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Festool saw and guide rail system, initial results

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johnelliott

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Anyone who uses a lot of sheet materials (as I do) needs one of these. Everything you can read about this stuff is true. It really does cut in a straight line, that line being wherever you want it to be, at right angles to the face of the material and leaving a very smooth edge with no breakout.
It's not as quick as my EB PKF255 sliding-table panel saw, but the new working methods that I am starting to develop mean that I will save quite a bit of time eventually.
I'm using it with my Trend 30AF dust extractor. The hose fits OK and very little sawdust escapes (unlike with the panel saw).
Thoroughly recommended
John
 

Aragorn

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Thanks John
I'm very tempted... but can I justify the price. It's not just the saw, but the guide rails. I would want 2ft, 4ft and 8ft rails. And presumably they are so highly engineered that I couldn't make them up myself?
 

johnelliott

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It wouldn't be feasible to make them yourself- it's not just the mechanicals, but the rubber strips underneath that grip the surface and the low-friction strips on top that the saw slides on.
BTW, you need extra length to run the saw on and off the cut, 1400 rail is provided for cross cutting sheets but could do with being a bit longer. I bought the 2.7 metre rail for ripping sheets.
Justify the cost? All down to how much you work with sheet materials, and whether you get any breakout when cutting by conventional means.
John
 
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Anonymous

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John

Isn't the lack of breakout down to the saw blade rather than the actual saw itself?

I would assume that most cricular saws spin the blade at pretty much the same rotational speed and one would find no end-float in bearings on anything other than a seriouisly low budget saw.
 

johnelliott

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The rubber strip that forms the edge of the guide rail stops the breakout on that side of the cut, on the other side a plastic device fitted to the saw and cut by the blade the first time it is used prevents the breakout on that side. Both these items will wear out eventually but are replaceable.
The underside of the cut is usally very clean as well, partly because the blade only just protrudes through (the depth of cut is very easily, and accurately, set) and ideally one has a sacrificial surface that the material rests on.
I made an 8' x 4' table out of MDF and fixed a sheet of 6mm MDF to that. It will last qute a long time, when it needs it I will turn it over.
John
 

ike

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Tony:

Isn't the lack of breakout down to the saw blade rather than the actual saw itself?
It depends. If your doing a freehand cut, I believe the back of the blade will likely cause splintering as it won't be staying precisely central in the kerf. I believe the Festool has a patented 'splinter guard' presumably to minimize this. If following a guide rail, Festool or otherwise some homemade straightedge, splintering shouldn't be a problem with the correct blade fitted.

cheers

Ike
 

ike

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Sorry John,

Crossover with your post their! re: youe description of the anti-splinter thing.

cheers

Ike
 
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Anonymous

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johnelliott":2q1vx1p3 said:
The rubber strip that forms the edge of the guide rail stops the breakout on that side of the cut, on the other side a plastic device fitted to the saw and cut by the blade the first time it is used prevents the breakout on that side. John
OK, so there is effectively a zero clearance support on the top of the cut where breakout is most likely

Nice :p
 

Rattie

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This review was so useful, I just had to buy one. That and the fact I've got a cabinet to make with veneered MDF and no table saw or workshop to put one in.

The sides of the cabinet have to be mitered to the top and bottom, so I need an accurate panel cutter. Sounds like this fits the bill. So more axminster boxes on the way, this time with my first bit of black and green :)

Martyn
 
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Anonymous

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Ive been reading a lot on this Festool saw and guide rail system.

I have a Festool sander and jigsaw so well aware of the pure quality.

I will be using it to cut 8x4 sheets. Ive read that it's good to make an 8x4 bench which is not a problem.

So basically i woulkd need:

The saw with the free guide rail which would cross cut the sheet
A 3m guide rail for ripping the sheets.
2 clamps for each end

Anything else ?

Where is a good place to get one from ? Ive looked at protrade but cant find the clamps etc ?

Coggy
 

Neil

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Hi Coggy,

I think Protrade is still the best deal:

http://www.protrade.co.uk/shop/options.asp?pid=932

As you get the 2nd guide rail and one joining bar, you may not need the 3m guide rail, although I guess if you are using it all day every day, you might want it anyway.

You'll need to get another joining bar to really fix the two rails rigidly together.

If you're only using the saw for sheet material, you may not need the clamps at all - the rubber strips on the bottom of the rails stop any slippage. I only use the clamps if I've got the saw over at an angle, or if I'm cutting solid wood.

Axminster have the joining bar and screw-type clamps if Protrade don't, and they can special-order the quick-clamps if you want those instead.

Cheers,
Neil
 

Aragorn

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What Neil said!
Guide-wise, I have two 1.4m and an 0.8m rail. This gives me a few possible guide rail length combinations, and saves having to store (and transport) a 3m rail.
Protrade do stock everything you need. I'd also recommend 2 joining bars and the clamps.
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks very much

O i did not realise you could join the guides together, that's great. I will take a look at Axminster to see them

Thanks again

Coggy
 

Aragorn

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It's the joining kit you need. [Edit - don't forget to order two!] The adaptor is for using a router or jigsaw with the rails.
If you're ordering the saw from Protrade, just give them a call and get the joining kit and clamps at the same time. May not be on the website, but definitely available from stock.
 
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Anonymous

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Thank you that's great

It says you get a free connector with it, is that 1 of them so i would only need to buy 1 joining kit then? if you get one free ?

Coggy

PS
Are them the right cramps it says screw in cramps 2 for £18.48 in Axminster but i will get them from Protrade just wandering if there are different cramps

Coggy
 
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