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Bandsaw vs Table Saw

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Doyledagain, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Doyledagain

    Doyledagain Tele-Meister

    Apr 11, 2016
    Los Angeles
    OK... So I've been building for a while, and I've got access to a membership based wood shop that has all the toys you could want... But it's about a 30 min drive from me, and I prefer to do most of my work in my (small) garage. The garage shop has a decent assortment of hand tools, but the only power tools are a small drill press and an oscillating belt/spindle sander.

    I'm looking to perhaps upgrade, and in that case, I'm thinking of getting either a decent bandsaw or a portable table saw. Which way would you go first? In general, I've always thought of the table saw as your keystone tool. But for guitars, I feel like a band saw might be more versatile.

    Any thoughts? I do some other woodworking, but mostly guitars. And like I said, I have access to both these tools if I'm willing to drive a little bit.
  2. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    For general woodworking the table saw is your main tool, but for guitar building the bandsaw is more important.
  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I have a Delta 14 inch bandsaw with a 24" fence. I have a 99 dollar skil table saw in the garage that I've only used twice in 5 years to aid in re-sawing some wood on the bandsaw for walnut acoustics. A tablesaw isn't a necessity for instruments. If I could only have one, it'll be a quality bandsaw. This is obviously a YMMV question though.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  4. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I have a good table saw and do use it in guitar making, but mostly because it's so good at squaring things up. Like, squaring a neck blank. I use it to cut the nut slot. Other than that it's just useful for producing dimensioned blanks. The bandsaw is much more heavily used. Having both is better!
  5. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 23, 2009
    Rocklin Ca.
    I Myself I'm always using my table saw but I build all kinds of stuff. say you want to build a speaker box or Amp cab you need a TS. I have a 14" delta bandsaw with the 12" riser block. For cutting out the shape of a Guitar a small bandsaw is fine but if you want to get into resewing a 14" is the minimum I would step up to a 2hp (wish I did) What kind of budget do you have?
    Doyledagain likes this.
  6. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    Bandsaw. But we’re talking about guitarmaking, not cabinetmaking. So YMMV.

    Think of this: a bandsaw can do what a tablesaw can do. The reverse is not true.
    DrASATele and Doyledagain like this.
  7. For guitar building - a bandsaw, for sure!

    I've got an old 14" import bandsaw that I bought used about 20 years ago for $75 bucks. I didn't really need a bandsaw, but it was too good a deal to pass up and I used it quite a bit for sawing and re-sawing fancy woods for my knife handles.
    About 15 years ago one of the chintzy cast pot metal trunnions that support the table (and allow the table to pivot to 45 degrees) busted, and then a year or two later the second trunnion broke, rendering the saw unusable. The bandsaw then sat, for the next 12 years, unused in a corner of my shop.

    Last year, I built my first guitar and cut out the body from a blank with a jig saw. A jig saw works OK, but I soon realized that I already had a much better tool than a jig saw, it just needed a couple of new trunnions! Instead of buying two more new chintzy pot metal trunnions, I just ended up fabricating my own improved trunnions out of steel. Now, I've got my bandsaw back up and running far better and more accurately than it ever did. Nice!

    I do have a good tablesaw, but I haven't found a need for it with guitar bodies. Although, I recently picked up some nice maple for my first attempt at a neck, so the tablesaw will get a little guitar building use in the near future. :)

    Best Regards,
    Doyledagain likes this.
  8. tewiq

    tewiq Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Granby Qc. Canada
    What Picton said, guitar making = bandsaw
    Doyledagain likes this.
  9. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    For guitar (and other purposes) a table saw is the first tool.
    The second is a good router.
    Doyledagain likes this.
  10. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    To have both would be good but if you have limited space or a budget then a bandsaw would be the way to go.
    Doyledagain likes this.
  11. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

    May 24, 2016
    As everyone seems to agree, the bandsaw is more important for guitars, while the table saw is better for pretty much every other type of woodworking. That being said, you can get by pretty well with an entry level portable table saw in the $200-$300 range, but in my experience you need to spend a good bit more for a decent band saw, like at least $800... so they are not really comparable in terms of price point.
    Doyledagain likes this.
  12. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Holic

    Oct 12, 2017
    sorry.... a band saw can not do what a table saw can do. as others have said, for instrument making... band saw first. for everything else.... table saw hands down. dado, finger joints, long clean rips, accurate cross cut at angles, large panel work etc

    router.... properly applied a real work horse. get the one that fits your needs (probably plunging). the down side is if it gets away from you it eats stuff in a heartbeat. if it gets ahold of you... thats very bad. I worked a couple years in a counter top shop & my boss had two claws on his left hand that were the remains of fingers. pretty kool for scarin' the childern though
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  13. DonM

    DonM Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Apr 21, 2016
    A woodworking Pro once told me that a band saw should be the last saw that you purchase. My favorite has always been a DeWalt radial arm saw. Very versatile.
  14. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    I use the table saw primarily for breaking down large stock, like msg sheets for templates. Or like squaring up neck blanks. Its also good for cleaning out a groove on stick prior to a resawing operation.
    Doyledagain likes this.
  15. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 23, 2009
    Rocklin Ca.
    "I'm thinking of getting either a decent bandsaw or a portable table saw"
    Table saw, cutting out body sections, neck blanks, finger boards, getting a nice strait edge, making jigs, fret slots and much more. A band saw is nice but you can cut out a body with a hand held jig saw do the final shape with a router (template and pattern bit) or an "oscillating belt/spindle sander.". The fact is both Table saw and Band saw would be best and 5 Routers
    Doyledagain likes this.
  16. tdoty

    tdoty Tele-Meister

    Oct 17, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    I have a table saw and 2 bandsaws.......and find myself going to my scrollsaw more often than not.
    Doyledagain likes this.
  17. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I suppoze we are talking large bandsaws.
    That would typically be used for large bulk purchases of raw wood, where say you intend to make several necks or whatever, then it goes to joiners and planers. Kinda has to have the extra tools.
    In short, bulk to save money, and you can split larger halves with a large bandsaw.
    Ideal for quartersawn.
    If you are building one guitar a year or whatever, I would just purchase smaller wood and go with a table saw.
    A unisaw, ideally.
    Covers most cabinet shop needs, too.
    Doyledagain likes this.
  18. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 16, 2015
    1 of each please:D
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  19. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Hard to make jigs without a table saw to dimension the lumber. If you're making guitars, then you know how to make stuff out of wood. You'll want to make/modify shelves, cut out a piece of plywood on occasion, and generally do woodworking where a table saw is the center of the shop. Roughing out body blanks on a jigsaw is not the only thing that's done in a guitar making/repairing shop.
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  20. mattgwvt

    mattgwvt TDPRI Member

    Jan 2, 2018
    Norfolk, Va
    A bandsaw, with a good fence can do many things a tablesaw can do. I've got a cheap craftsman bandsaw and the fence sucks. The blade wanders even if perfectly aligned, with new guide blocks. Still a valuable tool for cutting bodies and necks.
    Doyledagain likes this.
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