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Scroll, Band, Press and Router Table

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  • Scroll, Band, Press and Router Table

    Looks like spring is here (at least down here it is). I'm looking into adding a few tools to the garage in order to dive into some different types of projects. I was hoping for some advice please.

    I have done some research online and in stores in terms of features and pricing as such. However I have no experience with them. Only those who have experience with these tools would know what features should take priority or what they wish they would have gotten that their current tool does not have. I was hoping to get some tried and true experiences from you, please.

    There is a limitation. I cannot afford any of the high end tools. More than likely I won't be purchasing a free standing $400 drill press or band saw (unless I get them cheap on Craigslist). However, I'm definitely interested in any information about them.

    1. Router Table - I definitely want a dedicated router table. Via plans at this forum, I built a router table awhile back that slides between the rails of the 3100. It's good for what it is but if you have to make a table saw cut then it becomes a hassle.

    2. Scroll Saw - I'd really like to get one to build some creative items.

    3. Band Saw - It just seems like there are many times when a band saw would come in handy.

    4. Drill Press - Same as above. Plus, I remember watching my Grandpa use his back in the day. I've always wanted one since then.

    Thanks for any advice or information.

  • #2
    I'm no expert by any means, but...

    Band saw--14" with the ability to add a riser. Following that advise from others here was wise on my part. At some point i'll add a quick release tensioner. The added cutting height from adding the riser has been nice, but i should have spent that money on the quick release first--every now and then i use the extra height, but the tensioner is used every time!! On my next layout the band saw will be easier to access quickly. It's one of those tools that i use often for convenience but right now i have to roll it to its location.

    Drill press--stroke depth matters. Period. I've been okay with the 5 speed set-up, but grateful that i stumbled into 3 1/8" stroke when i bought mine. It's another machine that i use a lot, but need to rethink its location so i don't have to roll it out to change the table height. I also need to either rebuild the table for it or set it at 20 or 30 degrees to the head as it interferes with the height adjustment handle.

    Good luck!!


    • #3
      The big things on a scroll saw are minimum vibration and the ability to use pinless blades. Ease of blade change is up there too. I would look for a used Dewalt 788 - it's a great saw at a not too unreasonable price. If you want to stay a little cheaper, Delta has some good saws, but vibration can be an issue and can take a lot of the fun out of it.


      • #4
        Here's how I'd prioritize them, given your circumstances.

        1a. Drill Press - Only a drill press can do what a drill press does: accurate repeat holes at the correct angle. I got by for years with a very small benchtop DP and would rather have had it than none at all.

        1b. Band Saw - To some extent a band saw and scroll saw are interchangeable, however a bandsaw is a staple of every shop, providing unique capabilities to do curved cuts, resaw, cut tenons, do funky crosscuts, etc. The new "european" models provide a good combination of resaw height and blade-to-frame depth, but at a price premium compared to an old-fashioned 14" cast iron model.

        2a. Router Table - You have router table, albeit in an incovenient configuration, so this moves down to the second level. Having a nice free-standing setup is an admirable goal, but secondary to getting your shop fitted out with the basics, IMHO.

        2b. Scroll Saw - This is a real judgement call. If you have a burning desire to do intricate patterns or marquetry then by all means move it right to the top of the list, otherwise get a 1/8" blade for the bandsaw to do 90% of what you'd need. The Dewalt is the most commonly seen "high end" model, priced at ~$500. Some years ago the Dremel 16" and 18" got conistenly high marks in the comparison tests and are frequently priced at <$150.

        Craigslist is your friend. A good used free-standing DP can be found for <150. Test any prospective buy for runout and your good to go.

        Get a book on bandsaws before trying to buy a used model. There are a number of things to know.

        I very rarely see decent router tables on CL for a decent price. I'd suggest planning to build your own, unless you want to pay big $$ for good quality stuff from Rockler , Woodcraft, MLCS, or Kreg.

        If you shop really hard you can find a scroll saw on CL, but they keep their value pretty well.


        • #5
          +1 on JR's comments. I ended up with a Bench Dog cabinet/table (new old stock) that was a good deal--but for half the money i could have built it. I'd have probably spent more time doing so, but if you added up all the CL and ebay time spent looking--it may not have been a ton more time.


          • #6
            In the order of importance for my work. One caveat, you'll out grow a bench top press or saw very quickly, unless you have a bunch of will power. In my opinion with both of these tools, bigger is better both in power and the size of material you work with.

            1. Band saw: I have woodworking friends and pros that would rather be without a table saw than a band saw. 14" is a good size. I do little resawing so I have never used the block. I did add a larger table I wouldn't want to do without. It makes loop changes a bit of a pain, but it was worth it.

            2. Drill press: My work requires that I have a radial arm press. I'd rather have a horizontal borer but space dictates won out. I can do long bores into long stock. Bits are costy though.

            When you need to drill a bunch of repetitious holes, or you need the angle to be exact, neat, and tight; you want a drill press.

            3 or 4. Router table: they come in all sorts of configurations. Mine is simple, no gears or cranks. I use brass bars for setting depth and sometimes wish I had a mechanical height adjustment. Not often enough to spring for a new table though. It has handy drawers for the bits, wrenches, fences, etc. It's on a floor stand and the area where one stands, fumbles with and drops the expensive bits is covered with an anti-fatigue mat. More for the protection of the bits than for the sake of my legs.

            3 or 4. I have a Dremel scroll saw. It is mounted on rubber bumbers and at an angle so that when sitting I look down at the table with no strain. The Dremel has a good sized table and long throat. There are more expensive ones with longer throats, less vibration, etc. If I was into intarsia or cutting a lot of intricate patterns I'd get a beefier model.
            The Dremel works fine for cutting tight corners on stuff once or twice a month.

            You are getting a bunch of good advise from guys that are set in their ways and have certain needs in the shop with respect to tools. Spend a bit of time trying to determine what you will be doing most ( I know! I know! It's hard!) and gear your purchases to that. Take care of the tools so that they retain a bit of value when you decide you need (want?) bigger or more power.
            Last edited by Warren; 03-15-2013, 02:48 AM. Reason: spelling
            A man without a shillelagh, is a man without an expidient.


            • #7
              all four are important tools. I'd have to say the drill press would be a priority.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ -


              • #8
                I'd put the drill press first if you already have a BT. There is just a ton of things they can do with accessories: drum sanding, hole cutting, buffing, light turning of wood or metal, mortises and it goes on.

                If I only had one power saw it would be a band saw, a good one.

                Router table is lower on my list because of the work I do.

                Got a smoking deal on an RBI Hawk so I do have a scroll saw but I haven't used it much yet.

                Hope that helps,


                • #9
                  I think a band saw is one of the most useful tools there is. I love my Craftsman 10" (the Rikon one). I also LOVE having a DP.

                  I have recently started using a scroll saw. I had always thought of it as a hobby/grandma type thing. Not something a "real" woodworker would use, but I have really started to get into it and enjoy it a lot. One thing I really like is that I can sit down and knock out a complete project or two in a few hours. With 3 little kids, a wife and job, my time is at a premium, so this really gets my woodworking fix in.

                  As mentioned, with a SS, vibration, blade type and blade change are key for me. My clearance Ryobi 16" is poor in all areas. The Delta 40-695 is a Dewalt 788 clone which is getting great reviews. There have been quality issues (at least what I have read) on the Dewalt in recent years. For me, I don't have $500 to put into a SS, so I will likely get the Porter Cable SS at Lowes, which has good reviews for a >$200 scroll saw.


                  • #10
                    I agree with the ranking of the your equipment but from all the discussions on band saws and their functionality and qualities I would say that a band saw is where your money should go first. Get a good one first time. Ignore the urge to buy the first cheap tabletop band saw that comes along. You will spend more time putting the bands back on, or replacing them because they are crap and will not hold an edge. Don't break the bank but start off with a 14" that you can find bands for easily and local, add a larger table later, dust collection later, riser later. You can find a drill presses in yard sales, on craigslist or in the paper for a bargan later.



                    • #11
                      For me it would be 1A-Bandsaw,1B-Drill Press, a distant 3rd scroll saw, and distant 4th a router table (mostly because you have a workable solution anyways).

                      Looking at it from your budget perspective, and knowing how tools pop up on my local
                      Craigslist, I've seen good quality 14" bandsaws go up for 250-275 range and sometimes deals that you have to be ready for around 175-200. Patience being the key for those.

                      Drill Presses can be all over the map. I've seen many very nice older presses go up for 100-150 simply because they "look" old. Newer floor models tend to go up for too much in my book. 75-150 looks to be a range for decent benchtop models.

                      I know nothing about scroll saws. I see them all the time for50-75 bucks.

                      just some random thoughts.


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