March 1, 2023

Let's Talk Tools

A few weeks ago Motif Media and I traveled to Lebanon, Indiana to tour the Festool facility and partake in a new product launch. They invited a small group of industry professionals and makers to the event to get a sneak peek at a handful of tools they intend to release shortly. Not only did I get to tour their facility and test out some new tools, but they fed me and provided me with a day of respite from work and family (hopefully my wife and kids do not read this). I used to absolutely despise traveling and flying for work, but these days it provides a few extra hours of sleep along with some alone time, so thank you Festool.

Generally speaking these events are used to showcase new tools, technology, and provide an exercise in marketing for these companies. Do not get me wrong, I love having my finger on the pulse of this side of the industry, but it is much more than just that. Of course it provides me with an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and witness how companies like Festool are pushing the limits of tool production, but it also serves as a hub for meeting new people, talking shop, and gaining new perspective and insight. Did I mention that they fed us as well? Can you say cake pops and pudding cups for dessert?!

At the event I was able to meet recent podcast guests, speak with future podcast guests, record a podcast, and gather information and media to create some useful and interesting content. I always enjoy spending time with my peers and colleagues. We tend to all be fairly driven, possess similar mindsets, and have like-minded goals, so the time serves as an affirmation as to what we are doing and why we are doing it. I was also finally able to connect in person with my contact at festool as well as many other members of their team. In today’s socially driven post-covid world, it is always great to put faces to names. I especially want to thank Maja for everything!

Onto the tools…Rather than dig into every one of the tools that were showcased, I am going to touch on a few that really stood out to me and what I liked about them.

KSC 60 Cordless Sliding Compound Miter saw

For myself, the sliding compound miter saw is the tool of all tools in my arsenal. It is responsible for clean cuts, tight miters, accurate joinery, and it is the mark of a true craftsman. I have a handful of miter saws, but my favorite to date has been my original corded Kapex. That being said, there are times that I do not need a full-size saw. For that reason, I keep a small corded 7.5” Makita in my truck. That saw is limited to a single bevel, small depth capacity, and the need for electricity.

This is where the KSC 60 comes in as a solid replacement for that small makita. It has a fantastic cut capacity and reach, it bevels to 47 degrees on either side, it has a 60 degree miter capacity on each side, and it is cordless. I will be the first to admit I am not the strongest proponent of cordless technology for every tool, but in my experience the festool cordless lineup creates great power, holds a charge very well, and recharges quickly. While I do not have a need for a cordless miter saw as my primary saw,  this smaller KSC 60 would be very convenient in a cordless platform. Whether it is for a few quick cuts or smaller jobs, it is lightweight, accurate, has great capacity, and is extremely convenient. I cannot wait to add this saw to the quiver and really put it through the paces. 

TSV 60 Tracksaw

This may be the tool that I am the most excited about in their new lineup. If you are a finish carpenter you understand the value of a tracksaw. While they offer many benefits on-site and produce relatively clean cuts, they can struggle with tearout and splintering on certain delicate sheet goods and veneers. Nothing proves to be more difficult than melamine. If you have every tried to break down melamine with a tracksaw you understand the struggle. Even if you double-cut the sheet to get a clean cut on one side, the other side winds up suffering.

I now introduce to you the TSV 60. Are you ready for this? It has a built in scoring blade in front of the normal blade. You can fully adjust the depth of score and lateral placement relative to the guide rail. You can now cut melamine or tricky veneers on-site or on a bench without the dreaded tearout and chipping that is yielded by most track saws. While this saw does not replace a stationary table saw in a shop, it produces comparable results (even crosscutting) without the need for moving large sheets or having the shop space. 

I am actually surprised it took someone so long to develop this technology. It is extremely smart and innovative, and  it is something that I have struggled with since the onslaught of my carpentry career. The older generation tracksaws definitely made it easier to mitigate, but this new saw completely absolves you of the necessity of tape or a rigid insulation as a means to avoid tearout. I am very excited about this technology and this new saw. It is unmatched by the rest of the industry.


Prior to seeing this cordless table saw, I swore I had no need for such a thing. After witnessing the portability, accuracy, and power of this saw, there may be an opportunity for persuasion. For years I have used a pretty inexpensive Dewalt jobsite table saw. It has zero frills, a small cut capacity, and it is not super powerful, but it makes up for it by being very accurate and basically indestructible. For larger projects I have a full stand and outfeed table to support the saw. All that being said, one of my least favorite tasks is unloading the saw, setting up the stand, getting the auxiliary fence, and then finding a circuit that will not constantly trip.

Most of my jobsite table saw work is light duty. I am not ripping framing lumber, crosscutting solid stock, or breaking down rough sawn lumber. Oftentimes I end up using other tools that are already setup on the jobsite to replace my table saw to avoid eating up the floorspace or going through with the setup and breakdown. After learning more about this CSC SYS 50 and witnessing its power, accuracy, small footprint, technology, and cordless setup, I may have changed my mind. I could find a use for this saw on most of my projects without the need for a full size saw. Generally my table saw requires its own electrical circuit, and this presents a challenge in the 100 plus year old homes in which I work. I cannot tell you how many times a day I have to run down to the basement to reset a breaker, or how much time I spend setting up a job looking for 20 amp circuits. Heading into this event I swore I had no use for a cordless table saw, but after seeing this saw in person I quite possibly could be persuaded otherwise. 

As mentioned earlier, I wanted this blog post to serve as a reference for what really stuck out to me during this experience. Festool is a brand that I have used for years because of their systems, their innovations, their warranties, their support, and their accuracy. All of those attributes were reaffirmed and solidified during this visit. This is not a product or brand pitch, but I do have a considerable amount of tools made by them (many of which I purchased with my own money). The tools they produce help maintain cleaner, safer, and tighter jobsites. Overall this event was a great experience. I learned a lot, enjoyed myself, and most importantly was able to network and engage with new friends and old. Thank you to everyone who included me in this event!

- Tyler Grace