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March '09: Cordless jigsaws

Have you used any of the following reader-tested cordless jigsaws from the March 2009 issue of This Old House?

  • -DeWalt DC330K
  • -Hitatchi CJ18DL
  • -Ryobi P521
  • -Ridgid R883

Share YOUR review here!

Re: March '09: Cordless jigsaws

Hi, All:

I was one of the testers for the jigsaw review noted. I thought it might be useful if I posted my entire review, as the magazine did not print much of the reviewers info. Take care, Tim


By: Tim L
RIGID Model R883

Self-Rated Skill Level: Average to Seasoned DIY?er
I would rate myself somewhere between an Average and Seasoned DIY?er. I will take on pretty much any project around the house, usually after some research and careful planning.

I completely framed and wired my basement when I finished it off, leaving only the electrical tie-in into the main panel box to a master electrician. I also plumbed a half-bath myself in a previous basement remodel, cut out and headed up a load bearing wall, hung the drywall (although I let the professionals finish it due to time constraints) and did all the finish door hanging and trim work. 95% of the project I did myself hands-on.

I have designed and built outdoor decks on my existing home, as well as designed, built and powered up an outbuilding I?m now using as a chicken coop / shed. I also completed a full garage remodel (framing, insulation, drywall, finish, electrical, cable TV, phone, overhead shelving, tool storage, etc) last summer.

Overall, I?m confident in my abilities with most home repair / remodel projects, but leave critical (read: dangerous) aspects of the projects to the pros. Items left to the professionals include hooking anything into the main electrical panel, any gas or LP work, and any additions or repairs to the boiler unit. Everything else I?ll take a shot at after careful research and planning.

Projects Completed:
I used the jigsaw for the following projects:
1. To cut an opening for a drop-in cook top replacement in a kitchen center island.
2. To cut openings in nesting boxes in a chicken coop
3. To cut an access opening in the exterior of a chicken coop through T-111 siding.
4. Made several test or dummy cuts in 3/4 ? plywood.

Jigsaw Review Question Response:
1. How did the jigsaw perform overall?
Overall the jigsaw performed very well. It had plenty of power to cut through my countertop, T-111 siding and 3/4 ? plywood without bogging down at all. I was able to keep up a pretty good cutting pace without fear of snapping or distorting the blade. I am happy with the power and performance, as well as not having to worry about a cord getting in the way of the cut or limiting where I can use the tool (i.e. away from the house where I can?t reach with an extension cord). Being mobile and unfettered was great!

The only real issue I had was with the safety button. It was a little difficult to press with my thumb and still pull the trigger to get the saw going. . . awkward position.

2. Out of five stars, how many would you give the jigsaw? (half stars are welcome)
I would give the jigsaw 4.0 stars out of five. It was fairly comfortable to use, had plenty of power and the chip guard and no-mar shoe cover were nice additions.

If the manufacturer had included a carrying case, my rating would approach 4.5 stars. It would be nice to have a case that could hold the battery, charger, saw and any spare blades all in one place.

Fix the safety button and my rating would be a solid 4.5 stars.

3. What is the most challenging task you attempted with the tool and how did it go?
The most challenging task was making long, straight cuts in my island countertop to accept my new cook top. I was replacing a smaller electric cook top, so the larger opening cut was done to expand the opening for the newer stove. This required cutting approximately a 1/4 - 1/2 inch wider opening along the length of the existing opening and another 8 inches on either side of the opening. Because an opening already existed, there was not a place for half of the saw foot/shoe to rest during the cut. The saw performed well here, as the side of the foot that did have countertop to rest on during the cut was wide enough to maintain stability.

4. Is the tool comfortable to use?
The tool is heavier than my corded jigsaw, but this wasn?t an issue because most cuts were done with the tool resting on the surface being cut (i.e. I didn?t have to hold the weight of the tool while cutting). I also believe the extra weight helped to stabilize the jigsaw during cuts and seemed to reduce vibration.

The tool was well balanced, the handle fit my hand perfectly and the trigger was in a good location for use. I didn?t experience any hand strain while using the tool. However, as I mentioned earlier, the safety trigger was in an awkward position.

5. After a full charge, how do you feel the battery performed?
The battery supplied with the jigsaw held a strong charge for each project I used it on. Never did I feel like the battery lacked power to run the saw effectively for any of the tasks I completed.

That being said, I didn?t run the tool for endless hours during any given day, so it?s hard to say how it would hold up to continuous, all day use.

6. What would you change or add to this jigsaw?
I would add a carrying case and change the position of the safety trigger. A typical hard-sided plastic carrying case that could hold the saw, battery, charger and extra blades would be a nice addition. And a move of the safety trigger (or removal) to a more comfortable, easy to reach position would be good.

7. Any trouble changing the jigsaw?s blade?
The blade was pretty easy to change once I figured out how to do it. It took a few tries to get it figured out, but once learned it was pretty easy to do. The only issue was that the plastic blade guard (?) sometimes got in the way or needed to be removed in order to get the blade in straight.

8. Any trouble steering the jigsaw?
I had little difficulty steering the jigsaw on straight cuts and it performed well on tight corner / curved cuts. The weight of the saw helped to stabilize the cut better than less expensive, lighter jigsaws I have used in the past.

I also made several wave-shaped cuts and circles through 3/4 inch plywood just to see how the saw would hold up. It went very smoothly. I was surprised at how easy it was to cut a tight radius through such thick material.

Re: March '09: Cordless jigsaws

Need to do a redo/update with Milwaukee's new M18 2645-22 and Makita's LXT BJV180 jigsaws, and why wasn't Bosch's older 52318 included

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