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  • Table vs. Band Saws

    I have recently become interested in woodworking as a hobby. More from a perspective of a DIY'er around the house. I don't intend to make Queen Anne furniture or build the kitchen a new set of cabinets. I would like to build my skills up enough to perhaps build my own workbenches, picture frames, finish carpentry when the basement gets done, etc... I've read for months on which table saws and whether a contractor style is better than a bench saw. For now, I'd like to keep my tools portable (relatively) and I prefer to work as much as possible outside. I don't want to necessarily create a complete woodworking shop. So I've kind of settled on a TS2400 bench saw as a start point. Lately, I've re-read some articles on bandsaws that have me wondering if a 14" or better band saw might be more useful than a table saw for me. One of the things I think I've learned is that a bandsaw works well for solid woods, but not very well for plywoods. Just looking for some useful opinions before I really look into some classes at the local Woodcraft.

  • #2
    Since moveability is important to you, try moving a 14" bandsaw around on a mobile base before making your decision. Be careful though, because they are very top-heavy.

    Dave

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    • #3
      Point taken. I was thinking the herc-u-lift was due out soon to fit a band saw base. From a mobility perspective, a band saw is not as mobile as a bench saw, but I'm just trying to get a view on versatility as compared to say the 2424.

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      • #4
        I didn't make my point very well. Herculift or not, a 14" bandsaw is extremely top-heavy, very hard to move without tipping.

        Versatility? Bandsaw is much, much more versatile than a tablesaw. BUT, versatility always comes at a price. I'll assume you've done your fair share of turning bolts. Would you rather use a Crescent wrench, which is very versatile, or the proper size socket? Socket is hardly versatile at all, it will only turn one size bolt.

        The things a tablesaw does best, it does much better than about anything else. I cringe, however, when I read of some of the "non-optimal" uses to which this machine is put.

        Dave

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        • #5
          I got it. My lack of experience in woodworking shows. If I didn't know from day to day what bolt and nut I'd be turning - I'd opt for the adjustable wrench (this equates to a DIY jobs around the house or building something just for the recreation). If I worked strictly on Audi S8's I'd opt for a set of FACOMs. If I were a cabinetmaker I'd opt for a cabinet saw (I think there is a parallel here). I can cut a straight line with my CS and guide (measuring to get that straight line is another story [img]smile.gif[/img]) and do dados with a router. Let's go one step further. In any projects I've tried my problems have been in joinery and starting with a square and flat stock piece. After watching some videos the band saw certainly seems much easier to understand and operate to cut tenons than a table saw. Now for square flat stock maybe I need to start with better products than the stuff I saved from the last closet makeover or do I see a jointer and planer looming in the future?

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          • #6
            I would start with the table saw. It is really the center of a shop and its a machine you'll be going back to time and time again. Another reason to go with a TS vs a BS is sheet goods. If you need to rip down the center of a sheet of plywood you'll have to use a table saw. The max width you'll be able to cut on a band saw is a little less than 14"

            Jake

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            • #7
              A little more guidance please. If you could only have one major power tool would you opt for a bench type table saw (TS2400), band saw (BS14000) or radial arm saw (RS1000)?

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              • #8
                For you to answer the question, I think you have to go back to what you intend to do. For a wide variety of ww'ing, I agree with a table saw---but a contractor's---not a benchtop. However, let me confuse the issue even more---you said you were interested in picture frames and trim work. To me, you should also be considering a compound miter saw.

                Another consideration---if you anticipate ripping a lot of stock---again, my first choice would be a contractor's saw. Of course, you can rip with a bandsaw, but you will need to get good at adjusting blade tension, blocks, etc. A radial arm saw is also good for many things, but not a very comfortable tool to use for ripping.

                Dave
                Dave

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                • #9
                  Dave,
                  I think I understand the arguments for the contractor over the bench saws. I simply do not want to dedicate the space for a contractor style saw. The other tools are more space efficient for me. I think maybe I should work from the perspective of what tool will help me the most to cut wood to the proper size and joinery techniques. It will probably work out to be a table saw, but I've got more reading and study to do. But, like my Dad said, the best knowledge comes from experience.

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                  • #10
                    The all-purpose tool of the three you mentioned is the radial arm saw. BUT, as my friend Dave (we all know each other from the "Dave" Club, ya know) alludes, it is anything but intuitive. It can be used safely, but doing so requires a lot more study and preparation than any other tool I am familiar with. Treat a RAS lightly, and it will feed you your arm.

                    I'm afraid I cannot give good advice on portable tablesaws, as I never have particularly paid any attention to them.

                    Dave
                    (apologies for the gross imagery, but it beats heck out of the reality)

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                    • #11
                      If space is a problem I would still go with a saw like the TS2424. With it's moble base it really east to move out of the way. I have one in a very small shop. 8'x13'. My TS2424 go next to one wall when not in use. So you realy done need to have a place set up just for the saw. If I had to make the choise between a bandsaw or table saw I would have to go with the table saw and a contractor saw you ahve more power and table space. I love my TS2424. It's well worth the money. I hope this helps
                      Dan<br /> <a href=\"http://community.webshots.com/user/pepaw101\" target=\"_blank\">http://community.webshots.com/user/pepaw101</a>

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                      • #12
                        Frankly, I'd suggest almost anything but a benchtop saw. Unless your plans are to make jewelry boxes or wooden toys, I feel the benchtop can be more dangerous than a radial arm. With the radial arm, at least you have a bigger table to work with.

                        Anyway, since you're in the planning stages---I'd also suggest a good circular saw with cutting guides and some saw horses. Sure doesn't take up much space. This is what I used when still living in an apartment and actually built some fairly nice furniture with it.

                        Just some ideas, since all of us seem to have space problems of varying degrees. Actually, I have the old Sears version of the TS2424---have the longest Biesemeyer fence attached (50"??) even with the long side out, the wife can still park the car and unload groceries on top of the saw
                        Dave

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                        • #13
                          Since by now you're probably really confused, let me add a perspective.

                          I would urge you not to think of the tools you've mentioned as alternatives to one another. True, some cuts can be made on different tools, but in general a table saw does things that a band saw doesn't do and a radial arm saw doesn't do well or safely. At the same time, there are some cuts for which a band saw is the only alternative. Whichever of the three you buy first, it will not "cover the waterfront."

                          That said, Brother Arbuckle is right in urging you to start with the table saw, which is the mainstay of most wordworking adventures. And all are right in urging you to say away from a tabletop table saw, which you will quickly outgrow.

                          I, too, love the Herc-U-Lift feature of the 2424. It not only allows me to "park" the saw when not in use, but it also allows me to change the orientation of the saw in my small basement, depending on the type of cut I have to make.

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                          • #14
                            Probably don't need another person to tell you the same thing at this point, but let me chime in.

                            I started with a benchtop saw when all I had was a few square feet in the garage and had to break it down every day so the cars could fit. When we moved and I was able to comandeer a small but greater space in the basement, I quickly upgraded to the TS2424. Like others have said, it is easily repositioned within the space and parks nicely against the wall when not in use. If anything, I would suggest the benchtop band saw, which will serve you well for most small projects and could be had pretty cheap. That upgrade is next on my list.

                            Try to think ahead to what your ultimate uses will be, I started with a couple of book cases, then chairs, then bedroom furniture for my daughter, a coffee table and now a grandfather clock. My point is, if I did not buy the right tools the first time, I would have had to upgrade along the way and spend even more.

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                            • #15
                              Part of my logic for the bench saw was it fits my space now and later, if I did have a shop, my upgrade would be to 3 hp cabinet saw. I'd still have the bench saw either for special purposes or just to have a worksite saw (as time allows I'd like maybe to volunteer for habitat for humanity type stuff). The RAS reputation for safety concerns me as I tend to do stupid stuff (so my wife says [img]smile.gif[/img]). That left me with a BS as a possible alternative. My uses are not to do furniture. My highest level of achievement would probably be to make my own workbench. I'd be happy if I could make a set of saw horses with the legs in the same plane. I'm seeing this woodworking stuff leading to one thing then another. You need to start with flat square stock which means you need someplace to store wood, then you need a jointer and a planer, then you need 3 tools to make square cuts and joinery plus jigs, then you need umpteen routers and tables to make the wood pretty, then you need dust collection and air filtering so you don't choke to death, everything has to be sharp so you spend a lot of time just sharpening and we haven't even gotten into finishing and on and on and on. Sheesh! I'm just a simple guy looking for simple flexible tool that is the next step up from a circular saw and drill. But, on the other hand my old hobby of hotrods was even worse.

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