Mastercraft 12V Lithium-ion Multi Saw

Not a lot of bells and whistles, but it does offer solid construction and a three year warranty

Mastercraft_multisaw

Mastercraft 12V Lithium-ion Multi Saw



There are two lines of Mastercraft tools - 'Mastercraft', geared to the household consumer market, and 'Mastercraft Maximum', which is their professional line. This Mastercraft Multi Saw is part of the consumer line of power tools.



The Multi Saw is a compact tool, measuring about 1-3/4" wide and 9" long. At just over 1-1/2 pounds it's light enough to be used one-handed. The body is made of a high impact ABS plastic, with a rubber overmold covering the handle. The design is somewhat unusual (a bit like a barrel grip jig saw). It provides two hand positions; you can grip the saw along the long barrel portion (which measures about 5" long) or the shorter 2-3/4" arm that houses the motor compartment. However, when holding the shorter arm it's really difficult to reach the trigger and lock-off button with one hand - you need to use both hands. When holding the long barrel you can reach the trigger and lock-off button with finger and thumb, but not in a comfortable manner. However, I realize that the lock-off button adds an element of safety; young children are unlikely to have the dexterity and hand strength to both depress the button and press the on-off trigger simultaneously.
 

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You can hold the Multi Saw in one of two positions, however, reaching both the trigger and lock-off buttons with one hand is a bit awkward
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The Multi Saw is powered by a 1.3Ah 12V lithium-ion battery. Recharging a fully depleted battery took around 40 minutes. Apart from light weight, the great thing about lithium-ion batteries is that they deliver consistent power throughout their discharge cycle (referred to as 'fade free power'). Contrary to what you might have heard, these batteries don't have a memory problem (where the battery looses the ability to recharge to its maximum capacity), and you can leave a fully charged battery in the charger without damaging it. 



There is no charge indicator on the battery, and only one battery comes with the saw (probably reflecting its home consumer market focus). A spare 12V lithium-ion battery (54-1259-2) can be had for $39.99 from Canadian Tire.
 

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All steel shoe
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Tool-free blade change (just press yellow tab)
The Multi Saw feels very solid, and I like the fact that it has a metal shoe, rather than plastic. While the shoe can't be pivoted to make bevel cuts, it can be slightly adjusted to accommodate different blades. At 2" by 3-1/4" I did find the shoe a bit small; a larger shoe both stabilizes the saw in use, and makes it a bit easier to guide when cutting. Mastercraft has thoughtfully stored the Allen key on base of saw. 



You can use either T or U shanked jig saw or reciprocating blades, a nice feature. This is the reason for the 'Multi' in the name of this saw - you can use it as a jig saw or a mini reciprocating saw (I would limit use to 6" recip saw blades). Blades mount very quickly by depressing a blade clamp release lever, and the blade clamping mechanism holds blades firmly and securely in place.
 

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Blade change over takes a few seconds
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The Multi Saw accepts T and U shanked jig saw and reciprocating blades
The blade runs at 1,850 strokes per minute (SPM) and has a 5/8" stroke length. This is a good compromise for a consumer grade saw. With an appropriate blade it cuts through 3/4" sheet goods, 1" hard wood and 1-1/2" softwood fairly quickly. There is no variable speed feature on this saw, it's 1,850 SPM or nothing. I found blade wander to be minimal, and vibration to be reasonable for the size and power rating of the saw. Switching to a premium blade, like the Bosch T308B, makes quite a difference in the quality of cut, and it seems, how quickly the blade cuts.



The Multi Saw doesn't have a built in dust blower; I found it necessary to continually whisk dust away from the cut line. This limited the usefulness of the built-in LED work light, which helps you follow your cut line, particularly in less than ideal lighting situations. In fact, I would have preferred a dust blower over the work light.
 

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No dust blower
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If the blade release clamp doesn't spring back into place, simply push it back
I used the Multi Saw to cut a variety of materials in various thicknesses, including MDF, plywood, hardwood and softwood. The saw can handle sheet goods with no problem. The saw had a harder time cutting through hardwood thicker than about 1-1/2". 



Using a reciprocating blade it cut through 2 by 4 studs quite easily. After removing and installing blades half a dozen times the blade release clamp remained stuck in the open position; thereafter I had to manually push the metal rod in the quick clamp assembly manually. I didn't find this to be a major problem (the saw works fine), and it would be covered under the product warranty.
 

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Makes quick work of cutting sheet stock
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Does a decent job cutting hardwood up to about 1 1/2"
The Mastercraft Multi Saw doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it does offer solid construction and a reliable lithium-ion battery. You also get Canadian Tire's 3 year replacement warranty; one of the best deals form a big box store.

KEY FEATURES:
  • 12V lithium-ion battery
  • 1,850 SPM
  • 5/8" blade stroke
  • Tool-free blade change
  • Accepts T and U shanked blades
  • Lock-off button
  • Electric brake
  • Adjustable steel shoe
  • Dual position grip
  • LED worklight
  • 1 lb, 9 oz (without battery)
  • 3 year warranty
  • Includes: 1 battery, 30 minute battery charger, carry case, 2 blades, instruction booklet
MANUFACTURER:Mastercraft
AVAILABLE FROM:Canadian Tire
RETAIL PRICE:$119.99
MODEL #:054-1234-0
MADE IN:China
NOTE: This product has been discontinued

Carl Duguay, July 2010
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