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Thread: Barrel grip vs. D-handle jigsaw

  1. #1
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    Barrel grip vs. D-handle jigsaw

    While its not super high on my priority list, I've been tossing around the idea of replacing my Dewalt jigsaw. Since purchasing it a year ago, I've been fighting the sole-plate staying locked in place and blade changes; therefore, I try and avoid using it as much as possible.

    After reading of all the benefits of Festool, demoing them at Woodcraft and seeing them used by Tom Silva of This Old House and occassionally by David Marks, I've decided that the jigsaw will be my first Festool Purchase.

    I am trying to decide between the barrel grip and the D-handle grip. Every other jigsaw I've used has the d-handle grip. However, it seems the barrel grip would be more comfortable and easier to control. Being that I've never really used one, I'd like to hear everyones' personal preference and any pro's or con's of each grip style.

    As usual, thanks for the feedback. This is the best WW site on the internet.

  2. #2
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    I really like my Fes barrel grip. I have a lot of control over the machine and work piece when my hand and arm are in the position.
    Powerful tool.
    TJH
    Live Like You Mean It.



    http://www.northhouse.org/

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I have the Bosch barrel grip. To me, the barrel grip is a much more natural feel than the D handle.

  4. #4
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    Tim,

    I have a Festool barrel grip and find it to be the most comfortable jigsaw I've used due to a great shape and small size. The on/off switch is on the left which, as a right hander, is perfect. My friend used it recently and did NOT like it as he is left handed.
    The Festool D-handle's trigger switch does not have the speed control built in, it's at the rear of the saw.
    And the Festool does not have toolless bevel change.

    Cuts, as expected, are as straight as your hands will allow!

    good luck,

    Pete

  5. #5
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    My "old" jigsaw was a D-Handle. When I was investigating the Festool, I tried out both and as I thought I would, I preferred the barrel grip...I find I have better control.

    As strange as it sounds, I also recommend you test out the latest Bosch jigsaw. It has similar features and some folks like it better.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Tim, perhaps the best way to determine which handle fits your style of working the best would be to try out a barrel grip yourself. Hopefully you have a Festool supplier somewhere near you who will at least let you check out the grip or maybe at a woodworking show. It sounds like you have some time to investagate them for yourself.
    Don Bullock
    Woebgon Bassets
    AKC Championss

    The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
    -- Edward John Phelps

  7. #7

    Try it first

    As others have said, try it first. I bought mine from a local dealer. Unlike most other Festools, the way the two jigsaws fit in your hand is radically different. I went in with the firm conviction that the barrel grip was the best choice for me. I walked out with the D handle grip because it fit my hand better.

    Try it first.

    Regards,

    Dan.
    It's amazing what you can accomplish in the 11th hour, 59 minute of any project. Ya just have to keep your eye on the goal.

  8. #8
    [quote=Tim Malyszko;568255]After reading of all the benefits of Festool, demoing them at Woodcraft and seeing them used by Tom Silva of This Old House and occassionally by David Marks, I've decided that the jigsaw will be my first Festool Purchase.[quote]

    I was weighing the Bosch against the Festool.
    I went Bosch because the Bosch is every bit as good as the Festool (I think it's a tad better), and it's $159.00 which you simply can not beat.

    On the Festool side - If Dust Collection were an issue for me I'd have got the Festool. If I earned my living working in other people's homes I'd want very much to leave no dust trail - ever. ERGO: Festool would be my go to preference for sanders, saws, and routers.


    I am trying to decide between the barrel grip and the D-handle grip. Every other jigsaw I've used has the d-handle grip. However, it seems the barrel grip would be more comfortable and easier to control.
    I have had both (both were Makitas). I liked the Barrel grip better - till I got the D handle Bosch. It's built so I can grab the body like a barrel or use the handle. Now I do both. The Bosch is so very vibration free it's a dream compared to my beast of a Makita.
    Last edited by John Bailey; 04-17-2007 at 10:19 AM.

  9. #9
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    I own an older style Bosch D handle, saw a demo of the Festool barrel stlye just the other day, found it very interesting.

    The main differece between the newer Bosch (with blade stabilization) and Festool is that the Bosch blows the dust away, while the Festool inhales it. However, with the dust collection gear in place, on the Festool, it's very difficult to see a line you are cutting along. When I pointed that out to the demo guy, he said that in europe, they hold the saw upside down and cut from the bottom of the board, and procede to do just that. This would not be practical with the D grip. It's very odd, but not so difficult as long as there is adequate clearance for the saw, and it's relatively close to the edge of the board.

    The Festool has a GREAT zero clearance feature, you make the cut in the insert with the blade you are using, just like with a table saw; cuts with a very aggressive blade were very smooth on both upper and lower surface as a result. I believe the Bosch ZCI has a slot already cut, so doesnt precisely match the blade. i lost mine however, so can't check that out. Actually, I don't know what the newer model has for ZCI, might be similar to Festool's.

    A jig saw is most handy when you have to make a cut away from the edge of a board, which could be problematic working european style, though in that case one could simply forego the dust collection gear and work from the top.

    If DC is not of prime importance, the Bosch will probably perform just as well for half the cost.

    But if you already have the Festool guard rail, it will work with their jigsaw for cutting straight lines, and you could leave the DC stuff on, as you won't have to see the line to follow it.

    Dan
    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

  10. #10
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    Tim - the choice of jigsaw type is soley personal preference and what feels best to you. I have had 2 D handled jigsaws in the past (B&D and PC) and now have the Festool barrel grip. I like the barrel grip better for two reasons:
    1. The handle is lower which gives me better control (at least for me).
    2. I can put my hand on the barrel in a number of different locations with comfort. With the D handle, there is only one position whether it is comfortable or not.
    That said, do what feels best to you.
    Steve

  11. #11
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    My Bosch is over 15 years old and works great. It consistantly garnishes 1st place in every review. Why go festool ? It never finishes that high in ratings. I like the barrel because I feel it gives me accurate control.
    Gary K.

  12. #12
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    I prefer the barrel grip as I feel that I have more control over what I am cutting.

    I have the Bosch that you are speaking of and am not sure how happy I am with it. I was using it to cut 1/4" ply and got some splintering with the insert in it. I was pleased with the blower that blew the dust away so you could see where you were cutting. Is dust in the line of cut really that big of a problem with the Festool?

    So, anyone have a unbiased opinion as to the cut quality and DC of the Festool jigsaw? Since I work in my house (basement and living areas), I am always concerned about dust and to me is VERY IMPORTANT to have EXCELLENT DC.

    Same with the ROM. I was doing some research on Fine WW.com and found reviews of ROS. The Bosch ROM was the editors pick but under the Festool sander but it said something about FES ROS being the equivalent to the Bosch except for the price. Again, my concern is DC. I don't sand anything with lead in it but would like to work in the house (basement). So, how is the DC?

    Not trying to highjack the post so any comments about Festool jigsaw and ROS can be sent to me by PM.

    Thanks,
    Chuck
    Last edited by Charles Wilson; 04-15-2007 at 6:15 PM.

  13. #13
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    Mine's a Bosch but I do prefer the barrel.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  14. #14
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    I have the Bosch barrel grip and I prefer it over the D-grip design. It just feels more natural as an extesion of your wrist and forearm. It seems like it takes a lot less torque or muscle power to move it with control.
    hope this helps.
    Been around power equipment all my life and can still count to twenty one nakey

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Wilson View Post
    Is dust in the line of cut really that big of a problem with the Festool?
    Charles---It's not the dust that gets in the way, it's the pieces of extra plastic stuff that collects the dust that make it nearly impossible to see the line. I didn't try it without the dust collection equipment in place to see if the dust would also obscure the view. If you have a Woodcraft near you, you can try one out for yourself.

    Dan
    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

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