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Firstly, for me, DeWalt tools are possibly one of, if not the best tool makers at the moment, and have been for many years now, taking over the likes of Bosch, Black and Decker and the few others, although JCB do seem to be trying to bite at DeWalt's tail with some of the tools they are bringing out.
What I mean by one of, if not the best, is that all of DeWalt tools are designed to be strong, versatile and long lasting, with the power to do the job they're supposed to without the person holding the tool having to work too hard.
And DeWalt have cracked that method to perfection with every thing that they have brought onto the market.
DeWalt sell a vast range of items that are intended for the building industry, such as battery drills, electric power drills, sanders, planes, grinders... the list goes on, in fact, if you need a power tool, DeWalt sell it, including vacuum cleaners to clear up the mess. They also sell such things as accessories, such as drill bits, storage containers, spare blades, batteries and more.
To top it all they also make safety gear as well, gloves, jackets, boots, goggles... you get the picture.
And as is with all DeWalt equipment, be it a drill, a hack saw blade or a pair of trousers, due to the fact that it's all designed for the building industry, with all the health and safety palaver that they have to abide by, you know that DeWalt tools and accessories are safe, strong, built to last and reliable.
Blimey, it sounds like I'm working for DeWalt there doesn't it, but I'm not honest, (not until the cheque arrives anyway... kidding), I just thought that a bit of info about DeWalt was worth writing about, just so you know what the company's all about and what it has to offer.
Sadly though, as with most great quality products, there's always a catch, and the catch with DeWalt tools is that they cost a little more than other tools, when I say little, I really mean a quite a bit. But at the end of the day, if you want quality then you have to pay for it and with DeWalt you certainly get quality.
And you know it's DeWalt due to the rather fetching yellow colour casing that all DeWalt tools are recognised by.
One particular piece of Dewalt equipment that I own, one of a few but not as many as I'd like to own, is the DeWalt DW 331 K, which is a Jig Saw, (no, not the type of jigsaw that you spend days putting the pieces together to make a picture, just so you can rip it all apart again and put back in the box). This is the type of Jig Saw that is designed to rip through such materials as wood, metal and plastic like a hot knife through butter.
Before we begin just have a check at what you get with this jig saw...
* The 700 watt electric jig saw itself... other wise you've paid way over the top for a box of accessories.
* 1 spare blade
* Anti splinter insert
* Anti scratch shoe
* Dust extraction adaptor
And it all comes in a 'manly' looking plastic, blow moulded carry case
There are other accessories you can buy for this jigsaw, such as the vacuum adaptor or the orbital bars, but they are sold separately and the prices vary. Although as these parts aren't entirely necessary then you can get away with not having them.
What does this jigsaw look like then..?
It's the usual DeWalt colour of yellow, so you know it's quality, it has a black soft grip top and a dull silver metal where the 'dangerous' work it happening, although when I say dangerous I don't mean it's that dangerous as DeWalt have concentrated hard on the safety part of there tool sales.
The machine itself weighs around 3KG, which can get a bit heavy after a while but luckily as it sits on top of what ever you're cutting most of the time you really shouldn't notice the weight.
The full length of it is about 250mm and is about 215mm high, so it's not the smallest of tools but considering its power you'd think it should be a lot bigger though.
The actual on button is underneath the handle and is easily squeezed to give the right touch of power to get the blade going. Also, on the trigger button there is the speed selection dial which, when turned, selects the speed you actual want to run the saw at. Just above these controls there is the good old locking button which, when the on button is pressed, will lock the saw in the on motion so you don't have to keep the on button pressed, which saves your finger getting tired on those longer cuts.
To release this action you simply press the on button.
On the front there is where the main work goes on, with the blade being held in place by a locking lever, the 'foot' which helps you glide the jaw over the work your cutting, plus a nice safety feature of a finger guard just in front of the blade.
There's also a lever which sticks out from the back just above the rear of the 'foot' which is for changing the foot into one of the angles you desire.
Using the Jig Saw...
This is used like any other jigsaw that I have owned, but this one has one big difference, that is that usually I have to slide a long screwdriver down a hole which is above the blades position and unscrew a bolt to release the blade in order to put another one in. This DeWalt jigsaw doesn't force you to ram any tools down any hole as it has a lovely little blade release catch at the front of the machine which you simply lift up the release catch, which is on the end of the jigsaw, above the blade, shake the blade out if there's one in there, then slot another blade in, press the catch back into place and away you go... simple, no tools needed.
Once you've put in a blade, be it for metal, wood or what ever, it is a matter of positioning the blades edge, which is in the centre of the 'shoe', making sure the 'shoe' is either straight or, if your cutting angles, at the chosen angle and locked into position. The angles you can choose from are 15°, 30°, and 45°, which are apparently the most common angles used.
To choose an angle you simply push the 'foot lever' down, slide the 'foot' to the angle you want, then pull the 'lever' back into position to lock the 'foot' into place.
Once you're happy with the position of the blade you can turn the jig saw on, which is done by squeezing the trigger gently, listening as the motor starts up and the blade begins to move, slowly at first, then gaining rates until it reaches the chosen speed you have turned the control to. If you gently squeeze the trigger it will cut at a slow pace, but if you squeeze it like a teenager squeezes a spot on their face then the blade will hit top speed in a millisecond.
This speed control is a matter of trial and error, but if you've used these types of saws before then you'll know how to control it, but if you haven't then it shouldn't take you long to get used to it.
Just remember, you don't have to push the saw with force when you're cutting as you may break the blade, just let the blade do the cutting and it will slice through what ever is in front of it. (as long as you have the right blade in that is).
It also has a rather nice way of making your cutting as easy as possible, even when cutting circles, having a couple of notches either side of the blades position which you can slot a metal rod through, (you do have to buy this rod separately of course), locking it into positions. This rod can then be set t a certain distance, with one side of it screwed into place, then the saw will stay in position as you saw along.
You do have to set the 'stroke selector' lever to the right position, when it is on the '0' it will keep the blade straight and is used for cutting straight, obviously. Then if you push the lever up to the '1' you can get the blade to cut around corners, which is ideal for circular cutting. With the other numbers on the levers path, those being '2' and '3', give the blade a little more flexibility to cut even more curves and corners.
And it even helps keep all the dust away from where you're cutting along a line, so you can see where you're going more clearly. This is done by something they call a 'dust blower' and is activated by a switch on the right of the machine which blows air onto the blade cutting area to keep your cutting line clear
The cutting depth vary, depending on the material you're cutting through and the blade you're using, but in general wood has a cutting depth of up to 130mm, hard metals such as steel is 12mm whilst lighter metals such as aluminium is 30mm. If you stick to these guidelines, especially with the harder metals, then you'll have no trouble at all with this power tool.
There's other attachments that can be used, such as the no-mar shoe cover, which is placed onto the 'shoe' so that it doesn't scratch any 'delicate' surfaces that you are cutting over.
Then there's the Anti-splinter insert, which slots into the groove on the front of the 'foot' and stops the underside of the wood your cutting from splintering when the blade slices through it.
As I think you may have gather from my opening lines I like DeWalt tools and, if I could afford it, I would replace most of my tools with the big yellow beasts, but alas, due to the cost, I can only buy one every so often at the moment.
So when I got my hands on this jigsaw I was very happy that I had managed to add it to my collection, knowing that it would do exactly what it was supposed to do and would last longer than some tools of its kind last.
This beast of a machine won't hesitate in ripping through most materials, including bone if you're not careful with it, so don't let your children think it's a toy, (although I don't think anyone would be that daft really).
The speed selection, together with the gentle trigger, give even the most nervous of people a chance to get used to using this without it running away with them, and, with a top speed of 3100 strokes per minutes, (according to the leaflet, although I've not counted, but feel free to have a go...), it'll do the job in no time.
I particularly like the way that DeWalt have thought out a clever way to change the blade, as I for one was always hunting around for the long screw driver to change the blades on my other jig saws, but now I don't need to as this one has a simply to use lever which can't be lost at all.
Even the way that you can angle the 'shoe' is made easier, instead of unbolting a few screws, you only have to push a lever, making the job so much easier, and the fact that when the lever is put back into position it grips the 'shoe' with the force of a child holding an aster egg.
I could go on about the other additional features on this DeWalt that some, nay most, other jig saws lack, such as the orbital aids, the anti-scratch attachment and even the dust blower, but this may go on a bit and take up too much paper. But I will say that DeWalt have thought of everything to make life using a jigsaw so much easier.
The unit itself is a good size and, considering it isn't the size of a small family car, it has almost as much power as one so it doesn't hesitate in getting that blade through what ever is in front of it.
It may weigh a bit but as I said most of the time it's sat on something as it saws along so you really don't notice the 3KG until you lift it up, but as the grip on the top feels so well rounded you'll probably not even notice this weight at all.
As for the price of this jig saw, well, I said it wasn't one of the cheaper tools, but when you need quality you do have to pay the price, and that is why this saw sells for around the £120 - £150 region, as it is possibly the last jig saw you'll ever have to buy.
Is it worth the money..?
I have to say a big yes to this as I really feel that this will last me a very long time.
I know you'll be gasping at the £150 for what is technically something to saw through a piece of wood, but, due to the build quality, the safety features and the shear power, this is without doubt well worth investing in if you get the chance.
I know I'm glad I got one.
© Blissman70 2012
The Dewalt DW331K jigsaw has a powerful 701W motor that delivers a fast cutting action up to 3100 strokes per minute.