No, you don’t.
As a hand tool woodworker you are fully self sufficient without a bandsaw. At least as long as there’s tea in the pot.
But if there’s one machine that can aid the hand tooler the most, this would be it.
When I shunted out my machines at the close of the workbench business, it was my bandsaw that got left behind.
What Is A Bandsaw Used For?
Mine is nothing fancy, just a little Startrite 352.
It maxes out with a half inch blade, but as an aid alongside my hand tool woodworking, that’s all I need; A half inch, 3 tpi, thin kerf blade for ripping.
And that’s all I use it for – ripping.
The bandsaw, it’s the machine that’s most like man.
It’s stood up right for one, so takes up little space. It’s underpowered, which is good, it makes you question whether it’s really the best option for that little rip in the one inch stuff. It whines, moans and groans when in use… comforting. It’s also quite rough and inaccurate.
So the bandsaw doesn’t seem that much better than a hand saw. And that’s right it isn’t, but it’s a hand saw with endurance. It moans from the second it’s started, but it will moan for hours on end, long after you, your hand saw, and the teapot have emptied.
Do I Really Need A Bandsaw?
If you only work with one inch timber, maybe the odd bit of two, then you won’t need a bandsaw; hand saws are very efficient at ripping that thinner stuff.
But if you work a lot of two, three and four inch, then you’ll know what a job it can be. That’s where the bandsaw comes in, it will blank out all the parts for a table, from thick waney edged oak, before your dinner break, and you’ll still have the strength to pour your tea.
But I like it most for the little it takes away from my work. The marks it leaves are that of my hand saws, or even the saw mill. This means the follow up processes are the same as without it, so this machine doesn’t change the approach I take to my work.
This is different to a machine such as the planer, which regulates my work in a inhumanly way, changing the processes that follow – face and edge marks become irrelevant, everything is flat, square…uniform.
I’ll rant on about regulated woodworking soon, but I think you get the point.
The bandsaw is a labour saver for when things get tough, nothing more, nothing less. It’s my second man, my apprentice.