Roger Bisby spends a very happy day in the company of the Festool Kapex KS 60.
The new and long-awaited Festool KS 60 has a cutting capacity of 60mm in a 305 piece of timber at 90 degrees. It also has a cutting angle of 60 degrees to the left and 60 to the right.
It would be wishful thinking that it is also called the KS 60 because it costs £60 but sadly this German-built machine is produced by workers on German wages, so you can add a nought to the 60 and you will be in the right ballpark.
Festool fans have never been afraid of paying good money for good tools, and I don’t see why this should be an exception, but look carefully at the various kits because, by the time you factor in the stands and the adaptor, and even the LED light, those bits soon add up.
On the subject of the LED light, which casts a clear shadow across the workpiece to show you the cutting line, the idea is patented by DeWalt so they have to pay for a license to use it.
So the idea of charging for it as a separate item is that those who don’t want it don’t end up paying for it. That said, I would go for it because, unlike a laser, it is 100 per cent accurate.
If you are a Festool convert you will probably have the dust extractor and using their anti-static green hose you will see that the dust extraction on this machine is highly effective.
I am used to going around my saw with a vacuum hose after a few cuts, and maybe it is still a good idea, but it isn’t an urgent job with this tool because very little remains.
One trick I did learn on my training day at Festool HQ is that you should let the blade come to a halt before you lift it off the cut. This stops the blade picking up the off-cut and it also helps to stop the blade scoring the cut you have just made. I also believe that it helps let the dust extractor run-on to clear the channel.
The front facing dual rail on this machine not only saves room at the back, so you can work closer to a wall, it also makes the machine more stable. Rather than having the usual cantilever off the rails, these are directly underneath the motor.
If you are making a trench cut you will see the bottom of the cut looks flat rather than being unevenly scored by flexing on the blade.
The downside to having the rails at the front is that the rear fence has to be severely reduced to stop it fouling the rails. It you are working on tall skirtings then you are going to have to cut them flat with a bevel cut.
The bevel cut accuracy for compound mitres is impressive, with 47º to the left and 46º to the right. I love the fact that the saw doesn’t drop down when you loosen the wheel nut at the back.
A friction plate means you control the adjustment and it will stay where you place it. Just don’t forget to tighten it before you start cutting.
If you put in the two sided extension pieces you will be able to cut timber lengths up to 4.7 metres. This is good for mouldings but if you are cutting rafters you might want a little more support.
It is possible to support heavy timber but it depends how carefully you throw the timber onto the machine. I guess if you are a Festool kind of guy you don’t throw your timber around.
If you don’t want to set the saw up on a stand you can simply use a Systainer box to support your workpiece. With the small black feet on the saw it sits as the same height as a Systainer box.
There is a lot to like about this saw, such as the cable wrap at the back and the bevel angle finder, and you can watch the video on YouTube or I could babble on for another page or two, but I will finish by mentioning the speed control, which allows you to cut plastic and other delicate material without melting or scorching it.
This is a saw for the craftsman, and I would love to think that I am in that category of people who would make the best of it but I know my limitations.
The interesting thing would be to see if using a saw of this pedigree on a regular basis made me work more accurately. That sometimes happen when you use well designed kit like driving a luxury car makes you drive better. There should be a word for it and there probably is in German.
For further information on Festool click here.