I’ve conducted dozens and dozens of tool reviews in my career, but few were as close as this one: After a couple of weeks of testing and hundreds of cuts, I found a small range of differences between my most and least favorite saws. All seven are truly top quality tools capable of putting in a serious day’s work. Even the relatively bargain-priced Hitachi is a well-built machine that deserves a place in this lineup. But as capable as these machines are, some models proved to be better performers and more “user-friendly” than others. The three factors that were the most important to me when choosing the best jigsaws included: 1. Solid performance — a blend of aggressive cutting and smooth operation 2. Superior user comfort — a comfy grip and easy to use controls 3. Good value for the money — the balance of features and price. When I considered the saws independent of price, there was a fairly small point spread between the top models, with the Bosch, Makita and Festool leading the pack. It was a bit easier to choose an alpha saw when price entered the picture. As good as the top-priced Festool Trion proved to be, I don’t think it’s twice as good as the Makita that’s half the price. The Makita 4350 FCT is a very good jigsaw for the price, but the Bosch had a better feature set and overall performance for just under $50 more. Therefore, the Bosch 1590 EVSL earns my choice as the “Best Bet” in this group of impressive top-shelf jigsaws.
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Routers with engines in the 1.75 to 2.25 HP range would be considered mid-sized routers. These may come with a plunge or fixed base and require both hands during operation. Mid-sized routers are a good compromise between convenience and power. They can accomplish jobs that would unfeasible with trim routers, and jobs where a full-sized router would be too unwieldy.
A few initial notes are in order. If buying a contractor saw, I would consider Delta and Jet offerings by that same name. If my work and budget called for a cabinet saw, I would consider the Jet Xacta, Powermatic 66, and Delta Unisaw. Test-drive candidate saws; a few cuts mean more than a month of junk mail. Durability and fence quality are generally not factors. Either saw type will last outlast its owner with reasonable care, and either can be bought with a high quality fence. I would not consider anything less than the contractor saws mentioned above. Cheaper saws make rough cuts, wear out quickly, don't hold their adjustments, and are more prone to dangerous kickbacks. The good taste of money saved turns bitter when your projects take longer and turn out poorly. My intent is to state differences in a non-biased manner, but an attempt has been made to order the items by probable importance.
Set the saw’s fence. Use the board you’re going to rip to set the fence. Hold the board against the fence and slide it until it makes contact with the jig. Set the fence so the board slides easily but without play between the jig and the fence. Make your cut and then reset the fence for the next cut. If you have a lot of stock to rip from several boards, it pays to rip all the boards to the same width first.
No matter what woodworking or tool-related venture you're taking on, Amazon.com has the trustworthy brands delivering the helpful products you'll want, brands like Dewalt, Makita, Stanley, Black + Decker, Festool, Shop-Vac, Jet and more. You'll also find a wide range of deals and special offers on woodworking products in the Deals and Savings page. Shop on Amazon.com and get free shipping for qualifying orders.
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