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Makita plunge rail saw advice

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hrk

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Hi,

I recently got the makita saw and 2 rails but i'm having some teething troubles with it and was wondering if anyone who uses it could give me some tips to get the best out of it.

the first thing is I seem to ALWAYS burn the edge i'm trimming. the waste side is fine but the other edge i pretty much black. I have tried different speeds, cutting at different feed rates but its just about the same.

At first I thought it was becuase I was cutting very thick mdf (23mm) but I have the same problem with 9mm ply.

Also the 2 rails are noticably different in terms of resistance when you slide from 1 to the other. If you set it just right on 1 rail it stops dead when it hits the other. if the saw wobbles a little bit on the rail is that a problem or am I being too fussy?

Finally it seems that the first 10cm or so of the cut seems to cut closer to the rail, even if I start with the saw off the workpeice.

I have had to replace the splinter tape already as it was all over the place and didnt represent where the blade would cut.
Any user tips would be appreciated! I'm sure its just user error!
thanks
 

Eric The Viking

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Mine doesn't get a lot of use, but when it is used it's wonderful. Just a few thoughts:

1. the Festool and the Makita are VERY similar in design and setup. There's a really good setup guide for the Festool (PDF download), which is generally applicable to the Makita too. In that, they recommend a very slight toe-in to the blade (towards the rail) and show how to set that up. That way, the back of the blade scuffs the waste, not the wanted piece (which is assumed to be under the rail).

2. There is no appreciable difference between the two rails I have. It sounds like one of yours is damaged somehow. They are quite fragile. I bent one of mine slightly by dropping it, and have got it straight again, but it was a warning to be very careful in future.

3. Did you follow the cunning plan for trimming the rubber edge when it's new? It's very easy to scuff it in normal use, and I made a mess of one of mine by managing to get kickback once! The Festool has a riving knife, which I thought was a waste of time, until that incident! I suspect if you set the toe-in correctly, the edge won't scuff as much. They are considered disposable items though.

4. I don't trust the grippiness of the strips underneath very much now, from experience. I have the clamps and use them whenever practical.

5. the rails don't join well in my experience. I need a second joiner bar really , but even with that, it won't be very good - there's just too much play overall for it to be satisfactory. So don't expect too much on 8ft long cuts and you won't be disappointed. That doesn't explain the difference in friction though. See (2) above.

6. On burning: the blade that came with mine is cross-cut, good for man-made boards too, but not ripping really. I've used it on (clean) chipboard flooring (18mm), and that did take a lot out of it. Yours may just be blunting, gumming up with sap, or you may be feeding the saw too slowly. Try different combinations of RPM and feed speed, and check the condition of the teeth with a hand lens - any blunting should show as rounding of the cutting edges, and they'll glint on the corners in sunlight (a really sharp blade won't do this). It will also help to clean if you've been using resiny timber - oven cleaner is recommended here, but I've never tried it - I use white spirit, meths and sometimes Carb cleaner. The blades CAN be sharpened professionally, and that should be about 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a new one. Finally, just try a new blade on it, but make sure the toe-in is set up properly!

Hope that helps a bit.

E.
(NOT a pro though!)

PS: IMHO, the bushes that control the amount of friction on the rail are a weak point in the design, and will probably wear quite rapidly. Mine hasn't had a lot of use yet and they're OK for now, but I'm planning to keep some in stock - they're less than £2.00 each from the usual spares places.
 

MickCheese

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I have the Makita and there is no discernible difference between the rails. I have little or no burning and it is as it left the box.

I suspect a problem with yours rather than operator error. Are you able to take it back to were you bought it and get them to test it?

Mick
 

Dominion

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I have the same machine and can't say I've encountered any problems with it as yet. I ripped some tulipwood up with it yesterday and you literally couldn't tell which was the cut edge.

I do sometimes get burning when cutting 25mm MDF but only when I stop the saw on the track, if I keep moving it this doesn't happen.

One thing I will say is when starting the cut be sure both of the adjusters are on the rail, if only the front one is on the back of the saw can move slightly from side to side.
 

hrk

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Hi guys.

thanks for the tips. I would hazard a guess to say my rails are from different batches as they are actually slightly different coloured metal.
I can live with the problems with joining the rails although I would have thought they could come up with a better joining system! I can see the single long rail being useful!

I will play about with the tensioners to see if one is maybe much tighter than the other and thats pulling the blade off straight. I set them so it doesnt wobble left and right on the track.

I have tried multiple feed speeds and motor speed combos, but all burnt from my 1st cut onwards.

Do you guys actually plunge the saw into the workpiece or start it off to the side and cut through? If I plunge in I can tell exactly where I did it compared to the rest of the cut.

Finally - eric, you mentioned the way to get cut the splinter tape first off - whats the best way to do it?
Cheers
Neil
 

Eric The Viking

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I usually plunge it, but I haven't been doing precision work with mine recently, so haven't paid much attention. The problem is that the rail length is slightly too short to let you start completely off the edge of a 4ft sheet (or 8ft when they're joined for a lengthwise cut), so you have to plunge the first bit.

IIRC, the suggestion is to use the 2mm veneer cut depth (the preset pin), and go backwards (climb cut). I think that's what I did.

Check the toe-in too, per the Festool guide.
 

hrk

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I'm going to probably nip down to the shop I bought it from and see if they will take a look at it. Here are some quick pics I took of what it looks like. you can see on the first image what it looks like when I plunge in to the workpiece (the non burnt bit!)

thanks for all the help. I will let you know how I get on



 

Eric The Viking

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Ditto.

I've scorched chipboard, but never all the way across like that.

It so happens, there's a lot of 19mm chipboard I cut up for the attic floor, presently in the hall next to where I'm typing...
... Yes there is scorching, but not on every cut, nor all the way across like yours. IIRC, the chipboard got the blade pretty gummy pretty quickly, needing cleaning and checking quite regularly. It's probably just the same with MDF. Dust extraction delays the clogging-up a lot but doesn't completely stop it.

Whip the blade off, give it a good clean (check under a decent lens all surfaces of the TC teeth), and see what happens. If you can, hold a magnifying glass in front of the camera, and take a pic of the teeth before you do it: my guess is they're either blunt or seriously gummed-up.

I'm sure you'll get it running sweetly though.

E.
 

hrk

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yeah I will give it a good look.After the cut there is smoke coming off it and the room fills up with smoke :)
As I said I have tried all combinations of motor speed and feed speed.
Will have a look at the blade tomorrow. cheers
 

RogerBoyle

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IMHO
With the scorching that is displayed in the photos I would just get a new blade and follow the destructions for setting it.
If after that It was still the same then i would then take it back to where i bought it from.
I don't own one but a guy i sometimes work with uses one and he has never had any result like in your photo's

Roger
 

BTR

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I have owned a makita for nearly a year now and never come across the problem you are having i have cut 25mm mdf ,40mm oak, ash,and loads of kitchen worktops with ease and have had no burning or smoke try a new blade looks like a dull blade.
 

hrk

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Hi guys,
Just to let you know I took it back to the shop (A-one tools in Brighouse) and the took the blade out. One side was TOTALLy gummed up but they didnt know why only one side was doing it. they swapped the blade for a refurbed one and the cut was perfect with no burning at all so i'm really happy.

I also said I wasnt happy with how the rails lined up together and they agreed, you can clearly see how they dont line up next to each other. We tried finding 2 that matched out of my 2 rails and 1 new one but they just werent good enough so they gave me two brand new rails so I couldnt ask for a better result.

Thanks for all the advice. without hearing your stories I would have probably just lived with it
thanks
Neil
 
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