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Plunge/track saw and rails - which one?

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HJC1972

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I have decided that I would like a plunge saw to replace my old Bosch circular saw.

I’ve already decided against the budget end: Parkside, Workzone, Titan, Sheppach etc and would ideally have liked something midrange: Bosch, Dewalt, Makita etc. However, given that my workshop does not have the requisite footprint space for a table saw, the plunge saw is partly going to be used in lieu of this and at times possibly used for ripping hardwood boards as well as sheet material. With this in mind, I’ve decided that it might be prudent to have a PS that comes with a riving knife. As far as I can see, the only ones that do so are either the Aldi ( or various others that it is a clone of) and the Festool.

So first question: is this right? If so, then I can just about justify the cost of the TS 55 but it would be nice if I could shave a few quid of the cost of the rails, as the Festool ones seem rather pricey compared to others that (with my limited knowledge of plunge saws) seem to be inter-changeable. So, second question: would I be better sticking with Festool rails (I’d want 2 x 1400mm rails) or would any of the generic ones be just as good?

Lastly: the riving knife. Is it as wise as i seem to think it is, given the likely usage mentioned above? Does anyone else feel comfortable using a plung saw to rip solid timbers?

Thanks in advance for any advice on this.
 

Nelsun

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Haven't used any track saw other than the Festool one but wouldn't be without it. If you're ripping then be sure and get a ripping blade like the Panther as the stock 48 tooth one is for cross cutting. As for cost of rails, I got another pair of the 1400 Festool ones for £46 a piece from Mastool. At the time FFX were more than that for just one. The Makita rail connectors work better than the Festool ones but keep in mind they're usually sold individually and you really want a pair for a solid connection.
 

scooby

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I normally like Makita stuff but I find the lack of riving knife on their model an important consideration. Bosch also doesn't have one, I think the dewalt does and also has a anti kick back system.

edit: I dont think the Bosch rails mix with the others and due to being quite narrow can make them difficult to use on mfts.
 

HJC1972

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Thanks for the replies. I seem to have missed that the Dewalt also has the riving knife but having read up on a few reviews it seems that the Festool is in a different league from the dewalt and probably worth the extra £100-150.

Still would be handly to know if the Festool will work just as well on any of the xheaper rails? Is there any advantage (other than bragging rights) to having pukka Festool ones?
 

SammyQ

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I'm woodworking 35 years as an amateur, restoring 3 houses as I did so. I bought the Aldi one as a Sheppach clone ( or the other way round?) and I am well pleased with it for both sheet, manufactured board and real, raw timber. Ripping or cross cutting make little difference to it. It is unique I think, in its extrusion configuration, so no other track fits, but, it is a nice one. I suggest you look at Cosmas Bauer's YouTube for two slight, but worthwhile mods. Hope I got his surname right.
Some suggest a blade change, to a Freud; I have not found that necessary. I have also enjoyed the extra cash for other goodies that NOT buying a Cesspool, sorry Festool, made possible.
Sam.
 

Bodgers

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HJC1972":1prc3suq said:
Thanks for the replies. I seem to have missed that the Dewalt also has the riving knife but having read up on a few reviews it seems that the Festool is in a different league from the dewalt and probably worth the extra £100-150.

Still would be handly to know if the Festool will work just as well on any of the xheaper rails? Is there any advantage (other than bragging rights) to having pukka Festool ones?
I have DeWalt, I like it. It probably isn't quite as good as the Festool, but it is cheaper. It can also run on both sides of the tracks unlike other saws - which is both an advantage and a draw back. Apparently, the dust extraction is better than the Festool in one test I read...


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bananas

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I've got the Titan plunge saw and cant fault it, I wouldn't discount the budget brands just for the sake of it. If you have some time watch festool vs cheap tool track saw by peter millard on youtube. If you want to save some money on the tracks then check out the st2800 by evolution, they are compatible with most of the saws out there ffx has a compatibility guide and they come with a set of clamps as well.

Personally I don't think that the riving knife is as necessary as it is on a table saw as you don't have the fence that can pinch the wood back onto the blade. If you haven't already I would recommend getting yourself a sheet of celotex for supporting your cuts.
 

Nelsun

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HJC1972":2xxq0c4r said:
Still would be handly to know if the Festool will work just as well on any of the xheaper rails? Is there any advantage (other than bragging rights) to having pukka Festool ones?
They do run on Makita rails (Peter Millard uses one IIRC) and I *think* Triton ones too but don't quote me on that.

As to differences, the Festool ones have a clear splinter strip while the Makita ones have a black one which makes it slightly harder to match it up to [dark] pencil lines. Guess which is cheaper to replace?

From what I've read, the anti-slip strips on the Festool ones pip the rest for grippiness.

There's a number of accessories (squares, kick-back stops, parallel cutting guides etc.) that fit the accessory slot. Dewalt tracks don't have an accessory slot but Makita and Triton do. Whether all the Festool compatible accessories fit them is likely... but I've never had either of those rails to check so don't take my word for it :D

WFIW, the riving knife has done the job a few times when ripping longer lengths that have wanted to close up; not often, but I'm glad it's there.
 

sammy.se

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there's a few really good youtube videos out there to help you decide: SkillBuilder put the festool and mafell head to head, and have a lot of other plunge saw comparison. Peter Millard has a good series on the budget plunge saw range vs Festool; and Matt Eastlea reviewed the Bosch track saw (a derivative of the mafell one) recently.

All good videos worth watching before you make your decision.
I have a cheapie Lidl (Parkside) track saw, which I think is wonderful for the money. (plus £15 for tracks - you can't go wrong). The parkside runs on festool and makita tracks and vice versa.
The Aldi version - a Schepach derivative - is not compatible with the festool, makita, parkside track, IIRC.
 

Bm101

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HCJ I have the Aldi Workzone one. It's unused although it is box free. Bought as a mix up by my Mrs and myself. I was after the small one, didn't realise they sold a bigger model, told her, she was in there, phoned me up, Yeh get it. Blimey that's a big box moment. Div.
I've since bought a secondhand saw of the size I wanted on here. So this one is taking up space. I have a big circular saw and don't need this. one. As I say its never been used.
It's this one and has the rails etc obviously. https://www.aldi.co.uk/workzone-track-s ... lsrc=aw.ds
Realise you want to make the jump to a more expensive saw but if you could get by with a cheaper saw at an even cheaper price than normal it might make sense (the reviews are on here to see, not trying to twist your arm). You have a PM. If not it'll go on the sale forum at the same price.
That'll teach me to be more careful. :|
If there's any issues with the Mods/ sale section rules please feel free (obviously) to take this post down, sorry for if any infringements just seemed relevant and helpful.

Cheers
Chris
 

basssound

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I've had the titan plunge saw and replaced it with a second hand (almost brand new condition) Festool TS55.
The difference is literally night and day, the Titan feels rough and low quality once you use a Festool, you understand the price difference once you've held the TS55.
The way it glides is effortless, the cut accuracy is awesome, the depth accuracy and setting is exceptionally easy.

If you can justify the cost of a brand new unit then do it, you'll never look back, if you won't use it that often then go down the second hand route, I'm positive that festool tools are of the highest quality and best I'll last years of constant use.
Peter Millard on here and YouTube has the older model and I'm sure it was at least 10 years old and he only replaced it after mistakenly assuming it was dead when it was just worn out motor brushes.
 
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