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This is a general question as I expand my experience and tools, which I know may be very subjective and depend on many factors.

I have very little space, and few tools, so looking at smaller tools - considering a band saw, or table saw. If I only get one, it seems to me that a band saw is likely the more useful of the two - I can split wood pieces, for example to make a 1/2 or 3/4 inch piece more suitable for scales, I can cut straight with a fence or miter, and I can cut curves for the scales which a table saw can't do.

Does my logic make sense that a band saw would be the better choice for me to start with?

Second, for a smaller 9" band saw - I have been looking at Skil and Craftsman, considering others as well. I see negative and positive reviews on both sides of Skil and Craftsman, but I'm looking for advice from others who actually use them. If you have a small band saw, or experience with one, and advice and recommendations is welcome before I go spend some money.

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I have both, I love my band saw and for what you describe using it for I would get the band saw too. Get the largest you can fit in your shop. Im not sure on the two you asked anout, I got an old craftsman 12" for free so for the price its great. If you can look at them inperson, see how stable the table is, the cheaper ones may not be as solid or levelable as a better one. Good luck, you can never have enough tools. 

Have you considered a scroll saw ???

If space in the shop is a premium .. something to consider.

Not as useful as a band saw though.

.. and ..

as Michael stated

Never too many tools !!!

Yes, never enough! Another tip, used old tools can be better than some new tools, and cheaper, like my free band saw. tag sales!! 



D ale said:

Have you considered a scroll saw ???

If space in the shop is a premium .. something to consider.

Not as useful as a band saw though.

.. and ..

as Michael stated

Never too many tools !!!

We should have a tool group, if we dont already. Could be a good place to recomend, or steer away from good amd bad stuff.

I thought about that earlier when I couldn't find one, now your comment inspired me to take action! We may soon have a group - I just submitted a group creation attempt, waiting for approval which I assume falls back to Jan when she sees it and has time.

Michael Squier said:

We should have a tool group, if we dont already. Could be a good place to recomend, or steer away from good amd bad stuff.

Allanm,

While Donnie does indeed own table saws, they are never in his knife shop.  The band saw, on the other hand, has prime real estate in the shop.  While the blade can be switched from wood to steel, to cut the round stock tool steel he will usually use his side grinder.

Michael is right, go see the band saws you are looking at.  The stability of the table is key.  If it is not stable the quality of the saw wont matter.  The 9 inches are generally 2.5 amp and for cutting steel that is going to be an issue.  Donnie says dont skimp on the band saw, buy a good one.  Even if you have to go to a used tool sale, just make sure it works well

I did consider a scroll saw Dale, but thought a small band saw might be better for the space I have available. I am in a townhouse, with no garage, just a small shed outside. So anything I do needs to be portable enough to move outside when weather is good, or carry through to a spare room and not make too much mess and make my wife mad when weather is not good.

Also a band saw with 1/8 blade being the smallest I have seen could likely do most of the small work I would ever want anyway - if not actually much more than I would ever want and I'm just not familiar enough with the capabilities of power tools!


D ale said:

Have you considered a scroll saw ???

If space in the shop is a premium .. something to consider.

Not as useful as a band saw though.

.. and ..

as Michael stated

Never too many tools !!!

That's good advice Jan, and stability is one thing I had thought of, but good to have it confirmed. Looking at different makes/models online, weight alone has been a basic indicator to me but of course actually seeing something personally is what really tells. A lightweight plastic, made in China tool doesn't really appeal to me

I've been watching craigslist and some local auction sites for a while now - considering used if I can find a ood older one in working condition, definitely not fixed on buying new only. I had also realized that 2.5 amp is less ideal than higher amp, as well as throat and cut depth of course. I'm not sure I'll do much cutting blades from steel myself, but that's definitely a good consideration because we likely all start with an initial idea then grow into more as we realize what we can do once we get started. 



Jan Carter said:

Allanm,

While Donnie does indeed own table saws, they are never in his knife shop.  The band saw, on the other hand, has prime real estate in the shop.  While the blade can be switched from wood to steel, to cut the round stock tool steel he will usually use his side grinder.

Michael is right, go see the band saws you are looking at.  The stability of the table is key.  If it is not stable the quality of the saw wont matter.  The 9 inches are generally 2.5 amp and for cutting steel that is going to be an issue.  Donnie says dont skimp on the band saw, buy a good one.  Even if you have to go to a used tool sale, just make sure it works well


You will find it hard not to buy made in china in the 9" size, but they are getting better so check them out. Grizzly tools online make some good stuff. 


allanm said:

That's good advice Jan, and stability is one thing I had thought of, but good to have it confirmed. Looking at different makes/models online, weight alone has been a basic indicator to me but of course actually seeing something personally is what really tells. A lightweight plastic, made in China tool doesn't really appeal to me

I've been watching craigslist and some local auction sites for a while now - considering used if I can find a ood older one in working condition, definitely not fixed on buying new only. I had also realized that 2.5 amp is less ideal than higher amp, as well as throat and cut depth of course. I'm not sure I'll do much cutting blades from steel myself, but that's definitely a good consideration because we likely all start with an initial idea then grow into more as we realize what we can do once we get started. 



Jan Carter said:

Allanm,

While Donnie does indeed own table saws, they are never in his knife shop.  The band saw, on the other hand, has prime real estate in the shop.  While the blade can be switched from wood to steel, to cut the round stock tool steel he will usually use his side grinder.

Michael is right, go see the band saws you are looking at.  The stability of the table is key.  If it is not stable the quality of the saw wont matter.  The 9 inches are generally 2.5 amp and for cutting steel that is going to be an issue.  Donnie says dont skimp on the band saw, buy a good one.  Even if you have to go to a used tool sale, just make sure it works well

Not sure I can offer a lot of advice, but I do agree that the band saw is more versatile than the table saw. Although I have one of each and neither is a great saw, I do use my table saw more than the band saw for for the type of work I do. The band saw is capable of doing most tasks that the table saw can do, but not always as proficiently. The down side to having a table saw and not a band saw is, you can't do any scrolling. I make mostly square cut items and the table saw does a much better job at cutting straight lines. 

Thanks anyway Jeremy, all advice is good and useful. I had the same thoughts initially on a table saw and straightness, then thought for what I will do, being mostly knives and likely kits and ready made blanks at that, re-sawing small pieces, maybe sawing bone, cutting some curves for scales and other things, a bandsaw really might make more sense.

In time, I might use friends' facilities or do minor cutting of steel stock and send out for hardening and tempering but extremely unlikely i will get into a lot of that.

But as I said, all advice is good when I really have next to no space available and want to limit how much I add. Basically, a two bedroom townhouse with small office space, no garage, and a small shed in the tiny back garden.

Jeremy B. Buchanan said:

Not sure I can offer a lot of advice, but I do agree that the band saw is more versatile than the table saw. Although I have one of each and neither is a great saw, I do use my table saw more than the band saw for for the type of work I do. The band saw is capable of doing most tasks that the table saw can do, but not always as proficiently. The down side to having a table saw and not a band saw is, you can't do any scrolling. I make mostly square cut items and the table saw does a much better job at cutting straight lines. 

You can get a band saw and just use a regular circular saw for straight cuts. I have an electric coping saw that is pretty good with cutting tighter turns, but if I could only get one I'd go with the band saw. Just my opinion of course. Good luck on what you decide to get.

p.s.  higher the amp the better.

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