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    Complete Workshop in One $200 Tool?





    Rockwell's new Bladerunner can make all types of cuts, from curves to rips and crosscut, for under $180

    If you are ready to dip your toe into woodworking (for the record, hands work better) but don't already have a bandsaw and tablesaw, consider the mighty BladeRunner, from Rockwell. It is basically a jigsaw mounted upside-down in a table, a trick carpenters have been doing for years, but it includes a host of helpful features you could never match in a shopmade version.

    The blades change out easily, there is a smart combo blade guard/guide, and the miter gauge works in two directions for both ripping cuts and crosscuts and all the angled cuts in between. Being a jigsaw, it also makes curved cuts of all kinds. And it is completely portable, meaning you can stow it easily and set it on your benchtop only when you need it. All this for $180, direct from Rockwell!

    I tried it out in my shop, and it worked great, with just a couple of caveats. One is that you'll need to replace the stock blade to get good results. It's easy since the saw accepts all Bosch-style t-shank bits. I tried a few and got perfect cuts with a Bosch blade (from Home Depot) designed for hardwoods that was rated on the package as a 4 out of 5 for smooth cutting (vs. speedy cutting). The other caveat is that any jig saw cuts more slowly than a tablesaw or bandsaw, but if you are a hobbyist woodworker with limited space and cash, I think speed is an easy tradeoff.

    I think this tool is especially great for small projects, like boxes. With one of these, the Getting Started workbench, and a few hand tools, you can build almost anything you can imagine. OK, throw in a handheld drill and a router, and you will be all the way there. And then you can stow your entire shop on the shelf below the workbench!
     


    AsaC