Festool Carvex PSC 420 EBQ Jigsaw
Festool Carvex PSC 420 EBQ Cordless Jigsaw Review
Festool Carvex PSC 420 EBQ
Model number: PSC 420 EBQ
Power source: Cordless: Lithium-ion 3.0 Ah battery
Motor size: Brushless: 3,800 rpm
Weight: 11 pounds
The TBB team really likes reviewing tools and especially loves quality tools. We recently took a close look at the new Festool Carvex PSC 420 EBQ Jigsaw. The Carvex jigsaw, is designed for sawing of wood, wood-like materials, and plastics. With special saw blades, the saw may also be used for cutting aluminum, steel, non-ferrous metals, and ceramic.
The Carvex jigsaws are available in both corded and battery-powered with either a D-handle or barrel-grip design. The cordless saws are all brush-less.
We looked at the barrel grip PSC 420 EBQ cordless jigsaw. This new Festool Carvex jigsaw line has some meticulous innovation that we feel has pushed the envelope in sawing precision, ergonomic and dust control technology, while offering kick ass features and accessories. We think the Carvex will raise the bar and change expectations of what a jigsaw can do!
My first impression of the Carvex jigsaw was that it was beefy, durable and seemed a bit “heavy.” The battery powered version is, of course, heavier and a little more bulky but the differences are not as great as I feared. The tool weighs 11 pounds and the battery mounts to the rear of the tool and was slightly unbalanced. Later while using the Carvex I got used to this weight / balance issue and it was not an issue for me.
I also initially noticed the power switch, located on both sides of the saw, was a bit awkward to reach with my thumb. Maybe it’s my stubby fingers but I felt the switch was awkward, I ended up using my non-dominant hand to turn off the saw. I will confess that I am more comfortable and used to using a D-handle jigsaw with a trigger switch. With time I got comfortable using my forefinger to operate the switch but it still felt awkward.
The features on the Carvex are hard to ignore. A tool-free base system, stroboscopic LEDs that makes the blade appear as if it is standing still, a tool-free “FastFix” blade change system, and the triple blade guidance system all stood out.
The Carvex comes with one battery which always disappoints me. I think every cordless tool should come with a pair of batteries.
Using The Carvex:
All three editors used the Carvex and it’s accessory kit in many different work-shop cutting activities. I also took it to the job site and used it for cutting out an a double layer of AC plywood in an octagon shaped telescope dome project I’m building for a client.
Here are some of the features we focused on:
The visibility on this tool is excellent and when combined with four high-intensity white LEDs that surround the blade we found plenty of light at the cut line. Festool was able to almost eliminate all shadow in this area.
The LED work lights have 3 programmable settings. These are:
- Stroboscopic: synchronous operation with the blade.
In the strobe function the LED lights synchronize with the blade causing the blade to appear as if it is not moving. TIP – Don’t stick your finger in there to check – I assure you it’s moving!!!
It did take some getting used to the selection of the LED options which requires the user to simultaneously press and hold both left and right barrel power switches until the saw beeps.
It takes approximately 10 seconds for the saw to beep from the time you first pressed the two switches. When the saw beeps, you then release both power switches. Then you press and release the right-hand power switch to cycle through the 3 programming options. I was not a fan of this selection process and felt it was too complicated to remember.
Let’s talk about the features surrounding the blade for a minute. The Carvex features a new tool-free blade chuck that accepts the blade by simply inserting it and giving it a twist to lock it into the chuck. A release trigger on the side of the jigsaw ejects the “hot” blade to avoid finger burns – ouch!
A triple balance guide system featuring carbide guides keep the blade in line to help eliminate blade deflection. Let’s face it, blade deflection is the biggest complaint we all have with jig saws. This guide systems really works and we were impressed with the high degree of cutting precision we were able to obtain.
An Allen wrench is provided and required to adjust the lower blade guide. No on board storage is provided and this wrench stows in the Systainer box.
A clear replaceable plastic splinter guard prevents chipping but makes blade insertion and removal awkward when left in place. This guard but does an amazing job at keeping the clean and splinter free.
Wood cutting is where you really see where Festool stepped upped their game. At 3,800 strokes per minute the Carvex is capable of making precise, clean, splinter free, money cuts – basically band saw quality cuts!
On the working end of the Carvex is a stroke adjustment knob lets the user select how aggressive you would like the Carvex “pendulum stroke” to be. A pendulum stroke is basically an orbital cutting action and the Carvex allows for four settings ranging from a wide orbit to finer cutting no orbit or simple put, “straight up and down blade action.” The four settings allow fine to aggressive cut stroke.
The Carvex, with long blades, allows you to cut wood at a depth of 4-3/4 inches without deflection. To test this I cut multiple slices out of a 2×4, along the 3-1/2-inch end, like if was nothing.
An adjustable, clear plastic chip guard on the working end of the saw can be adjusted up for better visibility or down to improve dust extraction. An integrated blower moves dust away from the cut line when dust extraction is not being used and I found it to work reasonably well.
The Carvex jigsaws also has a variable speed dial at the rear of the tool. On this speed dial knob is a designation labeled with an “A.” In this setting, the saw will operate at maximum speed during a cut, but will operate at a reduced speed before the blade makes contact with the workpiece. This reduced speed makes it easier to line up the saw blade with your cut line at the beginning of your cut. I was amazed at how well this “A” setting worked and allowed me to get started.
The Carvex cut and performed exceptionally well and had little to no vibration.
When cutting curves you need two things; hand and eye coordination and blade visibility. This is where I feel the LED strobe and dust collection shined as a team. The stroboscopic light gave a clear view of the blade, which appears under the strobe to be still and by removing the dust from the cut line I was able to clearly see my cut line during the entire curve cutting application.
4. Interchangeable Base system:
The Festool Carvex has an accessory kit has six base accessories for a myriad of a jig saw cutting applications. We looked at and used this kit and we loved it.
The bases change out, tool free, in a matter of seconds. To change the base all one needs to do is push on a lever with your thumb and the base comes right off. Adding a new base is even easier and can be done in seconds. My fastest time was 6 seconds!!
The bases are:
- Angle base – can be adjusted ±45° for beveled cuts on inside and outside corners.
- StickFix felt base plate – replaceable hook-and-loop felt lining protects delicate work surfaces.
- Low-friction dimpled base plate – glides easily over most materials and especially rough surfaces such as OSB.
- Metal cutting base plate – more durable than the standard base for when pushed over metal surfaces.
- Hard fiber base plate – low-friction phenolic surface that is best used on wood and similar materials.
- Guide rail and trammel base – allows the saw to be used with Festool track saw guide rail.
Also included in the accessory kit is five clear plastic splinter guards and a trammel for cutting circles that worked extremely well.
5. Dust Extraction:
Like the entire Festool line, the Carvex jigsaw, has an integrated dust extraction system that quickly and easily connects to a vacuum hose. The Carvex has outstanding dust extraction!
Room for Improvement:
My personal opinion is that the power switch is awkward. It is difficult to reach while holding saw in one hand and took awhile for me to get used too. I’d prefer to use my thumb.
The lithium-ion battery takes 60 minutes to charge which I feel is way too long considering that Festool only provides you with one battery. If you purchase this saw and are going to be using it professionally on a job site I recommend purchasing an additional battery. I challenge Festool to make future improvements to get the charging time down to 20 or 30 minutes.
I also challenge Festool to design a system that allows a cordless tool, like the Carvex, to activate the automatic function of the Festool vacuum. Now that’s a game changing feature!
Lastly I’d like to see the LED light mode selection made simpler.
- Motor: Brush-less
- Blades: T-Shank
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Dimensions 8.2 x 11.5 x 15.5 inches
- Model: 561668
- Battery: 3.0Ah Lithium-ion 18.0v [55 Min 80%, 70 Min 100%]
- Container: Systainer box 3 T-LOC
- Power: 400 watts
- Stroke: 1-inch
- Stroke Speed: 500 – 3,800 SPM
- Bevel: +/- 45° (optional base required)
- Wood Cut Depth: 4-3/4″
The Carvex jigsaw has meticulous innovation written all over it. TBB Editor Todd Fratzel says it’s the best jig saw he’s every used and I tend to agree. It certainly exceeded my expectations.
The Festool Carvex PSC 420 EBQ Jigsaw is a durable, powerful and a lot of smart engineering went into this well-featured saw. The Carvex was clearly designed for professionals expecting exceptional cutting precision, excellent ergonomics and superior dust control.
Too sum up this review I’ll quote TBB Editor Brad Staggs, “The Festool Carvex jigsaw is a serious woodworker and professional carpenter tool. If you want great cutting results, need lot’s of accessory options, or use a jigsaw in your business then this is the tool that should be in your toolbox.”
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