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Makita XSL-05 6.5” miter saw


ToolBane

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I got this just yesterday. Decided I absolutely love it. Which is especially funny as I’m pretty sure I said somewhere in this forum however long ago this was first getting announced, I thought this was going to be too “niche” of a product. Certainly at least for the US market, where I happen to live. But although a second miter is probably not something most people are going to really ever think about, I’m now of the mind that if you do, something like this is basically perfect.

 

Not long after buying my 12” slider I realized how awesome this little miter would be for cutting a lot of the small plastic pieces I frequently do in a lot of my projects. I already never really enjoyed cutting them on my previous 10” or 12” miters before, but especially with the Makita’s sliding rails obscuring visibility of the workpiece during left-angled bevel cuts, cutting small plastic pieces became a decidedly undesirable task. And then I happened across someone posting how much he liked this 6.5” on social media, and suddenly this little tool started to make a lot of sense.

 

None of that’s probably interesting to anyone here, though. But I will say, more generally applicable, this little guy makes mitering little things a lot more fun. It’s size makes it a lot easier to feather into small cuts, and the much lower rotational inertia during cuts takes out a lot of the trepidation I previously have had cutting “brittle” substances like plexiglass. Wood is of course trivial to cut through for such a small saw. The accuracy is pretty solid right out of the box, at least for my one sample. Set next to a digital protractor, the factory miter detents of 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 degrees are all calibrated well enough that any error is not visibly discernible to within a tenth of a degree.

 

One thing anyone contemplating this miter should probably be aware of though, is how the detents are handled is pretty atypical. There’s a knob you loosen to allow the miter to swivel, and then it moves in and out of the detents via a completely internal mechanism. Very interesting solution and I’ll have to see how that works in the long term. Perhaps it’s their attempt to address the oft-reported issues people have with their aluminum detent plates on their larger saws wearing out rapidly. They must really not like the idea of steel detent plates which are status quo for so much of the industry. The biggest limitation I see with this particular implementation though, is there is no way I have noticed to toggle the detenting off, in the event I need an angle just barely off a detent, say 24 degree or whatever. I’ll have to see how often I come across that as an actual limitation in practice. My guess is most people won’t. I think that’s the biggest design idiosyncrasy.

 

Pictures at bottom are just some plexiglass trinkets I slapped together as initial testing for this little saw. Basically to view cell phones free-handed (like while eating, etc).

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5 hours ago, JimboS1ice said:

I want that saw just can’t justify the MSRP for that little thing


Exact same sentiment about that price with me and I refrained from buying it for a while in the hopes that the price would settle down after a bit like all the other miters have, but following a convo on social media I was made aware of a number of things suggesting Makita may withdraw availability of this saw in the US.


Supposedly at some point HD had them on sale for almost half off to clear their inventory and now they no longer carry it. Wish I could have caught that sale. Now I only see it from a handful of other vendors mostly at or even well above the original release price of $500.
 

I wallowed for a bit about having to eat the cost but ultimately decided from a safety standpoint it was the best decision for me (you can probably imagine cutting small pieces out of thin shatterable plastics with a 10 or 12” miter can be a nervous proposition) and the peace of mind I feel already cutting small plastic pieces on a semi-frequent basis it’s absolutely worth it.
 

Hopefully they are looking at bringing their sliding 6.5” miter they allegedly may already have out in Japan to more markets. The pic I saw of it suggests Makita went back to a more typical detenting mechanism which hopefully will be more flexible to cutting angles just off the detents, like fitting trimmings on walls or window sills that weren’t installed perfectly perpendicular in the first place. I imagine for most that would have much broader utility in a similarly diminutive package. Hopefully that makes its way stateside. For my specific needs a slider isn’t needed and the smallest footprint possible is more desirable and less risky vs waiting to see or getting the 7.5” slider already available as a plan B. For most people who might consider this though I imagine the “wait and see” approach makes more sense.

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