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Thread: festool vs. table saw?

  1. #1

    festool vs. table saw?

    Hi guys.

    I'm a newbie who's trying to get it together. First purchase, interestingly, was the 2.25 hp Triton. (I don't mean first, per se. Have cordless set drills / circular saw, etc., but first major tool purchase was router.

    The festool design looks great, but I wonder if one can rip parallel cuts, well. I'm assuming MSFT table + circular saw system.

    Would love link, advice on sub 1000 table saw, if you guys prefer that route.

    also: can one mount a third party router on a Festool guide? Maybe I should just use a router table.

    thanks.

  2. #2
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    tom, don't have any festool stuff so can't help there. but most who have it love it.

    how about some examples of projects you'd like to accomplish. what type of work do you plan to do with the tools.

    that may help you get more accurate advice.

    good luck, i hate buying tools, because i can never make up my mind which one to buy

    chris

  3. #3
    Hey, Chris.

    I married a Mire from Louisiana, interestingly. You know, I don't really have projects lined up. I have to replace some covers, and I'm going to use the router for that, tracing the original, but other than that...not much.

    making a bookcase is on the list.

  4. #4
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    I have nothing against guided saws. But I just can't see it replacing the Table Saw for all around work. A TS is the heart of most shops. First thing that comes to my mind is that you can't cut dado's with a Circular saw. That I couldn't live without. Maybe you can?

    I am sure there are people that don't need a TS and the guided saws are perfect for. But for the average person, I have my doubts. As Chris implies, a lot is going to depend on what your going to do with it. Just off the top of my head your going to be able do a lot more with a good TS.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    ...A TS is the heart of most shops. First thing that comes to my mind is that you can't cut dado's with a Circular saw...
    I'm a hardcore TS fan, but I wanted to interject that the router can handle the dado issues. Especially a router in a table or on a guide rail.

    I don't think I'd want to be without my TS, but there are guys out there who prefer to use a guided circular saw, and the Festool is the one all the others try to beat.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  6. #6
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    I've found cutting long/wide sheet material is easy with my Festool TS 55, when I have the time to set up. I would have had a harder time cutting this sheet of laminate for my counter top project on my TS in the shop.

    Attachment 17573

    However, for ripping short/thin boards, I find my table saw easier and faster. Just set the fence and rip.

    The TS 55 on the MFT makes crosscuts easy.

    Attachment 17574

    Many long time Festool saw users have been able to do amazing things with it...especially with custom MFT tables. I doubt I will be getting rid of my Delta TS for a long time, though.
    Last edited by Greg Cook; 09-13-2009 at 03:47 AM.

  7. #7
    I have a festool TS55 saw and about 18' of guide rail. I process mostly solid timber but also use the rails for building boxes trolleys etc in the shop. I also have what you colonial chaps would call a "euro" slider tablesaw.

    I use the festool because it lets me rip a straight edge on a long board which would not fit on my somewhat modest slider table. Most of my timber is in the form of 2' and 3' shorts which do fit comfortably on the slider. I then take the long board to the TS if I am going to make further parallel rip cuts. At the lengths that I am using it trying to accurately rip with the Festool is not viable. I am sure that there are systems that make this easire but so does my TS.

    For sheet goods I prefer the Festool because I do not have a set up to heft 8*4 sheets around safely and the guided rail works great.

    If I wanted to cut a dado I would do it with a router so I would not miss a TS from that point of view but for making repetitive rip cuts (which I do often) I do not believe that you can beat a reasonable TS for accuracy and speed.

    There are a number of guide rail systems and nobody should forget that it is very easy to make your own to suit your circualr saw of choice. For me, the deciding factor for the Festool system is that I really (really, really) like the plunge action of the Festool saw. So the TS55 is my saw of choice and that makes the guide rail system a good choice. But for me its an "as well as" rather than an "instead of" choice.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I'm a hardcore TS fan, but I wanted to interject that the router can handle the dado issues. ....
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    I've found cutting long/wide sheet material is easy with my Festool TS 55, when I have the time to set up.
    This is what I was talking about. A lot depends on the person. Both of them have very good points. I don't like routers so I rarely use mine. Never think of dado's with it even though it will do the job just fine.

    I typically cut down my sheet goods on the TS. I made a Circular Saw guide that I use too. If I did a lot of sheet goods I would consider buying a good guided saw but I don't. Not enough to justify the expense anyway.

    But this is why I was saying a lot depends on you and what your going to make. What works for me would never work for someone else.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  9. #9
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    Jeff, along the same line, I think you will find some cut sheet goods with a guided saw to the size they will be using for say cabinets. Others will cut a bit larger, then finish cut on their table saw as they feel it will give cleaner and/or more accurate cuts. You're right in the idea...it depends. (and varies)

  10. #10
    I have a Festool ATF-55. I've tried circular saws and guide systems of many incarnations for a long time, and imo the Festool is hands down the best out there. It's not only the best out there, it's way ahead of whatever's in second place. The guide system is amazingly accurate. If I take some care in placing it, I can cut a piece of sheet goods that shows no gap at the corner when I check it with my Incra square. And I agree with Ian...that plunge action is the berries.

    I also have a Grizzly 10" cabinet saw with Exaktor sliding table and HTC roller outfeed table attached, as well as a router table with Incra LS positioner and fence attached as the right wing.

    If you wanted to take either one of those away from me you would need to be armed.

    The saw I use the most (I can see a path getting worn in the concrete floor) is the tablesaw. Even though the Festool is accurate, the tablesaw is more so. The tablesaw excels at repetitive cuts. The tablesaw can be used to cut tenons with a tenoning jig. The table saw can cut dadoes. The tablesaw can make angled cuts more accurately than a circular saw. The tablesaw can make a myriad of other cuts that I can't even think of that a circular saw either can't or can only do clumsily. The tablesaw is quicker to setup. The Exaktor sliding table is very accurate at crosscutting, so I use it for most of that work as well (gave my ras to my brother cause I wasn't using it anymore).

    I should say that I work mostly with solid wood...since I have a bandmill and a good source for logs it's available to me and actually cheaper (as in free). Plus I like the challenges of solid wood, and I think it's prettier. But I'm getting off in the weeds here.

    Even with the Exaktor slider and the roller outfeed table, horsing around a 4x8 sheet of anything (even luaun) on my tablesaw is a pain, and the heavier it is the bigger the pain. Until it's manageably smaller than 4x8 I always go fetch the Festool. Think about it...would you rather maneuver that big sheet of stuff through the blade, or maneuver the blade through the big sheet of stuff. Furniture grade sheet material isn't cheap, so it's nice to be able to set up a cut and know that it's probably going to be a keeper...if not, it'll be within a blade width on the tablesaw of being so. The Festool lets you do that. If all you want to do is rough-cut sheet material to a smaller size so you can take it to your tablesaw use anything...a circular saw suitable for the trades, an inexpensive jigsaw, heck use a hatchet.

    The base of the Festool saw has a channel that rides on a rail extruded into the guide, so you wouldn't be able to use just any old circular saw with the guide. And as Ian and I have already said, that plunge cut...well, you won't believe how sweet that is til you try it. You know how when you finish a cut with a "standard" circular saw and it's still spinning you look around and say where am I going to put this thing...the blade on the Festool retracts, so you put it wherever you want to and it doesn't go running across the table making tooth marks in things.

    If your price point for a tablesaw is $1k, check out Grizzly. Okay, I admit it, I'm a big fan. My shop is very green. Their G1023 (with variations) is a proven design that's been out there for a long time. You could do worse.

    My advice would be that when you do your research stay focused on value (and I don't mean just inexpensive) and forget about the "hey look I've got a Powermatic" syndrome. Sometimes to get what you need you actually do need a Powermatic (as in Vaughn's lathe), but not always. And here's another thought for you...try to avoid the "one tool does all" abyss. It's tempting...I have some scars from it...but in general I think it's a bad idea. I bought my first ras because it could do everything...rip, crosscut, dado, plane, drill...you name it and there was an accessory to do that. Problem is, you spend 20 minutes setting up to make a 5-second cut. And 20 minutes to make the next.....etc...and I'd like to meet the guy who thinks tool setup is fun. And the bloody thing was always out of alignment. My last ras was finally relegated to crosscut duty only (before I gave it away, as I said). Specific tools for specific jobs...besides, acquiring tools is part of the fun.

    Good luck with your decisions. Relax. Have a homebrew.

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