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Track saw - T55 or Mafell MT55

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Noho12C

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Hi,

I'm considering getting a plunge saw with a track, mainly for the following :

  • Cutting plywood for workshop stuff (storage, small cabinets and stations, etc.)
  • rough dimensioning of lumber (eg cross cutting to length, ripping to get rid of the sapwood/bark section, etc.)
  • using in place of a small table section to cut some basic joints (rabbet, etc.)

The T55 is fairly well reviewed, but I cant find much info about cutting solid timber. Is the T55 powerful enough to get through 2" white oak ? (using the right blade of course) Doesn't happen everyday but my latest project was based on that.

The MT55 is a bit more powerful, and should handle heavier cuts more easily, but for some reasons (i might be wrong) I feel like the T55 is a bit more precise for delicate cuts than the MT55. Maybe due to weight ?

Anyway, would be happy to read about your experience with the T55 on solid wood and MT55.

Thanks
Chris.
 

DBT85

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While I have not used my ts55 on solid wood, I doubt with the correct blade that you'd be disappointed at all with either. You're probably looking at the 8.8/10 and the 9/10 options in the market (on the understanding that 10/10 doesn't really exist). Availability might be a factor right at the moment, I know the 240v TS55 is in short supply so prices have been driven up compared to the 110v version.
 

Bojam

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My Bosch GKT55 track saw with Freud blades installed (dedicated rip and crosscut - quick and easy to swap) cuts through dense tropical hardwoods like e.g. Purpleheart without issue. Produces clean straight cuts. Two inches is possible but it’s about the limit (52mm with the track, 57 without).

Edit: I’ve used it for all of the purposes you listed. With a (homemade) MFT and Benchdogs fence system cutting joints like half-laps is entirely feasible with good results. Rabbeting is probably easier with a router table though if you have one.
 

Noho12C

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Thanks both for your feedback.
My understanding of people struggling with their T55 is that they use the fine cut blade instead of using a ripping blade. So I think the issue might be the blade more than the tool.

Though the Bosch is 1400 W so a bit more powerful.

I want also to make a homemade MFT with benchdogs system. Seems to be quite useful and doesnt take much space.
 

Bojam

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I built a Ron Paulk style torsion box bench and some heavy duty sawhorses based on plans from an article by Josh Finn for it to sit on.

The top is actually two torsion boxes bolted together for modularity and ease of lifting. The dimensions are 1800 mm x 480 mm, so together 1800 mm x 960 mm.

I used the Parf System Mk2 to drill the grid of holes. The jig works perfectly - not cheap, but you keep it and make as many MFT tops as you want in various sizes / configurations (rather than buying a single pre-cut MFT top).

And I installed a router plate which I use both with an Axminster fence system and also the original INCRA jig for accurate joinery. Pics below.

IMG_0061.jpg

IMG_0121.jpg
 

Nelsun

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I've owned both and would recommend the MT55 over the TS55. There's the more powerful motor, the scoring function (great for minimising tearout on your ply), the quicker and easier blade change and compatibility with both Bosch and Festool pattern tracks. Those are just off the top of my head.
The TS55 is a great saw and will rip and crosscut your 2" oak with the correct blade and you may appreciate the offcut splinter guard on it which is lacking on the Mafell if you work a lot with ply. About the biggest gripe I have with the Mafell was the lack of plug-it cable socket... but it was easy enough to swap in a Festool one which isn't quite as elegant as it kinda gets in the road sometimes.

Both great saws but, for me, the MT55 ticks more boxes for me.
 

Noho12C

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I built a Ron Paulk style torsion box bench and some heavy duty sawhorses based on plans from an article by Josh Finn for it to sit on.

The top is actually two torsion boxes bolted together for modularity and ease of lifting. The dimensions are 1800 mm x 480 mm, so together 1800 mm x 960 mm.

I used the Parf System Mk2 to drill the grid of holes. The jig works perfectly - not cheap, but you keep it and make as many MFT tops as you want in various sizes / configurations (rather than buying a single pre-cut MFT top).

And I installed a router plate which I use both with an Axminster fence system and also the original INCRA jig for accurate joinery. Pics below.

View attachment 123063
View attachment 123065
Very nice set up !
 

AJB Temple

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Used TS55 extensively. Bought Mafell MT55 for my own use as I found the TS55 motor can bog down at times and I prefer the Mafell track connection system. Mafell and Bosch are failrly similar but heavier duty motor on the Mafell. As this is a keep it 20 years type of saw, I would buy the Mafell again given the choice. The quick scoring function is superb, and the fast blade change means I do swap blades whereas with the TS I didn't bother. Both MT and TS are high precision. Not used the Bosch variant but I would expect it to be similarly good.
 

sammy.se

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Take into consideration that the TS55 has been revised earlier this year. Details here: Our masterpieces, decisively improved

Older reviews will be the previous model.

I believe Matt Estlea done a review of the Bosch track saw on YouTube, which is almost the same at the Maffell.

Both Mafell and Bosch had the second-mover advantage, i.e. designed and launched after Festool, and have some design benefits like blade change and track design (assembly when joining)
 

Noho12C

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Looks like both are very good, but small advantage for the MT55. I think i will pay a visit to Axminster at some point and have a look at them in the flesh.

Axminster sells the T55 FEQ and on Festool website they have the FEBQ, which seems to include a brake system. Though Axminster mentions the following : The control electronics Festool have included with the TS 55-FEQ Plus ensure speed and temperature control, as well as a spring loaded guide wedge positioned in front of the blade to prevent jamming.

For the MT55 owners : there is no riving knife on the saw. Have you experienced any kickback issues ? It seems there is a control system to prevent the blade jamming, but in case of kickback you're still left with a flying saw...
 

DiyAddict

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For the MT55 owners : there is no riving knife on the saw. Have you experienced any kickback issues ?

I have the MT55, and it's been a game changer for me - I love it. But yes, I had kickback once resulting in flying saw and a gouged track. I put it down to inexperience more than anything else - I'd just bought the saw, it was cutting everything like butter and I did a plunge cut in some thick oak then tried to cut backwards slightly - very stupid, but it's never happened again.

Recently, I used it for plunging a sink cutout in an oak countertop. This time I used one of those cheap anti-kickback devices that fastens to the track, and plunged it gently with no problems.

Kickback has never been an issue with rip cutting for me, and if you're plunge-cutting then you'd need to remove the riving knife anyway, so I don't think it should be a deal breaker.

On the MT55 vs TS55, I think the MT55 is a slightly better saw - more power, anti-score, better track-joining system, easier blade change - BUT if you already have lots of Festool gear then the TS55 will integrate a lot better with its detachable power cord, matching vacuum spigot etc.
 

Noho12C

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Thanks DiyAddict.

I dont have any Festool equipment, but I am considering to get the smaller 1/2 inch router next year. Even though I'm doing most of my work with handtools, there are times where a router comes handy : long grooves in white oak, mouldings, repetitive cuts, etc.

When I started comparing these 2 saws, I was really into the MT55. Seems to be a bit better engineered. But for some reasons it feels that the MT55 is more geared towards carpenters or bigger scale works, while the TS55 is more for smaller scale/finer work, and is a bit easier to use for those. (again, I might be very wrong). More a feeling than anything else.
 

Nelsun

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I can't really comment on kickback with either track saw as I've (never say "never") n**er experienced it - and that's doing a good amount of narrow rips (I don't have a table saw) with seasoned pine and oak.
The MT55 is supposed to have some motor load-sensing wizardry that stops the blade. I've always wondered just how that'd work in practice versus a riving knife - which won't engage at the start of a plunge cut.

AFAIK, the new "kickback stop" gubbins on the new Festool machines goes, it's only on their cordless saws. something to keep in mind.

And as too Mafell for being for bigger stuff, I think that's likely true - but only due to having more power rather than the Festool. They both run off tracks, are easy to use and give great results; the Mafell just grunts its way through thicker stuff where the Festool wants the right blade.
 

sometimewoodworker

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Kickback has never been an issue with rip cutting for me, and if you're plunge-cutting then you'd need to remove the riving knife anyway, so I don't think it should be a deal breaker.
There is absolutely no need to remove the riving knife for plunge cuts if you use the Festool TS55, while I don’t make many plunge cuts I have never removed the TS55 riving knife except when changing it fo the thin kurf blade/knife. This is because the TS55 has a spring loaded knife that drops down as soon as there is space for it.

I haven’t used the MT55 so can’t comment on which is the better saw or even if either one is better
 

Spectric

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I have the 110 volt Makita and it is great, lots of hesitation but with feedback from @JobandKnock I took the plunge and it has been great and only cost £311 with a 1500 rail. It is a no frills tool designed to deliver just as you expect from makita but has a scoring feature and anti tilt when doing bevel cuts.
 

Doug71

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Think if I was starting out again I would go for the Mafell although I have had a TS55 for years and been really happy with it.

I don't think there is much between the saws but the Mafell rails have some nice features. The anti splinter strip is easier to change, the jointing system is better and you can clamp the rail much closer to the cut which is useful if you are looking at ripping solid timber.
 

matkinitice

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I regularly rip 50mm white oak, no problem. Do have a dedicated rip blade though (panther blade) which makes a huge difference. Beware of reviews that use the stock blade and then moan there's not enough power.

I was in a similar boat a few years back, but the deciding factor was blades. The only place to really buy blades easily was Amazon for me. Since then though Axminster and a few others stock Mafell goods so that's not a factor. The other reason was a lot of the videos/reviews were in German, even their official site was poor in this regard. Not sure if that's changed.

End of the day either saw is top quality and will work. The TS55 for me though was the winner down to the fact that a lot of others use it, so jigs, and tools play nicely with both it and the rail. The Mafell can have issues with the motor overhang if I remember correctly.
 

Sean33

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Hi,

I'm considering getting a plunge saw with a track, mainly for the following :

  • Cutting plywood for workshop stuff (storage, small cabinets and stations, etc.)
  • rough dimensioning of lumber (eg cross cutting to length, ripping to get rid of the sapwood/bark section, etc.)
  • using in place of a small table section to cut some basic joints (rabbet, etc.)

The T55 is fairly well reviewed, but I cant find much info about cutting solid timber. Is the T55 powerful enough to get through 2" white oak ? (using the right blade of course) Doesn't happen everyday but my latest project was based on that.

The MT55 is a bit more powerful, and should handle heavier cuts more easily, but for some reasons (i might be wrong) I feel like the T55 is a bit more precise for delicate cuts than the MT55. Maybe due to weight ?

Anyway, would be happy to read about your experience with the T55 on solid wood and MT55.

Thanks
Chris.
Have the Mafell, very good powerful piece of kit, you will have no issues going through 2" Oak etc
 

JobandKnock

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If you really intend to do a lot of hardwood work with a rail saw it's maybe worth looking at the Festool TS75 - more depth of cut and more power than any of the tiddlers ;)
 
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