Review: Festool Kapex KS 120 REBGood technique promises square crosscuts and difficult miter and bevel angles.
Sliding compound miter saws have become a woodshop staple. Their ability to squarely crosscut wide boards and to cut difficult miter and bevel angles is huge. Festool’s Kapex KS 120 REB fulfills these duties with aplomb.
The design keeps the saw close to the wall, allowing for a small footprint. The cut is rigid and precise provided you use good technique. It accepts 200mm blades, about 10-1/4 in. Its maximum width of cut is 12 in., close to several 12-in. saws I reviewed in FWW #300.
Setting the bevel is a literal snap. Flipping a clamp on the back unlocks the head. A counterbalance spring holds the head wherever it’s placed, allowing single-handed adjustment. A rotating micro-adjust knob paired with a large scale allows for precise movements. One drawback is that the upper fence has to be removed for 45° bevel cuts—not a deal breaker, just a bit of a fuss.
I’m not normally a fan of laser lines, but the Kapex’s are nice. It projects two lasers to define both sides of the kerf, making it easy to identify the waste.
The Kapex’s miter capacity is 50° left and 60° right. The mechanism is easy to use. Integral table extensions lock securely and offer additional support for longer stock.
The blade change wrench is handily stored on the saw frame. The spindle lock is on the blade housing. This lock is much superior to a spring-loaded button, and also locks the trigger. Single-handed blade changes are possible. A speed control dial sets specific blade speeds for specialty blades. The saw arbor is 30mm, so typical 5/8-in. arbor hole blades won’t work.
The handle, although ambidextrous, is my biggest complaint about the saw. I find its switches counterintuitive and frustrating. It’s not comfortable either.
Festool Model KS 120 REB Miter Saw
—Contributing editor Roland Johnson is a woodworker and tool expert in Sauk Rapids, Minn.
Photos: Barry NM Dima