Last evening, as if some mysterious and mischievous deity were looking in on me and saw how giddy I was over my new Festool PSB 300EQ, the power went out. Not just a little outage, one where the deity could chuckle for a few minutes as I sit in the dark with my unusable power tool, but a major ‘the house gets really cold’ outage. I went to bed. It was warm. I thought about using my new saw.
At 7:37 am the electricity flowed into the house, bringing with it heat, computing power, and more importantly a working microwave. Much as I love woodworking, it pales in comparison to how much I love breakfast. I made a turkey bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Why turkey bacon you ask? Well it is certainly less tasty than regular bacon, but it is healthier, and choosing it over the good stuff, makes my mom happy. Hi Mom (She reads my blog). I would worry about reading the instructions for the PSB 300EQ after work.
If I were still in my youth, I would just fire it up, but I am old and I feel much less invincible. I read the instructions, especially the parts on safety, sometimes twice. I usually learn something. The safety section told me how it is important to have the correct cross section on the extension cord. They also explained the speed to use for different types of materials. The third thing I learned, and it is likely something that every reader, except my mom, already knew. With the right blade, and the speed set between 2 and 4, my FSB 300EQ can cut steel up to 10 mm thick. Steel cutting is very cool. The 3/8 threaded rod, which I used in my workbench and cut by hand with a hack saw, would have quaked in the presence of my jigsaw/saber saw (note: There seems to be some disagreement as to what I should be calling the PSB 300EQ, I call her Marey. Marey is a dentist and has great teeth. It was funny to me.)
So I grabbed Marey by the hand(le) and we sauntered downstairs to the waiting hard maple. Marking the three remaining feet was easy, as I used the first one as a guide. I cleared off the workbench, so that my workspace was clutter free, as per the instructions. Then it was show time. I pressed Marey’s trigger, engaged the trigger lock, and she began to hum. I gently eased Marey into the hard maple and she started cutting like an angry beaver on a damn mission. I have only used a jigsaw/sabre saw once, and it was a really old model with a dull blade. Marey is shiny and new and her teeth are razor sharp. The difference was noticeable.
My first foot came out looking fair. I decided to make the small and much easier angled cuts with my Japanese hand saws, as I do like getting the practice, and use Marey for the rip cut. This worked really well. With each cut I became less and less intimidated by Marey and her power. The final foot went the smoothest as I applied a little bit of downward pressure and she handled beautifully. Like all of the tools that preceded the Festool PSB 300EQ named Marey, it takes practice to become good.
With the cutting done, I unplugged Marey, and she sat on the bench top. It was obvious that we were both very pleased with ourselves. I told her I needed to photograph her and the cuts she had made, for the blog. She said it was ok, but afterwards she was going shoe shopping.
To assess the results, I would say I am delighted. The cuts, including the ones on the edge, will need to be cleaned up with a chisel, which I am more than comfortable doing. Someday I will have a table saw, which will be more accurate than a hand tool, but I am fine with the extra bit of work right now. In the close up photo, the top foot is the one that I have already cleaned. I am so glad I have taken the time to learn how to use my chisels, because had I started by cutting with Marey, I would have been clueless how to get the feet to the exact way I want them. This would have caused all sorts of frustration and likely diminished the fun I am having with woodworking. This experience with Marey has also reinforced my belief that high quality tools are worth the money.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com