How do you go about buying tools? This is an important question and one that every new woodworker or DIY hobbyist will face when they start out with their collection of tools.
The problem is that you won’t be able to afford tools that offer everything you want until you’re a bit further along with your hobby. At the same time, you might not even know precisely what you want if you’re just starting out.
Seeing as you can’t actually test tools until you have them in your possession, this also just makes it all the harder. Numbers can only tell you so much: but how does the tool actually perform in real-world use?
The solution of course is to read reviews like this one (well I would say that!) but also to know what it is that you’re looking for specifically. And to know that, you need to know the kind of work you’re going to be doing and what your objectives are.
What level of expertise are you? Are you a complete beginner or have you got some experience under your belt?
What kind of materials are you going to be working with? Will it only be woods? Thick woods? How much power do you need?
Once you know what you need to do, then you can start to think about which tools you need and what features and specs those tools need to have.
Have a think on this and then let’s consider this review of the SKIL 3386-01.
The SKIL 3386-01 is a band saw. This means that it’s a tool designed to allow for very precise work and to let you cut curved cuts and other more detailed shapes. This is a graduation from a jigsaw when you need that bit much more control and you want to have the material nicely held in place as you work.
The SKIL 3386-01 should be able to offer this for you but is more aimed at beginners/intermediate woodworkers rather than pros or those with a lot of experience.
The tool itself is only one speed, which means you’re not going to be cutting through tough materials and at 2.5 amp, it’s not the most powerful tool either.
That makes it better suited to working with thinner materials. So if you work with delicate woods and make lots of nice precise patterns, then it will be a good fit.
While it’s not exactly going to win any awards for its pure power though, the SKIL 3386-01 does have a good number of features and options. The articulating LED light is great for instance and will give you a clearer view of what you’re doing. The 1-½ inch dust port is also great for helping you keep your area clean. The rip fence is there for helping you make straight cuts too and the rack and pinion table makes it easy to adjust the angle and the height.
The tool also looks rather nice. It is mainly red and has a somewhat rounded design, while being quite thin in profile. All this means it should fit nicely into your workshop and it’s actually quite light for moving around.
Pros and Cons
This is a very affordable bandsaw that is well designed and easy to use. For making precise cuts it will do the job just nicely as long as you are working with thinner, easier materials. Just make sure you know what you’re getting.
And when you start getting even a little thicker, it’s also important to know that you’re going to experience a fair amount of vibration. That’s one downside of having something so light. Nice for when you want to move it around but not so nice for when you want it to feel stable and to stay in one place!
Overall then, this is a cheap band saw and that comes with some pros and cons. It’s nice and beginner friendly, it’s light and easy to move around and it has the basic features that you’ll be looking for. If you want to work with thicker materials though, you’ll need something a little more powerful. And prepare for something that feels a little light and that shakes a fair bit during use…