Hitachi CJ110MV Jigsaw

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This article is from Issue 9 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Like the proverbial hot knife through butter, this hefty tool slices through all kinds of material with ease.

The first thing i noticed about it when I pulled The Hitachi CJ110MV jigsaw from its box is that it is a substantial saw. With its beefy 5.8-amp motor, it weighs in at just under 5 lbs. Hitachi markets the saw as the lightest in its class and for a saw as powerful as this one, it does handle very well. The controls fall to hand naturally, even for a lefty like me. And the green and black casing is an elastomer compound that is soft enough to give a bit of cushion from the normal vibration of a jigsaw.

In action, the saw has some key features to make it useful in almost any situation. First, it has a surprisingly powerful LED light that shines down just in front of the blade. When combined with an extremely effective blower that keeps dust from accumulating in front of the blade, you’ll never have to worry about being able to see your cut line with the CJ110MV.

So the next question is, how does it cut? The simple answer is remarkably well. The more complex answer is remarkably well on almost any job you’d ever want to use a jigsaw for. With the right blade and the proper settings for the variable speed and four-position orbital action, the CJ110MV will cut 2"-thick maple, ¾" MDF, ¼" hardwood plywood, sheet metal and almost anything in between.

Before I put the saw to work, I skimmed the manual to make sure I understood the controls and knew how to install the blade. (One blade is included in the box, the only accessory included with the saw.) The manual is typical for a modern tool and provided adequate information.

BLADE CHANGES ARE EASY with this jigsaw’s built-in, spring-loaded locking lever

To begin  

Blade installation is simple. The black, curved lower front part of the case is actually a lever that releases the blade holder. The blade slips into the holder and is locked in when you release the spring-loaded lever. The first time I installed the blade, it didn’t seat properly. But the problem was obvious since the blade was angled oddly and once I pulled the lever open again and jiggled the blade, it sat snugly in its place.

With the blade installed, I plugged the saw in and gave the trigger a quick pull. The saw’s power was immediately obvious. The motor starts smoothly and quickly winds up to speed. I set the motor on maximum speed (3000 SPM) and maximum orbital action and made some test cuts in ¾" plywood. The saw cut through this material like the proverbial hot knife through butter. It tracked on a straight line quite easily. The blower and LED made sure the line was always visible. Curved cuts too were no problem, with the saw being easy to handle and control.

BUILT-IN BLOWER AND BRIGHT LED light the way and keep your cut line clear.

The one problem I did notice with these settings was noticeable tearout on both sides of the cut. I decided to turn the orbital action down and then off to see what the effect would be. With no orbital action, the cut required noticeably more forward pressure on the saw, but the quality of the resulting cut was remarkable. It was as smooth as I’ve ever seen from a jigsaw. There was no splintering or tearout on either side of the board. And even on a long cut with an aggressive feed rate, the saw never faltered. The electronic speed control maintained blade speed and the motor produced little noticeable heat. I stepped up to 8/4 hard maple, just to confirm the saw’s power. With the orbital action set at maximum, the saw cut through the maple like it wasn’t even there. The CJ110MV can clearly handle your most demanding jigsaw tasks.

The base tilts up to 45° in either direction for angled cuts. When I began looking at the adjustment of the base, I noticed that the 90° stop has a few degrees of slop in it — the first time I checked the angle, it was about 3° off square. I used a small engineer’s square to correct this. Precision of the 90° angle is usually not a huge deal with jigsaw operations, but it’s something to be aware of. Adjustment is made by loosening an allen bolt in a recess in the base, moving the base forward (to clear the 90° stop), selecting an angle and then re-tightening the bolt.

THE BASE IS ADJUSTABLE to 45° in either direction.

There is an etched scale for the angle of the base, but it is difficult to see so you’ll probably need to check the angle by other means. Hitachi provides an allen key with the saw and even designed a convenient place on the base for storage so it’s always available when you need it.

One of the few accessories available for the CJ110MV is a dust collection attachment. It looks like a miniature corner attachment for a shop vac and it attaches through the base. The front opening ends up fairly close to the blade and the back projects far enough out to conveniently hook up a dust collection hose of the proper size. The hose for my sander attached easily. The hose didn’t impact the balance and usability of the saw too badly. However, without another accessory — the chip cover for the front of the saw — the dust collection appears to do nothing at all. The manual does advise using the chip cover for maximum effectiveness.

I also tested a splinter guard — a small plastic piece intended to help reduce splintering on the top side of a cut. I noticed no difference with it installed. Finally, I attached the accessory resin sub-base. This attaches easily and provides protection for softer materials from damage by the metal base.

VARIABLE SPEED AND FOUR-POSITION ORBITAL action let you dial-in optimum cutting performance on everything from rough lumber to venerred plywood.

Let me finish by admitting that I lied to you when I said the first thing I noticed about this saw was its substantial feel. In reality, the first thing I noticed was its color scheme. Yes, as you can see in the picture, like other new Hitachi tools, the CJ110MV sports a bright green and black patchwork pattern on its case. And in my personal opinion, it is ugly. (The word my wife used when she saw it was “icky.”) The design, while different and bold, just doesn’t appeal to me. Fortunately that seems to be the only bad thing about the saw. (And I have to admit that it seems to be growing on me as I get used to the capabilities of this tool.)

At $99, the CJ110MV is a real bargain. Saws with comparable capabilities range from $110 to $160 street price. The CJ110MV doesn’t come with a case or a dust collection attachment, but if you can live without those, this capable tool will seemingly do anything you need it to do without breaking the bank.

— Dave Eames-Harlan is a freelance writer and woodworker hailing from Moscow, Idaho.


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