What can I NOT do without a bandsaw? Do I "need" a bandsaw?

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Forum topic by SMP posted 01-03-2020 03:51 PM 2367 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4813 posts in 1144 days

01-03-2020 03:51 PM

Hello all, first off, I have been making furniture and other home improvements for about 30 years. Lately it had been more of the knockoff furniture my wife found on pinterest, using pocket holes etc. But as I try to get more serious about making finer furniture, I am looking at what else I need. I have a table saw, drill press, jig saw, 6” jointer(no thickness planer), router and router table. I have never felt like I needed a bandsaw, but I always see people singing its praises. And I often see good deals on them on craigslist. So I am wondering how people that have actually gone with and without them, what their feelings are on what they can’t do without them? Also, as I get more hand tools and trying to be more of a hybrid woodworker, I also find I have been using my coping saw more often. But I see a lot of people that praise “hand tools only” still recommend getting a bandsaw for stock prep. So curious on peoples thoughts.

25 replies so far

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

733 posts in 4857 days

#1 posted 01-03-2020 04:01 PM

The bandsaw was probably the second tool I bought and I use it a lot. From resawing material to circle cutting it is my go to tool. It gives a better cut requiring less clean-up than my jigsaw. But, I would opt for a thickness planer before the bandsaw. The tool I have that I can live without in my radial saw. Really does nothing you can’t do with a miter saw.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Phil32's profile


1582 posts in 1142 days

#2 posted 01-03-2020 04:16 PM

There is always more than one way to do a woodworking task. Currently you do things with a coping saw that could be done with a bandsaw. There is a lot of discussion on this site of bandsaw adjustments & problems taking people’s time. The choice is up to you.
I do own and use a bandsaw.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View SMP's profile


4813 posts in 1144 days

#3 posted 01-03-2020 04:26 PM

There is always more than one way to do a woodworking task. Currently you do things with a coping saw that could be done with a bandsaw. There is a lot of discussion on this site of bandsaw adjustments & problems taking people s time. The choice is up to you.
I do own and use a bandsaw.

- Phil32

I also wonder about bandsaw size. I have a 2 car garage, so the 10” bandsaw is a better fit. However, trying to imagine trying to cut a curve at the end of an 8’ long piece of wood seems like more trouble than its worth on a smaller bandsaw. Even a 14” bandsaw still doesn’t seem big enough for longer pieces of wood without some support apparatus? I do like the idea of being able to cut curves in thicker stock, whereas the jigsaw usually are slightly out of square, especially on thicker stock.

View Bill_Steele's profile


776 posts in 2970 days

#4 posted 01-03-2020 04:26 PM

If I were you I would get a thickness planer before I got a bandsaw. I use my thickness planer way more than my bandsaw.

Generally speaking, I would say a bandsaw is a power tool that is meant to speed up production. You can probably accomplish the same cutting operations by using some handtool or combination of tools. The above statements can probably be applied to any power tool. Did they have power tools back in colonial Williamsburg? No. Were they able to produce fine furniture? Yes. How?

That being said…..I use my bandsaw to breakdown rough cut lumber (no kickback with twisted lumber), resaw to make thick veneer, cut curves, trim off waste prior to using a flush-trim bit, cut small parts, cut circles, make cuts in thick lumber, cut tenons, etc.

It is a versatile machine. I don’t think of it as a “core” machine (e.g. table saw, jointer, planer, drill press), but if you have one it may expand your options.

View Madmark2's profile


3091 posts in 1826 days

#5 posted 01-03-2020 04:31 PM

Curves. TS, RAS, SCMS only cut straight lines.

Resawing for maximum yield – BS kerf is under 1/16” while most TS, RAS kerfs are twice that.

Resawing stock wider than 6” (not all BS’s). 10” TS can only show 3” of blade making max resaw from both sides only 6”. BS with risers can go 12”

Notching is hard on a TS but easy on a BS. You can easily cut square notches without blade radius.

1001 additional uses come quickly to mind. I don’t use mine often but when I need it there is no substitute.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Wildwood's profile


2959 posts in 3373 days

#6 posted 01-03-2020 04:31 PM

This video gives general idea what can do with right size bandsaw & blade. Depending upon your budget and what want to do with a bandsaw entirely up to you. Know on my area Craigslist have to kiss lot toads before finding a good bandsaw.

None of these saws worth my time!

-- Bill

View JayT's profile


6431 posts in 3449 days

#7 posted 01-03-2020 04:40 PM

There is always more than one way to do a woodworking task.

- Phil32

+1 to that. Whether or not you need a bandsaw depends on what you want to build and how you want to work. Someone else’s approach may not be appropriate for your space and tasks. If you want to cut a lot of curves or do a lot of resawing, then the bandsaw is the best tool for the job. It’s not the only tool for the job, though.

I have a bandsaw and would not be without it. At the same time, I no longer have a table saw, so the bandsaw is the workhorse of breaking down stock in my shop. It fits the way I work—hybrid with lots of hand tools and a very small shop. It is very versatile and space efficient.

As far as size, I’m in the camp that the 14in saw is the best selling and most common size for a reason. It is large enough to do most tasks, while small enough to not take up a ton of space and still be able to be run on a 120v circuit. Yes, if cutting 8’ stock, you will need work support. You’d need it cutting stock that long on a miter saw or table saw, too. A 10in saw is extremely limited in use, but is still the right size for many people.

If the tasks you are doing frequently would be done better &/or faster with a bandsaw, then look at getting one. If you are just wanting one because of others who tout their use, but can’t see how you would use it much, then wait.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View jmartel's profile


9228 posts in 3388 days

#8 posted 01-03-2020 04:52 PM

Buy a planer first. Then get a bandsaw later, and don’t get anything smaller than a 14”.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View HokieKen's profile


19343 posts in 2377 days

#9 posted 01-03-2020 04:56 PM

I think it comes down to exactly what you will use it for. If it’s for curves in legs/aprons etc, you can get by with a jigsaw probably. For me, the bandsaw is used a lot for resawing and a lot for cutting curves in things like bandsaw boxes and knife scales. I also use it a lot to prepare turning stock either cutting bowl blanks roughly round, cutting blanks out of logs or cutting spindle blanks to size.

But, if you don’t do any of those things, it may not be a great addition for you. To be honest, if I had to give up either my table saw or my bandsaw, it would be a tough decision to make…

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


884 posts in 1017 days

#10 posted 01-03-2020 05:02 PM

It is the least used tool in my shop, but when I need it I am glad to have it. I would get a planner before a bandsaw.

I use mine for curves and for certain cuts on tenons as well as resawing thick stock.

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


6748 posts in 3547 days

#11 posted 01-03-2020 05:06 PM

You don’t need a band saw to re-saw. But I do have a band saw and the video shows why. :):)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile


7441 posts in 1828 days

#12 posted 01-03-2020 05:20 PM

I agree about getting a planer first. Also agree to go with a 14” band saw minimum.

I use my band saw regularly. I buy rough lumber and in order to break it down in width on a table saw safely I have to joint a face and edge. If the board is wider than my 6” jointer, I have to screw around with a partial face and put it on the sled through the planer. With my band saw, it’s no big deal. I just slice away. Of course, the jointer still comes into play, but it’s easier with more manageable board sizes.

Also, you mentioned getting into building finer furniture. To me, a real mark of craftsmanship is book matched panels and table tops. You can either go with veneer, buy book matched boards at a steep price, or resaw your own. I resaw.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View OSU55's profile


2827 posts in 3228 days

#13 posted 01-03-2020 05:50 PM

Made do without a bandsaw for many years doing flatwork (furniture). Didnt take me long at all to realize a thickness planer is indispensable. I acquired a very good 10” bandsaw (Craftsman no longer available) that is helpful with flat work but great for turning blanks. I’d have a 17” bandsaw if I had room and 220 available. Resawing lumber can get some nice pieces.

View OleGrump's profile


581 posts in 1583 days

#14 posted 01-03-2020 05:51 PM

Do you resaw 6” lumber on your table saw? Would you even ATTEMPT it? Can you make a few quick cuts on the table saw WITHOUT having to adjust the blade height? OK, yes, you CAN cut “circles” with a table saw, IF you make a jig and have the time, patience, inclination to make 9,000 cuts in order to do it. A bandsaw will make a nice clean cut in ONE pass. Just some food for thought here.
You have everything else, so a thickness planer would be the next logical step for you, but please don’t short sell the bandsaw. Plus one on the 1001 uses. There was a period when I had no table saw for a few years. The band saw was a LIFESAVER during that time.

-- OleGrump

View Rich's profile


7441 posts in 1828 days

#15 posted 01-03-2020 06:00 PM

Plus one on the 1001 uses.

- OleGrump

Wouldn’t that be 1002 uses?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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