Wednesday 11 July 2018
The tighter we find our belts, the more we'll be inclined to plump for the cheaper options, especially if there's not enough of a discernible difference between budget, mid-price and high-end models. Simply then, there are a lot of companies out there who will be feeling the bite as customers adopt a more skeptical approach to 'features', and start to see them more as gimmicks. If you're going to shout about all the unique bits and bobs out there, you'd better hope that every single one of them is there for a very good reason, or if anything you'll find it detrimental to your marketing.
Engineered to excel
Before we tackle the extras, it's worth saying this in itself: the basic manufacture of this plunge saw is to be commended. Of a reassuring weight without becoming unwieldy, there's an overall rugged construction that suggests that not only will this tool take more than a few bound-to-happen knocks, it'll put in a long and loyal service too.
That's the other thing we're looking for more than ever these days: tools that won't let us down after the first few cursory uses, or even after the first year. With a three year warranty available, it's clear that Mafell themselves are confident in the saw's durability, and that's all the more reassuring to the end user.
More than anything, it allows you to put a little more faith in the engineered accuracy of a product, and we were happy to find that our suspicions were very much correct in the case.
The emphasis here is on practicalilty, not gimmick: it's something as simple as the insanely quick blade-change system that will make all the difference to the busy worker: pop open the flap at the side via a safely-positioned switch, apply the key carried onboard for a quick turn, and we're there. In addition, the key itself is also included to allow you to properly make half millimetre adjustments. Set the slider to the measurement your want, apply the key to the fine adjuste at the top of the scale – one half turn will put you exactly halfway between one mark and the next. In terms of incredibly accurate cuts, we're already talking about a considerable advantage over other brands.
The depth of cut selector is absolutely genius too, a pivot on the marker itself allowing you to compensate for the measurement difference a guide rail will incur: there's no need to readjust your scale when working on the rail, just flip the marker around, and it does the maths for you!
Speaking of 'the enemy', while this model comes with its own long length of guide rail, it's worth noting that Mafell have built this beauty to work with Festool rails too. This is a savvy move indeed, as it's arguable that the two high-quality brands could very conceivably end up sharing customers. This way, you won't have to chuck away your old rails and start again with further expense. Thoughtful, and sure to win Mafell supporters from the Festool camp.
1400 watts of power is, well, a lot of power indeed, and myself and Anthony found ourselves gliding through wood and melamine without anything in the way of difficulty: a clever anti-spelch scoring cut that the saw is capable of worked a charm, and left us with two useably clean faces on the melamine: unheard of in other saws, and massively impressive to see.
The plunge saw functionality is equally impressive, effortlessly making short work of the block of kitchen unit we'd produced as an aggressive test. With a special marker to measure exactly where the cut will begin and end at different depths, you'll be able to work confidently without exception.
We had no room to mention the bonus pop-down extraction, or the incredible range of angles you're capable of cutting, because there's literally so much here that's worth talking about it's impossible to fit all of it in! I would buy this, and I know I won't have to think about replacing it for years to come. Even then, I'd probably buy another one!