Gosforth Handyman Verdict:
I’m unboxing a new Evolution Rage 3DB sliding mitre saw. This is a 255mm double-bevel sliding mitre saw -- the video isn’t an Evolution Rage 3DB review as such. However I used it for several months and here are my thoughts!
Watch the unboxing video here:
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The Rage 3DB is Evolution’s top of the range mitre saw -- here’s a link to it in the UK and here it is in the US. I paid £319.99 for mine from Screwfix UK and it’s available much cheaper than that now. I used mine for several months but since upgrading to a track saw I found I didn’t really need a huge mitre saw anymore so switched back to my DeWalt chop saw. The 3DB is still in active service though! It’s on loan to my father-in-law -- he’s a retired joiner and absolutely loves it!
- Incredible price for a double bevel, sliding, compound mitre saw
- Decently powerful motor
- Comes with a versatile blade that can cut metal and wood
- Good bevel accuracy both ways
- In-built laser guide
- Struggled with mitre / fence accuracy, especially on long cuts
- Low blade RPM
- Only uses Evolution blades
- Locking catch for angles is plastic and will wear out
- Dust collection is hopeless
- Poor quality mains cable
- Orange plastic locking knob on the front is massive
Evolution Rage 3DB Review
Firstly PLEASE bear in mind this is a £300 double bevel sliding mitre saw! For the price this is an incredible piece of kit BUT I wanted to be 100% honest about my experience with it.
As mentioned, I used this saw extensively on jobs for several months -- for everything from skirting (baseboard) installations through to trim mouldings and cabinet making. For most general day-to-day stuff it was absolutely fine but I fear some of my most major issues were down to the saw’s metal cutting capability… which I didn’t really need. The blade speed on this saw is 2,500rpm and that’s nearly half the speed of most mitre saws I’ve used. The DeWalt DWS780 has a blade speed of 3,800rpm and my trusty DW714 is 5,000rpm. I’m assuming this lower speed is required to safely cut metal -- I’m not sure. However when it comes to cutting things like trim mouldings and finer work this is a real issue and on several occasions the wood broke before it was cut causing it to catch on the blade and invariably fly up in your face. I’ve never had this issue with mitre saws before so if you do a lot of fine trim work bear this in mind.
So, I thought I’d try a different blade, and here’s the next issue. I really like Freud saw blades -- they’re awesome and the blade of choice for many professional woodworkers. Unfortunately, according to the instructions the Evolution specifically does not permit the use of non-Evolution blades in their machines. Now whether you pay any attention to this is up to you but I would think this is a real show stopper for most professional users. So I tried a 60 tooth Freud cross-cut blade in the machine. The next issue is that the arbor size is a non-standard imperial 1″ (25.4mm) as opposed to the much more common 30mm arbor you seen on most machines destined for Europe. So I had to use an arbor reduction ring, which is annoying at best. Even then, I still couldn’t get clean cuts of fine trim moulding -- again probably since the blade speed is just too slow.
My next problem was with the fence alignment for bog standard mitre cuts. Don’t get me wrong, it was ‘OK’ out of the box but not perfect and getting it perfect was pretty much impossible. This is a real problem if you plan to use the saw for any sort of cabinetmaking -- e.g. rails and stiles for doors where accurate cuts are critical. For long full width mitre cuts it was really hit and miss getting a perfect 90 degrees or perfect any-angle for that matter. I think this is simply down to slop in the sliding mitre mechanism. There wasn’t any noticable play but no matter how I adjusted the fence I simply wasn’t getting a consistent angle. It would often be out by 1-2mm over the length of the cut. It could also be related to the plastic quick angle catch that unfortunately can’t be disengaged… so I suspect the problem will only get worse over time. By the way, I lost count of the number of times I smashed my back off the giant adjustment knob sticking out the front!
Finally, the dust collection is a complete was of time and the bag catches on the sliding mitre rails. My DW714 will happily fill the dust bag to the point of bursting within a matter of hours of constant use. I don’t think the dust bag on my Evolution EVER filled up… so don’t expect much in the way of in-built dust management.
This is a great saw for the money and fantastic for DIY-ers or hobby woodworkers. It’s also perfectly serviceable for trades if you’re not looking for millimeter accuracy. The double bevel & sliding features work great for big skirting boards. You don’t need to be millimeter accurate if you’re fitting decking and fence posts. At the end of the day it’s a feature-packed saw for £300. Working your way up the scale you’re looking at £700 for a DeWalt DWS780 or £1100 for a Festool Kapex -- you get what you pay for with this sort of stuff. I’d really love to see a more pro-level version of this saw from Evolution, especially since they’re a UK company and I want to see them do well. There seems to be a gap in the market for decent gear that competes with your DeWalts and Makitas and most trades people I know would happily pay £500+ for a saw packed with this many features. If Evolution brought out a saw in this price range and fixed some of the issues I’ve mentioned this would be a really tempting buy as an alternative to the usual big names. As it stands it’s a good tool and it’s a bargain but don’t expect it to be perfect at this price. Don’t forget you can find a list of a lot of the products I use here.
A Quick Plea To Manufacturers!
I know a lot of the issues I’ve listed in this article can’t be fixed without a major re-design of the product -- or indeed a completely different product. However the one thing that can be easily changed in the production process is the quality of the mains cable. I can’t abide the cheap plastic / PVC mains cable that’s often fitted to cheaper tools. It’s a pain in the backside to wind up, it tangles easily and it’s just generally AWFUL. For the sake of a couple of quid I really don’t understand why manufacturers skimp in this area. Plastic mains cable is terrible and the instant sign of a cheap tool -- PLEASE use decent rubber flex!
Last updated: 22 Feb 2017
Originally published: 22 Feb 2017