Craftsman Evolv jig saw 17434
I'm sure lots of you guys already have much nicer jig saws that this, but for some just starting out, or for the ones who maybe need to replace an aging saw but don't want to spend a lot on a tool you don't use all that often (cause I'm sure it isn't seeing the use your routers and table saws do), then you will be interested to know that this saw is worth much more than the price it is being sold for.
Currently at $30 from Kmart, sometimes on sale for $25, this saw cuts and has features like it should have been three times as much. First, it's not advertised but I found that this saw will accept either type of blade shank, T and U, both. This really helps because I like a certain type blade I can only find with U shanks. The saw comes with several T shank blades and is only advertised as using those, but trust me it works with both. It also has a quick release for the blade insert, no tools needed, and it actually works better and feels more solid than some others I've seen on other higher model Craftsman saws.
Other features include dial adjustable variable speed, a three position orbital lever for changing the aggressiveness of the cut, a nice large two finger trigger for ease of use, with a lock on button, vacuum attachment (only somewhat affective), an included edge guide, (and not a flimsy one either, this one is on par with the one that came with my C-man circular saw), two safety guards, one clear shield and one metal wire guard in front of the blade to help keep fingers out of the cut path, onboard blade and foot bevel adjustment tool storage, and I also found the grip material, shape, and angle to be very comfortable, which makes this saw not only easy to use, but a pleasure as well.
As mentioned above, the vac port feature only seems to work just so so. I suspect this is because it has such a small intake near the blade, and is a bit too far back to do well. An idea just came to me. I want to try simply reversing my vac hose so that it blows instead of sucking, similar to what is done on a scroll saw, and this may be better to keep sawdust away from the cut line. The clear shield should be enough to keep it from blowing up in my face, and safety glasses should be in use anyway for those worried about getting dust in your eye using it this way.
Also, the saw comes with one screw in clamp knob to hold the edge guide in place. The guide is very robust, but the machining tolerances in the slot it rests in on the saw foot allow for a very slight movement front to back. I'm not expecting precision cutting from a jig saw, but I want the best I can get. Since the guide can be reversed left or right, there are two positions on the foot to install the clamp knob in by default, meaning it could hold two knobs. I plan to order another clamp knob for $4 to make the guide a bit more stable. With it being double clamped, it should prevent that slight movement. That added cost still has this tool costing much less than the competition.
I got this saw because of all it had feature wise, and how it felt in hand, price aside. Of course, I wasn't going to give $100 for a tool I rarely need, but I did look at saws in the $80 and under range (all 3 Craftsman models, a Porter Cable, a Stanley and a Bostitch, 2 Skils, 2 Black & Deckers, yes I looked at a bunch but none seemed to have what this one had all in one package). For my needs, I felt this saw competed with those others, feature and performance wise, and the near giveaway price was just a big bonus. Once I used it, I knew I did just fine choosing this tool.
Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-31-2015 at 07:01 AM.