Blade diameter: 4 3/8 inches
No-load speed: 11,000 rpm
Cutting width, 90/45 degrees: 15/8 1/2
Cutting height: 3/4 inch
Miter range: 0° to 47° Miter
stops: 0°, 22.5°,
Weight: 25 pounds
Street price: $160
Robert Bosch Tool Corp.
I started doing my own hardwood-floor installations almost
20 years ago. My biggest hassle on these jobs has been finding
a suitable space to set up a table saw and a chop saw; more
often than not, I end up in the driveway, which means I spend a
lot of time going back and forth between my outdoor cutting
station and indoor workspace.
With the Skil 3600 Flooring Saw, all that running around is
unnecessary. At 25 pounds, with a 27-inch-by-18-inch footprint,
the tool is light and compact enough to be carried from room to
room. And you can use it to crosscut, miter, and rip any type
of flooring - solid, engineered, laminate - as long as it's no
thicker than 3/4 inch.
Weighing only 25 pounds - and with a convenient handle milled
into the table - the Skil 3600 is easy to pick up and carry
from task to task.
I gave the 3600 a try on a recent job that required installing
1,100 square feet of solid cherry flooring in an occupied
house. Here's how it performed.
The 3600 is essentially a compact sliding miter saw mounted on
a table-saw top. Its unique feature is a removable rotating
fence that can be positioned in front of the saw blade to
perform miter cuts, or alongside the blade to serve as a rip
fence. Thanks in part to the tool's straightforward
instructions, setup was easy. Getting the saw ready for work
required only a few minor adjustments to properly align the
fence for ripping (and for miter cuts, as I was to discover;
more on that later).
For miter cuts, the fence pivots from 0 to 47 degrees (left). A
spring-loaded ball bearing is captured by slots that correspond
to settings at 0, 22.5, and 45 degrees (right).
For common miter cuts, the bottom of the fence is fitted with a
roller ball that mates with slots on the table to position the
fence at 0, 22.5, and 45 degrees. The tabletop is inscribed
with a miter scale that allows the user to approximate less
To switch to rip mode, you unscrew the locking knob and flop
the fence around to the other side of the table. The locking
knob attaches to a sliding bushing that rides in a groove
beneath the tabletop. At first, aligning the knob with the
threaded bushing was a hassle, but after a while I got the hang
of sliding the fence to the edge of the table before unscrewing
the knob and removing it.
Safe ripping. I still have nightmares about attempting
rip cuts on a radial arm saw, so I was relieved to discover how
safe and easy it was to perform this operation with the Skil.
After engaging a lock pin that secures the saw in the middle of
the rail assembly, you start the motor with a "bump" switch
conveniently located on the front of the handle. This switch
also lets you to stop the machine with a fingertip. The blade
guard and anti-kickback features were effective and
Although a conventional trigger switch controls the motor for
miter cuts, an oversize "bump" switch is used for
Nice touches. The table top includes mounting holes so
you can bolt it to a workbench or sheet of plywood. But I
suspect that most users will simply work off the floor, as I
did. Conveniently, the table top is exactly 1 1/2 inches thick,
which means that two pieces of 3/4-inch flooring or any scrap
2-by can serve as a work support. Other notable features
include a 11/4-inch sawdust port, a built-in cord wrap, a
plastic push stick and hex wrench stored on the underside of
the table, and a built-in carry handle.
A push stick and hex wrench are housed beneath the
Despite its small size, the Skil flooring saw easily ripped and
mitered its way through a huge pile of solid cherry flooring.
I'm sure it would be equally effective with other hardwood
species or laminates. The standard 4 3/8-inch (40T)
carbide-tipped blade made clean cuts and didn't begin to show
signs of wear until I was nearly finished (a 36T carbide-tipped
blade specially designed to stay sharp when cutting laminate
flooring is an optional accessory). The dust collection was
adequate, but I'd still recommend putting up plastic when
working in an occupied space.
Beefs. I do have a couple of complaints. For one, I
discovered that the detents were about 1 degree out of
alignment when I made miter cuts. Although the owner's manual
included precise instructions for aligning the rip fence, it
made no mention of any procedure for fine-tuning the miter
settings. I thought I was out of luck until I tried loosening
the screws that secure the roller ball and the miter pin (which
the fence pivots on). This gave me the wiggle room I needed to
fix the problem, but it was a pain having to figure this out on
I was also disappointed to discover that the rip fence cannot
be set up to cut a strip narrower than 1 inch - though I could
have drilled and tapped the milled aluminum face to accommodate
an auxiliary fence.
For small tasks like flooring repairs and for working in tight
spaces, the 3600's compact all-in-one design offers distinct
advantages. And its mitering and ripping performance is
perfectly acceptable for most flooring work. Contractors who do
a lot of floor jobs in occupied spaces may find the saw well
worth its $160 price. As for me, though, I disliked having to
relocate the fence every time I needed to switch between modes,
and I found myself missing the solidity of my chop saw and
table saw. Truth be told, I'll probably stick with my old tools
- even if they are out in the driveway.
Matthew Lukovsky is a contractor in New Milford,