Metabo KGS 305 Specs
Blade: 12-inch-by-1-inch bore
No-load speed: 3,800 rpm
Cutting depth, 90-45 degrees: 45/8 inches to
Cutting width, 90-45 degrees: 121/2 inches to
Bevel cuts: 0 to 47 degrees left/right
Miter cuts: 0 to 50 degrees left; 0 to 60
Bevel stops: 0, 22.5, 33.9, 45 degrees
Miter stops: 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, 45, 60
Motor: 15 amps
Weight without stand: 68 pounds
Street price: saw $649; stand $100; extension
tables $200 each; dust-extraction adapter $40
As a finish carpenter and remodeler, I use a miter saw almost
every day. I prefer the compound sliding models because they
can cut everything from 2x4s and small pieces of trim to wide
baseboards and crown moldings. A few months back, JLC asked me
to try out the KGS 305, Metabo's new 12-inch dual-bevel sliding
compound miter saw. The tool showed up while I was trimming out
one end of a house, so I was able to give it a good workout
over a period of months.
Miter saws are designed to make accurate cuts; sliding models
simply do so in wider stock. With so many moving parts and a
large 12-inch blade, there is always the chance the cut will
wander. I found the KGS 305 to be very accurate; there's no
slop in the mechanism and the blade cuts smoothly with no
Like most other 12-inch sliding saws, the Metabo has a 15-amp
motor. It easily cuts through poplar, oak, and maple —
nothing seems to slow it down. It can cut 12 1/2-inch-wide
material in a single pass. Other than Ridgid's MS1290LZ, which
cuts stock of up to 13 1/2 inches wide, most saws in this
category are limited to 12-inch cuts.
However, while it's hard to argue with added cross-cutting
capacity, I'm not sure it would greatly affect my buying
decision. Most of the material I cut is well under 12 inches
A miter saw's controls — particularly the miter lock,
bevel lock, and angle stops — get handled more than any
other part of the tool except for the trigger, so it's
important that they work well. On this tool, the major controls
do work well, but there are some small details that I felt
could be improved.
Bevel. With most saws, I have to walk to the side
of the machine to reach the knob that locks and unlocks the
bevel mechanism. The KGS 305 has a lever-style lock that faces
forward, making it easy to reach from the front of the saw.
Pull the lever, and the lock loosens its grip; push it back and
the bevel is set.
The author pulls a spring-loaded pin on
the KGS 305 to disengage a bevel preset. The grooved silver
piece to the right is a quick-acting lever that locks in the
bevel. Unlike most bevel-lock mechanisms, this one is easy to
reach from the front of the saw.
Since the KGS 305 is a dual-bevel saw, the blade tilts both
ways, with bevel stops at 0, 22.5, and 45 degrees. There are
also stops at 33.9 degrees, the bevel you use to cut crown on
A red spring-loaded pin on the front side of the rear housing
engages the bevel presets. I like everything about the bevel
mechanism except the indicator on the bevel scale. Although the
scale itself is easy to read, the "hairline" on the bevel
indicator is wider than it needs to be.
Miter. The table pivots smoothly and
swings to the left up to 50 degrees and to the right up to 60
The miter detents engage automatically, but you can override
them by using your thumb to depress the red lever just to the
left of the table-lock knob. This saw has the usual miter stops
at 0, 15, 22.5, 45, and 60 degrees, plus stops at 31.6 degrees
(right only), the miter setting used to cut crown on the
The miter scale is easy to read, but the angle indicator is
not, due to unhelpful magnification and three different
"hairlines," all of which are too wide. Dust exacerbates the
problem. Metabo needs to redesign this part of the saw —
which should be easy, since it's just a piece of plastic. If I
were to buy a KGS 305, the first thing I'd do is make a new
indicator for the miter scale.
According to the manual, another of the saw's features —
a red lever that sticks out from under the table — can be
used to set a custom stop position for miters. This is a nice
idea, but the instructions were confusing and neither I nor a
finish-carpenter friend of mine could figure out how to make it
Depth stop. The tool has a handy
adjustable depth stop that allows you to cut dadoes and rabbets
by making multiple passes. The stop is on a pivot, so you can
go back to making through-cuts by flipping it out of the
Returning to the original shallow setting is simple; you just
flip it back into place.
Setting Up on Site
Thanks to the KGS 305's broad and stable base, it doesn't tend
to tip. I tested it with an optional metal stand that sells for
$100. The stand — which is very solid — folds flat
for transport, much like a folding chair. A hex key that stores
on the saw can be used to tighten the four hex bolts that hold
the saw to the stand.
Weight. My partner and I had no trouble moving
the saw around the site — but there were two of us to
handle the weight. Even without the stand, this saw is very
heavy. At 68 pounds, it's 10 to 15 pounds heavier than
comparable models from Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, and
Since I set up for long periods of time on the same site and
always work with a partner, the weight is not an issue for me.
But a carpenter who moves around a lot or needs to set up on
his own would probably be happier with a lighter saw.
Table extensions. This saw has the usual
telescoping stock supports built into both sides of the table.
For about $200, you can buy 41-inch table extensions for either
side of the saw.
The saw I tested had a left side extension, which clamped to
the table with a lever-operated cam; the right side extension
works the same way. A single folding leg supports the opposite
end of the table. The extension has a high-quality aluminum
fence, an adjustable cutting stop that flips out of the way,
and a second stop that extends from the end of the fence.
It's a handy setup for making multiple cuts, but despite the
sturdiness of the extension itself, the single postlike leg
means the table isn't very stable front to back.
For about $40, you can buy an optional dust-extraction adapter
that plugs into the back of the saw.
This device has two inlet ports and one outlet port. The outlet
can be connected to a standard dust-vac hose or to collector
fittings of up to 4 inches in size. One inlet collects dust
from under the table, and the other connects to the blade
housing with a 1 1/2-inch hose.
The system is more effective than most I've used, but it still
picked up only about 75 percent of the dust.
With the optional $40 dust-extraction
adapter, the user can connect a vacuum to the miter saw and
collect dust from inside the blade housing and from under the
The KGS 305 works very well, but to get the most out of it, you
really need to buy expensive accessories like the stand and
extension tables. In short, although it's a great machine for
the shop, its weight and the need to haul around bulky
accessories make it less suitable for the site.Roberto
Ramirezis a remodeler in Moraga,
A Cord With Teeth.
You're about to make a cut or drill
a hole, but you need just a little more slack, so you give the
cord a tug and — you know what happens next. The Push
Lock cord from Coleman Cable has a locking female end that the
maker claims won't let go unless you want it to. Sold in 45-
and 90-foot lengths, the cord boasts a lighted outlet that
shows whether it's energized and insulation that allegedly
remains flexible at minus 40°F. A 12-gauge 45-footer costs
about $25. Coleman Cable, 800/323-9355,
Pro-Grade Power Strip.
sites have plenty of electric tools but comparatively few
outlets. The Power Sentry Model 100588 Power Center adds to
your supply four conventionally spaced GFCI-protected outlets
and, for devices with DC adapters, four wide-spaced
GFCI-protected outlets. A built-in cord-winder keeps the
14-gauge, 15-foot cord under control during storage and
transport; protective covers keep receptacles free of dirt and
sawdust. The power center carries a lifetime warranty and sells
for about $40. Power Sentry, 800/852-4312,
Locking Plug End.
This is one of
those devices I can't believe somebody didn't think of sooner.
The Qwik-Lok Plug replaces the conventional female end of your
extension cord with a locking receptacle that operates the same
way as quick-connect fittings on airhoses. According to the
manufacturer, it works with "virtually any" male plug with
holes in the prongs. Perhaps the best testimonial to this
product is a photo on the manufacturer's Web site that shows a
wheelbarrow-style air compressor suspended from the Qwik-Lok.
The plug sells for about $20. Qwik-Lok, 866/794-5565,
finish-carpentry guru has his own unique bag of tricks for
producing high-quality interiors. There is one method, however,
that all of the best finish carpenters have in common:
preassembly. They preassemble door and window casings, crown
for coffers, and components for frame and panel wall treatments
— tasks made easier with Miter Clamps from Collins Tool.
These sturdy wire clamps — designed to hold miters
together while the glue sets — grip corners effortlessly
and leave smaller holes than competing products. Special pliers
make the clamps easy to open and place. A Miter Clamp 12-pack
costs $30; the pliers, $15. Collins Tool, 888/838-8988,
surfaces for gluing and fastening can be an agonizing process
— but you can minimize the pain with Bessey's ES
Irregular Angle Clamp Set. The ball-and-socket adapter mounts
on the pressure plate of standard TGK-series bar clamps, making
them suitable for work angled from 15 to 180 degrees. The
clamping blocks' nonmarring pads protect finished surfaces and
maximize grip. The ES set — two blocks and two caps; no
bar clamp — lists at $35. The ES31/6 kit — two
blocks, two caps, two 6-inch bar clamps, and a 31-inch bar
clamp — lists at $95. Bessey, 800/828-1004,
Get Jiggy With It.
Not all the
carpenters I've talked to are on board with Hitachi's new
hip-hop styling, but most agree that the company's recently
introduced string of tools offers good performance at
reasonable prices. One of the newest additions is the CJ110MV
Variable Speed Jigsaw. At just under 5 pounds, this saw
features electronic variable speed, four-position orbital
cutting, and toolless blade changes. The soft rubber compound
on the housing does more than make the tool eye-catching: It
reduces vibration and improves grip, says Hitachi. The jigsaw
sells for $100. Hitachi Power Tools, 800/829-4752,