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Tracksaw and workbench questions

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gaius

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hi all,
for some time now I have been struggling to achieve straight cuts and squaring up panels.

My "workbench" (if one can call it that) is a Wolfcraft 1000, which I find absolutely useless. The fence is very unstable, cut length is limited to about 500mm, the plate that holds the circular saw upside down doesn't seem to keep the blade at a 90º angle to the table top, etc.

Since I buy entire melamine faced chipboard and plywood panels, I need to cut them to size, and have them properly squared up. Usually I lay a panel on the floor, clamp a 3m long metal rule to the board and cut it with a circular saw. This can be very time consuming, since it involves repeated measuring and double/triple checking to ensure that it's as square as possible (in a 2.5m long piece, it's very easy to be off by 1mm or more), cuts aren't clean, and in the end I need to fine-tune the resulting pieces to get 90º angles and clean the edges.

I've had enough of this and would like to buy something which saves me some time without having to sell the house.

From what I have read here, the best option would be to get a track saw. From the reviews I could find online, it seems that the Festool, Bosch, Dewalt and Makita are comparable in features. Prices are also similar.
Since I have never used one of these, nor do I have physical access to one, I have a few questions:

-can one use a regular circular saw one any of these rail systems? E.g. I have a Bosch GKS 160. Could I use it with the Festool rail system?
-the rails ensure a straight, clean cut, but how does one guarantee repeatable square angles on larger pieces? Festool seem to have a parallel guide set. Is this the best solution?
-The Festool MFT 3 seems to come with a rail system and angle fence/guide. Is this the same as in the TS55-FS? In case it is, would buying an MFT be a good option?
-Are there good, more cost effective alternatives which would work well? Eg does anyone have anything to say about the Magnum 1000 workbench, Woodstar Divar 55, Wolfcraft Mastercut 2000, Wolfcraft FKS115 guides?


sorry for the long post.

cheers,
Ze
 

houtslager

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well the easiest way is to make your own " track" for your saw. This is easier then many people think, in fact I use one still when I have 3 fessie ones in the shop. The home made track is for site work.
Take 1 length of ply/mdf/mfc board as long as you want, place a true and straight batten on this on one edge. Put you saw on it, and cut a " new" edge. This is your cut side. And this is what you line upto your pencil line to cut. Thus, one cheap and veryy useful track for ANY saw.

hth,

k
 

Steve Maskery

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I'm not familiar with that Bosch model, but unless it is a tracksaw itself I think it unlikely that it will work with any of the rail systems. Some of the other systems are compatible with each other (I'm afraid I forget which).
Karl's cheap solution is the way to go. I used it for years before I went Green.
I would also add that the biggest improvement I made to mine was making a setting gauge. I cans et it to and width I want, position the track without measuring on the board at all, and make the cut. Furthermore, I can run off as many as I want and they will all be exactly the same.
I have two such setting gauges, one for panels wider than the track and one for strips narrower than the track. They've never let me down yet.
S
 

sometimewoodworker

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gaius":1pebi5ts said:
hi all,
-can one use a regular circular saw one any of these rail systems? E.g. I have a Bosch GKS 160. Could I use it with the Festool rail system?
-the rails ensure a straight, clean cut, but how does one guarantee repeatable square angles on larger pieces? Festool seem to have a parallel guide set. Is this the best solution?
-The Festool MFT 3 seems to come with a rail system and angle fence/guide. Is this the same as in the TS55-FS? In case it is, would buying an MFT be a good option?
-Are there good, more cost effective alternatives which would work well? Eg does anyone have anything to say about the Magnum 1000 workbench, Woodstar Divar 55, Wolfcraft Mastercut 2000, Wolfcraft
Ze
1) With those systems no. The EZ system can use other saws.
2) the parallel guides do just that, parallel not square. For square you measure.
3) the MFT does square in smaller sizes. To do rips use the TS 55 with a long track.

For me the MFT is too expensive and too difficult to get and too light weight.

You will also want a shop vac for dust collection. The Festool ones are very good and if you get into buying any of the Festool sanders reducing the "suck" is needed.

You will find pics in the website in my sig.
 

MickCheese

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I have the makita track saw and find it very good. The dust extraction is good provided there is sufficient material overhanging the righthand sde not to compromise the seal. The track stays put but you do have to be careful. The depth stop is good enough for dado's using multiple passes.

Mine came with a systainer case and carry bag for the rails.

About £330 at the moment I think.

Mick
 

gaius

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considering the advice given here and upon further reading on other websites, my conclusion is that a tracksaw system is worth getting, and not something which I'll later regret having bought.

The "multi-function" table, I'm probably better off building my own. Is this correct?

This way I could customize it with inbuilt rules/scales, etc.
Would it be a good idea to re-use the metal base which holds the Circular saw or router upside down on the Wolfcraft 1000 and adapt it to my own workbench?

Also, is it cost effective to make my own fence, or are there reasonably priced, good quality off-the-shelf fences? I consider the Incra to be hideously overpriced for both my skills and needs.
Do you have any recommendations?
 

gaius

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About the tracksaws, i have narrowed it down to two choices:

1-it seems that for a non-pro I wouldn't be missing anything by going with the Makita instead of the Festool. Also, it's compatible with both Festool and Dewalt accessories. The Makita is cheaper and is built in Europe (which to me is an advantage over the DeWalt).

2-Bosch came out with a new system which seems to be very similar to the others. Since they were the last to come out with a tracksaw, it shouldn't be inferior to the others. However, at the moment there aren't any independent reviews around, so it's hard to know the answer to questions like which accessories it takes. They mention that it's compatible with "competing systems", but does that mean Festool or Mafell? It's also cheaper than the Festool, but roughly 15% more expensive than the Makita.

At least one website claims that the Bosch system is compatible with Mafell, if that is the case, what are the (dis)advantages over the Festool track system?

cheers
Ze
 

Henning

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I have not tried the new Bosch yet, but have tried others. Festool won. Not least because it's a system, where several components are interchangeable between tools. If you don't foresee changing any other tools or invest more, I think the makita is the best value for tracksaw only. I can see no real difference between the makita and my Festool except for Festools system approach.
For workbench I would look at walko!
I recently did a kitchen job and it made it a lot easier with my walko as a base for my Festool tracksaw.
 

Mark A

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I've had the Makita for about a year now and can't fault it. If you do decide to buy a plunge saw you won't regret it :D
 

sometimewoodworker

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gaius":2ykt84r7 said:
About the tracksaws, i have narrowed it down to two choices:

1-it seems that for a non-pro I wouldn't be missing anything by going with the Makita instead of the Festool. Also, it's compatible with both Festool and Dewalt accessories. The Makita is cheaper and is built in Europe (which to me is an advantage over the DeWalt).

2-Bosch came out with a new system which seems to be very similar to the others. Since they were the last to come out with a tracksaw, it shouldn't be inferior to the others. However, at the moment there aren't any independent reviews around, so it's hard to know the answer to questions like which accessories it takes. They mention that it's compatible with "competing systems", but does that mean Festool or Mafell? It's also cheaper than the Festool, but roughly 15% more expensive than the Makita.

At least one website claims that the Bosch system is compatible with Mafell, if that is the case, what are the (dis)advantages over the Festool track system?

cheers
Ze
If you are sure that you are never going to buy any of the other tools in the Festool range then, from what I have heard Festool and Mafell are equal DeWalt is les good & Makita and Bosch are unknown. Edit . Makita see https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/makita-sp6000-plunge-saw-flaw-t43608.html edit again: Bosch still unknown.

However if you may want to:
Do 32mm system cabinets,
Rouit groves for shelves
Easily make a workshop MFT substitute
Have awesome dust collection when sanding
Want to use lots of tennons in all your projects and make them fast
Then Festool is the best and cheapest.
BTW you may have forgotten to include the current stolen tool insurance built into the Festool price.
Also that you should be able to change the track that comes with the Festool saw for a different one just paying the difference in price. For example getting the LR-32 rail instead or the 3meter rail for ripping sheet goods.

AFIK Festool is the only SYSTEM as you can see from my sig. I am into the system and it is awesome. The more items I make using MFT hole spacing, using systainer heights and widths the more useful everything gets.

Think long and hard as it's unlikely that you will want to change your saw again for a very long time.

And as a last word I'm a non pro and for me woodwork is fun because I got into the Festool system. YMMY
 

sometimewoodworker

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gaius":a83s70qf said:
considering the advice given here and upon further reading on other websites, my conclusion is that a tracksaw system is worth getting, and not something which I'll later regret having bought.
True except it's not a system unless you get other tools that use the track
The "multi-function" table, I'm probably better off building my own. Is this correct?

This way I could customize it with inbuilt rules/scales, etc.
If you are in a workshop and short on money and space I think so. Many others don't.
If you buy an MFT you will be in production straight away. Building your own will take time.

As you can see from my website I built, am building, my own. And I would do it again. I wouldn't get an MFT unless I found one for a really low price. YMMV

PS. here is an interesting movie showing a bench based on the MFT and square cutting for cabinets http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqA9edtoSCs

I'm going to be using some of the ideas. :D
 

dddd

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I have the Dewalt version, I have to say that it really is excellent, has a nice action and just as accurate and clean cutting as my friends TS55.

My only reservation with it depends on the amount of use you're going to give it, mine has had light but regular use for the last year or so and has performed flawlessly, however if you are going to be using it a lot more than that I would definately consider the Festool, there's no question about it they are very well made.

Beyond that though I don't think there's a lot of difference between all of the alternatives, it's a pretty simple concept and from what i see there are no real lemons out there.

N.
 

misterfish

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I recently got a Bosch GKS65 that came with a free 1.4 metre track and it seems to work well, just what i expect from Bosch. It came with two blades in a soft carry-all type bag rather than a solid case. I haven't used it a lot yet but so far I am happy with what it has done.

On the subject of the track I have tried to find out if it is compatible with others, but can't find any information, but the dimensions are as follows



It would be useful if somebody (or somebodies) with the other rails could compare the dimensions to confirm compatibility, especially as the Bosch rails are expensive and the longer rails from the other manufacturers can be bought a fair bit cheaper.

Misterfish
 

sometimewoodworker

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misterfish":1h2u2syk said:
I recently got a Bosch GKS65 that came with a free 1.4 metre track and it seems to work well, just what i expect from Bosch. It came with two blades in a soft carry-all type bag rather than a solid case. I haven't used it a lot yet but so far I am happy with what it has done.

On the subject of the track I have tried to find out if it is compatible with others, but can't find any information, but the dimensions are as follows



It would be useful if somebody (or somebodies) with the other rails could compare the dimensions to confirm compatibility, especially as the Bosch rails are expensive and the longer rails from the other manufacturers can be bought a fair bit cheaper.

Misterfish
Not Festool
 

gaius

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misterfish":1dwbjtjt said:
I recently got a Bosch GKS65 that came with a free 1.4 metre track and it seems to work well, just what i expect from Bosch. It came with two blades in a soft carry-all type bag rather than a solid case. I haven't used it a lot yet but so far I am happy with what it has done.

On the subject of the track I have tried to find out if it is compatible with others, but can't find any information, but the dimensions are as follows



It would be useful if somebody (or somebodies) with the other rails could compare the dimensions to confirm compatibility, especially as the Bosch rails are expensive and the longer rails from the other manufacturers can be bought a fair bit cheaper.

Misterfish
I posted a similar question on the Bosch PT forums, and according to Bosch, all of their new G models have a second groove on the footplate which makes them compatible with Festool tracks. But the opposite is not true, i.e. one can not use their tracks with Festool.

And probably this means that the Bosch tracks don't work with the Festool accessories lke clamps, parallel guides, etc - this is purely conjecture on my part. I'll ask them for confirmation.

So it is ok to buy festool (or the cheaper Makita?) tracks and use them with the Bosch. The problem is that if my hypothesis above is true, one wouldn't be able to use the included Bosch track in the system. A bit disappointing.
 

Oryxdesign

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If the Festool is only 15% dearer why would you not buy that one. You can return it after 30 days for a full refund if you don't like it, if it gets stolen Festool will give you a new one for £100 and it's guaranteed for 3 years. Mind you I am slightly biased, I sell 'em!
 

sometimewoodworker

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Oryxdesign":oh5v14af said:
If the Festool is only 15% dearer why would you not buy that one. You can return it after 30 days for a full refund if you don't like it, if it gets stolen Festool will give you a new one for £100 and it's guaranteed for 3 years. Mind you I am slightly biased, I sell 'em!
And if you look at the videos the Bosch has bad /no dust collection :twisted: I also am slightly biased, I use one :D
 

27neth

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The Bosch GKS65 is not the Bosch plunge saw, so why are people comparing it to the Festool etc????? The Bosch plunge saw is the BOSCH GKT55CE.. Which looks the same as the Mafell saw, so i would go for one over the Festool...
I have owned the Dewalt, Festool and Mafell plunge saws.. I kept the Mafell and sold the other 2...
 
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