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The Black & Decker JS660 variable-speed orbital jigsaw looks a little out of place when mixed in with the other corded jigs at the local big box. For starters, it’s got a huge See-N-Say-looking “Smart Select” dial that functions as the orbital and speed control and which is -– colorful.

It’s not that we don’t understand what it’s designed to combat and who the saw is aimed at. The consumer who doesn’t know a thing about jigsaws and doesn’t have a ton of cash on hand could spend $40 and get a 5A, seven-position saw with pictures that explain what each setting is good for and how you should be cutting with it.

There’s a market for that, and it’s cool that B&D wants to help those folks out.  I dig the idea — it’s just I can’t picture a full-grown person whipping one of these out in front of someone else and not cringing just a little bit.

We’ve always maintained that what a tool looks like doesn’t really matter.  That’s still true. To be completely fair, getting the job done is worth a great deal more respect than having a sedate-looking saw — however, I’d personally have a little trouble with the Fisher-Price aspect of this particular rig.  Of course, if it was this or nothing I’d have to say functionality beats looking cool any day.

JS660 Jigsaw [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

18 Responses to Black & Decker JS660 Jigsaw

  1. JR says:

    I agree I would rather have performance over looks when it comes to tools.

    So how does this Jigsaw compare to others in the same price point? and against more expensive jigsaws?

  2. brando says:

    i had an earlier model, fire storm i think, and it broke and i didnt have my lowes receipt so they said no, so i emailed black and decker and they said it was under warranty still, but 100 mile trip if i took it to dallas. sucks, the lowes is 8 miles away but anyway… i have a corded drill that has a crappy switch, electric connect not to good. but so far my sanders from b and d havnt gone puh.

    cheers

    brando

  3. Brau says:

    A lifelong friend of mine pulled me into his spare room one day to show me a new red Craftsman toolbox he bought. I just smiled and wryly asked him what he was going to put in it, seeing as I’d never ever seen him wield a tool. He rummaged around in the closet, found a old rusty hammer and a big-ass bent antique Stanley screwdriver, placing them inside. I can see him buying one of these B&D jigsaws … because the pictures tell him what it could (possibly) be used for.

  4. Joe says:

    This is the perfect tool for a McDonald’s employee. They’ll feel right at home after running a cash register with little pictures of fries and shakes on the keys!

  5. fred says:

    We probably should not make fun of B&D for targeting the market segment that they have with their B&D line. My issue is with them dumbing down their PC line too.

  6. 1: Find pictures of seven different severed body parts.

    2: Print on little stickers.

    3: Redecorate!

  7. erin says:

    Meh. Don’t put the blame on B&D; they’re just responding to an overall shift in the way Americans get their info. My friends in high-school or college-education jobs say that’s how it is with the kids these days–they expect icons for everything. They don’t want to be bothered with having to read or learn how something works; they just want to start using it.

    I think this is like comparing a entry-model point-and-click digi camera with a digital SLR geared for pros. Of course the pro version has more adjustments and leaves it up to the operator to figure out, but the person who buys the entry model just wants to be able to pick the thing up and start using it.

  8. Jim says:

    This is a little more colorful, but basically the same as the icons on my Festool jigsaw and on my Festool Variable speed plunge saw. For most, this would be a great addition for all the owners of those 16-speed drill presses with the two pulleys who have no idea of what speed to run a 1/8″ twist bit in steel vs. a 3/8″ twist bit is steel vs. a 1 1/2″ hole saw in aluminum. They do not know and are often too lazy to look it up or change the setting, Producing an inferior hole or buring up the bit is less effort. I am a big fan of information/data/guidance at the source.

  9. Joe C. says:

    Jim, people who “do not know and are often too lazy to look it up or change the setting” and buy tools with multiple, variable settings . . . should not!

    On the other hand, pictograms like B&D’s that actually communicate something are better than a lot of the ones I see that are either indiscernible or counter intuitive.

  10. Jaxx says:

    I hope a little alarm sounds to remind them to put a different blade in when trying to cut metal with a rip blade.

  11. Boom says:

    I have to agree, that icons are a GREAT way to go. I’m a graphic and interface designer, and there’s a real purpose behind this choice, and you have all already pointed it out.

    The problem with this execution, is that B&D chose to use “cute colored icons” for a tool intended for a less than cute demographic.

    If this jigsaw was for kids… perfect. But a better choice would be to simply change the icons to black and white (or better yet, colors that blend in with the tool) and suddenly it doesn’t look like a toy anymore.

    I love the idea of picking up a piece of technology, and learning to use it through basic icons and simply intuition. B&D is on to something, but someone in the graphics department needs to hang out with some woodworkers.

  12. robl says:

    We are all pressed for time. Seriously, too lazy to look things up? Wouldn’t you rather have that information on your tools or as close to them as possible? Looking things up, especially with the current power of the internet, is great but it is a time waster that I am always trying to minimize. I have notes all over the place that tell me exactly what I need for repetetive maintenance tasks. Thanks for the tip though, I am going to print up drill press settings and tips and tape them to the side of mine! I haven’t decided if I will use any wild colors or pictures yet.

  13. TommyP says:

    I have to admit, I have an older and what looks like less fancy B&D jigsaw much like this. The great thing about the plastic case in came with, is I still have the instruction manual so every three months or so when I use the thing and can’t remember what the settings are for, I can try to find the correct ENGLISH instructions for MY jigsaw (the instructions cover about three different tools) to find what I need.

    The icons might be easier, I’ll just use it in my own backyard or garage.

  14. Mark H says:

    I don’t really care about the pictures.Those settings are a long hard solution to just a variable speed trigger.There are more basic problems with this model- I bought one, exchanged it and have the same problems with #2.The”accubevel” soleplate adjustment won’t set flat, the guide notch tracks about a 1/4 ” off the cut line, you can’t see the line-of-sight guide arrow on the front because it’s all the same color, and it doe not come with a rip guide, nor have I found one to fit.Fubar!

  15. Paul S says:

    C’mon guys (and Gals), I’m just starting with woodworking (I’m not a MacDonalds employee, and am extremely intelligent) I dont mind having this tool at all…It’s getting the job done for me thus far on 3 different projects. While B&D has a target market, not all of us can afford 100+ for a tool I’m going to use maybe 10 times in my lifetime. Smarten up Oh tool snobs! There’s more to this market than meet’s the eye…and there’s a place for this tool in my toolbox.

  16. Daniel S. says:

    This type of icon usage is society recycling an old idea. When Egypt was at it’s apex in the arts and sciences, and the ruler of the world, it used icons in every aspect of life, just look at the pyramids. Ancient graffiti was written in this form too. The language of the time and quite effective.

    • fred B says:

      Easy there, egghead. We’re talking about tools here, which means they have to look tough and manly. So the pictures have ancient historical significance and your answer is well thought out as well as interesting… but were you drinking an American beer in the garage when you typed it? If not, then we don’t care. If you were, then ok… You’re in the club.

  17. Val says:

    “So how does this Jigsaw compare to others in the same price point? and against more expensive jigsaws?”

    Still waiting for the answers to these questions … but thanks to the one person who bothered to include any useful information about the product itself. I thought it was just my perception because it’s just slightly off but I guess the soleplate issue isn’t an isolated one…

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