As with many of Festool’s other power tool designs, there is a lot of hype building behind their new Carvex jigsaw. Festool’s marketers masterfully describe the saw as being revolutionary, redefining, unparalleled, and unmistakably the best jigsaw.
In general, I like Festool’s products, and have purchased a couple of their tools and products over the years. I feel that, quite often, the hype behind Festool tools is well-deserved. However, I am also very heavily pro-Bosch when it comes to jigsaws. I only use Bosch jigsaws and Bosch jigsaw blades. The only exception is when I can find Bosch-made Craftsman jigsaw blades at incredible pricing.
Thus, I might be colored in my opinions about the saw. As always I will try to be as objective as possible in discussing the new product, but I know that subconsciously I am full of subjective bias. There’s a tug o’ war going on inside my mind to see if my pro-Festool or pro-Bosch jigsaw feelings win out.
I had not heard good things about Festool jigsaws in the past. To be more precise, I don’t recall ever hearing about how Festool’s jigsaws bested competing products. From what I have read and heard, Festool’s jigsaws did not really stand above the competition.
In conducting research for this post, I started off at Festool’s product page for the Carvex. While I am not easily overwhelmed by information, there is a lot to process here. One thing is for certain – Festool crammed a lot of interesting and appealing features into their new saw. Hype aside, it might very well be revolutionary.
Triple Blade Guidance – carbide blade guides serve to virtually eliminate blade deflection, which results in straighter cuts, even in thicker materials.
Plastic Splinter Guard – a replaceable splinter guard prevents chipping and leads to cleaner better-looking cuts.
Stroboscopic LED Lights – 4 high intensity LEDs surrounding the blade are timed to synchronize with the saw blade’s oscillations, giving the appearance of a motionless blade. This is said to help with cut line visibility and tracking. The LEDs can be set to strobe mode, always-on, or off.
Interchangeable Base Plate System – the Carvex 420’s base plates can be swapped out tool-free. There are 6 options:
- 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 worksurfaces
- 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 guide rails
FastFix Blade Chuck – a new tool-free blade chuck that makes blade insertion and removal quick and easy.
Adjustable Chip Guard – it can be adjusted vertically and provides for high visibility, excellent dust extraction, and user protection. If removed, an integrated blower clears the dust from the cut line.
Speed Adjustment – an adjustment knob controls stroke speed, from fine to aggressive (3,800 SPM) with a total of 4 settings.
Variable Speed Trigger – the D-handle model (there is also a barrel-grip design), has an auxiliary trigger and lock-on button in addition to the speed control adjustment knob.
Dust Extraction Port – can be used with a Festool CT dust extractor or other dust collection systems (including shop vacuums).
Brushless Motor – less noise, longer service life, extended battery life (the Li-ion cordless model will follow the corded models to market).
Carvex 420 Technical Specifications
- 400W (3.64A at 110V)
- Accepts T-shank blades
- 1″ Stroke length
- 500-3,800 strokes per minute (varies depending on model)
- 4-3/4″ maximum cutting depth in wood
- 3/4″ maximum cutting depth in non-ferrous materials
- 3/8″ maximum cutting depth in steel
- Weight: 4.2 lbs (corded), 5.1 lbs (cordless)
- Removable power cord
- Kit comes with systainer storage, (2) jigsaw blades for wood, chip guard, splinter guard
- Corded barrel grip, model 561 593
- Corded D-handle, model 561 608
- Cordless barrel grip, model 561 633
- Cordless D-handle, model 561 651
- Cordless kits come with 18V 3.0Ah Li-ion battery and charger
- Optional bases are available separately or via accessory kit
- Accessory kit, model 497709, includes all of the base plates and inserts, a circle cutter, and replacement splinter guards and felt.
Price: $350 for the D-handle or barrel-grip corded models, $200 for the base plate and adapter accessory kit.
I think that the strobe lighting is what gets people most hot and bothered about the new Carvex 420:
The complete system will cost you $350 plus $200, plus $75 or $115 more if you want to use the accessory adapter with a guide rail. The base plates are available separately for about $22 and up.
Wow, wow, wow. The Carvex 420 is a brushless multi-based jigsaw with strobe LED lighting that can freeze a blade’s motion for easier cutline tracking. Not to mention Festool’s standard treatment, which includes a splinter guard, chip guard, superb dust extraction, and removable power cord.
But in all of the promotional videos I watched, and all the marketing materials I read, I didn’t see anything to suggest that the Carvex will perform better in practice than the less expensive and higher-amperage Bosch jigsaws I use and love.
I am really torn here. Just looking at the Carvex 420 features and specs, it looks like a very versatile and capable jigsaw. It could very well be revolutionary even, but I am not convinced that it is the best jigsaw on the market. Competing models, such as by Bosch, are very competitively featured and aren’t really lacking.
I do really like the idea of different bases – especially the hook-and-loop (Velcro-esque) felt-lined one for use on delicate materials.
Perhaps I feel underwhelmed by the saw’s design in order to balance the pro-Festool hype I often share in, but it’s hard to say.