Tool Test: Festool Carvex PS 420 Jigsaw
From the December 2013 issue, #208
Festool’s Carvex jigsaw has innovation written all over it. How much innovation? These jigsaws are available in both corded and battery-powered (due out late in 2013), and you can choose between a D-handle or barrel-grip design. Plus there’s an accessory angle base that folds inward or outward, so you can bevel on the edge of a board.
The jigsaw we tested has a contoured barrel grip that fits my hand comfortably, and the weight of the saw (4.16 pounds) is sufficient to absorb much of the reciprocal vibration.
I don’t care for the power switch; it is difficult to reach while holding saw in one hand, plus you have to push the switch forward to both start and stop the blade – that seems counter-intuitive to me.
Another feature that bothered me is the strobe light; I found that made it difficult to follow my line during the cut – but other editors weren’t bothered by the light. (The strobe effect can, however, be turned on or off, so you can decide if you want to use it or not.)
The accessories are what make this tool special. There’s a circle guide, a base for delicate surfaces, a metal-cutting base and more – six bases in all. And, a quick-change base system makes for fast switches. With all the different base plates available for this saw, it’s good to have a quick release. This makes using the bases a snap; just push on the lever with your thumb and the base comes right off. Adding a new base is even easier. The change happens in seconds.
At around $90 more than a comparable Bosch jigsaw (saw only), the Carvex is a great choice if you’re looking for versatility. To take full advantage of this saw’s potential, however, you’ll need to spend another couple of hundred dollars for the accessories.
Contact: festoolusa.com or 877-865-5688
Street price: from $350
Video: See the Carvex in action cutting dovetails – coming soon.