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The Bosch 18V jigsaw is a top-notch tool that comes with everything you need to get to work.
Click image to enlarge

Bosch #52318, 18V Cordless Jigsaw

Take-it-anywhere power, reliability and quality

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw is the latest shot across the bow of the woodworking tool community by Bosch, asserting their decades-long dominance of the jigsaw segment of the market. The combination of features, power and uncompromising quality is standard fare for Bosch, a tradition that continues in the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw.

Initial Impressions

   The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw is surprisingly compact for an 18V cordless tool. Fit and finish is very good with quality manufacturing of the components and flawless assembly. Even the heavy-duty canvas carry bag (included in this kit) that stows the saw, charger and accessories is top quality.

(Top) The motor is very small for the power it develops.
(Bottom) A smooth-operating plunge mechanism and blade-stabilizing guide roller make this an accurate, easy to use saw.
Click images to enlarge

   Not so common is the group of Bosch features that made the jump to the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw from its corded cousins.

Motor and Motion

   The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw is powered by a strong, smooth-running Bosch designed and built motor that is as efficient as it is powerful. The motor is surprisingly small considering the amount of power it develops. Rather than adapt an existing power plant, Bosch appears to have developed the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw motor specifically for this package to enhance usability, balance and battery life.

   Power is delivered through an all-Bosch transmission and plunger system, housed in a precision-cast magnesium case. The drive system, including a blade stabilizing guide roller is based on the industry-leading technology found in the corded Bosch jigsaws.

   The motor-transmission combination provides a full 1" stroke with a surprising range of cutting capability. The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw can cut wood up to 2 5/8"-thick, aluminum to 7/16"-thick and mild steel up to 3/32"-thick. I have owned corded jigsaws with less capacity!

Battery & Charging

A 1-hour fast charger, high capacity battery and goof-proof keyed stalk-type plug keep you working.
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   The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw is powered by a Bosch #BAT026, 18-volt, 2.4Ah battery pack. This jigsaw is also available in 14.4V (#52314) and 24V (#52324) versions. Of the three, the 18V model seemed best suited for occasional woodworking shop duty and was selected for this review.

   To minimize downtime, Bosch includes their BC004, 1hr fast-charger that refreshes Bosch 7.2V to 24V batteries. The BAT026 battery and charger feature the mistake-preventing keyed stalk connector that guarantees that the pack is installed in the jigsaw or charger securely and with the correct polarity.

Grip and Controls

The grip and controls are positioned for easy use.
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   The top strap handle has a rubber-like insert is comfortable and provides a solid grip for maximum control. The shape and size of the handle make the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw easy to use in virtually any position.

   Below the handle is a cross bar trigger lock, accessible from either side. The trigger lock is easy to operate and prevents the saw from accidentally starting or draining the battery.

   The trigger is true variable speed, allowing the user to control the 0 to 2000SPM (strokes per minute) no-load speed range. Releasing the trigger engages an electronic brake that smoothly stops the blade quickly.

   A pair of finger-operated levers control four levels of blade orbit and turns the chip blower on or off.

Instant Blade Changing

The Bosch One-TouchTM blade changing system is the fastest and easiest on the planet.
Click image to enlarge

   The #Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw features the ingenious Bosch One-TouchTM blade changing system that uses their patented T-style blades exclusively. The t-style blades are engaged at three points, insuring that they are solidly locked into the plunger.

   Installing and removing the blades is a completely tool-free task. Insert the blade in the plunger until it clicks and start cutting. To remove the blade simply slide the release button on the front of the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw and the blade pops out. Click a new blade in and return to cutting in seconds.

   To get you started, Bosch includes one general-purpose wood cutting blade and another for metal.

Adjustable Footplate

   The footplate is adjustable for angle cuts of 45-degrees to the right or left. Detents are provided at 0, 15, 30 and 45-degrees. The footplate can also be indexed to the rear to allow cutting closer to vertical obstructions in front of the saw. An Allen wrench is included for making adjustments and is stored on-board at the rear of the footplate.

  A slip-on, no-mar footplate cover and snap-in chip-reducing insert are included with the kit.

In the Shop

   The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw feels very comfortable, well balanced and agile when cutting wood. The motor and blade-driving

The Bosch 52318 Jigsaw handles and cuts better than many corded models. It is smooth, accurate and easy to control.
Click image to enlarge

mechanisms are very smooth- operating while delivering plenty of power to handle the toughest cutting jobs.

   The variable-speed trigger is smooth and predictable with a large range of movement that makes holding a specific speed easy. The trigger lock is positive and easy to operate from either side of the handle.

   The Bosch One-TouchTM blade changing system is the easiest, fastest and most secure on the planet. If this system doesn't work for you, give up jigsaws - you are beyond help.

   During testing every thickness and species of wood I could find was cut and the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw handled all of them with ease. Following straight or curved lines with the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw is easy and produces remarkably smooth, square cuts. Of course, not having a cord to become snagged makes cutting easier yet.

   Armed with a variety of Bosch blades the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw consistently cut clean, fast and never lacked power. Ample torque is available throughout the SPM range to make starting or finishing cuts at lower speeds controllable and efficient.

Conclusions

   If top quality tools, reliable performance and long-term value are important, the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw should be in your shop.

   With a street price of $249.99, (2-1-2005) the Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw cordless jigsaw is an impressive tool that is as durable as it is efficient. Bosch quality and engineering means going cordless does not diminish power, accuracy or ease of use.

   Bosch has led the corded jigsaw industry for a long time and appears to have no intention of relinquishing that honor. The Bosch 52318 cordless jigsaw puts them on top of the cordless jigsaw category as well.

Visit the Bosch Tools website!

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