A Bad Rap

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Review by jim C posted 03-19-2011 05:58 AM 17856 views 0 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A Bad Rap No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m going out on a limb here. I’m going against the grain (pun intended)
I’ve seen the reviews here on the “Blade Runner”, and I have to say it’s gotten a bad rap.
I have been out of town, and when I got home, I decided to go into Woodcraft and nosy around. I saw the Bladerunner on display and thought about my past idea of mounting my Bosch jig saw upside down to a board, to be interchanged with my router, on my router table. This looked like a viable alternative. No messing with my router table, having the use of both at the same time, and no Rube Goldberg involved to re-invent the wheel. Also an easy variable speed adjustment without climbing under the router table to change speeds.
So I took the plunge and bought one for $179.00+ tax and figured if it was not up to it, I could return it.
I did the inverse of what most people do (including myself) and bought it before I read up on reviews.

Prior to the internet reviews, and LJ lambasting, I set it up. It took all of 5 minutes to install the support arm and plug it in. The shipping box was flawless, and neatly packed. It included the wall mount, of which I won’t probably use.

I installed the supplied blade(s) and grabbed a piece of cedar and made some scroll cuts…. Serious vibration! I’m thinking “O Boy, whats this all about?” I changed to a Bosch blade and now we’re talking “a hot knife through butter”. The machine worked as I thought it should.
I don’t understand why a company can make a decent product and then ship it with an inferior working component. (Think table saw manufacturers that make a great saw and install a $2.00 blade.)

Anyway, I’m happy with the quality, construction, and performance. I don’t plan on re-sawing oak, building a deck with it, or creating violins. It’s what it is intended to be, mainly a supplement to squaring corners, cutting out internal shapes, and creating “wing dings”

What upsets me about LJ”s is the bad reviews I have read on this forum. Many of them from people who, because of an “informercial” think it must be junk. And people who never saw it, let alone try one.

Amazon’s reviews give it 3-1/2 stars. Mainly 4 and 5’s

Here is my rebuttal to you “experts” on LJ

“blade wobbles, needs support, vibrates” The machine comes with a stabilizing support arm. Use it. Use a Bosch blade and the wobble is gone as well as vibration

“Cheaper to make one” Yup, do that and send the Chinese back to the dark ages….. I love you contractors who “re-invent the wheel” , spend a hundred hours making something “cheaper” but bitch about how manufacturers rip you off because you’re so wrapped up in saving a dime, then wonder why a customer won’t agree to your prices. You want it all, but refuse to pay for it. You guys kill me.

“Rockwell, pure garbage” Yea, they were the pinnacle at one time, but you and I know they’re in it for the competition of all you guys who won’t spend a nickel more than you have to. And then you complain about the quality.

“A homeowners tool” Aren’t we all homeowners, or hope to be?
You’re the contractor who uses Black and Decker or Crapsman tools and then preach to the homeowner when you submit a quote, about the benefits of quality and price

“Seem like the support arm would twist” Hey Mr. Engineer,.... who never touched or looked at the machine,......Don’t knock it until you have tried it. And don’t comment on it until you have used it. In fact, the arm is very stable and works well.

Mostly Plastic
Yep. Just like the Ridgid OSS that everyone raves about. Get with it, it’s the 21st century.

This saw isn’t for everyone. It’s a piece of equipment for those who have hobbies and want the benefit of an extra piece of equipment for notching, touching up corners, creating scrolls, cutting out internal shapes, etc., and want the benefit of not having to continuously change over machinery. I have a Bosch jig saw, a skil saw, 2 band saws and a sawzall. This is an additional unique saw, and I feel it adds and compliments my shop for the things I do. It’s not a german masterpiece, it’s a decent piece of equipment at a good price I will utilize from time to time.

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jim C

1472 posts in 3904 days

32 comments so far

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#1 posted 03-19-2011 06:28 AM

I thought those were platforms to mount your own jig saw. For that price, it must come with it’s own motor and saw unit?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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jim C

1472 posts in 3904 days

#2 posted 03-19-2011 12:01 PM

Yup Topmax,
Variable speed included.
(Glad to see that handsome face back ;-))

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7820 posts in 3606 days

#3 posted 03-19-2011 02:58 PM

I looked at this in Woodcraft a while back. I asked the guys there what anyone would want that machine for and not one of them could think of a reason they’d buy one. Not because of quality or any bad review they’d seen. Simply because a band saw can do anything this machine can.

So I don’t get it. Unless you don’t own a band saw, why would you want this? I suppose if you remove the arm you would have larger capacity than a band saw, but then you’re going to get that wobble and vibration without the stabilization arm. Since I’ve never used one, I am interested if someone can tell me what makes this tool worth buying…

BTW- I don’t think today’s Rockwell is even the same company as the old brand (which was owned by Delta), is it?

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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4541 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 03-19-2011 02:58 PM

If you already own a scroll saw, jig saw and band saw what does this do with wood that you cannot already do? I understand it can be used on metal, but I have no interest in that.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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jim C

1472 posts in 3904 days

#5 posted 03-19-2011 03:14 PM

Stumpy, Rich,
Try cutting a square inside of a piece of wood on a bandsaw without an entry cut. You can, but you need to cut the blade, inset it, weld and grind it. Many people mount an inverted jig saw for this purpose. This machine is precisely that. This is a jigsaw with added benefits, that’s all.
I also have a Bosch jig saw but this is another piece of equipment that compliments my tools, and gives added control on precise cuts. it makes sense to me, just as having 3 or 4 battery drills for different purposes.
Just my opinion.

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#6 posted 03-19-2011 03:18 PM

I suppose, but I always just use the scroll saw for that. It’s quick and easy to loosen one end of the blade and slip it through a hole.

Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a nice tool to me. I just can’t think of why anyone with a scroll saw would want it. And this is coming from a guy who thinks he needs every tool he sees!

Perhaps YOU can be our test case? Use this machine half the time and a scroll saw or band saw the other half. Report back to us in a few months and tell us if it’s worth buying.

BTW- I’m not trying to say YOU shouldn’t have bought one, I’m just trying to decide if I want to buy one…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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jim C

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#7 posted 03-19-2011 03:28 PM

Conversely I don’t own a scroll saw.
They are two different machines with different purposes. For woodcraft sales people to make the statement “can’t think of a use for it” says loads about their abilities and sales expertise. Wow. They would be looking for a new profession if I owned the store.

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1511 posts in 4270 days

#8 posted 03-19-2011 03:31 PM

i always thought this was a new kind of scroll saw… like if you were looking for a scroll saw you might want to check this one out,.

thanks for the good review, jim.

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7820 posts in 3606 days

#9 posted 03-19-2011 03:39 PM

JimC- As someone who’s family has owned a hardware store for many years I can tell you that my local woodcraft is lucky to be in business with some of the guys they have working there. Several times I’ve heard them talk someone out of a major purchase, not because they thought the item wasn’t good for the customer, but because of absolute ignorance when it comes to retail sales!

I was looking to buy a new table saw fence so i went to Woodcraft and asked what they had available. They suggested I contact Delta directly to find the right fence for my saw. Sure, I could do that, but a good salesman would call Delta for me, find the right fence, order it, and make some markup on the sale! I heard the same guy do the same thing with another customer a week later!

As for me, I went to a Rockler store the same day. The manager sat me down in his office, gave me a cup of coffee and sold me a display model since it was all he had in stock. He also got out his wholesale price list, showed me what he paid for the fence, and made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. True, the fence cost me a bit more than I would have paid if I’d ordered a Delta fence through the local box store. But with service like that, any guy would pay a few more bucks!

The Woodcraft guys are friendly, they know me by name and they let me drink all the self serve coffee I want as I wander around. But they’ve literally talked me out of spending hundreds of dollars because of simple ignorance or lazyness!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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#10 posted 03-19-2011 03:44 PM

Your point is well take about the scroll saw. If you don’t have one, this machine would solve your problem with a lot of cuts. But, if you don’t mind me asking, Wouldn’t the versatility of a scroll saw, which seems to be capable of much the same things that this machine can do, with the added benefit of ultra fine scroll work have been a better buy for you? (you can get a workable scroll saw for about the same price)

Again, I’m just trying to find a way to justify buying one of these myself, that’s why I’m asking so many questions….

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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jim C

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#11 posted 03-19-2011 03:45 PM

This machine is way more aggressive than a scroll saw in terms of hogging cuts out. Conversely, a scroll saw is really for fine detail work. So…..two different animals for different applications. I’ll be getting a scroll saw in the future when my type of hobby warrants one. I’m a tool gloat, as I believe many types of machines make a hobby more enjoyable with less tedious set-ups and a safer working environment not having to jury rig a tool for unintended purposes.
I once put a jig saw upside down in a vise to cut internal lettering in some pine. The saw threw the wood in the air. No damage but scary. Lesson is don’t jury rig.
Stumpy, you’re right on regarding the so-called “sales people”

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#12 posted 03-19-2011 03:56 PM

Thank you for giving such a great review.
I’m also sick of people that open the box and give a tool 5 stars before they even use the darn thing !
Have a great weekend : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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#13 posted 03-19-2011 04:20 PM

I see your point on this tool being more aggressive. A scroll saw’s fine blades do require a careful hand when cutting thick stock or the blade will bend and wander. Good point…

As for making your own, I’d agree that slapping a jig saw in a vice is a bad idea. I have seen some very nice homemade versions of this tool, complete with the stabilization arm and dust collection. It would take about $100 or more to make your own (including the price of the saw since it would not be easily removable from the setup so you’d want a dedicated jig saw for it). So spending the extra $70 to get this factory made one makes sense… unless you just like to make things yourself.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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#14 posted 03-19-2011 04:24 PM

i have 5 band saws
3 table saws
7 routers
2 jigsaws
i scroll saw

for me when i get going on a shop project
i like to be able to go to whichever tool
does what i need when i need it
the band saws all have different width blades in them
for different cuts
the table saws can be set to do different things to

i hate setting and re-setting tools
for a few cuts
and if i miss one piece
or one gets screwed up
i can make another one without changing all the tools
just for that

also if i work street side
i still have enough tools in the shop
to get something done there
if my tools are still in the truck

why take half the time setting and re-setting tools
for the band saws
all i need to do is change the blade from time to time
the guides are always ready and adjusted for that size blade

tension up
and get back to work

thanks for the review

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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jim C

1472 posts in 3904 days

#15 posted 03-19-2011 04:30 PM


Right on.
I have 2 bandsaws, but after reading your post, I’m going out today and buying 3 more! ;-)

My wife wants to talk to you.

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