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Skydivermel

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Morning all,
Hope everyone had a good Christmas in the circumstances.

I have a small workshop in my garden (16X8) and looking for a track saw as would like to try my hand at making some cabinets.

Any advise most welcome.
 

marcros

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Peter Millard did a video comparison on YouTube which is worth watching. I have the Festool ts55 which is fantastic but isnt the cheapest option and I dont know your budget. What I would suggest is that when you are buying, try to think what length of track you need, because often it is cheaper to buy it within a package than add another length down the line (certainly with Festool).
 

Skydivermel

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Gents,
Budget is circa £500 - 600. We're in need of a new kitchen and I'd like to have a crack at building my own. Plan is to also build a MFT top and bench.
 

JJ1

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Just a hobby woodworker here but I've never for one minute regretted buying the Festool TS55 tracksaw. Money very well spent.
 

MusicMan

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At the lower end, I bought a Lumberjack track saw recently and am happy with it. It doesn't have some of the faults Peter wrote about in the ones he reviewed. I don't do a great amount of sheet goods work, mainly for breaking down big sheets on the front drive before carting them into the workshop at the back (I can't carry an 8x4 sheet). I made Peter's basic crosscutting jig and all works well. Useful for cabinets out of sheet.
 

Blackswanwood

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I asked a similar question a couple of months ago and having had a Festool TS55 on loan found it to be a great piece of kit. Since then I have also had a play around with a Makita SP6000 and couldnt rsee any difference in the results. The Makita is circa 2/3rds the price but I was told is difficult to get hold of in the 230v version as their supply chain has yet to recover after lockdown.
 

AJB Temple

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I looked carefully at the Festool TS55 and Mafell and bought the Mafell. If you are in the upper end of the market (your budget is close to that) then I would search the reviews between these two. My reasoning was Mafell has a better motor and quite a bit more useful power - the Festool is known to bog down in deep cuts. There are rumours of an upgrade to the motor.

I really like the auto scribe feature on the Mafell. I also think the Mafell track is superior: it is more rigid and much quicker and easier to connect two lengths (as needed for full size sheets).

Some people value the quick blade change on the Mafell, but of more importance to me, there is no exposed port on the right side of the case and the dust extraction (I use a Festool trade rated vac) is quite a bit better than the TS55.

I have used mine extensively now, including building a large kitchen, and think it is worth the extra money.

There are some good reviews online now from tradespeople of all the main contenders.
 

Skydivermel

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I'll have a look and read the reviews of both the Festool & Mafell.

Very much appreciate your comments and advise.

Cheers
Mel.
 

Spectric

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You need to look at the reviews because you probably don't need to spend the sort of money being asked by Festool & maefel, good saws but you are paying for the badge. The Bosch GKT55GCE is manufactured by Maefell and has some good reviews, and when compared to the Maefell there were a lot of items in common including the weight, both are 4.7Kg and both have the same no load speed at 3600 - 6250 Rpm. The old Festool 55 is often stated as underpowered and now surpased by cordless saws but personally I prefer corded tools except drills & drivers. This video is quiet good and there are others.


The one thing I notice is that they all seem to take more effort to cut than a table saw, I can push 3 inch wood through my table saw and at a steady pace it cuts without issues, some of these tracksaws in the videos do seem to struggle even with the larger motors but I suppose they were designed primarily for thinner sheet goods like MDF & weetabix boards. I have listed the details of some popular saws and I am currently looking at Makita, good simple saw without the bells and whistles that seem to put the price up but it has a 2mm scoring feature although the depth scale does not compensate when on a track.
The Dewalt lacks a positive stop at 45°.

Makita SP6000J2Bosch GKT55GCEDewalt DWS520KTRFestool TS55RMafell MT55CCKIT
Motor Pin1300 Watts1400 Watts1300 Watts1200 Watts1400 Watts
Blade Dia165mm165mm165mm160mm162mm
Depth of cut
90°55mm57mm55mm55mm57mm
45°39mm42mm40mm43mm40mm
Weight4.2Kg4.7Kg5.1Kg4.5Kg4.7Kg
Nearest cut18mm29mm12mm24mm
from wall
No load Rpm2000 - 5200 Rpm3600 - 6250 Rpm1750 - 4000 Rpm2000 - 5800 Rpm3600 - 6250 Rpm
Riving kniveNoNoYesYesNo
Price inc VAT£400£469£414£619£636
plus 2 rails
NOTES
 

Blackswanwood

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I really like the auto scribe feature on the Mafell. I also think the Mafell track is superior: it is more rigid and much quicker and easier to connect two lengths (as needed for full size sheets).
Having looked at a fair few of the reviews I’d say that is a very fair summary Adrian. Most seemed to say it was down to fine margins between the Festool and Mafell - dust extraction and the rail systems were definitely called out as being advantages for the Mafell.

Interestingly one of the points that stuck in my mind was a coupLe of the reviews commenting on the scribe cut with the Mafell being a fraction of a millimetre off the final cut line and potentially leaving a visible gap. I’m guessing that’s not something you have found to be the case based on your post?
 

Spectric

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Interestingly one of the points that stuck in my mind was a coupLe of the reviews commenting on the scribe cut with the Mafell being a fraction of a millimetre off the final cut line and potentially leaving a visible gap. I’m guessing that’s not something you have found to be the case based on your post?
Hi

This is from design and if you look at Peter Millards video he does talk about this feature where there an offset during the scribe cut.
 

Spectric

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With many saws you will see that people just put masking tape over the hole where you access the blade changing nut to improve dust extraction, but to me the ability of the tool comes before dust extraction, what good is a useless tool that has brilliant dust extraction! If you cut wood then you make saw dust which is worse than anything produced with metal and you just accept it. It is odd that men are fascinated about hoovers in the workshop but probably do not even know where the missus stores the hoover in the house, let alone use it.
 

AJB Temple

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Having looked at a fair few of the reviews I’d say that is a very fair summary Adrian. Most seemed to say it was down to fine margins between the Festool and Mafell - dust extraction and the rail systems were definitely called out as being advantages for the Mafell.

Interestingly one of the points that stuck in my mind was a coupLe of the reviews commenting on the scribe cut with the Mafell being a fraction of a millimetre off the final cut line and potentially leaving a visible gap. I’m guessing that’s not something you have found to be the case based on your post?
I always use the scribe feature and working in baltic birch ply for example) I get zero edge chipping. if there is a scribe offset, there is no evidence of it at all in the final cut. The scribe feature is a black depth control knob right by the trigger, so it becomes second nature to flick it on and off. The scribe puts no load on the machine so it takes maybe three seconds to scribe along the length of a sheet.

To answer other comments: the reviews of the Bosch I have seen suggest that it is a stripped back version of the Mafell. The motor is not the same. I buy tools for heavy duty use and I expect them to last basically forever.

For me dust extraction is fundamental: It is very difficult to get a really clean cut every time in expensive materials, if you don't remove the dust at source. (Same applies to the excellent Festool domino). As I am not a fan of MDF dust (super asthmatic) and tracksaws are often used for MDF, the dust extraction is important to me.

What makes a big difference in actual use, is a non-fiddly track. The reason I like the much more robust track (compared with Festool and ntrackclones) is that it is very quick and reliable to get a double length set up and be sure it is dead straight. Bosch uses the same track and it is cheaper. I also like the very accurate blade height adjustment on the Mafell. it is just a pinch adjuster - super easy to set and use, and a like the fact that it deals with on and off track at the twist of a button, so not mental arithmetic required.

I see little value in a cordless track saw. This is because I always have it connected to a vacuum, and a vac hose is a lot bulkier than a mains cord. This would be different perhaps if I was using it as a site saw.

I can't comment much on the cheaper clones. I've used an Erbaur (Screwfix brand however it is spelled) and was unimpressed, but I hear good things about DeWalt and to a lesser extent Makita. Having tried a few last time I bought one, if I could not have the Mafell I would have bought the Festool.
 

Skydivermel

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Gents,
All noted and thank you.

Spetric.
That's a brilliant post. Maybe the mods could make it a sticky.

Mel.
 

petermillard

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Where possible, try and get hands-on with any saw you’re looking at purchasing - looking at manufacturers specs doesn’t tell the whole story.

FYI all my tracksaw-related videos are in a playlist here - http://bit.ly/TracksawWorkshop - including the one where I compare the Festool to the Mafell. I had significant issues with the Mafell scribing feature - unacceptably gappy - and the saw was returned to Mafell to be checked over; if I ever get it back I’ll be sure to repeat the test.

Again, just as an FYI Mafell DO NOT manufacture the Bosch saw; they make the rails, and some of the parts, but it’s a Bosch saw, and has a different feature set to the Mafell.

Just so’s you know where I’m coming from, I’m a long-term tracksaw user, having made my living with one more or less daily for 14 years. I own Festool saws, and the Makita tracksaw, plus a handful,of ‘lesser’ brands, and I’ve used the Mafell and DeWalt extensively. I’ve no direct experience of the Bosch saw, something I hope to rectify before too long. In my experience, the Makita is very crude in comparison to the Mafell or Festool; again, I’d suggest getting hands-on with them if you can.

HTH P.
 

johnnyb

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having used the makita extensively and exclusively for years I would suggest its an extremely robust saw. the results are more dependant on the sharp ness of the blade. having no comparison i can't say its not very crude. but it is powerful. the 165mm blades are slightly odd and the score won't work using 160mm. the rails really need to join together perfectly this definitely doesn't happen on makita rails. this alone would be a huge bonus(I would seriously consider any saw where this happened). im guessing the festool rails are the same btw. keeping a sharp blade is a job in itself laminates just destroy the edge in very short order.
I prefer festool 24 tooth blades as they are much easier to push and free cutting esp in general use.ie not exclusively 18mm sheet.
care must be taken when using all plunge saws to there capacity as many pros rails will show evidence of kick back.
in summary I find them invaluable in general joinery and site fitting. not perfectly suited to finish panel sizing though. obviously I may eat my words but peters mafell experience puts me off a bit. these are supposed to be the rolls Royce of plunge saws. I suspect they are being pushed to there engineering limits in these application.
 

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