Metabo TS 250 Specs
Saw blade: 10", 5/8" bore
No-load speed: 3,950 rpm
Max. depth at 90 and 45 degrees: 3 1/8" and 2
Maximum rip: 241/4"
Bevel: -1.5 degrees to 46.5 degrees
Motor: 15 amps
Weight without stand: 70 pounds
Street price with/without stand:
Up until about 10 years ago, it wasn't practical to rip full
sheets of plywood on portable table saws, because most models
couldn't rip more than 12 or 13 inches wide. That changed in
1997, when DeWalt introduced the DW744, the first model with
telescoping fence rails. This design allowed for rips just over
24 inches wide — on a saw compact enough to be easily
hauled and stored. Today, almost every company that makes
portable table saws makes one with extendable rails.
Last year, at a trade show, I ran across a display of Metabo
tools that included some unfamiliar benchtop models. Among them
was the TS 250, a 10-inch portable table saw. Metabo is
well-known for making handheld power tools, but this was the
first time I'd seen its label on something bigger. Having
already tested most of the other portable saws on the market
("10-Inch Portable Table Saws," 8/03), I decided to try out
The TS 250 — which was designed by Elektra Beckum, a
German firm owned by Metabo — has a 15-amp motor, a
10-inch blade, and fence rails that extend to the right for
rips up to 24 1/4 inches wide. The motor is equipped with
soft-start circuitry and runs smoothly; it's powerful enough to
cut anything that would be reasonable to cut on a portable saw.
I used it to rip plywood, 5/4 maple, and 2-by framing stock. In
terms of power, it performed these tasks as well as any
portable model I've used.
Setting Wide Rips
Like the saws from Bosch and Ridgid, the Metabo has a split
table; when the rails are extended, a 6-inch section of table
(the extension) slides out with the fence to support the
outboard edge of the stock.
The telescoping rails on the TS 250 allow rips up to 24 1/4
inches wide. Part of the table slides out with the fence to
support the outboard edge of the stock.
There are two ways to adjust the width of rip on the Metabo.
For rips up to 15 inches wide, you release the fence lock and
move the fence sideways on the table, same as you would with
any table saw. For wider rips, you clamp the fence at the
15-inch mark, loosen a lever under the table, and slide the
table extension away from the blade. Bosch uses a similar
approach to set wide rips on its 4000K, and on that saw the
system works very well. It doesn't work as well on the Metabo,
because there is enough slop in the rails that they can get
cocked and stick slightly as they slide. You can remedy this by
jiggling the extension, but that makes it harder to precisely
adjust the rip.
Using the Rip Scale
Like all saws of this type, a scale on the front fence rail
allows you to set rips without using a tape. Because of the
telescoping rails, you have to use two different indicators
(pointers) and a scale that reads in two directions. The scale
reads 16 to 24 inches going left from the blade, and 0 to 15
inches going right.
The first pointer, which is on the fence, lands over the
right-hand portion of the scale. It works like the pointer on a
conventional table saw — as you slide the fence to the
right, the numbers on the scale get higher.
The second pointer is screwed to a recess in the table. It
lands on the left-hand portion of the scale and is used for
rips more than 15 inches wide. When the table extension is all
the way in, the pointer will be on the zero mark. If you slide
the extension an inch to the right, the pointer will be on the
16-inch mark, because the fence — which is clamped on the
15-inch mark — just got an inch farther away from the
The indicator on the fence is for rips up to 15 inches
wide; since it lies directly over the scale, it's easy to read.
The indicator on the table is for rips more than 15 inches
wide; it's harder to read because it stops short of the
The last full number on the left-hand scale is 24 inches; for
the pointer to land on it, you have to slide the extension 9
inches to the right. The maximum rip is 24 1/4 inches.
It's easy to see which mark the indicator on the fence is
pointing to, because it's directly over the scale. Since the
indicator on the table doesn't lap onto the scale, it's harder
to tell with wider rips (without measuring) if the fence is set
exactly where you want it.
Graduations. The scales are graduated
in 1/16-inch increments. Metabo got this part right; the
spacing is tight enough for precision cutting but not so tight
that the increments are impossible to see.
However, the company got the next part wrong: Although the
marks at full and half-inch increments are different lengths,
the ones in between are the same length. This makes the scales
much harder to read than they should be.
It's not a problem if you're making a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch rip;
but if you want to make a 3 5/16-inch rip, you have to count
five graduations up from 3 inches.
The scales would be easier to read if the graduations varied in
length, as they do on tape measures.
The switch, the hand-wheel for setting blade height, and the
lever for locking bevel settings are all large and easy to
operate. A release lever on the front of the saw allows you to
override the bevel stops at 0 and 45 degrees and go an extra
1.5 degrees in either direction. This is useful if you want to
overcut a joint.
Bevel direction. Something else I
don't like about the saw is that the blade tilts right, toward
the fence. (On most saws, the blade tilts left.) This
configuration makes it more likely that the captured piece will
get burned by the blade or come flying back at you if you
aren't using the blade guard.
Blade guard. The guard on the Metabo
works as well as any, but it's not easy to remove or install,
so it would be a rare carpenter who actually used it. To
install it, you have to remove five screws from the throat
plate, loosen an Allen key, position the guard, tighten the
Allen key, and then reinstall the throat plate.
Unlike the blades on most portable saws, the one on the TS 250
tilts toward the fence, increasing the likelihood that the
captured piece will get burned by the blade or fly back at
operators who don't use the guard.
Nice details. Some of the small
details on the tool are pretty nice — the well-made
T-slot aluminum miter-gauge that stores on the saw's base, for
instance. The saw also provides a storage place for an extra
blade and wrenches and a place to wrap and clip the cord.
The blade housing does a good job directing chips out the
dust-collection port on the back of the machine. The saw I
tested came with an optional stand that folds flat for
transport and is very sturdy.
The Bottom Line
The TS 250 is well-made but not especially well-designed. The
scales are hard to read, the blade tilts toward the fence, and
the fence rails don't slide as smoothly as they do on competing
If this saw had come out in 1997 and was the first model with
telescoping rails, I probably would have bought one. I wouldn't
buy one now, though — not when I can get equally
well-made but better-designed models from DeWalt, Bosch, and
Porter-Cable. — David Frane
In our never-ending quest to find the latest and greatest
tools, we carpenters sometimes fail to recognize the value of
those that have been around for a long time. Senco's Senclamp
joint fasteners (800/543-4596, www.senco.com) are a good example. I first
used these highly specialized fasteners — which are
driven by Senco's SC1 joint fastening tool — when I
worked in a cabinet shop in the early 1980s.
Close cousins of the corrugated fasteners used in furniture
factories, Senclamps are driven across — rather than
through — a joint. But here the similarity ends. Unlike
corrugated fasteners, Senclamps can be driven into an inside
corner, an outside corner, or a flat miter or butt cut. And
whereas corrugated fasteners leave large gashes in the wood,
Senclamps leave small entry slots that are easy to fill. As a
result, they can be used in narrow edges and where they might
Senclamp fasteners are designed to be driven across the face or
edge of a joint (top). Their tapered shape and gripping edges
(bottom) pull the joint tightly together.
The key to this versatility lies in the unique design of the
Senclamps: Each fastener is slightly tapered, with gripping
edges that pull the joint together as they enter adjoining
Made from 25-gauge steel, Senclamps are 7/16 inch wide at the
crown. They come in 5/16-, 7/16-, and 9/16-inch lengths.
You have probably installed millwork or cabinets containing
these fasteners without even knowing it. Door shops often use
Senclamps to pinch the miters together on casings for prehung
When I made cabinets, we used them to assemble face frames and
to attach the frames to carcasses. Many carpenters now perform
these tasks with pocket screws. I prefer Senclamps because the
strength of a pocket screw isn't necessary for these types of
connections and Senclamps are easier to hide and much faster to
Casings. We often use Senclamps to
hold both edges of mitered casing joints together and flush.
The best you can do with nails is cross-nail the outside corner
of the joint; nails don't hold as well as Senclamps, and
there's no way you can cross-nail the inside corner. The
Senclamps span the joint and are driven in from either edge,
which is easy to do because the nose of the gun is designed to
fit over outside corners and into inside ones.
When trimming picture-framed windows, we pre-assemble casings
on the bench or floor. We apply glue to the joint, hold the
pieces together, and shoot 9/16-inch Senclamps in from the
outer edges of the miter. If the pieces are flat, we place them
face-down on the bench and, depending on the thickness, join
them from behind by spanning the joint with several 5/16- or
Outside miters. We also use Senclamps
to align and fasten long outside miters, such as the joints
between skirts and risers. This holds better than cross-nailing
and practically eliminates "blowout." The entry slots are small
and easy to fill on paint-grade work, and are generally no more
noticeable on stain-grade work than nail holes would be.
The SC1 gun's tip is notched at the center to fit over the
outside corner of a miter joint and chamfered at the edges to
fit the inside corner of a miter or butt.
Stair rails. Conventional handrail
bolts are very strong, but using them to align the joint can be
maddening. One of my favorite uses for Senclamps is to align
joints prior to tightening bolts. I shoot a couple of them in
from the bottom and one on each side. Although they're not
strong enough to be the sole fastening method, they keep the
pieces aligned while I'm tightening the bolt. The entry slots
are visible, but once they're filled you'd never know they were
Butt joints. In cabinet and millwork
shops, Senclamps are often used to assemble face frames for
cabinets and wainscot paneling. Since one side is hidden
— against the wall or in the cabinet — fasteners
can span the back of the joint where no one will see
Senclamps work equally well at inside corners, so they can be
used to attach face frames to cabinet carcasses from inside the
box; this should be done with glue and 5/16-inch fasteners. The
process is very fast, and there's no need to drive finish nails
through the face of the frame.
The author preassembles molded casings on the bench by driving
Senclamps into the edge of the miter. The first fastener goes
in from the outside corner and the second from the
Flat casings are preassembled face-down on the bench. The
fasteners aren't visible on the final installation because the
author drives them across the back of the joint.
Using Senclamps to fasten long miters is faster than
cross-nailing and holds better.
While Senclamp fasteners can save time and are well-suited for
many applications, they do have limitations. Unlike pocket
screws, they are not strong enough to hold joints together
permanently unless the pieces are attached to something solid,
like a cabinet or a wall.
Also, Senclamps hold much better in hardwood than in softwood
and don't work well in MDF. Unless the fastener is in a
concealed area, it should be driven with — rather than
across — the grain, because that will make for a less
visible entry slot.
The Bottom Line
I bought my SC1 gun 10 years ago and paid $375 for it; today
the tool costs about $450. A box of 3,000 fasteners costs $60
to $80, depending on where you get it.
The gun itself isn't cheap — but convenience has a price.
I knew I had to have this fastening system when I saw a
professional stair builder using it to build a set of stairs.
It's not the only tool I use to fasten joints, but it has
certainly earned its place in my toolbox.
Paul Allen is an interior trim contractor
in east Tennessee.
Job-Site Cleanupby Patrick McCombe
Most contractors who've
used the ZipWall agree that it's an easy and effective way to
cordon off a small remodeling job, but some feel the components
are simply too expensive. Those of you who subscribe to the
latter view will be heartened to hear that the 4 Pack Plus
— four ZipWall poles, two foam rails, four grip disks,
two zippers, and a carrying case — costs $279, about $100
less than buying the products separately. ZipWall,
800/718-2255, www.zipwall.com Circle #16
Homeowners often worry about how dirt from
remodeling will affect the rest of their home. Imagine how
reassuring — to both clients and prospects — the
sight of a Predator 1200 would be. With its airtight cabinet,
two prefilters, and true HEPA filter, this portable air
scrubber cleans the air in up to 10,000 cubic feet of space. In
addition to offering what one JLC reader described to me as
"amazing filtration," it keeps dust from spreading throughout
the house by creating negative air pressure within the
workspace. The Predator 1200 — with a supply of filters
and a length of exhaust hose — costs about $2,000.
Abatement Technologies, 800/634-9091,
Dragging out a big
shop vac for a small mess can take longer than the actual
cleanup, which is why contractors who do a lot of little
handyman-type jobs might want to consider getting a DC515K. The
DustBuster-sized wet/dry vac runs off a standard 18-volt DeWalt
battery pack and uses a washable fabric filter that the company
claims traps 99.97 percent of particles. The device boasts a
half-gallon capacity and a unique nozzle with a removable hose
for getting into corners and inside cabinets. With a battery
and charger, it sells for $130.
DeWalt, 800/433-9258, www.dewalt.com Circle #18
Gutter & Sheet-Metal Tools
currently using aviation snips to cut holes for downspouts,
check out the very cool Gutter Outlet Punch from Malco. The
tool's base aligns with the front edge of the gutter in both
"A" and "B" orientations for easy and accurate placement of
holes. The punch can be used with gutters up to .032 inch
thick; cutters are offered for both 2x3 and 3x4 downspouts.
With either size cutter and die, the tool sells for about $166
on the Web.
Malco, 800/328-3530, www.malcoproducts.com Circle #19
Spiral Cutter for Metal.
$20 apiece, the Metal Cutting XBit promises to be a fast, easy,
and inexpensive way for contractors to cut metal studs and
sheet metal of up to 18-gauge thickness. The 5/32-inch solid
carbide cutter fits RotoZips and other, competitive rotary saws
and has a drill point for plunge cuts. Bosch, 877/768-6947,
www.rotozip.com Circle #20
Copper Torch Kit.
is a great way to solve difficult flashing problems and
differentiate yourself from the many tar-covered Neanderthals
doing roofing. My grandfather used a pair of irons and a
blowtorch to join sheet copper, but modern propane torch kits
— like the ones made by Sievert — make the process
much easier. The company's ProMatic SIK2-30 consists of a torch
with electronic ignition and a wind screen, along with a copper
tip, a hose, a regulator, and a carrying bag. The kit lists at
$465. Sievert, 877/639-1319, www.sievert.se/us Circle #21