Band saws and scroll saws can be a little difficult to tell apart when you first look at them. The reason for this is because they both have similar features, like their work tables, and they both have a blade who runs right through the center of the table. However, these are the only two things that they have in common when it comes to comparing them both side by side.
What are the differences between the two saws?
Scroll saws have short blades that are thin and they move up and down. These saws are used for very detailed jobs. They also have the capability of doing inside cuts. However, scroll saws are limited when it comes to the length and the width of the material that they will be used to cut.
Band saws have a flexible, continuous blade that moves in a downward motion. These saws are quite powerful and they are often used for more heavy-duty tasks that involve thicker materials that the scroll saws cannot cut through. For band saws, depending on the type of blade that is used for them will determine whether or not they can perform detailed work. Band saws are mainly meant for larger outside cuts such as the table saw rip cuts.
Let’s get a better understanding of the functions of each one of these types of saws.
What is a Scroll saw?
A scroll saw is a work table that is flat, and features a column that comes up straight at the back of it. Looking at the top of the column, you will notice that the arm extends straight out parallel to the table. There is a small blade that extends from the end of the arm to the base of the saw, and it attaches a separate mechanism.
As you shop for a scroll saw, you will notice that there is something called the throat size. To clarify the throat size, this is the distance between the blade and the column that attaches the arm that is overheard at the back of the saw. This is something that you should pay attention too because it enables you to know what material sizes you can work on with it.
So if you have a scroll saw that has a 12-inch throat, then you would be able to use materials that are about 24 inches across with it. The reason it would be 24 inches is that the blade only has to reach the middle of the material. After it has reached the desired point from one end, then you can easily turn it the other direction to work the other end of the material. So to sum that up, the throat measurement of the scroll saw needs to be able half the width of the material that you will be working with.
Always remember that it’s always a good thing to give yourself a little more space to work with. If you will be working with a scroll saw that has a 12-inch throat then you should be working with materials that are no wider than 20-22 inches so that you can have a bit for free space to move around. This will ensure that you will be able to create the detailed cuts that you want.
What about material length for the scroll saw?
Looking at the length of the scroll saw when it comes to determining the length of material that can be used, you should know that this aspect is limited. Note that the cutting surface of the blade is facing away from the back column. This would mean that when you feed a piece of wood on the blade that at some point it will hit the column. This would prevent you from being able to use longer pieces of wood. With that being said, long rip cuts are not possible when using a scroll saw since there is no way to push longer pieces of material through it.
With the scroll saws, another downside that you will need to take into consideration is that the blades are only 6 inches long. The reason for this is because of the up and down movements that are made while cutting through pieces of materials. So with the blades only being 6 inches in length, you are limited to only being able to cut through wood that is no thicker than about 2 inches. 2 inches can sometimes be a bit difficult to cut through so it would be safer to cut wood that is less than 2 inches thick. It is highly recommended that you stick with woods that about 1 inch in thickness if you want the best quality results.
What is a band saw?
One similarity that the band saw has with the scroll saw is that it has a flat work table with a blade that runs perpendicular to the middle of the table. Band saws have more power compared to scroll saws, so you will be able to use them through not only wood but through metal materials as well.
So with the band saw, the blade is the biggest difference when it comes to comparing both saws. A band saw is using a 2 wheel system. There is one system above the table, and the other is below the table. A band saw will also utilize up to 4 wheels sometimes. The blades that are used are circular and flexible. These blades stretch over the wheels and they work continuously as they rotate the band, and this is how the saw got its name. As the wheels rotate the blade, the teeth continuously move in a downward motion. Read more about the leading bandsaws on this page.
Band saws are open to the front and the rear of the table which would allow for longer pieces to be cut. When it comes to space limitation, there are only limits according to how thick the material is, as well as the room between the table and the top of the saw. So if you can fit the material on the saw then it will be able to cut through it.