Woodworking expert Sandor Nagyszalanczy tested the best jigsaws on the market to determine what features worked well in the shop and which was best overall. I’ve always thought of a jigsaw as a sort of “poor man’s band saw.” During my early woodworking days when I lacked both the funds and space for a band saw, I used the best jigsaw I could find (I borrowed money from a friend to buy it). I used that jigsaw for all my curve cutting tasks, as well as the jobs a band saw couldn’t do: pocket cuts, inside circular cutouts, and all manner of trimming inside built-in cabinets and furniture. Nearly 35 years later, when it came time to pick a batch of jigsaws to review for Woodoworker's Journal, I was anxious to try out the “top-shelf” models offered by the best known power tool manufacturers. These include the best offerings from Bosch, DeWALT, Festool, Hitachi, Makita, Metabo and Milwaukee. The Porter-Cable 9543 was slated to be part of this group, but was, unfortunately, recently discontinued. I also tried to include a jigsaw made by the Swiss power tool company Hilti, but they chose not to participate in the article. Instead of discussing each saw individually, I will compare all of their attributes and cutting abilities in two sections: The first contrasts the features and accessories of the seven models. The second section describes the performance tests I put each jigsaw through and reports on how well each model fared.
In most situations, you can take the dust bag off of the port and hook up a shop vac or an industrial dust-collection system. Many table saws make use of a standard-size dust port between 2-1/2 and 4 inches in diameter, which means it may be compatible with equipment that you already own. Some models forgo the dust bag altogether, in the expectation that you’ll be using some sort of dust collection system.
After you have chosen the perfect table saw for your woodshop, the next major purchase one should consider would be a compound miter saw. While not as expensive as a quality table saw, a compound miter saw is invaluable for cutting compound angles (beveled, mitered and combination cuts) on the ends of a piece of stock. Once you develop your ability to make precise cuts with a compound miter saw, you'll find that your circular saw spends a little more time in the drawer than it used to.
However, some models with cheaper table surfaces still manage to get it consistently right. It’s always important to look for problems with table flatness when reading reviews of table saws you’re considering. If you see flatness as an issue repeatedly, you can save yourself a huge potential headache by just considering a different model. If you don’t see any complaints about table flatness, even on a cheaper model of table saw, then it’s probably going to work out just fine.
The first jig crosscuts small parts without putting your fingers in harm’s way or sending little offcuts flying back into your face. The second jig allows you to repeatedly rip very thin stock without the risk of kickback. The third jig lets you safely crosscut panels for casework. And the fourth jig provides an easy, accurate way to cut tapered legs. All four jigs make use of the factory-milled miter slots found on contractor and cabinet saws. Once you have these jigs in your shop, you’ll be surprised how often you reach for them and what a difference they make in your saw’s capabilities.
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If you don’t get a model with a flat table, you’re not going to be satisfied with your cut quality. It’s an overgeneralization to say that all good cuts start with a perfectly-flat table on a table saw, but there’s some truth to it. Even minor warping can result in huge changes to the final piece after you’ve made the cut. Unfortunately, it’s not always a problem that can be seen by the naked eye.
Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or DIY pro, you’ll find the woodworking tools you need for the jobsite or around the house. Search woodworking project plans to get some fresh ideas or browse our wide tool selection to find exactly what you need. Outfit your woodworking shop with routers, sanders, table saws, dust collectors, planing tools, and hand tools from bestselling brands including Makita, Festool, Bosch, JET, Powermatic, Rockler, Grizzly, and more.
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If you’ve read through those reviews and still feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve created a buyer’s guide because we know it can be very hard just by reading reviews. After all, some models are going to work better for some people than for others, and the only way that you’ll know which one is right for you is by understanding your options when it comes to table saws. By reading this general information about table saws, you should gain the knowledge you need to make a well-informed decision about your future table saw.
We offer the best hand saws for woodworking. A fine hand saw's image has long been the emblem of a craftsman at work. Used for carpentry, dovetailing, joinery and many other tasks around the shop, we stock a large variety of hand saws. You will find the hand saw you need among our selection of British Bowsaws, Gent's Saws and Tenon Saws, our extensive collection of Japanese Hand Saws, and the fine hand saws of Lie Nielsen. Be sure to check out the newest additions to our Backsaw collection from Bad Axe Tool Works - the ultimate in premium hand saws, made in the USA. Selecting the best hand saws for woodworking can be daunting, to help sort through all the options we recommend reading Essential Woodworking Hand Tools by Author Paul Sellers. His book includes a lengthy chapter on hand saws to help you decide which hand saws you need in your workshop.
The DEWALT DWE7491RS is an incredible saw, but it provides portability at a great price point. The set of wheels on this model is great for moving it from jobsite-to-jobsite without too much effort. The folding legs are also superior to the support systems on other models, and they make it so that you always have a stable platform on which to work, without adding too much weight to the machine.
The last tool I recommend for every beginning woodworker is a quality router. While many routers available today offer two different bases (a stationary base and a plunge router base), for most beginners, a quality stationary base model will take care of quite a number of tasks, and can also be mounted in a router table should you choose to invest in (or even build one) one down the line. Choose a router model that is at least 2-HP and has electronic variable speed controls (as larger cutting bits should use slower speeds), a soft start mechanism and is easy to make bit changes (preferably with the ability to use both 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch shank router bits).
Consequently, they’re going to be a bit heavier than benchtop models. However, their expanding frames mean that you’ll be able to use them even in places where you don’t have access to a table or bench. This is great for construction work, or situations where you’re going to be working outside. This type tends to be a little bit bigger than the benchtop variety, and often has more rip capacity as well.
If you’ve shopped online, you know you don’t always get the quality that you think you’re going to get. When making a big purchase like a table saw, you don’t want to make that mistake. If you need to get the most bang for your buck, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s not always obvious which features are important and which are not, but we’ve done the hard work for you.
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Whether you are a beginner or a DIY professional, if you have a love for the craft of woodworking The Home Depot has got you covered. We have all the essential tools for woodworking that let you hone your craft. Our huge selection of drill presses and miter saws will put the power in your hands to complete your projects faster and easier. And whether you are looking for the strength of a powerful router or the versatility of a lathe, you can find everything you need to help with projects, large and small. If your carpentry plans also include building materials, you don't need to look any further than The Home Depot. From wood and lumber to decking and fencing materials, it's all right here.
Cutting Fast: An obvious question when comparing the performance of different jigsaws is “which saw cuts the fastest?” I created a speed cutting test to determine the answer. First, I fitted each saw with a new Bosch Progressor blade, designed specifically for fast, rough cutting. With the help of my wife, Ann, I timed how long it took each saw to crosscut a 2x6, as shown in the lead photo on page 44. I took several passes, then averaged the times for each saw. I tried to push each saw as hard as I could without bogging its motor down. In the final tally, the premium-priced Festool turned in the fastest average time: 2.74 seconds, notable because this saw doesn’t have the highest-amperage motor or fastest blade stroke speed in this group of jigsaws. The next fastest cutting time was clocked by the Makita — less than a tenth of a second slower than the Festool. Posting a slightly slower time than that was the Bosch, followed (in timed order) by the Metabo, Milwaukee and Hitachi. The DeWALT held up the rear of the pack with a rather slow 4.27-second average time. The second-and-a-half difference between the fastest and slowest saws might not seem like much. But this time can really add up if you have dozens of rafter ends to decoratively jigsaw, or a pile of curved parts to cut out. Vibration: Regardless of how fast a jigsaw cuts, the less vibration it produces, the better. All jigsaws employ some sort of counterbalance system to reduce the up-and-down shaking created by the reciprocating plunger and blade, and some work better than others. In truth, I found it quite difficult to accurately compare the vibration of the various saws in the group, as it varied under different circumstances. For example, the DeWALT felt very smooth-running when idling at full speed. However, when I put the saw to wood, it produced noticeably more vibration. After careful consideration, I found the Bosch and Festool, closely followed by the Milwaukee and Makita, consistently produced the least vibration when cutting a variety of wood types and thicknesses with a variety of blades. That’s not to say that the DeWALT and Hitachi produce unacceptable amounts of vibration, but they just didn’t feel as smooth running as the top saws. At the bottom of the pack, the Metabo jigsaw consistently produced more vibration than any of the other saws. [caption id="attachment_7431" align="aligncenter" width="370"] One of the tests the author put the saws through was cutting melamine, which is fragile and likely to splinter when making close cuts. Cutting cleanly: Getting clean jigsaw cuts with only light splintering, tearout and surface chipping is chiefly a matter of selecting a blade that’s designed for the job. But I still wanted to see just how smooth a cut each saw was capable of producing with a general purpose blade. I fit each saw with a fine-toothed blade and set it to a medium speed with a slight orbit (#1). I then took several cuts with each on a piece of 3/4" melamine — a material notorious for chipping easily. After experimenting with different rates of feed, I selected the cutoffs that displayed the cleanest edge produced by each saw. The Bosch, aided, I suspect, by its precision control guide, left the cleanest cut edges. With cuts only slightly more ragged than the Bosch were the Makita, Festool and DeWALT, followed by the other saws. It’s worth noting that I was able to get a much cleaner cut with all of these saws by fitting them with a special saw blade designed for laminates, as well as an anti-splinter insert. [caption id="attachment_7432" align="aligncenter" width="305"] The better view you have of the cut line, the more accurate your cut will be, and the Bosch jigsaw has the best overall cutting viewpoint. Cutting accurately: The major factors that affect the accuracy of jigsaw cuts are: How well you can see the line of cut and how well the saw’s blade stays square to the workpiece (or at a fixed angle during bevel cuts). Generally, a saw with less of its body overhanging the blade is easier to use, especially when you’re working in cramped quarters or trying to follow a curvaceous line, say when cutting out a scrollwork pattern. The open front end configuration of the Bosch and Metabo make it much easier for me to see the blade without having to crane my neck. The Milwaukee and Hitachi have the most blade obscuring body overhangs, but the former’s built-in LED light helps to improve its line-of-cut visibility. [caption id="attachment_7433" align="aligncenter" width="470"] Many of the jigsaws had a slight waver in them, but the Bosch and Festool saws provided the most square cuts. It’s usually true that the thicker, denser (or more variable in density) a workpiece is, the more likely that a jigsaw’s blade will deflect when cutting it. This is especially true when cutting tight curves. To judge this aspect of cutting accuracy, I crosscut 4x4 lumber with each jigsaw. Most models left edges that wavered in squareness and up-and-down straightness over the length of the cut. The exceptions were the Bosch and Festool models, which left nearly dead square and straight cut edges. It’s safe to assume that such superior performance was likely due to the special blade guide systems on these saws, which helped prevent their long saw blades from deflecting.
While it is possible to rip thin stock using only the table saw’s fence, you have to remove the guard and squeeze your stock and push stick through the dangerously narrow gap between the blade and your fence. Can you say “kickback”? Even if you successfully navigate this dangerous cut, you inevitably end up with burn marks and uneven cuts that have to be sanded out.
Whilst I agree with everything you say there has to be a but 😀 and here it comes, after promising myself I’d have the bench of my dreams since my apprenticeship 42 years ago I finally two years ago built a three quarter ton steamed beech monster with all the bells and whistles. If only I’d had it years ago to me it’s the most important tool in my workshop now ! Solid, heavy, side and head vice, dog holes everywhere, sliding deadman the lot and yes very very pretty. But built to be used as a bench and with some visiting clients a showpiece! But more than anything because I could
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