The Comprehensive Cross-Cutting Guide
Writing to you from frosty "Chiberia" where we recently had temps in the -20's and the Windy City lived up to its old nickname. Thankfully everyone in the office still has 10 fingers and 10 toes at last count :) How was the cold in your neck of the woods?
You may have noticed that Mafell released the NEW KSS 60 18M bl Cordless Cross-Cutting System and we now have it in stock! This brings us up to NINE systems that use Mafell's cross-cutting technology—so it's time that we put together a comprehensive guide that helps you find the best "KSS" saw for your projects.
These are amazing saws and we believe that every carpenter should have one. Mafell invented the "KSS" cross-cutting saw in 1989 and has been improving it ever since. Other manufacturers have tried copying the idea once Mafell's patents expired, but "you get what you pay for" in life and these saws are no exception. Mafell offers a greater selection of cross-cutting systems with more power, portability and precise features.
The key to these saws is the special cross-cutting track that can be set to any miter angle you wish, including 0 degrees for a square cut (see photos below). Push the smart stops on the bottom of the track up against your material and cut away for a perfect cross-cut every time: no need to draw and follow your line! A bungee cord in the track then returns the saw to its starting position for your next cut.
Compound miter cuts are so easy with these lightweight saws that many carpenters don't even bother bringing their chop saw on site. And each Mafell "KSS" saw can detach from its cross-cutting track with the press of a button to be used on a longer guide rail—eliminating the need for many table saws as well. Stop carrying those heavy tools to your worksite!
Below is a quick video from one of our customers showing how "KSS" tracks make cross-cutting easy and accurate:
Here's what our customers are saying about KSS saws:
"This saw is fantastic. I previously owned a larger cordless saw, from another manufacturer, that was not capable of beveling at 45 degrees in 2x stock. It was heavy and a pain to use. As a result, it was not used very often. I had my eye on this saw for a while and finally pulled the trigger a couple months ago. I’ve used the KSS 40 18M BL more in the last two months then I did my previous saw in the last two years! I no longer carry a miter saw or a table saw to the job site. I love being able to rip and cross cut with one tool that fits all of its accessories in one container. This saw is more powerful despite being smaller than my previous saw and is considerably lighter. I can even use it one handed while standing. So far I have used it to rip sheet goods to replace sub floors, cross cutting trim, plunge cutting bead board to accommodate a/c vents. Cutting laminate flooring and 2x10’s for blocking. And no, I can’t do a 45 bevel with this saw but that is by design. I have larger saws for that purpose. The dust bag works very well and it works even better with the vacuum attachment. Albeit the dust collection is nowhere near as efficient when compared to a track saw but again that is to be expected. Runtime is outstanding. I have yet to burn through a 5.5 amp battery in one day. Nevertheless, this saw will also accept the Metabo 8 amp Li-HD battery if the extra runtime is needed and it does not add to the weight of the saw. I also think that the plunge mechanism is outstanding. If the saw binds it shuts off immediately and beeps at you. A great safety feature. This saw has already paid for itself and I would not hesitate to purchase it again. Timberwolf tools shipped it quickly and packed it well to prevent damage during shipping. No buyer remorse here!"
"I never dreamed I'd drop 800 bucks on a circular saw, but once I saw this in action I had to have it. The KSS 300 is totally worth it and will pay for itself in saved time pretty quickly. Incredibly handy little guy; super precise, light, versatile."
"I use the KSS-400 regularly, from detailed to rough framing to ripping plywood with the flexi rail and then switching back over to crossing-cutting finish grade lumber. This saw has been a game changer for my work."
-Erik Scanlon, Scanek + Co
"I have owned the KSS400 for almost three years now and I can say that there is no other all around saw better than this. I also own a KSS 50 18M and owned a HKC55 which I ended up giving it away. A few things that I like about the KSS400 are the power, easy of use, balance when used with the track and WITHOUT THE TRACK (like no other), quality of built and cut. I highly recommend it if you do a lot of repetitive cuts and need a more powerful and precise saw."
"Talk about a good investment, the KSS 60cc was worth every dollar. Well designed, user friendly, a very handy tool to have around. Don't know how we did without! Everyone has to try one out."
-Jonathan Borntrager, Mountainview Trim, Montana
"The KSS 80 is simply the best designed saw I have ever used. The depth and bevel adjustments are in a league of their own and when coupled with the attached track it is a serious cross-cutting machine. The saw's ability to be used with Mafell's "F" guides or with no track at all further increase its utility and it has become my daily go-to saw. It has fantastic ergonomics, plenty of power and a large cutting capacity. My worm drive now gathers dust."
-Jason Kehl, J. Kehl Carpentry Ltd., Kenora, ON
"The Mafell KSS 80Ec/370 has greatly improved our production on thick plank siding angle and precision cuts."
-Roy Decker, Lampe, MO
"I recently purchased a Mafell KSS 80Ec for an interesting job. The project consisted of building 4 converging rafter roofs (all rafters point to the peak of a hip structure). Because the rafters were not perpendicular to the wall plate, every rafter location had a different pitch, plumb cut and roof surface angle. In addition to that, every rafter tapers toward the top of the roof. This saw has proved to be a huge time saver for this job. It has an attachable cross cut guide, but also works with my “F” style track. The fact that you can tilt the saw (bevel) and still cut with the track on the layout line saves having to measure an offset distance for the track when sawing bevels (like my previous saws). I like the saw depth adjustment much better than the old saw. Some rafters are 30’ long and we have to rip both edges. The saw has a good balance of power and weight. I used to think that track saws were an extravagance, but I hope I will never be without one now."
"The KSS80 is an engineering marvel and a dream machine. I cut lots of 8/4 hardwood and this is the perfect saw to power through rips and crosscuts in thick timbers. It is very accurate and all of the controls are easily accessible to the operator and you do not need to take your hands off the handle while cutting. Mafell offers two different edge guides for the saw and the roller-edge guide is a must have for accurate narrow rips as it travels under the saw base as the saw rides on top of the material - ingenious. The other guide works for wider rips and if you are cutting bevels and want an outrigger to support the saw to prevent it from tipping. The saw has plenty of power to make full-depth cuts and it also has an adjustable speed dial to reduce the RPMs for cutting other materials like plastic. It does what it asks and does not even work up a sweat cutting thicker wood all day long. I love everything about the saw and highly recommend it for anyone needing to cut lots of thicker stock."
KSS Comparison Guide
Let's begin with this chart showing the most important specs of these saws, and then we'll follow up with the major factors you should consider before picking a saw:
|Max Cut Depth||Depth at 45°||Weight||Price|
|KSS 80Ec/370||3-3/16"||2-3/16"||19.8 lbs||$1,824|
|KSS 60cc||2-3/8"||1-13/16"||13.4 lbs||$1,160|
|KSS 60 18M bl Cordless||2-3/8"||1-13/16"||13.2 lbs||$1,540|
|KSS 50cc||2"||1-5/8"||12 lbs||$998|
|KSS 50 18M bl Cordless||2"||1-5/8"||12.6 lbs||$1,395|
|KSS 400||1-15/16"||1-1/2"||11.8 lbs||$855|
|KSS 300||1-9/16"||1-1/16"||6.6 lbs||$930|
|KSS 40 18M bl Cordless||1-9/16"||1-1/16"||8 lbs||$1,230|
There are some important cutting depth thresholds met in this chart. For example, the KSS 50cc and KSS 50 18M bl are the smallest KSS saws that are able to cut Two-by lumber at a 45° angle. If you do not need that capability, the smaller KSS 40 18M bl and KSS 300 are preferred for their convenient light weight. Some customers need the KSS 60cc or larger saws for their ability to cut 1-3/4" material at a 45° angle. Also note that the large KSS 80Ec/370 is the only cross-cutting system that can tilt up to 60 degrees.
Three of these saws are battery-powered and the rest are corded saws prepared for North American 120V/60Hz power. For the new KSS 60 18M bl we recommend Metabo's New 8.0 AH Battery for maximum power and runtime. It's not uncommon for folks to purchase the "PURE" version (without batteries/charger) from us and the larger Batteries/Charger from a Metabo dealer.
The KSS 80Ec/370, KSS 60cc and MF26cc/400 are the only Mafell cross-cutting systems with variable speed control. The adjustable 1 through 6 dial on these machines allows you to customize your blade rpm for a wide range of materials (and for any KSS saw, there are accessory blade options available for faster or finer cutting applications).
Saw blades on the KSS 40 18M bl, KSS 50 18M bl, KSS 60 18M bl and KSS 60cc stop in 1 second or less after releasing the trigger. Next best are the KSS 50cc, KSS 400 and MF26cc/400 which stop in 2 seconds. Next best are the KSS 300 and KSS 80Ec/370 which stop in 4 seconds (still considerably lower than the 10-second German industry requirement).
The KSS 40 18M bl, KSS 300, KSS 50 18M bl, KSS 60 18M bl and MF26cc/400 all come standard with carrying cases. You can purchase carrying cases for the other KSS saws as an extra accessory. Note that only the KSS 40 18M bl and KSS 300 are able to fit into “T-Loc” style systainers with their cross-cutting tracks.
All of these saws are compatible with Mafell's popular Track Saw Dust Bag which captures a surprising amount of dust and even works at a 45° bevel. The three cordless saws (KSS 40 18M bl, KSS 50 18M bl and KSS 60 18M bl) come standard with a dust bag, so it would be an extra accessory purchase for the other saws. And remember all these saws are compatible with the Mafell S 35 HEPA Dust Extractor and Nilfisk ATTIX 44-21 IC HEPA Dust Extractor.
For most KSS saws, the rubber splinter guard that comes on the cross-cutting track is intentionally 1mm to the left of your cutting line so that you can see your mark better. If you want your splinter guard to be your actual cutting line: you can purchase a replacement Splinter Guard F-SS (11.1') and install it on your track to precisely match your blade. The exceptions to this rule are the KSS 40 18M bl and KSS 300 which come standard with a special splinter guard that is your actual cutting line.
PARALLEL GUIDE FENCE
This may be a cross-cutting write-up, but it's worth mentioning that some of these saws come standard with a rip fence (KSS 40 18M bl, KSS 300, KSS 60 18M bl, KSS 60cc, KSS 80Ec/370 and MF26cc/400). For the other KSS saws you can purchase the Parallel Guide Fence as an accessory. As Scot mentions in his testimonial above, these fences can be used for outrigger support during bevel cuts.
The Complete KSS 40 18M bl and KSS 300 come standard with the Flexi-Guide FX140 (4.5') which is handy for cross-cutting plywood. Larger KSS saws can use this track but it transports better with the smaller saws. The KSS 400 and larger saws perform better on the Mafell Guide Rail System so they would ideally cross-cut plywood using the Angle Fence F-WA + Connecting Piece F-VS + F 110 Guide Rail (3.6').
The best saw for your projects will depend on your specific needs of course. In general we recommend the smallest system that will accomplish 95% of your circular sawing tasks. However, when you compare these nine saws there is one notable standout that tops the most categories: MAFELL'S KSS 40 18M BL CORDLESS CROSS-CUTTING SYSTEM. And our customers agree, having purchased twice as many KSS 40's as the next most popular cross-cutting system in the last year! Here is the German video for this saw if you have not seen it yet:
And for Cross-Cutting Big Timbers...
I would be remiss in a cross-cutting blog not to give a shout-out to the world's best cross-cutting saw for big timbers: the Mafell ZSX Ec/400 Chain Beam Saw with the Universal Guide Support. Perfectly straight cuts up to 15-11/16" (400mm) deep and compound miters up to 60 degrees. Nothing comes close—full stop!
New Timberwolf Tools Team Member!
Please join me in welcoming Nick Klomstad who joined the company this year! As Manager of Operations, Nick will handle several important aspects of our Chicago location including shipping, receiving, and tool reviews. I met Nick through our church and he has already been a wonderful addition to the Timberwolf team with his business acumen and good humor. He spends his spare time as an active real estate investor who enjoys completing various stages of a rehab DIY-style which has included tiling, refinishing hardwood floors, custom cabinetry, and building furniture.
Thank you for reading! Lots of information to digest here, so please let us know if you have any questions.
Hope 2019 is off to a good start for you!
Jeff Powell and the Timberwolf Tools Team
Toll free: 1-800-869-4169