Nice little Benchtop for what it is

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Review by patcollins posted 11-07-2010 11:33 PM 4955 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nice little Benchtop for what it is Nice little Benchtop for what it is Nice little Benchtop for what it is Click the pictures to enlarge them

Ok I know many of you would never even consider a tool made by Skil because they are low end but I have been happy with a couple of their products. I am by no means an experienced woodworker but just a guy starting out and that likes to make things.

First off the saw has a large amount of plastic in it but I really don’t see where metal would be superior except if you bang it around alot. The motor bogs down a little bit when cutting curves in 1/2” oak with a 3/8” blade but i bet a thinner blade would work a bit better for this. My biggest two complaints are the pully on the motor is not round at all but it doesn’t seem to adversly affect the performance of the saw and the safty switch seems to allow the motor to turn when the cabinet is open.

Now into the good parts: This saw was only $99 at Lowes and came with a cute little fence that is actually very useful. No other benchtop saw that I found in a store had a fence. There was very little setup to do out of the box just some minor adjusting that well explained and very easy to do for this newbie. It cuts very well, I was able to rip a 3/4” square oak dowel straight down the center with no wandering and a fairly smooth cut. I was also able to cut a very nice 3” circle out of 1/4” oak plywood also. It also takes a fairly standard 59.5” blade but the blade that came on it is fairly decent.

So while it is a low end saw I thnk it does a great job for what it is and am happy. If the pully was more precise and the safety switch actually worked I might have considered giving it 5 stars.

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12 comments so far

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176 posts in 3690 days

#1 posted 11-08-2010 02:05 AM

Isn’t it great finding a cheap useful tool. Even though my shop is loaded with many expensive tools, I still have a handful of cheap tools, many of them still see regular use. My circular saw is a 15 AMP Skil with the built in laser that I bought at Wal-Mart on sale for $44. It has done everything from cutting through 2 1/2” boards to cutting a section of my driveway out to lay patio stones. It has see a ton of work without blinking an eye and is always ready for more. I’d be willing to be that Skil will do everything you ever ask of it within reason:)

I’d be willing to bet almost everyone on here has cheap tools somewhere in their shop/garage/closet and won’t snob you out for having some:)

I hope you have many good cuts with your Skil.

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1027 posts in 4295 days

#2 posted 11-08-2010 06:13 AM

Skil probably makes one of the very best worm drive circular saws on the market. Otherwise, I agree. Tools for the DIY market.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

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189 posts in 4245 days

#3 posted 11-09-2010 05:51 AM

I know what you mean about the Skil reputation. I’ve also got a Skil circular saw. It was my first housewarming gift 5 years ago and it will probably be around years after all my other tools are gone. It’s a real trooper.

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2656 posts in 3732 days

#4 posted 11-10-2010 12:26 AM

People have a tendency to underestimate the value of a small saw like this. I have a GO555x that I use reguraly for large work. I also have a 9” Delta that I use a lot also. For smaller projects and tighter radii, it’s my go to and it has performed nicely for over 5 years.
As long as you are satisfied with it enjoy it. Doesn’t make any difference what brand it is.

-- Life is good.

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5777 posts in 4041 days

#5 posted 11-10-2010 06:58 AM

I have a HF 14” band saw with riser block set up for resawing… A small band saw like this would be ideal. It would be nice to see a comparison between say this, and the comparable Ryobi, and Craftsman models… (and any others in the sub $150.00 category)...

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10880 posts in 3925 days

#6 posted 11-10-2010 03:34 PM

you have a point there , why spent a fortune on a big bandsaw if you only make small work
and donĀ“t do resawing
and if you have a big Bs where you also make resawing it wuold be a blast to have a second
smaller bs for the small work and go to any time works as Deke said

enjoy your fun Pat Collins

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3630 days

#7 posted 11-11-2010 10:39 PM

Nothing wrong with a tiny bandsaw. I have the $130 Ryobi 9” that I still use for small parts. The small saws have one large plus – its really hard to get the blade to wander. I knocked out alot of neck blanks on the little saw. With a Viking blade its cuts nicely.

Due to space reasons its now mostly dedicated to cutting ugly stuff like plexi. If it dies – oh well.

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12 posts in 3701 days

#8 posted 11-24-2010 06:10 AM

I have the same skil 9” and I love it! I think its more the blade than the saw with it, cuz when I changed my blade out for a nicer one it made far better cuts. And ya, some day it will die, and i wont shed a tear on my way to buy a bigger nicer one.

-- Strong enemies make stronger friends

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102 posts in 3494 days

#9 posted 01-19-2011 10:05 PM

I just bought this saw because of the price and the fence. It looks out of square out of the box but I really don’t know that it matters as long as the blade tracks properly!!!

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3675 days

#10 posted 01-31-2011 01:19 AM


I tried a few different blades from Bosch because Lowes had them and they were pretty cheap. In the process of learning the saw and playing around some more i found that it bogged down more than I like so I decided to change speeds, or so i thought.

It turns out that to use the slow speed setting the belt was not large enough until I examined the saw a bit more, the motor mount wasnt letting the motor move all the way forward which was required for this setting. I removed the motor, tried to get the pully off so I could remove the motor mount because i thought it was installed backwards (its a slightly unsymmetrical flate plate). I stripped the set screw and had to pull the pully with a gear puller and drill out the setscrew. Turns out they use what looks like superglue as locktite on the set screw. But when I finally got it off the plate was slightly unsymmetrical but flipping it around still didnt allow the motor to be moved all the way forward.

I had an idea, Ill turn the plate upside down so the slotted side is on the bottom and the fixed hole is up top. Turns out that worked and it allowed the motor to be positioned all the way forward. But because the motor arcs upward instead of downward because the slot on the motor mount is upside down now and the pully is slightly out of round and was hitting the body of the saw so out came the motor again and i dremmeled the slot slightly. Reinstalled the motor and wow what a difference the slower speed does not bog down at all cutting through a piece of 5/4 maple with a 6 TPI 3/8” blade.

So there was some bad design, a little bit of bad assembly and fit but for what it cost I think 3 stars were warrented because had I not decided to fool with things I wouldn’t have had most of these problems.

I can also cut my bandsaw reindeer much easier now using the 1/8” 10 TPI blade before it bogs down.

But I still want a 1hp 14” saw :)

View woodmaker's profile


321 posts in 3501 days

#11 posted 03-24-2011 11:16 PM

I have the same one.
Not as good as I expected; but okay for small jobs.
It has more blade drift than a snow flurry, :-)
Really have to upgrade to a floor model 17” preferred here. One day!

-- Mike

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