At every trade show there are the people I affectionately call “slicer-dicers.” You know, the ones with the microphone on, whipping through a practiced demo of some amazing new tool that does absolutely EVERYTHING! Of course, most of those fiendishly clever devices don’t seem to live up to the show hype. But I might have found an exception.

I saw a wild and crazy demo of the Exakt EC-330 portable powered handsaw at the AWFS fair in Las Vegas. The flamboyant British demonstrator showed this clever saw whipping through wood, metal, tile, gypsum wall board, and other materials, making precision stop cuts and generating virtually no dust. The potential for job site work was obvious, and I had to try it.

What it is 

The Exakt EC-330 is an improved design for a saw that apparently has been available in Europe for some time, but is now just becoming available in North America. Smaller than an angle grinder, this is a plunge cut saw using small 54mm diameter circular blades. It’s designed to be used one-handed with your other hand free to secure the work.

Housed inside a square blade guard, the cutting edge is only exposed when you push down to engage the blade in the work. There is a precision depth stop for cutting depths up to 14mm. Blades are available for a variety of materials and are easily changed with two tools included in the kit.

The dust collection hose mates to most vacuums and does a great job of picking up most of the dust created at the cut.

How it works 

In one respect the Exakt saw works kind of like a common biscuit joiner with its plunge action, and so you do have to pay attention that you control it or the bite of the blade can surprise you and push the tool back. But you quickly get the hang of it. And the 2.8 amp motor seemed to have enough power to do whatever we asked of it.

One of the best features of the saw is precision alignment marks on the blade guard indicating the line of cut and the extent of the cut at various depths. That means it’s easy to do stop cuts such as for cutting an outlet hole in wall board or wood paneling. The depth of cut setting can be used precisely enough to cut work right on a workbench without cutting into the bench top. Still, you’d be safer to use a spoil board.

What it’s good for 

This is the kind of tool that could really come to your rescue on an installation or troublesome remodeling job. And at less than $140 for the kit, it represents a surprising value for what it is. Replacement blades are also inexpensive at less than $14 each. For more information, visit www.specialtytools.com.

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