We all have our personal lists of tools we really need, and then there are those we’d love to have, but for one reason or another cannot justify owning. Whether it’s due to not having the physical space to accommodate or simply not having the extra money to spare, we’re often relegated to “multi-tasking” with certain tools at hand, and by that we mean performing particular tasks with tools that weren’t meant to do so. As long as safety’s not an issue, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you wind up having to factor in an additional tool to properly finish the task, as is the case when cutting material with an angle grinder (where a file or sander is often required to “straighten” your not-so-straight cut), your reasoning for not having that certain tool—say, a band saw—comes into question.
As we all know, your traditional band saw is not only considerably more expensive than most top-of-the-line angle grinders, it takes up considerably more space, the latter of which likely being the reason many of us don’t own one to begin with. For years now, HEM Saw has offered a solution to space constraints with its line of benchtop utility saws. However, both the Femi NG120 and NG160 are fairly sizable investments, something even their compact size has a hard time justifying on the average hobbyist’s budget. Fortunately, HEM’s most recent offering, the new Femi 782XL utility saw, has the lower of the above-mentioned beat by half the retail price. Further, with minor performance and cutting capacity sacrifice, the overall size and weight (35 pounds) have been reduced. And unlike its “hand saw” brethren, the 782XL can be outfitted with an accessory work table, enabling it to be used vertically as a band saw.
Equipped with a two-speed, 1.3hp, 115V motor, Femi’s entry-level saw has the capability of efficiently severing up to 4-inch round and 3 3/4-inch square tubing. With its one-way miter cutting feature, maximum size for both round/square is 2 1/2 inches when used at 45 degrees. Regardless the type of material, the saw’s vise helps ensure straight, even cuts when used manually with the blade guide set accordingly; an included bar stop allows cutting of multiple pieces at desired length. Turning the 782XL into a mini band saw requires the additional purchase of Femi’s individual vertical worktable, which simply clamps in place via the saw’s existing vise (when used, the handle trigger is overridden by a supplied clip that holds it in the “on” position). Supplied with 1/2x52 1/2-inch 8-12 tooth-per-inch bi-metal blade, finer (10-14 and 14 TPI) blades are also available from the manufacturer as well as various suppliers.
For anyone who’s finicky about cutting metal—and quite possibly tired of doing so with handheld electric grinders—consider an alternative like the Femi 782XL.