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Although the Stanley Fat-Max Extreme Instant-Change Saw System was announced last year, I finally saw it in the wild for the first time at Menards. Stanley also released what seems to be an identical product under their Bostitch brand, which has been on sale online for a while.

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We’ve covered a similar replaceable blade handsaw, the Ergo Handsaw System, in the past and our readers seemed underwhelmed. I can’t say I understand the appeal of one handle with many blades myself, especially when you’re really not saving much money over a full saw.

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Stanley claims their Instant-Change system allows you to swap seven different blades in seconds. From the Bostitch website, here is a list of the blades you can choose:

  • 15″ blade armor aggressive (9 PPI / 8 TPI)
  • 20″ blade armor aggressive (9 PPI / 8 TPI)
  • 15″ lacquered fine finish (12 PPI/11 TPI)
  • 15″ lacquered aggressive (9 PPI / 8 TPI)
  • 20″ lacquered fine finish (12 PPI/11 TPI)
  • 14″ lacquered backsaw blade (12 PPI/11 TPI)
  • 17″ pruning saw blade (8 PPI/7 TPI)
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To release the blade you lift the lever on the side of the aluminum handle, then press the red locking button towards the top of the handle. Once you’ve removed the blade you insert the new one into the handle and push the lever on the side of the handle back down.

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Pricing for the Bostitch version of the starter pack, which includes one handle, two blades, and a case, can be found starting around $20. There doesn’t seem to be anybody selling the FatMax Extreme version online, and I have to admit I forgot what the pricing was for the starter kit at Menards, but as you can see in the pictures, the replacement handle costs $11, while the different blades run from from $9 to $12.

Instant Change [Press Release]
Instant Change
[Stanley]
Instant Change [Bostitch]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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18 Responses to Instant-Change: One Handle, Many Blades

  1. Simon says:

    This is a solution looking for a problem IMHO.

  2. uqbar says:

    Bad idea. The real cost of a handle is very small compared to the cost of a blade. Not worth the inconvenience of having to do a handle switch when you change saws. Looks like an attempt to apply the “gillette model” – give away the handle and sell the blades.

  3. Jerry says:

    I see that I have to add agreement to the others here. I am generally opposed to most of these types of tools. I’d rather just buy each saw that I may need – complete with handles and all other parts. It’s nice to reach for and retrieve the saw you need. It’s not so nice to reach for the handle and then determine just which blade (and where is that blade?) you need. A tool that uses one part as a handle and has many other useful parts needs to be more sensible like a ratchet with multiple sockets to fit.
    Christmas is coming so a lot of guys will sadly end up with this bit of “stuff.”

  4. fred says:

    @ Jerry

    Probably a bit better than some of the tools that get marketed at Christmas and Father’s Day as the latest and greatest. So if the kids buy you it with one blade maybe you get a bit over-priced but decent toolbox saw. Maybe just as good as all those dog-bone wrenches being marketed this season – and better than the battery operated adjustable wrench that B&D was pushing a year or 2 ago.

    I also see that Stanley is putting the Bostich name on a bunch of tools that takes that brand pretty far afield from nailers and staplers. Lowes is selling Bostitch ratcheting action adjustable wrencehes – as an example

  5. AK-John says:

    Hmm…I can see that economically there won’t be any cost savings. However, I was looking for this exact thing earlier this year when I bought a new fatmax handsaw and whoops! – sawed through a darn nail. The new blade dulled up and it seemed wasteful to just throw away that nice handle. I tried to buy a replacement blade, but no luck. I may be interested just to be able to replace the blades.

  6. russ says:

    I bought a similar one of these, a Stanley, not Stanley FatMax. I was looking for a saw to cut branches on some of my trees. I didn’t need a large one. I got it for about $12 at HD. It came with 3 blades, the size I wanted, a smaller one, and one for cutting metal. I love it, it works great and fast. Blade change is quick.

  7. Phil says:

    About the only real advantage I can see with this system is that it might help people with very limited shop space. Saws with handles attached take up more room than a detachable handle and a flat stack of blades.

  8. Jim says:

    @AK-John,

    Sharpen the blade. If you have the correct file, you can sharpen the blade much faster than it would take to drive to the store and back.

    If the solution is to buy replacement blades, then the biggest concern I have with this product is the potential availability of blades in 10+ years. You are betting they will still be readily available, which is a risky bet.

    I regularily use a finishing handsaw my grandfather used daily when he was a carpenter in the steel mill (he left in 1954). Keep it sharp, cuts like a dream.

    Jim

  9. Brau says:

    Ahh, the handle with replaceable saw blades has been around as long as I am old, at least. My father owned second hand saws with this feature. I suppose for the mobile woodworker this might be a good thing as you could carry a number of saws in a small space in a tool box.

  10. Pete in Elma Wa says:

    For hand saws, I switched to pull saws a few years ago, have no use for these, and if my kids, or other family members give me one for Xmas I may have to have a long talk with them.

  11. Andrew says:

    This is the kind of thing that looks good to folks that don’t really know much about how to buy tools. The blades will be cheaply made and will dull quickly–and gosh, you’ll have to buy more blades! Funny how that works.

    The moderately priced Japanese pull saws (the good ones from Japan) have very sharp blades with hardened teeth. They last a long time, and can be replaced at moderate cost. The Japan Woodworker has a great selection (just a satisfied customer).

  12. Dave says:

    You’ve got to look outside the box on this. You’re all thinking about the blades. But this opens up a whole new market for handles. Just think about it, Stanley can now offer handles with different options. None of which would be found in my tool box. However, you’ve got the leather covered, the diamond encrusted, the studded, the electric with flashing lights. There might be a special one for Christmas, Halloween, or that other special occasion.

  13. Jim says:

    @Dave,

    And off course (not to be criticized for saying it)………..the laser!

    Jim

  14. Jim K. says:

    I’m with Jim on this one. A decent saw set and the right file will go a long way. I just can’t stand to see good tools go to waste because people no longer will take the time to care for them. To be fair though, I don’t use saws daily for a living and if I did the cost/labor equation might force saws with replacement blades to look more appealing.

  15. fred says:

    @Jim and Andrew

    As far as I can tell – most of these new toolbox saws have induction hardened teeth that stay sharp over a fair period of time but once dulled defy sharpening with a file.

  16. jimmy says:

    What? and it DOESN’T have a laser in the grip?

  17. Old as Dirt says:

    We missed the whole point of this saw.It isn’t for you to use it’s for your neighbor who constantly borrows your your good tools and proceeds to damage them and denies it.

  18. Daniel says:

    Just buy a traditional saw and get it over with. I think the old days are better than these days because they come up with a lot of innovations that does not necessarily promote convenience instead, it leaves a lot of doubt among the customers.

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