Extremely Average #20: Angry Beaver

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 01-22-2010 05:58 AM 1818 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: My Days as a Ninja Part 20 of Extremely Average series Part 21: She Took My Breath Away »

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,

7 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16665 posts in 3664 days

#1 posted 01-22-2010 12:05 PM

I agree with you Brian about high quality tools being worth their price, and that is especially true when it comes to to
saber saws. Your comment about metal cutting was worth mentioning. I don’t have a high quality saber saw, but I do use the one I have to cut metal with. I have also used a metal saw blade in my band saw and that works, but I like the saber saw for metal cutting better because I seldom cut metal and it’s cheaper and easier to change blades in that case.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4490 days

#2 posted 01-22-2010 02:00 PM

Hello Marey – pleased to meet you.
Hello Mom—pleased to meet you, also.. hmm perhaps I should have said “hi” to you first.. well, the blog really was about Marey, so I guess I’ll leave it as is. :)
Oh and “hi Brian” :)

another great blog. I enjoy following your enjoyment!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4152 days

#3 posted 01-22-2010 02:01 PM

Brian, you are a far more patient person than I am. Whenever I get a new tool I am like a 10 year old at Christmas. I can’t seem to get it out of the packaging quick enough and fire it up. I might even read the directions later. :)

It looks like you are having fun with the jigsaw and I completely agree with Mike’s comment about the relationship between a tool’s cost and its quality.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3725 days

#4 posted 01-22-2010 03:37 PM


Really! Brian, you may be the first person I have ever heard of (with the possible exception of Oprah) who reads the instruction book BEFORE actually plugging in and turning on a new tool.

I don’t even do that with computers.

You’re a brave man, Brian Meeks. <big>


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3396 days

#5 posted 01-22-2010 04:30 PM


I would NEVER read the instructions with a computer. That would be wrong.


-- Brian Meeks,

View SPalm's profile


5332 posts in 4212 days

#6 posted 01-22-2010 06:29 PM

Modern jigsaws are really sweet. (Both Festool and Bosch call them jigsaws, so you can too.) I could not believe the difference when I bought a good one, as compared to the $29 one that I had. These things can aggressively eat up wood, or just do a gentle cut.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3655 days

#7 posted 01-23-2010 02:17 AM

I think that Brian is an even braver man by mentioning angry beaver and mom in the same blog entry.

I have a Bosch. She cuts like butter. She has not told me her name yet. I think she is playing coy. She was so self aware (like Skynet?) that I did not have to read her instructions book.

I agree with you. I RTFM for my tools, but never a computer. Except in the days when you had to move the pins around for the IRQs….

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