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Milwaukee #6268-21 Jig Saw
Contractor Tough – Woodworker Features
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
New from the folks at Milwaukee Electric Tool is their #6268-21, top strap jig saw. Though loaded with up-to-date features, the Milwaukee #6268-21 retains the contractor-tough construction that has made them famous for decades.
Power & Controls
The Milwaukee #6268-21 is powered by a 6.5-amp motor that seems stronger than its rating. It is also smooth running and clearly responsive to changes in the trigger and speed control. Throughout the stroke-per-minute range, the Milwaukee #6268-21 motor has plenty of power for all of the cutting tasks we could think of.
The layout of the Milwaukee #6268-21 controls is traditional but the size and ease of reach is anything but. All user controls have oversized knobs or levers that make using them on the job easy. Positive detents make accidental adjustments almost difficult to do. Even the “lock-on” button that is so often either in the way or hard to reach is simple on the Milwaukee #6268-21. Protected by a guard ring, the lock-on button is large and easy to depress when you want to and very difficult to engage by accident.
The large trigger incorporates a thumb wheel speed control dial that allows on-the-fly adjustments of the stroke rate within the available 0 to 3000 range. The control dial has six numbered positions and a chart in the instruction manual provides suggested settings for various materials. There is also a chart on the side of the Milwaukee #6268-21 with suggested speeds and orbital settings for basic material groups.
Blade orbiting is controlled by a four position lever, the “0” position turning the orbital action off completely. The range of orbiting action allows configuring the Milwaukee #6268-21 for whatever combination of blade and material is being worked on.
The blower control has 10 detents, including the off position. The blower is effective and the control allows dialing in just enough of that power to keep the dust off the cut line without blowing it all over the shop.
Changing the angle of the shoe is a tool-free operation thanks to a large lever under the motor that releases and secures it. The shoe has detents at “0” (straight up and down) as well as 45-degrees to either side. The shoe can be set and locked at any angle within the 45-degree range.
A mar-free shoe cover comes with the kit and snaps securely into place. A nice touch in the design of the cover is that it is not needed for the dust collection to work and does not reduce that effectiveness when installed. The shoe cover also holds a snap-in splinter reducing insert that acts like a zero-clearance plate.
The shoe also has a port designed to work with the accessory (#48-09-1040) vacuum hose to connect the Milwaukee #6268-21 to a shop vac. A plastic, snap-in shield around the front of the shoe increases the effectiveness of that dust port.
The hot word in jig saws over the last few years is blade changing and the Milwaukee #6268-21 incorporates a modern-day system for that task as well. A slider lever on the front of the Milwaukee #6268-21 housing releases the old blade and accepts the new one, locking it in place when released.
The Milwaukee #6268-21 uses the popular T-Shank blades that you can find just about anywhere. Using that type of blade also gives you a huge range of blade designs from which to choose.
To help prevent unwanted angles or wandering of the blade, a grooved guide roller is located below the blade plunger. This extra point of contact helps prevent the blade from deflecting when the operator applies side pressure during the cut, as so many do. While no blade control system is 100% effective, the Milwaukee #6268-21 comes as close as any I have seen.
No matter where you position an external light source, the nature of a jig saw and its curved cut capability means your cut line will go dark sooner or later, with other jig saws. Milwaukee added an LED light that does a surprisingly good job of illuminating the area where the blade meets the wood to eliminate that problem. This feature makes so much sense I wonder why it is not on all jig saws.
In the Shop
The Milwaukee #6268-21 feels good in the hand, thanks in part to the large rubber over mold along the top and forward portion of the grip area. The handle appears large but fits the hand well and gives a solid feel of control. Whether cutting curves or following a straight layout line, the Milwaukee #6268-21 is easy to use accurately.
The handle seems to be located well and places your hand and arm in a comfortable position. Also, when following a clamped on fence, the Milwaukee #6268-21 does not want to wander away from it. The alignment of the shoe and blade is good, making tracking a no brainer.
All of the controls, including the variable speed trigger work smoothly with no surprises. Milwaukee chose to include the important functions and design them to work solidly. The engineers earned their money on this tool.
While I have seen work lights on other tools, the LED “headlight” on the Milwaukee #6268-21 works better than any I have tried. Not seeing the cut line because of poor light or shadows just is not a problem with this saw.
Despite cutting every species of wood in the shop, the Milwaukee #6268-21 powered through them all without a hint of trouble. The motor is more than strong enough for woodworking but smooth enough to be comfortable during long use periods.
With a street price of $166.99 (4-16,2006) the Milwaukee #6268-21 represents a good value for your dollars. Milwaukee’s traditional “build-it-tough” manufacturing means that investment will be spread over decades to come, increasing the bang for the buck even further.
If you need a jig saw, give the Milwaukee #6268-21 a hard look.
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