The enthusiasm for DIY home improvements is a rapidly growing area. Just a couple of years ago in 2019, the number of people who took on at least one DIY home project in the US was almost half the population.

This is a number that likely grew during 2020 when millions of people were stuck at home during the pandemic and the enforced lockdowns. Many people describe their home as a work in progress, and for the super-keen enthusiasts, it may be never-ending.

One other area that is growing is the sales of tools for crafts and DIY. This relates to both keen amateurs and professionals and involves simple instruments and power tools alike.

Understanding new tools

With all this new enthusiasm for home improvements and craftwork, there are bound to be a number of individuals who are new to these areas. Things can get confusing enough trying to understand the most basic of tools when you are a complete newbie, but more complex machinery can be an even bigger struggle.

So, with that in mind, you can take a look at two tools that sometimes confuse people. Bandsaws and jigsaws are both pretty much indispensable when it comes to woodworking, and make a great addition to any home workshop.

They have some similarities, but they also have many differences. If you keep reading below you will get a better understanding of what these two tools are and how they differ.

What is a bandsaw?

Although there are claims to having invented the first bandsaw by both the French and the Americans, the bandsaw was invented by an Englishman.

Around 1808 or 1809, a man from England named William Newberry applied for a patent for his newly invented bandsaw. It was a few more decades before modern, successful bandsaws were manufactured, however, and these did indeed come out of France and the US.

Bandsaws consist of one long blade with a continuous set of teeth along with one of its edges. The saw can cut through wood, plastic, and metal, and there are special bandsaws that are used by butchers for meat and fish also.

Bandsaws are mounted on workbenches much like table saws are, and they require a motor to run them. It should be noted, however, that portable, cordless bandsaws are also available. The blade in bench versions will be fitted vertically and will run continuously, cutting any material that is fed through the saw.

When would you use a bandsaw?

One of the reasons that bandsaws are essential in a workshop is that they are not only powerful, but they are accurate too. If you are into DIY carpentry and learning tips and tricks, and want to make some impressive designs then you would appreciate a bandsaw.

These types of tools can cut some very intricate designs and patterns with precision. Bandsaws are also very good for making irregular cuts. Hobbyists and craftspeople will find bandsaws very useful for creating furniture for any room in the home, including tables, drawers, and chairs.

Compact bandsaws are useful for anyone working on site who needs to cut piping and other materials. They are designed for rugged work environments. Benchtop bandsaws are more likely to be found in a workshop and among their many uses, they excel at resawing.

Resawing is when a piece of wood is cut along the grain to produce thinner sections. This process can also create veneers, and bandsaws are perfect for it.

What is a jigsaw?

When you hear the word jigsaw, you may automatically think of the puzzle, and you wouldn’t be far wrong.

The first of these puzzle games was invented all the way back in 1762. John Spilsbury thought that if he mounted some maps and then cut them into sections, school children might find it interesting to piece them back together. This simple way of trying to enliven school lessons ended up producing the enduring puzzle that is known as jigsaws today.

However, they didn’t get their name until the 19th century when a patent was submitted for a reciprocating saw. As the popularity of these saws grew, and Spilsbury’s invention could start to be cut with more complexity, the name jigsaw became synonymous with both the tool and the puzzle.

In 1946, one Albert Kaufmann removed the needle from his wife’s sewing machine and fitted a blade instead. This led to the production of the first portable jigsaw the following year. The company manufacturing these early portable power tools was purchased by Bosch who adapted and improved the design to something closer to what is on sale today.

Jigsaws have a blade that runs vertically from the bottom of the device. And, much like a bandsaw, they can be used to cut irregular designs and patterns. They cut through wood, plastic, and metal just like a bandsaw can. Unlike bandsaws though, the blade is only attached to the saw at one end.

Just like Kaufmann’s early invention, the blade in a jigsaw repeatedly goes up and down in a rapid motion. This is powered by an internal motor, and the blades can be changed depending on what the user wishes to achieve, and what they are cutting.

What are the uses for a jigsaw?

It would be daft not to point out here that of course, jigsaws can create jigsaw puzzles. However, they have many more uses than just this. jigsaw puzzles are a good explanation for the tool though, as they show just how accurate and detailed they can cut.

If you wanted to know how to cut the perfect dovetail for instance, then a jigsaw could be your answer. They can also be used to create bevels, so if you were making detailed furniture, and perhaps a tabletop, then a jigsaw would be very useful.

A jigsaw typically has a narrow blade, and this allows it to make curves and shapes. The higher the number of teeth in these blades will ensure a smoother cut that requires less sanding.

What are the differences, the benefits, and the disadvantages of each saw?

When it comes to looking at the differences of each type of tool, then reading bandsaw reviews and comparisons with jigsaws can help. Listed below are a few of the differences that are worth noting when you are looking to use these great tools.


  • Can be used on a large scale for cutting
  • Very good for resawing
  • They can be very large and not mobile
  • They can be dangerous for beginners


  • Cannot make long straight lines
  • Not capable of resawing
  • Can be moved easily as they are handheld
  • Suitable for beginners


Bandsaws are good for cutting big pieces of wood, while jigsaws are handy for making small cuts. When it comes to the workshop though, both saws are essential tools, especially for anyone involved in woodworking.

A bandsaw can cope with the heavy work and is excellent at resawing. While jigsaws can help with intricate designs and shapes. A bandsaw shouldn’t just be seen as a workhorse though, they can also cut curves and other shapes, and can produce detailed work in their own right.

Overall, the differences and the qualities of both these types of saws are enough that anyone serious about their hobby or work should try and own one of each of them.

Categorized in: