Skil 3386-01 Review
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
Skil 3386-01 Review
Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson
Published on: February 18, 2018
Bandsaws can often be a hit or miss, especially if you don’t know what to pay attention to when you decide to purchase one for yourself. There are plenty of things you need to think about and most people decide to neglect that whole part and just go with the first one they stumble upon. Needless to say, it’s far from a recommended strategy and it can lead to unpleasant surprises such as underpowered or overpriced products.
In order to avoid such surprises, take a moment and check our review out. We aim to bring these machines closer to the average user so that they don’t have to research themselves and waste hours upon hours in front of the screen. This particular model is a good solution for many people thanks to its compactness, smooth performance, and most importantly – reasonable price.
- Power – 2.5 amps
- No Load SFPM: 2,800
- Max. Cutting Capacity: 3-1/2 Inches
- Table Dimension: 12 x 11-3/4 Inches
- Blade Type: 1/8-Inch to 3/8-Inch x 59-1/4 Inches to 59-1/2 Inches
Skill 3386-01 – The Basics
Skill is an established brand and they are well-known for producing high-quality products. This particular one definitely doesn’t fall into the category of perfectly made machines, but it does offer a decent amount of features and accuracy. Its 2.5-amp motor is okay, but it could definitely use a bit more power so that it can cope with more demanding projects.
As far as the complexity goes, this model is one of the simplest ones we have reviewed. It doesn’t require any previous experience and its features are quite straightforward and easy to get the hang of. On top of that, the model is very compact and can fit on any table thanks to its small dimensions and light weight.
As we mentioned, the design is one of the strongest points of this particular model. It’s reliable, sturdy, and the dimensions of the chassis are one of the smallest we have covered so far. Therefore, one can count on portability as well as quite a bit of additional features. The first notable feature is the tilting work table. It’s not as spacious as one would imagine, but it does offer you the ability to cut at a specific angle if you want to do so.
The LED light isn’t an impressive addition, but it’s an articulating piece meaning you can fine-tune its position with high precision and adjust it as you wish. Surprisingly, the unit also features a small dust port that allows you to connect a vac and reduce the amount of sawdust and debris significantly. It’s a surprise because even significantly bigger units don’t have a dust port while a small one like this one does.
The motor only offers one speed, but it can yield enough power to cut both metal and wood. The rip fence is well-designed and it ensures straight and accurate cuts.
Contrary to popular belief, the 3386-01 can process various types of metal. Most people think that it can only handle wood due to its small size and underpowered motor, but you can rest assured that it can deal with metal without any issues. In fact, with a proper blade, you can even cut glass, even though it’s not recommended because the accuracy will fall off significantly and may cause shattering.
Plenty of additional features
Not suitable for demanding tasks
Things we liked about it
The whole idea around portability and compactness works quite well. We like how easy it is to operate this machine without any previous experience. However, make sure you read the user manual and follow the instructions written inside, especially if you’re an absolute beginner. Having a basic idea of how these things work is mandatory in order to keep the safety levels high.
Besides the conveniently small dimensions, we also liked the price of this unit. It’s one of the most budget-friendly ones we reviewed thus far. While it does lack a few things that are possible with other bandsaw models that are more expensive, it’s still a great deal for people who are on a strict budget.
The miter gauge is precise and it doesn’t wobble at all. However, it’s not the sturdiest thing you’ll ever see, to say the least. In simpler words, one shouldn’t expect much from the miter gauge, but it does offer good precision and is relatively easy to set up.
Things we didn’t like
The overall stability suffers due to small dimensions and lack of weight. The unit doesn’t vibrate too much, but it can be a burden for some people. Furthermore, the amount of vibrations won’t affect the general accuracy of the unit by a significant margin, but it’s still worth mentioning so that you know what to expect.
The other thing we didn’t like is the amount (or lack) of power. Even though the motor is rated at 2.5 amps, it doesn’t seem powerful enough to handle some materials, especially metal. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty piece, this one isn’t a good choice.
A vast majority of woodworking enthusiasts like this unit. It’s one of the simplest on the market, but it does come with its fair share of downsides. It all comes down to your requirements and expectations. As long as you keep those two elements realistic, there shouldn’t be any issues with this machine. On the other hand, users that want a highly accurate heavy-duty machine should definitely skip this particular one.
When it comes to the final verdict, it’s not an easy one to make. This is a decent bandsaw, but one shouldn’t expect an impressive performance. It has a good amount of features, but it also comes with quite a few disadvantages.
However, considering the affordability, it’s not a massive loss. In fact, you will get what you paid for.
If you’re looking for something that will endure intense projects and massive amounts of material on a consistent basis, this model probably isn’t the best solution for that. However, it’s a good deal for occasional users.