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Probably the best $40 I've spent on a tool

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Review by Jofa posted 08-19-2013 07:47 PM 4066 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Probably the best $40 I've spent on a tool Probably the best $40 I've spent on a tool Probably the best $40 I've spent on a tool Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hey fellow LJ’s,

I found myself in need of a new jigsaw as the old Skil I had been using was just impossible to dial in to make a perfect 90º cut. No matter what I tried, I there would always be an angle on the inside of the cut piece and the metal blade guide started to rust, marking up my stock.

I did a little research on some low priced saws (I go low price with pretty much everything) and ended up with the Ryobi JS481L 4.8 amp VS jigsaw.

Overall:
Very powerful, excellent cutting ability and seriously stable when following a line both straight and curved. Comfortable grip and perfect positioning for the trigger and trigger lock. A well thought-out setup.

LED light:
I didn’t notice this in the description but the saw comes with a very powerful LED light that turns on when the trigger is pulled. This is one of those things where you don’t realize how much you needed it until you try it. Absolutely fantastic having that light and the internal venting of the motor seems to keep the cut line clear when in use. Not sure if that was by design but it works great.

Speed control and orbital action:
This saw can handle a range of materials by dialing in the right speed along with the required orbital action. On orbit setting “2” and with the speed at just over 1/2, the saw was a breeze through 1/2” ply. Through 1” pine, I was able to get a super clean cut at higher speeds with lower orbit. This saw solved my problem of making a clean cutout for IEC connectors on my pedalboards.

Base adjustment:
One of the nicest features is the lever lock used for adjusting the base angle. When locked, it’s dead solid. The base is pretty heavy and wider than my old Skil. Definitely thicker. Overall it makes for a very stable cut.

Base insert:
I love the base insert. Made of nylon, this insert is fastened with four countersunk screws and it serves to prevent any marring of the work surface. A simple but ingenious idea. The insert sits about 1/32” proud of the metal base plate and it covers almost all the surface area. Zero binding, very smooth and again, stable.

Side note on the base insert. I see myself building a table for this saw where I will mount it upside down by replacing the insert with a routed mounting base. Poor man’s scroll saw. :)

Note, the saw came with a single blade that was pure junk. I’ve been using Bosch T101BR blades and they’re great.

The only demerit I can score here is that the saw doesn’t come with a tube for dust collection. I believe this can be purchased separately but it would have been nice as an included item.

Overall, I love this saw and it’s a welcome, low cost addition to my shop.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.




View Jofa's profile

Jofa

215 posts in 493 days



21 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12290 posts in 2752 days


#1 posted 08-19-2013 07:49 PM

Great review. Thanks.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1514 posts in 927 days


#2 posted 08-19-2013 08:09 PM

Quite a through Review.

Sounds like a great little saw for the price.

Thanks for sharing.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1064 posts in 1448 days


#3 posted 08-19-2013 11:10 PM

Thanks for the review.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Mark's profile

Mark

424 posts in 629 days


#4 posted 08-20-2013 11:43 PM

Thanks Jofa. I’m in the market for a new JS. I’ll keep that in mind.

-- Mark

View RaggedKerf's profile

RaggedKerf

407 posts in 776 days


#5 posted 08-22-2013 11:59 AM

Great review, Jofa. Thanks for the timely info on the jigsaw. Mine (Black and Decker) is having the same issue you were dealing with: can’t get the stupid thing to stay 90* to save my life. Frustration to the point I’m ready to throw it in the trash and get a new one. This may be the answer I’m looking for!

-- Steve http://vaughtwoodworks.wordpress.com

View Jofa's profile

Jofa

215 posts in 493 days


#6 posted 08-22-2013 02:17 PM

Yep, I’ve been using it more and more and I really like it.

Perfect for very accurate plunge cuts as well.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3154 posts in 828 days


#7 posted 08-22-2013 09:20 PM

Great review! I am planning to buy jig saw too.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View crank49's profile

crank49

3434 posts in 1626 days


#8 posted 08-22-2013 10:22 PM

I have three Ryobi tools and I have to say they have all been good values.
Not the biggest, baddest, fastest or any other est, but just good basic values.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View SebringDon's profile

SebringDon

95 posts in 595 days


#9 posted 08-22-2013 11:04 PM

I’ve got the same one and love it too. Review seconded!

-- Don

View Acelectric's profile

Acelectric

30 posts in 551 days


#10 posted 08-24-2013 01:11 AM

Thanks for the review. I looked at one today at HD, almost bought it. It looks like it would be a good jigsaw.

-- Thank goodness I don’t do this for a living, because I would surely starve.

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

175 posts in 703 days


#11 posted 08-27-2013 12:50 AM

Really? I’ve spent good money on different jigsaws with the result of any of them that whenever I turn a challenging sharp corner in thick stock (3/4 ” plywood or thicker) I get an unsquare angle for at least an inch after as the blade bends and contorts and recovers. I still rely on the bandsaw and would be interested in this if I thought it would stay square. Are my expectations too high? Maybe my technique is bad, similar to pushing incorrectly on a bench plane?

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

175 posts in 703 days


#12 posted 08-27-2013 12:53 AM

Really? I’ve spent good money on different jigsaws with the result of any of them that whenever I turn a challenging sharp corner in thick stock (3/4 ” plywood or thicker) I get an unsquare angle for at least an inch after as the blade bends and contorts and recovers. I still rely on the bandsaw and would be interested in this if I thought it would stay square. Are my expectations too high?

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Jofa's profile

Jofa

215 posts in 493 days


#13 posted 08-27-2013 01:00 AM

Dave, no I don’t think your expectations are too high at all. My issue was that my old saw was making angle cuts in the depth of the wood when I was hitting a dead straight line. Maybe if I tried doing curved cuts it would have straightened out. LOL!!!!

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

175 posts in 703 days


#14 posted 08-27-2013 01:04 AM

Ha. That’s worth $40 bucks any day.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View RJH311's profile

RJH311

42 posts in 980 days


#15 posted 10-14-2013 07:11 PM

just got one. $29 at Home Depot

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