Bosch 1590 EVS Jigsaw
Wrench-Free Blade Changes: Porter-Cable's
324MAG Circular Saw
When JLC asked me if I wanted to review the Bosch 1590
EVS jigsaw, I thought this would be a great opportunity to
upgrade my 20-year-old basic-model jigsaw.
It had been a while since I'd looked at jigsaws, so when I
pulled this one out of the case I was surprised by how heavy it
felt and by the number of switches, slides, and dials. It
seemed like there were far too many bells and whistles. After
reading the manual, however, I realized I could have used each
of these features at one time or another during the life of my
I'm strictly a finish carpenter, so I can't vouch for how this
tool would work for someone in another trade. But as far as
finish carpentry goes, the 1590 EVS did everything I asked of
it — and it never even broke a sweat.
Power and Control
First and foremost, this saw runs smoothly and has plenty of
power. It's hard to slow this beast down. With other jigsaws,
I've often gotten into trouble making tight radius cuts: the
blade binds, the saw jumps, and the blade gets bent. Bosch's
saw has enough power to cut its way out of most of these
situations. It cut 3/4-inch plywood, double layers of 3/4-inch
plywood, and 1 1/2-inch lumber with equal ease. In the past I
would use two saws for sink cut-outs: a circular saw for the
straights and a jigsaw for the corners. The 1590 EVS cuts so
fast that I stopped reaching for my circular saw; I now use a
jigsaw for the entire cut.
One feature I really appreciate is the "precision control"
blade guide: little clamps that limit lateral deflection by
holding the sides of the blade (see Figure 1). This feature
makes it easier to make accurate cuts because the blade is less
likely to take off in its own direction. I'm almost embarrassed
to admit that I wouldn't want to give up the two-finger trigger
that comes on this saw. It's longer and wider than the triggers
I'm used to, so it's very comfortable to use. The trigger is
also lockable with either the left or right hand.
Figure 1.The blade guides pop open when
you remove the blade. Pressing the red button on the
left side of the housing re-engages them.
The saw is very stable because the shoe has a full 3 inches of
contact. Many saws have stamped steel plates with rolled edges,
but this one has square edges and is made from a combination of
aluminum and steel. The 1590 EVS comes with a non-marring
plastic overshoe that slips over the plate. This could be handy
for cutting finished materials, but I worry more about grit
getting between the work and the shoe than about the roughness
of the shoe itself. If I'm cutting painted or lacquered
surfaces, I mask the surface, not the shoe.
One thing I didn't like about this saw is that it's not
compatible with the Collins Coping Foot (Collins Tool Company,
888/838-8988, www.collinstool.com). I install a lot of
crown, and the coping foot allows me to cut the copes with a
jigsaw instead of by hand. The coping foot fits older Bosch
saws, but the precision-control blade guides keep it from
fitting this one. The footplate on the 1590 EVS is so wide that
it's nearly impossible to use it to cope crown. Collins Tool
told JLC that they were still deciding whether to
produce a coping foot for the new Bosch saw.
On the back of this saw is a variable- speed dial that can be
used to limit the number of strokes per minute. I never used
this feature. Instead, I left the saw on the highest setting
and control speed with the trigger. The dial might come in
handy if you cut a lot of metal because you can set the saw to
max out at a lower number of strokes per minute.
This saw is equipped with a toolless blade clamp and a toolless
bevel adjustment. The toolless mechanisms are so natural and
intuitive that it would be hard for me to go back to using an
Allen wrench (Figure 2). It's great to grab the saw and know
you've got everything you need. I once had to make a cut close
to a wall and was able to remove the base, make the cut, and
reassemble the saw with no tools.
Figure 2.The black lever on the front of
the housing activates the blade clamp. Pulling the
lever ejects the blade. The clamp automatically engages
when you insert a blade.
The 1590 EVS also has a switchable dust blower, a
four-position control for orbital action, and a 12 1/2-foot
professional-grade cord. The motor is rated at 6.4 amps and has
speeds from 500 to 2800 strokes per minute. The saw weighs 6
I tested the kit version of this tool, which comes with a
sturdy plastic case, three blades, a no-mar plastic footpad,
and a zero-clearance insert. The list price for this version is
$169. All in all, I'd recommend this saw to anyone who does a
lot jigsaw work and needs a first class tool. According to the
manufacturer, a barrel grip version of this tool will be
available later this year.
Chas Bridgeis a finish carpenter in Sequim,
Wrench-Free Blade Changes:
Porter-Cable's 324MAG Circular Sawby Gary Godbersen
I recently had a chance to try out one of the latest additions
to Porter-Cable's line of circular saws: the 324MAG, introduced
this past March. This is one of four new saws (two blade-left
and two blade-right) that include a toolless blade-changing
system. Instead of the standard bolt or nut that's tightened
with a wrench, it uses a hand-tightened bolt with a retracting
lever for better grip (see Figure 1). The back side of this
lever-bolt has a serrated face that meshes to a serrated washer
on the front side of the blade. As the bolt is tightened, you
can actually feel the washer and blade pull tight to the arbor.
The system also includes an arbor lock on the top of the
Figure 1.Porter-Cable's new toolless
blade-changing system uses a knurled bolt and washer to
keep the blade secure. A small lever (above) slides out
to provide a grip and additional leverage. The design
also puts the arbor lock on top of the saw (left) where
it's easy to see and reach.
The toolless blade system definitely makes changes faster,
and I never had an occasion when the blade loosened. My first
thought when I slid the retractable lever away from its resting
spot was that it was not long enough to easily remove the blade
— others thought the same when they looked at the saw for
the first time. But I was able to remove the bolt quite easily.
This is due to what I can only call a ratcheting action. It
works and feels similar to the clicking you get when you
tighten a drill bit in the newer "ratcheting" keyless chucks.
The arbor lock is easily accessible compared to those on other
circular saws I've used.
The other notable new feature on this saw is the dust nozzle
located at the front of the blade guard. Porter-Cable always
had a similar arrangement with a removable elbow, but now the
nozzle stays on the saw. It rotates a little more than half a
turn, so you can aim the dust toward the rear, the front, or to
the side, which helps keep it out of your face when you're
cutting door or window openings on standing walls (Figure 2).
Alternately, the 1-inch nozzle can be attached to a vacuum or
dust-collection system to keep the workspace clean.
Figure 2.Unlike the removable dust nozzles
on previous Porter-Cable sidewinders, the MAG series
dust nozzle stores on the saw where it connects the
front and back of the blade guard. It can be rotated
about a half turn for directing dust away from your
face or for use with a dust-collecting
In general, this saw performs well, and I found it easy to use.
The 15-amp motor provides plenty of power for engineered and
pressure-treated lumber. At 9.6 pounds, the saw is noticeably
lighter than others in its class. The reinforced magnesium shoe
is nicely suited for ripping against a guide because the
perimeter is 1/4 inch thick, providing a beefier edge than
thinner aluminum versions. The blade also tilts to 50 degrees
and has a positive stop at 45 degrees. The molded rear handle
has a cushioned insert that provides a nice nonslip surface
when your hands are sweaty. The only aspects of the saw I
didn't like were the uncomfortable forward grip and the
cheap-feeling plastic levers for adjusting blade depth and
The blade-changing system on the 324MAG makes this
well-designed circular saw stand out. If you're in the market
for a new sidewinder or are tired of hunting for that elusive
blade wrench, I recommend taking a look. The 325MAG
(blade-right) and 424MAG (blade-left) include a brake and sell
for $149. The 324MAG (blade-right) that I tested and the 423MAG
(blade-left) have no brake and sell for about $20 less.
Gary Godbersenis a carpenter and woodworker in Northern
If you're hoping to
pick up the pace on your next slab pour, you shouldn't be
without one of these little gems. The Hog line of magnesium
floats are 3 3/4 inches wide, making them about 1/2 inch wider
than many mag floats. According to the manufacturer, the new
floats not only cover more ground but they also last longer.
Available in lengths of 12 to 24 inches, they're available with
either wood or cushioned DuraSoft handles. The company says
they're ideally suited for working with air-entrained concrete.
Prices start at $18 for a 12-inch model with a wood
Tie One On.
If tying rebar all day
isn't your idea of a good time, you might try a Max RB392. This
3 1/2-pound cordless tool will tie together two pieces of bar
in less than one second. It uses three wraps of 21-gauge wire
for increased strength. It can make ties from two #3 bars up to
a #5 bar tied to a #6. I've seen the tool demonstrated more
than once, and it's pretty impressive. The only obstacle might
be the price ($2250), but if you use it enough it should pay
for itself in time saved. The kit includes the tool, a case,
and two 9.6-volt batteries.
Max USA, 800/223-4293,
Mixing one or two
bags of concrete or mortar mix is no big deal, but if your job
calls for a steady diet of bagged concrete, you might look to a
portable mixer like the PortoMix from Stow. With a capacity of
up to 3 cubic feet, the mini mixer can make pouring post
footings or small slabs a lot easier. It uses a Baldor
3/4-horsepower electric motor and has a rust-free polyethylene
drum. According to the manufacturer, the 138-pound mixer will
fit in a car trunk. It sells for $645.
Not the Same Old Grind.
grinders are often huge walk-behind machines. But for smaller
projects, the Bosch 1773AK surfacing grinder might be a better
choice. The handheld machine uses a 5-inch diamond cup wheel
and features what the maker claims is the "most comprehensive
dust-removal system available." The motor spins at 11,000 rpm
and has a "Service Minder" light that alerts users when it's
time for maintenance. It also features a sealed switch and
epoxy-coated windings for better protection from dirt and grit.
It looks like the perfect tool for cleaning up formwork ooze. I
found it on the web for about $370.
vinyl corner bead has proved its value to many builders and
remodelers who appreciate the product's unique profiles and
durability. The only drawback I can find is the expensive spray
adhesive commonly used to attach it. An alternative is a
specialty stapler like the 5020 pneumatic stapler by Duo-Fast.
It uses divergent 1/2-inch crown staples and has a suggested
retail price of $160. The company also offers an electric
stapler if you don't want to lug around a compressor.
Looking a lot like a
laser gun from a sci-fi movie, the Makita AG125 uses repetitive
blows like a palm nailer to shoot individual bulk nails from 3
to 4 7/8 inches. While it won't fit in extremely tight spaces
like a palm nailer, the larger frame and cushioned grip make it
more comfortable for all-day use. It features adjustable depth
of drive and a belt hook that can be mounted on either side of
the tool. The street price is about $325.
About two years
ago, my wife decided she wanted to tackle some upholstery
projects. Figuring there's no bad reason to buy a pneumatic
tool, I got her a US58 Upholstery Stapler from Porter-Cable.
After the sofa was done, I decided to try it for stapling
30-pound felt during a siding project. In a word, it's perfect.
After struggling for years with hammer tackers that jam and
don't drive staples adequately, the fast and lightweight
stapler proved a joy to use. It never jams or leaves staples
proud. And because you already have air supplied to a siding or
roofing nailer, it doesn't require any additional setup. I'm
sure it would work equally well for installing staple-up
fiberglass. It uses Senco "C"-type 22-gauge, 5/8-inch crown
staples available in lengths from 3/8 to 5/8 inch. I bought it
reconditioned for about $65. Now I just have to get that tar
off the nosepiece.
Sometimes bigger is
better. If you're looking for a nailer that can shoot longer
nails for timber construction, dock building, or other
heavy-duty applications, check out the D160 from Quicknail.
This monster will shoot up to 6 3/8-inch nails in softwood and
up to 5 1/8-inch nails in hardwood. Nail diameters range from
.138 to .168 inches and are available in screw-shank and
hot-dipped galvanized varieties. The manufacturer will also
make custom nails for specialty applications in 32-box
quantities. According to the maker, the 13 1/2-pound nailer can
be used one-handed — you might want to start training
before you get one. It sells for $1100.
I think anything that
promises to make hanging drywall faster and easier deserves a
serious look. Although it looks a lot like a siding or roofing
gun, Max's CN351R-ST is a coil drywall nailer. The
single-purpose nailer has adjustable depth-of-drive and a
special nosepiece to keep nails straight so they won't tear
though the face paper. It has a 200-nail magazine and drives 1
1/4-, 1 3/8-, and 1 5/8-inch plastic-collated, ring-shank
nails. I found it on the web for $480.
Max USA, 800/223-4293,
Slim Pin for Trim.
Ask any finish
carpenter who's recently purchased a micropinner like the
FinishPro10 from Senco, and I think they'll tell you it's
changed their life. What's so great about these tools is that
the 23-gauge fasteners don't have a head and the resulting hole
is so small you don't have to fill it, even with stain-grade
work. They're perfect for built-up moldings and cabinet work.
One carpenter I know uses it to tack drawer fronts from the
front side after the boxes are installed. Once the front is in
place, he runs in some screws from the back for permanent
attachment. This method gives him perfect alignment and reveals
without time-consuming drawer-slide adjustments. Senco's
FinishPro 10 has a 110-pin magazine and drives fasteners in
1/2-, 5/8-, 3/4-, and 1-inch sizes. The kit includes a case and
repair tools; it sells for about $130.Senco,