Speaking as one of the guys who makes them, I’m a bit biased, but
they’re very simple to use.
We joke about them being an ‘unsewing’ machine.
You have control over the blade stroke speed, all the way from dead
stopped, to about 200 strokes per minute. How good the control is
depends on which foot pedal you use. It uses standard flex-shaft
foot pedals. It doesn’t come with one, because we figure most people
have a couple of extra foot pedals kicking around anyway. Why add
another $150 when you’ve probably already got one?
Personally, I recommend the little Lucas Lo-Boy pedals, they’ve got
a very good low end. They’ll let you creep along, with the blade
just barely moving, if that’s what you need.
I would also recommend getting the optional work light. As I’ve
gotten older, I’ve discovered that more light is always better.
As for the saw itself, it has several advantages over hand sawing.
(A) blade supports: it has tungsten carbide blade supports that
brace the blade just above and below the table, so the blade is
better supported than a hand saw, which gives more accurate cuts.
(B) hold-down: the saw has an adjustable hold down pin which keeps
the material from jumping up as you saw, making life much easier.
All you have to do is guide the material.
© Precision and repeatability. The power saw never gets tired
after a long day, and it never tilts to the side (unless you want it
to), so your cuts will remain very consistent. If you do a lot of
piercing, it will definitely help keep your hands happier.
As far as your questions about learning curve, and the state of
beginner-ness, no, the learning curve isn’t too bad. It’s basically
just ‘sit down and cut’. You’ll probably break a few blades to
start, but that’s par for the course.
The good news is that the design is such that there is no risk of
the saw jamming a broken blade into your finger. Once the blade
breaks, the cable system that drives the blade goes slack, which
stops the motion immediately. You could have the motor at full
speed, and the blade bits wouldn’t move at all.
If you have any other questions, or if there’s some way I can help,
feel free to contact me directly.