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After six years of use and abuse, our Worx Revovler recip saw has managed to grow a rather unheathly attachment to its blade. We were cutting railroad ties in half at a friend’s place when we noticed it just wasn’t getting through them any more and it was time to change the blade. The normal process of pushing the button and releasing the blade didn’t work, either: it was stuck.

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Despite the Tim Allen-grunt-inspired popularity of chainsaws, we’ve recommended safety saws for most homeowners. They’re not as versatile as full-on chainsaws, but they trade a little bit of utility for a ton and a half of safety, which can make all the difference for someone who probably picks up a saw only once or twice a year. We’ve heard plenty of good things about Black & Decker’s Alligator Lopper, and Worx offers something sort of similar — but even simpler in operational terms. They call it the JawSaw, and it’s a little cheaper now than when it was first introduced.

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It seems that more than one or two folks like to have the basic small cutting ability of a chainsaw without the sometimes very costly learning curve that goes along with running one. So in addition to the Alligator Lopper from Black & Decker comes the Worx Jaw Saw.

In operation it works much like the old Nerf-style robo-grabbers you might have had when you were a kid. Put something smaller than 4″ in the jaws and squeeze the handle. Instead of two little grabbers, a chainsaw blade swings down and cuts whatever’s between the bottom jaw and the blade. It can even be put directly on the ground and operated that way without fear of stopping the chain or kicking into your leg. Bonus.

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As I was paging through Popular Mechanics, a picture of the Worx TriVac popped out at me; before reading any of the ad copy, I wondered what that funny bypass tube on the bottom of the nozzle was. I learned later that it’s what allows you to switch the TriVac from a vacuum to a blower with a flip of the lever. That’s a cool concept if I ever saw one! Imagine not having to store extra parts or accidentally break tabs off changing from blower to vacuum and back again.

Not only can you change from vacuum to blower without changing a bunch of tubes like other blower/vacs, Worx claims you can adjust the blower airflow through a built-in regulator — they’re a little sketchy on the details, though. The 12A motor produces an air stream with a speed of over 210MPH, or enough suction to pick up 14 gallons of dry leaves in a minute, all while staying under 70 dB (about the volume of people having a normal conversation).

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worx rolabit

My dad always asked me, “Why are you looking for a solution when there was never a problem in the first place?” Many companies tackle tool “problems” by re-inventing products — some of their solutions end up being useless, and some end up being revolutionary. But whether it’s useless or revolutionary, one thing’s for sure: the Worx Rolabit drill and driver bit dispenser looks like granny’s recipe rolodex on steroids.

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The only thing this mower doesn’t use to catch the eye is chrome – though I must confess if it did I would just have to have one, so this way is probably better.  The WG712 does have a great deal of mower bling, however.  It’s Worx entry into the “next-gen” lawncare market and looks to make a stylish statement.

The rugged yet sporty — did I actually just call a mower sporty? – electric (yep, it’s electric) mower is built for small yards and homes with its small footprint and even smaller blade.  The 13 Amp motor provides cutting power for the 16″ blade. The cutting deck adjusts from 3/4″ to 2 3/4″ with the one-hand mechanism.  The handle folds and collapses for a compact, easy-to-store form factor.  The grass box holds up to 13 gallons of clippings and detaches for emptying.

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While growing up I became all too familiar with the joys of string trimmers.  “Let the boy do it” was a familiar phrase.  We had a big-ass yard — 2 acres fenced in with chain link – so electric models were out.  (Who has a cord that long?)  Though gas powered trimmers are great for commercial work, for my job they seemed a bit like sand blasting a soup cracker.  The Worx 18v cordless string trimmer splits the difference: it’s electric — but cordless — so you (theoretically) get the best of both worlds. 

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All the cordless lately in tool releases sometimes overshadows some really cool innovations in corded tools and robs them of proper mention in tool news — like, for example, the Bladerunner circular saw with the Revolver system from Worx

Worx released the Revolver line of swivel grip tools in 2005; The most recent release in the line is their recip saw, which we reviewed quite positively a while back.  The Bladerunner bares the same 60 degree handle rotation that graces the recip, so we imagine it’d be quite useful as well.

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worx-main.jpgWe’ve used more than a few reciprocating saws.  In fact, we have a couple we own, and we’ve got a couple in the shop right now that we’re testing for Toolmonger.  Worx, however, really caught our eye with their new Assault recip — the latest release in their Revolver line of moving-handle tools.

Unboxing 

The assault arrives in a molded plastic form-fitting case that also includes a well-thought-out section for carrying blades.  The “blade box” has a piece of foam in it that prevents the blades from rattling around when you carry it from job to job. 

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OK, seriously.  Let’s just get this out of the way right now: When we first opened the case and saw the Assault, it looked more to us like an alien weapon than a normal powered hand tool.  (Think of it as a Decepticon-green colored plasma rifle from Halo.)  But when you pick it up it all starts to make sense.  Let’s run down its features:

worx-positions.jpgThe Assault’s most noticeable feature is the Revolver handle — a system that allows you to rotate the grip up to 60-degrees to find the most comfortable form-factor then lock it down.  This doesn’t sound like a big deal when you read about it, but believe us when we tell you that it is a big deal in person.  When you’re working with your recip saw high above you or down near the ground — and who doesn’t?  That  is why they make a ”demolition” blade, right? – a standard grip forces your arm, wrist, and elbow into funny angles.  Besides just being uncofortable, Worx research suggests that these type of awkward postures also increase the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. 

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To position the handle, you simply unclamp the release mechanism, rotate the handle to the desired position and re-clamp it.  The mechanism has a lot of teeth, so you don’t have to wiggle it or anything to get it to clamp back down.  In the full “up” position, the handle approximates the shape that you’re used to on a standard recip saw.  In the full “down” position, it’s much easier to use down low.  Once clamped, there’s no vibration or “play” in the Revolver system; It’s as if the tool had been constructed the way you just set it.

worx-ordbitselector.jpgThe Assault also lets you adjust its “orbital action” to increase it for faster cuts in wood.  There are four settings, dialed in via a locking switch on the side of the tool.  According to Worx, the zero setting is best for metal while the one, two, and three settings are better for softer materials.

The blade is installed using a keyless clamp system that’s handy as hell.  We’ve lost the “key” for more than one recip saw and ended up searching the hex-wrench set to find a match when we needed the saw in a hurry.  On the Assault you just push the button next to the mount, insert the standard-format blade, and release the button. 

The Assault’s front shoe is also adjustable with a button larger than but similar to the one on the blade clamp system.  The shoe can extend to a number of different lengths to help stabilize and orient the tool while cutting, and can even be removed if necessary.

worx-lights.jpgTwo bright white LED lights hide in the nose of the Assault to provide lighting when you’re cutting in the dark.  A rubberized switch in the top of the Assault turns them on and off, though they only operate while the saw is running.

The body of the tool features a rubber-coated die-cast aluminum gear case. The rubber coating makes the Assault easy to hold and control, and (ok, this is a bit miniscule, but) it also emits a crazy-good “new tool” smell when you open the box .  The body’s shape also makes it easy to keep a good grasp on the tool.

The Assault’s 10 AMP motor is servicable, and removing a screw on the side of the motor’s bottom protrusion from the tool provides access to its replaceable brushes.  Pulling the trigger actuates the Assault’s variable speed motor control system, varying from 500 to 2,700 no-load strokes per minute.  A nearby button locks the trigger in the on position for long continuous use, and another squeeze of the trigger releases it.

Worx seems quite to be quite detail-oriented as the 10 ft. power cable comes with a velcro cable-tie. 

The one drawback to the Assault: It’s a bit heavy, weighing in at nearly 10 lbs.

In Use

worx-inuse.jpgHere’s where the Assault really shines. We took the sample tool out to the shop and gave it a go on metal, wood and some other materials.  We were surprised at how little vibration we felt in the handle compared to other corded recip saws we’ve used.  The Revolver rotating handle does indeed simplify many cuts, and we found ourselves moving the handle around a little each time we picked up the tool to use it.

We tried the Assault out on some 11-gauge square tubing and it performed admirably, plowing right on through it like butter with the included metal blade.  The Assault uses blades of standard type, so if you’ve already got a few blades around (like we do) you’ll be able to use them. 

By setting the shoe out as far as possible for each cut we made we were also able to reduce vibration and kick even more.  Combined with the rotary handle, this makes for a very comfortable-to-use tool.

Summary

We were very impressed with the Worx Assault, both in terms of the features it offers and its performance in common use.  Worx clearly paid a lot of attention to detail in its design, incorprating lots of practical features such as the keyless blade clamp, adjustable shoe, and a serviceable motor.  The Revolver rotary handle is much more useable in person than it appears on the page, and can help take the hurt out of a long cutting session.  If you use a corded recip saw in demolition, take note.  This could help make your hands stop hurting.

One caveat:  For most people who work with a recip saw regularly, the extra weight won’t make much of a difference and is easily offset by the comfort of the rotary grip, rubber-coated casing, and smooth operation.  But, if you’re small of frame and don’t lift much, you might want to seek a lighter model.

Street pricing starts around $130, and it’s available via home imrpovement and hardware stores as well as via a number of outlets online.

The Revolver Assault Reciprocating Saw [Worx]
Street Pricing [Froogle]