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The Bosch 1591EVS kit includes the carry case, instruction manual, three blades, no-mar, snap-on shoe and the anti-split insert.
Click image to enlarge

Bosch 1591EVS Barrel Grip Jigsaw

The industry leader goes strapless

Text and Photos by Tom Hintz

   The list of woodworking tools widely considered to be the standard by which others are judged is understandably short. In the jigsaw category, Bosch top strap and barrel grip saws have been that standard for years and show no signs of relinquishing the throne.
   Earlier in 2004, Bosch raised that standard again with the release of the #1590 top-strap jigsaw. The 1590 was an instant hit, something that surprised few but may have disappointed those who dislike the strap-type handle.

   Enter the Bosch 1591EVS – the barrel grip version of the venerable 1590 jigsaw – and there is happiness throughout the jigsaw world.

Initial Impressions

   At six pounds, the Bosch 1591EVS feels substantial in the hand, a perception born out upon closer inspection of the design and materials used. There are plenty of opportunities when building a jigsaw to reduce weight through material and manufacturing shortcuts. Bosch chose to forego all of them.

   The fit and finish of the Bosch 1591EVS is exceptional. The quality of the materials used, individual parts and their assembly are equally impressive. For the woodworker, these factors add up to a highly accurate, easy to use and long lasting tool.

Power

   The Bosch 1591EVS 6.4-amp motor, the same one used in the 1590, is the smoothest-running I have tried. However, vibration is all this motor lacks. There is more than enough power available throughout the 500 to 2800 SPM (strokes per minute) range. To help

The Speed Control dial is infinity adjustable and has 6 "landmark" numerals to keep you informed about what setting is currently selected.
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maintain the selected SPM, Bosch includes their Constant Response Circuitry that increases power when tougher material tries to slow the blade.

   In addition, the Constant Response Circuitry adds "soft start" technology that lessens the initial torqueing of the saw when it is turned on.

Speed Control

   Lacking the top strap handle in which to mount a variable trigger type control, the Bosch 1591EVS uses a side-mounted slider On/Off switch that is easily accessible when gripping the body. Slide the switch forward to lock the saw on and to the rear for the off position.

   A speed control dial is located on the rear of the motor housing where it is easy to get at with your other hand. The speed control dial is infinitely adjustable but has 6 marked positions that serve as landmarks that let you know where in the 500 to 2800 SPM range the dial is set. 1-500 SPM, 2-1000, 3-1500, 4-2000, 5-2500 and 6-2800 SPM.

Blade Orbiting

The main group of controls is located on the left side, including the blower and orbit selectors.
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   Moving the blade forward and then back again in an orbital pattern during each up and down cycle has proven to be a very useful and popular feature on jigsaws. The Bosch 1591EVS has a four position switch on the left side that ranges from "0" (no orbit) to 3 (full orbit). Set the orbit control to "0" when cutting very hard materials such as metal and plastic or when doing fine scroll work. As the material grows softer or faster cutting speeds are desired, increase the amount of blade orbit towards the "3" setting.

Dust Blower

   To help maintain visibility of layout lines the Bosch 1591EVS features an integral blower, aimed at the blade. A simple On/Off lever controls the blower.

   The effectiveness of the dust blower increases and decreases with motor speed. It's not perfect but can be very helpful in many situations.

Precision Blade Control

Pushing the Precision Control button brings these "fingers" into contact with the blade, guiding it to help prevent sideways deflections. The fingers disengage automatically when the blade release is activated.
Click image to enlarge

   To help reduce unintentional angles caused by the blade deflecting to the side, Bosch includes their Precision Control system, introduced earlier in 2004 on the 1590 jigsaw. Press the red activation button and a pair of "fingers" grasp the blade just above the cutting surface to help stabilize it.

   It is important to realize that distortion of the blade during cutting is most often caused by the operator, not the saw or blade. The Precision Control system works very well but can be overcome to some degree if the operator applies enough side pressure to the blade while cutting.

Blade Changing

   Blade changing systems have generated more forum chatter and media ink than any other jigsaw feature. Once again, Bosch leads the field with their "One-Touch" tool-less blade changing system, introduced on the 1590 model earlier in 2004.

See It Work!

Click the image above to see a short Windows Media video showing how fast and easy blade changing is wiwth the Bosch 1591!

   As the name suggests, press one button (it actually slides across the front of the saw) and the blade pops out. No more digging for broken blade stumps.

   To install a new blade you don't even have to push the button, just insert the blade until it clicks.

   The Bosch One-Touch system uses the popular T-Shank style blades. The T-Shank design provides three points of contact that allow locking the blade solidly in the saw.

   If the One Touch system is not easy and/or fast enough, you have other issues to deal with before blade changing.

Baseplate

   The baseplate of the Bosch 1591EVS tilts to 45-degrees left or right with detents at 15, 22.5, 30 and 45-degrees.

The bevel scale is visible from the bottom, as the saw is likely to be held when changing this setting anyway.
Click image to enlarge

The angles are set using a scale visible through the bottom of the baseplate where it is easiest to see it when making the adjustment.

   The base plate angle adjustment is also tool-free, operated by a lever on the right side of the saw. A dial allows the user to control the amount of tension on the baseplate.

   The baseplate can be slid backwards and locked in position to allow cutting closer to vertical obstructions.

   Included in the Bosch 1591EVS kit are a snap-on no-mar shoe cover and an anti-chip insert (essentially a zero clearance insert) that is used with ground (sides) blades for cleaner edges when cutting splinter-prone materials.

Barrel Grip

The barrel grip looks very big but fits the hand surprisingly well. The rubber insert is very comfortable also.
Click image to enlarge

   The Bosch 1591EVS is literally a handful; at least it seems so when first picked up.

   The rounded barrel grip area is approximately 2 5/8" in diameter and has a rubber insert across the top. The barrel grip feels quite large just holding it but in use, is easy to control and very comfortable.

   If your experience is limited to the strap-type handle, you may be surprised at how little time is needed to become comfortable with the barrel grip. The placement and operation of the controls also poses no problem with the barrel grip.

In the Shop

The snap-on, no-mar shoe works very well, as does the anti-spinter insert that goes in it.
Click image to enlarge

   Using the Bosch 1591EVS in the shop was an educational experience. After years of using Bosch strap-handled jigsaws, I was surprised at the feel of the barrel grip. After a surprisingly short amount of time using the Bosch 1591EVS, I had an increased feeling of control and accuracy. It was also very comfortable in the hand, something I was a bit concerned about.

   After popping blades in and out for a while and playing with the various controls, it was time to install one of the three included blades (2 wood and 1 metal) and cut some wood.

   The heavy feeling of holding the Bosch 1591EVS disappears when it is placed on the wood and operating. Because there is virtually no vibration to counteract, a relaxed grip is all that is needed to guide the saw along layout lines with remarkable accuracy.

   The Bosch 1591EVS cut whatever type of wood I could find effortlessly, leaving surprisingly smooth and square edges. Tilt the baseplate to one of the detent angles and the cuts are just as smooth. Comparing the angle actually cut with the setting showed the Bosch 1591EVS is very accurate in this mode as

The Bosch 1591EVS handles and performs exceptionally well, even when scrolling through a 22.5-dgree cut!
Click image to enlarge

well.
   Adjusting the speed and orbit controls are very effective, producing noticeable changes in how the saw cuts. Because they actually work, the speed and orbit features afford the operator considerable control over how the Bosch 1591EVS cuts wood. As the characteristics of the wood or task change, the Bosch 1591EVS can be "dialed in" to produce the best cut possible.

   The snap-on, no-mar shoe cover not only prevents marking of the wood surface, it lets the Bosch 1591EVS glide over the wood with little drag. Click the anti-splinter insert into the shoe cover and chip-prone wood cuts much cleaner.

   The Constant Response circuitry also proved to be very effective. Blade speed never changed perceptibly during testing despite cutting wood of varying thicknesses and density. Blade speed can be important to cut quality and having the Constant Response circuitry maintaining the desired SPM makes using the 1591EVS easier and faster.

   Though the Bosch 1591EVS was used in every situation we could think of, good and bad, it never faltered. Most often, the Bosch 1591EVS performed better than anticipated, with the accuracy users familiar with Bosch jigsaws expect.

Conclusions

   The Bosch 1591EVS is an exceptional value for professionals, do-it-yourselfers and woodworkers of all descriptions. The industry-leading quality, innovative design and remarkable durability mean the Bosch 1591EVS will perform flawlessly for decades making it a wise choice for virtually anyone, including those of us with modest budgets. Buy the Bosch 1591EVS once and then save your tool money for other things.

   If you have not tried a Bosch barrel grip jigsaw, consider the Bosch 1591EVS. Before using the Bosch 1591EVS for this review I was convinced the top strap style was what I liked best. It turns out I have been an unintentionally frustrated barrel grip man all along.

   The Bosch 1591EVS should be available very soon!
   For more on the extensive Bosch Tool line visit www.boschtools.com.

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