|Review by SchottFamily||posted 06-21-2012 08:16 PM||12403 views||0 times favorited||7 comments|
I finally got a chance last night to use the bench-top band saw that I picked up a few months ago. My local Lowes sells it for for about $120 plus tax, but I grabbed it on sale, refurbished, at CPO for $69 back in January or February.
I had been looking at the PC 14? floor saw, but at $400+, but I had a tough time justifying it at this point. I’m really on a Porter-Cable kick lately. I’m so happy with both the PC joiner and planer that I got last year. Anyhow, back to this band saw review…
While I was at the store looking at the PC, I checked this little job out. It seemed a little small to me – which it is, with only a 3.5? cut height and about 9? between the blade and the chassis, but honestly – I bought it almost 6 months ago and this is the first time I broke it out. With that track record, I don’t think I could have convinced the wife to let me pick up much more of a machine. I’ve got to say though, for what I paid and with the realistic expectations I had, I can’t really complain.
The Skil 3385 powered through the task at hand, which was re-sawing some boards and cutting out some stars for the flag project I’m working on (I’ll post more on that when it’s done). It’s got good power with it’s 2.5 amp motor, and even with the stock blade, cut through the pine I was working with like butter. It didn’t bog down at all on the knots, which really surprised me. Considering that I didn’t have it bolted or clamped down to my bench, there was little vibration as I made my cuts. The 12×14? table was very easy to true up and once zeroed in, it didn’t move at all and was very sturdy. I wasn’t too impressed with the functionality of the fence when I was re-sawing. It was a pain to adjust, frankly and took a lot of time to square it to the blade after each adjustment. The saw has an on board LED work light that I found very helpful as I was making very detailed cuts, on very small pieces, in the garage at night, with what’s technically referred to as “crappy” lighting. The band saw also has a laser guide, but I really didn’t find that to be useful or accurate. In all fairness, it could just be that I didn’t set it up correctly when assembling the saw.
All in all, for an entry level budget band saw, I’m pleased with this purchase and the performance. That being said though, I’m sure that as my skills improve, I’ll outgrow this band saw very quickly because of the size limitations. With a blade upgrade though, I think my wife will find it very useful for her craft business. It’s a lot of fun to use and very easy to get good results.
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