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Bosch includes a nice case with the saw, along with the mar-proof plate, anti-splinter insert and three blades to get you started.
Click image to enlarge

Bosch 1587AVSK Jigsaw Kit

A look at the industry standard

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   The hand-held jigsaw seems to have lost some of its attraction for many woodworkers. The Bosch 1587AVSK jigsaw brings capabilities that more than justify taking a second look at the modern iteration of this tool.

Initial Impressions

   When first lifting the Bosch 1587AVSK from its included case it felt larger and heavier than I anticipated. The impression of size comes from its 10 5/8" length, much of which is the 5.0 amp motor. The weight of the motor combined with extensive use of heavy-duty cast metal in critical areas adds up to a 5.5 lb total weight.

   The fit and finish of the Bosch 1587AVSK is first rate, as is the layout of the controls. Even before using the Bosch 1587AVSK you get the impression this is a well thought out tool that had quality and usability at the top of the design feature list.

Controls

The controls are easy to use, and easy to get at.
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   All of the controls on the Bosch 1587AVSK are easy to use and explained clearly in the instruction manual. Detents are crisp and easy to feel without making them difficult to operate.

   The curved handle is sized and shaped nicely to provide a solid feel of control without being bulky. The variable speed trigger, built into the handle, works smoothly with just enough resistance to give the operator clear feedback without being tiring. A five-position speed preset dial built into the trigger lets the operator limit blade speed when necessary. A trigger "lock-on" button, located on the right side of the grip, is easy to reach but not so close that accidental engagement is a problem.

   A pair of easy-to-access levers low on the left side control blade orbit and the dust blower. The blade orbit lever has four positions (0 through 3) allowing that function to be set for the job and material. The smaller dust blower lever has three positions, high, medium and off, affording the operator full control of this very handy feature. Turning the dust blower off comes in handy when cutting metal when it's better to let the chips lay.

Base

The cast base is very true to the blade and features a replaceable sole with a mar-proof plastic version supplied with the hit. They even supply extra screws for it!
The insert (on the fingers) snaps into the base and acts like a zero-clearance table saw insert to help reduce splintering.
Click image to enlarge

   The base plate on the Bosch 1587AVSK is cast metal and provides very solid support while cutting. The base is fitted at the factory with a smooth metal shoe that glides on most surfaces easily. A non-marring plastic shoe is supplied in the kit to protect easily scratched surfaces.

   The base and blade are aligned so well that I made a simple guide jig and used the Bosch 1587AVSK like a router or circle saw to make straight cuts. This comes in handy for projects that have some straight cuts mixed in with the curves. It also shows how true the blade and shoe track.

   The base tilts 45-degrees to the left or right and features clear graduation markings on both sides. Returning the base to the 90-degree position is made easier by a detent. The base can be moved to the rear using a separate set of mounting holes. Moving the base back facilitates near-flush cutting at the front of the saw. An Allen wrench is supplied and retained in a molded-in holder at the base of the 8ft-long cord.

   Also included in the kit is an anti-splinter insert that fits around the blade and acts like a zero clearance table saw insert to help reduce splintering.

   Note: The anti-splintering insert requires the use of blades with ground sides to insure clearance between it and the blade.
   The base also has provisions for attaching a Dust Collection Adapter Kit.

No-Tools Blade Changing

Changing blades is easy, and toolless. This is a very nice feature that works very well.
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   One of the pleasures of using the Bosch 1587AVSK is changing blades without having to locate a tool. An ingenious system reduces this task to popping up a top-mounted handle and turning it three times to free the blade for removal. Insert the new blade, give it a quarter turn and turn the top handle until it clicks and the saw is ready for use.

   The Bosch 1587AVSK uses "T-Shank" blades to make use of the no-tools changing system. I noticed at my local supplier that the T-Shank blades cost no more than the more traditional designs and that all of the blade styles were "on the shelf" in the T-Shank design.

In the Shop

   The first thing I noticed about the Bosch 1587AVSK was that it handles very easily while cutting. Following layout lines is easy after very little practice because the saw is very predictable. I think this is due in large part to the smoothness of the operating mechanism that produces very little vibration to influence the movement of the saw on the wood. Part of the operating mechanism is a roller guide for the blade that prevents many of the oscillations that can ruin accuracy and make a jigsaw difficult to handle.

   I also quickly learned that the 5-amp motor has more than enough power to keep the blade at full speed in situations that bog lesser jigsaws. Use the speed preset dial to reduce the rpm and the Bosch 1587AVSK continues cutting with no apparent loss of power.

With the right blade, this saw cuts very tight corners with ease, and doesn't care about things like a knot.
Click image to enlarge

   After making several cuts with a standard-sized blade and finding it easy to negotiate straight lines and curves in the 2 to 3"-radius range, I decided to see how well the Bosch 1587AVSK worked when tighter turns were needed.

   I installed a Bosch T101AO blade (20 tpi, rated for fine, curved cuts) and clamped a piece of pine that featured a large, tight knot in the area I wanted to cut. As you can see in the photo, cutting tight curves is limited primarily by the size of the blade and how well you handle the saw. It takes a little practice to get the feel of how to pivot the saw for the tighter radius cuts but the Bosch 1587AVSK handles the job smoothly.

   I also discovered that the Bosch 1587AVSK just does not slow down when the blade begins to bind in the wood. This is one of the situations where the speed preset dial comes in handy.

   I also tried cutting various miters, both left and right, and found the Bosch 1587AVSK handles them almost as easily as a straight cut. There was no tendency to wander or "slide off" because of the blade angle that I have experienced with other jigsaws.

Overall Impressions

   The placard on the Bosch 1587AVSK at one of the local home improvement centers claims it is the "Best Selling Jigsaw." I can see why. With a street price of about $159.00 (USD) this saw is a real value.

   The use of quality materials and superior engineering produce a jigsaw that handles woodworking tasks with ease and will do so for a very long time. The combination of ultra-smooth action and a well designed grip make following even complicated layout lines easier than with any other jigsaw I have tried.

   The versatility of the Bosch 1587AVSK will bring much needed capabilities to most woodworking shops, but can be even more important to the new or intermediate woodworker who is limited in space and budget. Certainly the Bosch 1587AVSKK cannot replace a bandsaw completely, but it can handle virtually any curve-cutting operation with ease. 

Pricing Link

  If a jigsaw is on your list of needed tools, you owe it to yourself, your shop, and your projects to take a hard look at the Bosch 1587AVSK. The versatility, dependability and ease of use make this a tool that can have a significant positive effect on your work. I believe the Bosch 1587AVSK jigsaw is an investment you will be happy with for many years to come.

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