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Festool Guide Rails

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RogerM

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I've just picked up a s/h Festool TS55 plunge saw and need guide rails. Any advice please? I particularly need it for cutting MFC for a kitchen build from large sheets, and for ripping hardwood down from sawn boards.

It would appear that the 1400mm rails give the greatest length per £, and the longer ones are disproportionately more expensive.

How good are the connectors? 2 x 1400 are considerably cheaper than a 2700. At the moment the 1400mm guides are £50.40 at The Saw Centre compared to £180.84 for the 2700mm.

Or are there cheaper, more cost effective rails available that are compatible with the TS55? They will only be used at home so no need to take them out on site.

Any guidance greatly appreciated.
 

Waka

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Roger

I use the 1400's and find them a convenient length. The connectors are very good as long as you make sure you have tightened them up.

This kit is expensive but well worth the money, welcome to the slope.
 

speed

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you can get a 3m track for 180£ @powertool world

do you have 1 1400 rail that comes with the saw?

imo you are better having 1x 1400 and 1x 3000 then you can rip and crosscut with out having to keep messing about with the jointing bars. i use a straight edge to align 2 rails when i have to join as ive had miss aligned rails before only a nats but shows when trying to get tight edge to edge joints

edit, makita track will work with festool iirc
 

Chippyjoe

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Roger,

for what is worth,I got the 1400 rail when I bought my TS55 as part of a package deal that Axminster were doing at the time.
I toyed around with the idea of getting another 1400 rail and the connecting bars,for when I cut 8x4 sheets longways. I looked into this on the FOG website,and there was a split opinion on this.
Some said it was ok,some said that the cut was not as straight as it should be.

So in the end I went for the 3000 rail,it costs a bit more than the 2700,but it gives you more of a lead in and out when cutting longways.

Hope this might help,and the best deal I could get on the rail was from DM Tools in Twickenham.


Mark.
 

petermillard

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FWIW I've never had a problem joining rails; either use a straightedge as a guide before tightening the connectors, or use the saw itself by placing it over the join and tightening the tensioning knobs before carefully removing it and nipping up the connectors.

If you're cutting full 8x4 sheets a lot then the Makita 3m rail is compatible and a lot cheaper (around £125 inc.) provided you have somewhere to store it. I bought one and cut it down 2100/900 which works well for me (already have two 1400s for full sheets). Only niggle with the Makita rails is that the anti-tipping lip gets in the way of some of the accessories e.g. parallel guides - I don't have them so not an issue for me, but something to be aware of.

HTH Pete
 

RogerM

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Thanks for the replies guys - all very helpful. I see that Lawson-HIS do a Makita 3000mm guide for £128.78, and a 1400mm one for £47.52, making a grand total of £176.30 - which is less than the cost of the Festool 3000mm on its own. I've read that Festool and Makita rails are compatible - are the Festool rails really worth the extra?
 

petermillard

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RogerM":3cf7uujv said:
I've read that Festool and Makita rails are compatible - are the Festool rails really worth the extra
Well, the Makita rails are the wrong colour, obviously... ;)

In my 'sample of one' experience I'd say that the grippy strips on the bottom of the Makita rails are less grippy than on the Festool, and that I've found a saw that's had the tensioning knobs snugged up nicely for my Festool rails to be a bit looser on the Makita rail, though that could just be my rail in particular <shrug> and easily remedied - and a non-issue if you're sticking to the one brand, of course. Apart from that, and the slight niggle with the lip as mentioned above, I see little practical difference between the two in my usage.

HTH Pete
 

houtslager

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Here's my 2p worth, for ppl without a format saw table with a sliding table, the Festool rail or even self made are worth their weight in gold.
Before the Fessie I hade a set of self made rails, from 1m, 1,6m and 2,5m. Now I have a "full" set to enable me cut any size sheet with a decent lead on and off run - 1 x 800mm; 2 x 1400mm and 1 x 3000. By mix and matching all sizes.

To be honest, I found my own self made rails more handy, as I only needed 3 and cost me 50 euros to make.
I got hit by "fessie-itus " and bought the fessie rails at a cost of over 50 euros.

hth,

k
 

Harbo

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Saw a recent ad for a Woodstar (or is it ster?) plunge saw and guide rails for about £180!?

Rod
 

siggy_7

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Yandles are taking pre-orders on the Woodstar Divar 55 for £180 with a guide rail, apparently due for release on 12th November. At the price if it's reasonably built and accurate then I think for a hobbyist it makes a lot more sense than spending over double the price on the Festool system, especially if most final accurate cutting can be done on a fixed machine. Of course, until it's been seen in the metal the jury is out on that.
 

chippy1970

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I got 2 x 1400's with my saw when I bought it back in 2007 I then picked up a 2700 rail when they were going cheap but its never left the workshop. I now have an 800 too which came with my router which comes in handy. I find the connectors easy enough to set up but yes it is better when ripping to have a long rail. If you are cutting MFC make sure you have a nice sharp blade as even with the splinter strip MFC is one of the only things I have found still chips slightly. I find it best to set the saw to about 7mm and do a scoring cut first that helps with MFC.

This might come in handy if you're new to the TS55 http://www.waterfront-woods.com/festool/TS_55_EQ_US.pdf

Chris
 

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I have 2 of the 1400 rails, don't rate the connectors. They can give you a 1mm bow in the cut, after moving the rail about even with very tight grub screws. Have moved on to a 2.4 ish Festool rail with holes for making adjustable shelving, this works perfectly. I have used a 3m hilti track which also worked well. A bit of pain swinging the 3m about though.

Cheers,

Will
 

Eric The Viking

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I spent a happy 20 minutes on this in the Axminster shop a while back. The chap who served me was equally interested to find out, as he often got asked:

We looked at the two rails, Makita and Festool, side-by- side. There's no evident difference dimensionally, but the back part of the extrusion, away from the blade is different.

  • On the Makita it's "C" shaped, with a slot facing forwards. This is the anti-tipping feature. A polished disc on the saw carriage slides out into the slot, locking the back edge of the saw down on the track. You can still lift it off with the disc extended if you tip it backwards, but it won't tip off to the front.
  • On the Festool rail, the same part of the extrusion is T-track shaped, in miniature, roughly the inverse of the clamp track underneath (the clamp track is wider). This allows the plunge stops (and other stuff) to clamp to the upper side of the track.
  • Both rails take the same design of sliding clamps underneath, with a T-slot. I use Festool clamps on a Makita rail.
  • We couldn't otherwise see any discernible difference between the two: same stick-on rubber and plastic (in different colours!), and otherwise the same profile.

I think it's fair to say the Festool rail is part of an integrated system, the Makita isn't. I reckon at a pinch you might make a plunge stop for Makita's track, but it would probably have to be in metal.

I've also found using the joiner strip to be a pain in the bottom. Once you've joined it, any twisting force will cause it to gap and the grub screws to dig into the aluminium. Once they do that, the screws will tend to follow the damage, and you'll have difficulty getting it snug together again. This isn't Makita-specific I guess, but it's a really good argument for a long rail, if you've space for it. You might knock up an inverse profile on the router table that you can drop over until you've got rails and cut aligned.

Cheers, E.
 

RogerM

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chippy1970":3gximh3d said:
I got 2 x 1400's with my saw when I bought it back in 2007 I then picked up a 2700 rail when they were going cheap but its never left the workshop. I now have an 800 too which came with my router which comes in handy. I find the connectors easy enough to set up but yes it is better when ripping to have a long rail. If you are cutting MFC make sure you have a nice sharp blade as even with the splinter strip MFC is one of the only things I have found still chips slightly. I find it best to set the saw to about 7mm and do a scoring cut first that helps with MFC.

This might come in handy if you're new to the TS55 http://www.waterfront-woods.com/festool/TS_55_EQ_US.pdf

Chris
Thanks Chris. When you say do a scoring cut set on 7mm, presumably that takes into account the thickness of the guide so that the cut is only about 2mm deep? I know the Makita manual suggests doing this by running the saw in reverse down the track so that there is a climbing cut that doesn't cause problems with such a shallow cut. Is this what you are recommending with the Festool TS55, or just a normal forwards pass? Already printed off and read that link. Very useful.

Eric - very interesting observation. I may just treat myself to a 3m Makita track sometime. Spent enough for the moment though. :oops:
 

chippy1970

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Roger,

Yeah that's right a 2mm score ,I find you can run the saw backwards just be careful I'm sure Festool wouldn't recommend doing this but as its just a 2mm cut it seems ok. The other way is to just run it forwards as it still scores pretty good.

Chris
 

RogerS

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chippy1970":gpanitn3 said:
Roger,

Yeah that's right a 2mm score ,I find you can run the saw backwards just be careful I'm sure Festool wouldn't recommend doing this but as its just a 2mm cut it seems ok. The other way is to just run it forwards as it still scores pretty good.

Chris
Agreed....please be very very careful doing this. The temptation is not to bother altering the depth limiter for the scoring cut. This means that you only have to plunge that bit extra hard and before you know it the saw has run away with risk of injury. Festool do do a special MFC blade that I find helps considerably and lets me cut 'properly'.
 

Lord Kitchener

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I use a Festool 2700 rail for ripping sheets. More lead in would be better but what you get is sufficient, and means less storage space/manouvring room is needed. The connectors are ok in an emergency, or on site, but they are not as accurate as the long rail. I reckon the dispproportinate cost is due partly to handling costs but probably also because of the extra difficulty of making a dead straight extrusion of that length.
 
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