Scroll Saw vs. Band Saw vs. Jigsaw: What They Are for + Tips

As you may know, different saws are made for different functions. They come with different blades and designs to suit the purpose for which they are intended for. Today, I want to help you understand the differences between the three types of saws that almost look similar to each other – the scroll saw, the band saw, and the jigsaw.  

A band saw has thicker blades that cut through more than two inches thickness. It is suitable for heavy works like building and furniture work. A scroll saw has thinner blades ideal for detailed and finer cuts than a band saw but with thickness limits. A jigsaw is suitable for angled, straight, and irregular cuts up to a 45-degree angle.

Deciding which power saw is fit for your job will require you to understand the differences between all three and their suitable functions. This we will handle in detail as we discuss the differences, purposes, pros, and cons of each among other things.

What Is a Scroll Saw?

A scroll saw is an electric tool that works more or less like a sewing machine in that you can maneuver the piece you are working on, in and out to get your desired outcome. It is ideal for cutting complex curves in various materials like wood, plastic, or metal. It has thinner saw blades than a band saw, limiting the thickness of the material it can cut. The blades are strong enough to execute intricate cuts for several works weighing up to 20 lbs.  

There are two types of scroll saws in the market, with the blade being the difference; pinned and plain blade scroll saws.

Pinned blades

These ones have small pins at the end holding them in place. They are more robust and can perform more delicate cuts. The pinned blades are more convenient as you can easily change when necessary.

Pinless or plain blades

The plain blades have small clumps holding them. You cannot change these blades without the help of another tool, making them more disadvantageous than pinned ones.

What is a scroll saw used for?

Scroll saw is an efficient machine that is useful for different functions in woodworking projects. Some of these include the following:

Making wooden toys

A scroll saw is ideal when you want to create a wooden toy. You can construct simple puzzles and wooden toy cars for kids with ease. The best thing is that you do not need to worry about messing up a puzzle because it still fits at the end.

Making Musical Instruments

The making of musical instruments like guitars requires great precision since a simple flaw can affect the quality of the sound. A scroll saw will help you achieve that without much strain as it easily maneuvers through the delicate cuts.

Some instruments you can make using a scroll saw include violin, laser, guitar, acoustic guitar, among others.

Cabinetry And Home Items

You can make more items to lessen the complexity of some tasks at home. A carpenter uses a scroll saw to create joints when constructing cabinets. A scroll saw can also make the inside patterns that make your cabinet unique. Examples include baskets, bowls, all kinds of wooden holiday decorations, coasters, and bookends.

Making home décor

A scroll saw can mean the difference between plain and boring marquetry and a subtle and intricate design. You can design fantastic tabletops and unique braces for your shelves.

How Much Is a Scroll Saw?

The price of scroll saws varies depending on the features and quality. Most of them range between $100 and $500. However, there are some others that come with all the accessories and that makes their prices go a bit higher.

Pros and Cons of a Scroll Saw

Most woodworkers use the scroll saw to create intricate cuts on unique designs. However, it comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

Cutting through many shapes with ease saves time and reduces material wastage.Scroll saws have a thickness limitation of up to ¾ inch hence not suitable for heavy woodworks.
A scroll saw is perfect for accurate and intricate cutting.They are not ideal for straight cuts as they wander and swerve, affecting the quality of the work.
A scroll saw is the best for cutting tiny arcs and artworks like puzzles and clocks. 
Scroll saws can create dissections that allow wood pieces to fit back together. It is suitable for a jigsaw puzzle. 
The ability to start cutting from the middle part of the material enables a scroll saw to create extra detailed artwork from wood like portraits and landscapes. 
The final product is smooth and only requires a little polishing to get the outcome. 
It is easily adjustable as it occupies less space in the room. 

What Is a Band Saw?

A band saw is a tool with a long blend that can cut through thick wood irregularly and circularly. It is suitable for heavy woodworks as it can slice through enormous materials. Band saws have two or more wheels that hold the blades in place as it continuously rotates between these wheels.

What Is It a Band Saw Used For?

A band saw has many functions in woodworking. Some of these functions include the following:

Milling Lumber

A band saw allows you to slice a raw log along the four planes. The first cut may be difficult due to the lack of a flat surface. You have to use a thicker blade in mill lumbering and avoid cutting a more significant piece than the vertical space on the saw table.

Used for Resawing

Resawing in woodwork is cutting a large piece of wood into thinner slices. It is among the most complex tasks in woodwork. Besides time and patience, you need a powerful saw without any thickness limitations.

A band saw is ideal for the job as it remains invariable on the table surface and runs the blade in a curve perpendicular to its cutting teeth.

Used To Make Curved Cuts

Making curved cuts is one of the primary reasons woodworkers buy a band saw. The stationary state of the blade and its loop movement allows you to cut denser and larger pieces of wood than when using a smaller portable saw.

You may have to trace the line of cut you desire as you will be cutting yourself. Doing so will spare you operator errors. You will also require a thinner blade for curved cuts; a quarter-inch one would be best.

Used in Resetting Boards

A band saw can help you ensure that multiple pieces of wood have exactly similar angles. It would help if you bound the elements you want to cut together to hold fast. Determine the angle you want to cut and highlight on the top piece. Place a fence and use blocks to push the stack through. Be sure to follow the outline.

It would help to use a thicker blade for safety; otherwise, the task requires precision to cut similar curves.

Used in Non-Wood Materials

One good thing with a band saw is that you can cut other materials besides wood. A specialized blade will enable you to cut through metals. You can still use a wood band saw to cut through soft metals and plastics.

How Much Is a Band Saw?

Band saws range from $100 to $1000, depending on various factors, including quality. They are primarily battery-powered and cordless, ideal for woodworks. Lightweight and compact band saws can use a single hand to cut and they cost between $100 to $200.

A band saw with a handle at the front or center may cost between $200 and $500. The models in this range have a blade tension adjuster a LED light, and you can easily cut with one hand. A band saw with a stand or table goes for over $500. Most saws in this category have a table, frame, and cast-iron wheels. They also have a powerful motor and are ideal for deep cuts. Please compare some band saw prices here.

Pros and Cons of a Band Saw

Below are some of the pros and cons of using a band saw:

A band saw offers higher accuracy on various materials faster.These saws require consistent maintenance due to their large size and keep the motor working at all times.
A band saw can make significant cuts on considerable solid woods and create split cuts in hardwoodsIf you do not use the blade properly, a band saw can produce coarse edge cuts that make aggressive slices.
It is compatible with broader blades to make straighter and more refined cuts.The fixed blades on the band saw make it almost impossible to plunge cut or work the inside of the wood.
A band saw provides a detailed outcome. 
A band saw reduces material wastage as it produces less sawdust. 

What Is a Jig Saw?

A jigsaw is the most portable wood hand saw that can weigh 10 to 40 lbs and manage 120 volts; it is enough to slice through small, medium, and oversized materials. A jigsaw is like a band saw but with thickness limits.

It has a reciprocating blade that can cut various shaped curves including straight, angled, and irregular. The electric motor in the jigsaw can cut a 45-degree angle on multiple materials.

What Is It a Jig Saw Used For?

A jigsaw is a tool with the most diverse uses in daily life. You can use it to cut various materials besides wood.

Used in Woodworks

The most common application for a jigsaw is in wood cutting. The wood may range from plywood to building timbers. It is best for scrollwork, adding decorative details to pieces of furniture, and cutting stencils. However, it would help if you knew how to use the tool to avoid damaging the wood.

Used To Make Countertops

Installing a new countertop requires you to make cuts to fix various things like sprayer hoses and faucets. If the countertop does not come with the holes, you will have to make the tiny holes yourself to fit these things, and a jigsaw is perfect for that job. It would be best if you found special blades, particularly for countertops, so that you do not damage the piece.

 Jig saw and Ceramic Tiles

Sometimes you will have to use a jigsaw to work on ceramic tiles. For instance, when you want to make a curve or semicircle around a pipe. You can quickly achieve this as long as you have the right jigsaw blade. A Carbide grit blade is ideal for this.

Working on Concrete

You can use a jigsaw to work on fiber cement or porous concrete if you have suitable concrete blades. It is ideal for less significant tasks like cutting a hole on the concrete to pass a pipe.

How Much Is a Jig Saw?

The price of a jigsaw varies depending on the brand, quality, and any additional features. Most of them range from $30 to $500 but some other models have relatively higher prices. You can check and compare the prices on Amazon.

Pros and Cons of a Jig Saw

There are several advantages and disadvantages that come with a jigsaw.

A jigsaw is the easiest to handle among the three and the cheapest of them all.Works best for smaller weight projects and is prone to damage.
It is ideal for curved and straight cutsA jigsaw cannot manage massive slices of furniture and projects of similar weight
A jigsaw is excellent for rough cuttingsRepairing a jigsaw is tricky
It has a LED light for visibility while workingA jigsaw is not as durable as band saw and scroll saw.
You can change the blade of a jigsaw easily without a key. 

Which One Should I Use? Scroll Saw, Band Saw or Jig Saw?

When you want to purchase a saw for your woodwork, it will help to consider the uses of each before settling for one.

A scroll saw is best at cutting more delicate shapes and patterns, including curved lines and complex designs. You will have to adopt it when you want the finest cut results that involve a particular design. The main aim is the fineness of the details than power.

On the other hand, a band saw prides itself in making curved and other more complex cuts. The thin blades allow you to maneuver around and leave you in control while designing the curves and edges.

A jigsaw is the best tool for creating curves and more complex designs and shapes on wood. They are also helpful when making small crosscuts on any board.

Therefore, when you choose for your work, it would be best to consider your individual needs. Know the type and weight of your work to decide which of the three saws to buy.

Tips for Using Different Types of Saws

A band, scroll, and jigsaws are all power saws that you must handle with care. You have to adhere to safety precautions while using them. Here are some tips on how to use power saws.

  • Use a push stick to clear the scrapes off your worktable but not your hands.
  • Avoid wearing gloves, jewelry, or loose clothes; they may get caught while you are working.
  • Allow the saw to attain full speed before cutting, then hold the wood tightly to stop it from shifting.
  • Do not take alcohol when you are using a saw.
  • Utilize sharp blades to avoid unnecessary kickbacks.
  • Use the proper blade for each application.

Scroll Saw Tips

Using a scroll saw effectively and for the maximum results requires more care. These tips and techniques will help you with using a scroll saw.

  • Examine the blades for any damage and ensure the tension is correct before working.
  • Make sure the wood is dry; you can wipe away any wet materials with a cloth, then let the wood dry.
  • Ensure that you have adequate lighting while working. You can use the adjustable light if necessary.
  • Sanding before cutting may increase fuzziness, but minimizing the project’s overall time is necessary and safer.
  • Be patient and slow with heavier pieces.
  • Place a wood piece under the workpiece and drill a hole to prevent splitting.

Band Saw Tips

If you can follow these simple tips, you can safely achieve the best results with a band saw.

  • Familiarize yourself with the major types of blades; hook-tooth, skip-tooth, and regular-tooth blades. Every material requires a specific edge.
  • Most band saws come with a throat plate to guard against potential damage to the user and the blade. If it does not have one, you can consider a plastic substitute. Change the throat plates to protect yourself and the blade.
  • Normalize wearing safety glasses while operating a band saw.
  • Adjust the guards to prevent the blades from any damage.

Jig Saw Tips

Please observe these tips for a smooth, accurate, and clean jigsaw cut.

  • Always protect your workspace.
  • Match material to the right blade, and you can cut anything.
  • Square the blade in a perpendicular position to the base.
  • Have the good side down when cutting.

Final Thoughts

This guide is helpful for any woodworker, whether a beginner or advanced in choosing which type of saw to use for specific woodworking projects. I hope that it has been helpful to you in understanding the differences, advantages of each, and how each one of them functions among other useful things that I have captured.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

Recent Posts