They both have their good points, and I have and use both.
But for LIGHT hobby use, if I could only have one, I'd choose a good jigsaw.
It can make more intricate cuts, and it's possible to make inside cuts, such
as on formers, that the bandsaw cannot do.
I have both and I get MUCH more use out of the bandsaw. In fact since I
bought it, I rarely use the jig saw. For all I use it I could get by quite
nicely with a coping saw. For one thing it is very difficult to cut a
straight line. I do a fair amount of wood work as well and it is great for
most of that. OTOH, consider what else you would use it for. If you have
little kids, a scroll saw is pretty safe and is great for craft stuff. Do a
google search on this group for this subject and you will see that there
have been lots of opinions expressed.
On 2/1/2005 3:59 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great
(and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
I have to agree with Bill - if you can only get one, get the jig saw.
The band saw will be faster, however, being able to do the inside of a
former is what makes it.
Yeah, I know you can cut out the inside with a #11 blade. Have you ever
tried/done that on 1/4" ply ? A coping saw ? Not really. The
convenience factor of the jig saw more than outweighs the speed.
If you are going to be using it for hobby use primarily, take a look at
Ryobi. Their jig saw is $99 and the last I looked they had a 9" band
saw for the same price at Home Depot. For a little more than the price
of a brand name jig saw you could get both. I have been using a Ryobi
jig saw for almost 3 years now and except for replacing blades I haven't
had one bit of trouble with it.
Ed, I'm an old fart, and I've been building for a LONG time. :) I'd
definitely go with a band saw.
Pros: You can make straighter cuts with it. You can cut heavier stock
with it. With the right blades, you can cut metals and plastics. It's
usually easier to control. IMO, it's easier for a beginner to learn to
Cons: You can't cut as small of a radius with it. You can't cut an
inside line. In the first case, you can make "kerf" cuts to allow the
blade to turn the radius. In the second case, you can sometimes make
an "access" cut to the inside that can be glued together later. Or,
you can use your Dremel-type tool to make the inside cut.
Don't forget you can put the jigsaw upside down in a vice and put both hands
on your work. As long as the material isn't more than a couple inches
thick, the upsidedown jigsaw handles like a bandsaw and fits in the cabinet,
and costs $15 from wal-mart. You need dedicated real estate for a band-saw.
I'm not picking nits here, Steve, but what you're referring to as a "jigsaw"
is a "sabre saw" in my woodcutting circles...
By the same token, what we're all, myself included, calling a "jigsaw" is in
reality a "scroll saw".
Damn, I guess there's no such thing as a "jigsaw" anymore........
(If there's no such thing as a "jigsaw", whatinell made all dem puzzles,
You are picking nits with the wrong person then. The dictionary coincides
with some of your statements, sort of, but it hasn't caught up with the
current usage for the term jigsaw. go to any hardware (homedepot/sears) site
and type in jigsaw an see how EVERYONE uses the term jigsaw these days.
Nevertheless my point was that you can do an awful lot with an upside down
$15 jig saw and a vice big enough to hold it. It's got that little platform
you can rest the work on, etc. It costs so little and can be used for so
P.S. Dictionary has scroll saw as a hand operated saw. Jig saw is a machine
saw with a vertical blade, and it isn't clear if a sabre saw is a jig saw or
a sawzall. Your circle should probably be notified ;)
If your going to be using it for building models I'd go with a jig saw. You can
cut the inside of formers and ribs by just drilling a hole and slipping the
blade through. Jig saw is a little less dangerous if you slip, I've had both
for many years and my old Dremel was fine for any plans I made a kit for.
Agreed... Confusing, ain't it??
BTW, If you look around a bit you can find a table much like a router table
in which you can mount your sabre.... er, jigsaw. Not expensive and a lot
easier on the saw, vise, and the wrists that get close to the blade....