Skil 12 inch Miter Saw
Skil 3821 - 12" Compound Miter Saw Review
| Skil 12 Inch Miter Saw Highlights|
|For the Professional Contractor||4 out of 5|
|For the Do-It-Yourselfer & Weekend Warrior||5 out of 5|
|For the Hobbyist and Beginner Woodworker||5 out of 5|
|For the Serious Woodworker||3 out of 5|
The Skil 12″ Compound Miter Saw Review Summary
The Skil 12 inch miter saw is a solid choice for many users. It’s built as a standard miter saw option with a few advanced features.
Overall it can handle about any job, but it does have limitations. The fact that it’s not a sliding saw really limits the crosscutting capacity. However, as its a 12″ blade, it does have decent capacities that are common in this class.
Also, it lacks the dual bevel, so you will have to flip the board to make opposite angled bevel and compound cuts. This is entirely practical and very common, but it makes it a bit more challenging when planning and setting up for compound cuts.
For some reason, Skil doesn’t want you to nest crown at an angle against the fence on this saw, which takes away from its usability for trim carpenters.
The Skil 12 inch miter saw comes with a blade, extension wings, blade change tool, dust bag, stop block, and a hold-down clamp.
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Skil 12 Inch Miter Saw – Model 3821 – What’s to Like?
The Skil 3821 has pretty standard cutting capacities for a non-sliding 12″ saw. It does better than most 10″ saws with dimensional lumber crosscutting, and it handles larger trim molding too.
If you’re into renovations, DIY projects, framing, hardwood floors, or building decks, the main cuts you’ll be making is standard 90-degree crosscuts, and miter cuts.
At 90-degrees, the saw has the ability to cut through dimensional 8″ wide board in a single cut. At 45-degrees, this max is reduced to a dimensional 6″ board.
As far as the power goes, you’ll have no trouble cutting through any standard framing lumber, or hardwoods. It’s got a 15 amp motor that’s built to handle any kind of wood.
However, it does not come with a soft start motor, meaning it will jolt a bit on startup. So just be sure to secure the board down so it doesn’t shift after you’ve lined up your cut.
If you’re doing baseboard and crown molding, it has pretty good capacities, but nothing special. However, for most users, these capacities are more than enough.
I would say this saw is lacking IF you are a professional trim carpenter who cuts a lot of large crown and base molding. Not only does the saw have limitations on these cuts, it also lacks the dual bevel most of these professionals prefer.
The bevel adjustment goes up to 47-degrees, to the left. For any kind of trim job, it’s important to be able to go beyond 45, as many corners are not perfectly square. And this saw offers the extra 2 degrees so it’s got that covered.
For cutting baseboard vertically on the fence, it can handle material that is 5″ tall.
For crown molding, this miter saw is NOT designed to handle material nested against the fence. You’re supposed to cut crown molding with the material laying flat on the cut bed. This is a big down-side for many users, but it will still get the job done. It will just require a different type of planning and angles.
But by laying the crown molding on the cut bed, it can handle material 6-1/2″ wide.
How it stands out
It’s got nice extension wings that add great support for longer boards. The left fence also slides over for additional support on the back of the board.
It has all the common miter angle detents built in, so most of your standard compound and miter cuts will be quick to set up.
If you get the optional Skil stand, the saw has a quick mount system to anchor it to the stand easily.
It also has the stop block mechanism built into the extension wing so you can set a stop for a given board length. This is for making multiple repeated cuts when each cut needs to be exactly the same. This is all-to-often left out of many miter saws, and I’ve used this feature on mine time and time again. It’s really handy.
And finally, Skil did include the hold-down clamp for added security. I think this is important, especially on a model like this that doesn’t have a soft-start motor. The clamp can help eliminate board shift on startup.
What It’s Missing
This model does not have the dual bevel, only single bevel. Plus you can’t nest crown molding at an angle against the fence. Those 2 things together make it less than an ideal saw from trim carpentry. However, it can still get the job done.
It doesn’t have any common-angle stops for the bevel action, except the standard 0 and 45 adjustable stops at the ends of the bevel range. To go over 45 (it maxes at 47) you’ll have to adjust this bolt.
Opinions Based On Real User Experiences
- A great saw at a decent price, very useful when cutting dimensional lumber
- Works beautifully when doing hardwood flooring projects. Just get the right blade and the saw takes care of the rest
- Does perfect compound cuts when doing crown molding jobs
- A very useful tool that’s quick to setup and cut, especially with the laser cut-line
- Doesn’t feel as heavy duty as a Bosch or a Dewalt miter saw
- Without soft-start, it jerks when starting – helps to bolt it down to the workbench
Overall this saw has lots of reviews in the online marketplace and a very high average rating.
It’s a saw at a great price, and so it’s a great choice for many users. Most reviews I’ve read are all very positive, and they give either 4 or 5 stars.
Is This Basic Compound Miter Saw Worthy?
This saw is made for standard use. DIYers, beginner woodworkers and hobbyists will benefit the most. Job-site usage is decent depending on what your uses are.
Due to the low weight of the saw, and the easy-carry handle, it’s designed to be brought on and off the job site easily. So for basic framing, deck building, etc., it will do fine in the professional fields.
However it lacks in finish carpentry features, so if you’re big into trim projects I would look elsewhere.
But for basic usage around the house, this saw will do fine. It’s got decent capacity, without the added weight and cost of the dual-bevel and sliding features found on other saws.
I suspect many of you reading into this saw may already be a fan of Skil tools, and want to give the Skil 12 inch miter saw a shot. I would say as long as you understand its limitations and what you’re getting into, the saw itself is great quality and should last a long time.
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