into creating beautiful and intricate designs. Scroll saws are portable and convenient to use and carry anywhere.
Meanwhile, bandsaws are your best option if you want to cut thicker materials with approximately 2 inches and above. They can also perform straight cuts on denser wood, curved and beveled slices. It may not be as intricate as a scroll saw, but bandsaws are the most accurate when it comes to that task.
Finally, a jigsaw is the smallest of them all. It is super handy and portable, but don’t underestimate what it can offer. It can perform various kinds of cuts on different materials. However, there may be some limitations in cutting materials with diverse thickness due to its smaller blade.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How Thick of Wood Can You Cut with a Scroll Saw?
A scroll saw can cut up to 3/4-inch thick materials, with exceptions for thicker wood made at the operator’s discretion. More often, they are for cutting delicate and intricate designs. Remember, denser hardwood may not be suitable for a scroll saw.
What Is the Best Wood to Use with a Scroll Saw?
Hardwood is the most appropriate material to use with a scroll saw, with thickness from 3/4 to 1/2 inch. It can cut through oak, mahogany, and walnut for other special projects. Meanwhile, other exotic materials are strictly for trimming.
Why You Need a Bandsaw?
You need a bandsaw if you want to cut thicker and denser materials in either straight or curved cuts. Bandsaws can do various tasks like ripping logs down to manageable planks to cutting non-ferrous metals.
Either Scroll Saw, Bandsaw or Jigsaw is your best option when it comes to a useful tool to use for DIY, general carpentry, and hobbies. Each type of saw is unique and has its great features and cutting abilities. First of all, always consider the kind of project that you will do. From there, choose the best power tool that would suit your interests.
If you are a beginner, we would suggest starting with a jigsaw. They are handy, portable, and straightforward to operate. It is a good foundation for getting familiar with different types of saws. Look for the features that would match your project and your goal. It’s a simple way of shopping smart. Soon, you’ll figure out what tool to buy next for your needs.