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Woodpeck Parallel Guide System

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Review by Rich posted 07-28-2021 05:42 AM 1134 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Woodpeck Parallel Guide System Woodpeck Parallel Guide System Woodpeck Parallel Guide System Click the pictures to enlarge them

When I decided to get a track saw, I began to review parallel guides. I looked at the Woodpeck, the TSO and the Festool options. Ultimately, I chose Woodpeck.

Here is the system. If you want to see it neatly packaged in the Systainer, look at the Woodpeck site. The key to its accuracy is the position of the first arm—or rail—in the connector, and is not something you want to have to do every time you use the guide. In fact, that first step of getting it calibrated is the most critical element to the guide’s accuracy. Do it right, and this guide will nail every cut precisely.

I used a different technique than Woodpeck documented. I’ll explain below.

Here is the full set of extension arms. Long enough to reach the center of a 4×8 sheet along its length. The system comes with two flip stops for each arm, allowing you to switch between cuts easily. That was a major selling point for me. I also like that I only need to use as many sections as I need for the cut, and don’t have to deal with long, clumsy, rails when I don’t need to.

The important thing to make sure of when attaching the guide to the track is that it’s on a flat surface. Otherwise, the arms will be at an angle and affect the accuracy of the cut. This is most important when making narrow cuts using the narrow stock guides.

This is a bad start.

To avoid those problems, do it on your table top, or if you’ve already got the workpiece on the bench, use it. Just make sure it’s flat when you tighten the guide to the track.

You set the cut using the front face of the flip stop. I think this is the weakest feature of the guide, yet it’s as good, or better, than the Festool or TSO guides from my perspective. I would much prefer a cursor with a hairline. Even better, one with magnification.

Fortunately, the markings are crisp and have good contrast, making it easy to set the cut accurately.

Here is a view of the underside of the track when the narrow stock guides are in place. You can cut narrow stock from a fraction of an inch up to eleven inches, which happens to be where the flip stop starts, so basically any cut from a fraction of an inch out to fifty-plus inches can be done accurately.

The setting for cuts made with the narrow stock guide are on the side of the rail. This another less-than-perfect feature of the guide. It’s a bear to get a good angle to eyeball the setting. I find it’s best to do it before I attach the rail to the track. I can get a better view and set it accurately. If you doubt it’s doable, I’m including a real 1” cut measured with digital calipers (btw, it was identical on both ends).

A critical issue when doing narrow cuts is to ensure that the track is flat and level to the workpiece. Any sag will push the narrow stock guides inward and the resulting cut will be off. It will also tilt the saw and the cut will not be square.

The track should not look like this.

The key to getting accurate cuts using the narrow stock guide is to use spacer blocks under the Woodpeck guide rails and the track itself, which are the same thickness as the workpiece. Doing so will ensure that the track and guide are level and the cut will be square and accurate.

Regarding the calibration procedure. In my view, the Woodpeck method is overly complicated and fraught with potential errors. Take a look at this photo. The instructions say to align the front and rear flip stops with those little white triangles and then use a block to make the end of the narrow stock guide flush with the splinter guard. My question is why does the front flip stop setting matter? It’s only there to support the narrow stock guide.

Anyway, in a nutshell, the only thing that matters is the distance from the flip stop to the splinter guard, and that can be set very accurately using a good steel rule, which is how I got my Woodpecker guide dialed in perfectly.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner




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Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days



16 comments so far

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LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#1 posted 07-28-2021 09:32 AM

Good review Rich... maybe not everyone’s cuppa tea, however, not everyone is blessed with the luxury of a Fe$tool Domino.

Mine is still in the mail, floating around somewhere in TOKYO...

Hell, I hope they haven’t commandeered them for some nefarious Olympic record measurements or quirky track setup…

Hope when it eventually arrives after that bloody long wait since March, it’ll look as good as yours and I’m sure I’ll get pleasure of using it if those Japanese Olympic officials onforward it before they defiled it’s mojo.

Still think that 2” measurement of your caliper is dodgy!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days


#2 posted 07-28-2021 02:18 PM

Thanks, Duck. Reading it over today, it looks like I couldn’t decide between doing a review or a blog post. Oh well, it is what it is. I’m starting to think you may be right about those calipers. Maybe I should switch to the metric scale.

I’m looking forward to your comments on the guide when you get yours. I ordered mine in early April and it was delayed twice. I have another pretty cool looking gadget arriving this week that’s track related. I’ll post about it later.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#3 posted 07-28-2021 02:57 PM


Thanks, Duck. Reading it over today, it looks like I couldn t decide between doing a review or a blog post.
- Rich

I personally think the review of a product is better than a blog… at least it dogballs the item for people that may not come across it.
Must admit, I chagrin every time I read a comment saying “I’ve been using that for over 20 years”, yet I only discovered them yesterday.

I think it was your review that made me buy my centipede(sss)!
.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days


#4 posted 07-29-2021 01:16 AM


I think it was your review that made me buy my centipede(sss)!

- LittleBlackDuck

Those 2096 MFT-style tops in the photo are sitting on top of Centipedes. I still swear by them.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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LeeRoyMan

2077 posts in 943 days


#5 posted 07-29-2021 03:25 AM

Quite the system.
I drive screws into a piece of wood then tap it with a hammer to adjust.
Man, I really need to up my game a little.

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Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days


#6 posted 07-29-2021 03:45 AM


Quite the system.
I drive screws into a piece of wood then tap it with a hammer to adjust.
Man, I really need to up my game a little.

- LeeRoyMan

Come on over to the Dark Side, LeeRoy. It won’t hurt a bit.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days


#7 posted 07-29-2021 03:54 AM

I forgot to mention in the post about the knobs that were included for locking down the flip stops. They were aluminum. I found they were hard to deal with and replaced them with the brass ones you see in the photos.

Well, today I was at Woodcraft looking at a bag of Incra ratcheting lever knobs that are part of their Build It system and decided to give them a try. So far so good.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#8 posted 07-29-2021 04:10 AM

Quite the system.
I drive screws into a piece of wood then tap it with a hammer to adjust.
Man, I really need to up my game a little.

- LeeRoyMan

Come on over to the Dark Side, LeeRoy. It won t hurt a bit.

- Rich

Rich, LRM tapping timber with wood threads is pretty Dark... I use The Wood Whisperers wood taps extensively… though I never drove them with a hammer.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days


#9 posted 07-29-2021 04:24 AM

Rich, LRM tapping timber with wood threads is pretty Dark... I use The Wood Whisperers wood taps extensively… though I never drove them with a hammer.

- LittleBlackDuck

Well, there’s tapping, and then there’s tapping. That’s the fun of the English language.

Although I consider any disciple of The Wood Whisperer to be a Philistine. In my best American dialect, I say to that, “it just ain’t right.”

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#10 posted 07-29-2021 05:40 AM


Rich, LRM tapping timber with wood threads is pretty Dark... I use The Wood Whisperers wood taps extensively… though I never drove them with a hammer.

- LittleBlackDuck

Well, there s tapping, and then there s tapping. That s the fun of the English language.

Although I consider any disciple of The Wood Whisperer to be a Philistine. In my best American dialect, I say to that, “it just ain t right.”

- Rich


There are nice Philistines and there are Philistines that are phiilistines... but you are right, dancing on your workpiece is fraught with danger.
Tried tapdancing once,

fell off the sink and broke my leg!

PS. What’s all the negative goss with The Whisperer?

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Rich's profile

Rich

7369 posts in 1805 days


#11 posted 07-29-2021 06:07 AM


Tried tapdancing once,

fell off the sink and broke my leg!

PS. What s all the negative goss with The Whisperer?

- LittleBlackDuck

OK, that was a good one. Not something any Philistine could come up with. There may be hope for you yet.

The Whisperer? He’s done much to generate interest in woodworking, and for that I applaud him. It’s more a matter of the false idol worship I see when his name is mentioned. Yes, he’s fairly talented, but he’s also sponsored. That seems to change even the best of them. Is he telling me the best way to do something, or is it the best way for him to line his pockets when I bite?

I find The Masters are more impressive. Frank Klausz comes to mind. A chisel in his hands is like watching Morimoto do a meters-long rotary slice from a carrot using his Japanese cleaver.

Now, if you really want to get my hackles erect, tell me how awesome the social media “influencers” are on Instagram. In your neck of the woods, I find the Melbourne Chippy Chick to be credible, although I think she gets grief for being pretty. I’m more referring to the poseurs like She’s the Carpenter and hundreds of others.

It’s all about monetization.

An aside… I recall once long ago when a LJ dared to contradict the Whisperer on the subject of low-angle jack planes in a post on here. The Whisperer replied (he is a LJ) and the LJ’s knees went wobbly and he groveled. It was sad to watch, since I agreed with what he said.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#12 posted 07-29-2021 11:24 AM



.... It s all about monetization….
- Rich

I started watching the spaghetti man early in his career… I moved to Churchill in 2010 and followed him well before then. Actually I used to joke with him about the progress of his ink. He was very amicable and friendly with his “subscribers” back then and we swapped many a humorous emails.
I got involved with some of his early projects but started to slow down when he started to import staff… I don’t mind sponsorship and have found him fairly open when he refers to sponsorhip influenced comments.

I stopped following him fairly soon after he released his wood thread taps… bought the two full sets (metric and bloody imp.), which I still love and would recommend to anyone… quotes that the metal taps are just as good is pure bullshit… I’ve tried both and there is significant difference between the two. Are they worth it.. yes, but no, if you don’t want to tap wood… could you get away with metal taps… yes, but poor tolerances exacerbated by repeated disassembly.

I have slowly distanced from him as I have noticed he’s gone too commercial, but then they all do. I was a great fan of Izzy Swann, but even his aside jokes now have a price tag on them.

Nevertheless it’s nice to get another perspective off him.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View toddbeaulieu's profile

toddbeaulieu

854 posts in 4220 days


#13 posted 07-29-2021 03:17 PM

I have this system. It’s decent. I had a problem where the first rail segments were too long. I cut them down slightly and mentioned it to Woodpecker. They sent me a replacement set of rails, which seemed to be identical to what I already had so I just stuck ‘em in the basement.

It takes a bit of getting used to, so if you don’t use them often it might be frustrating, but otherwise I like ‘em. I have way too many WP tools!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

10270 posts in 3625 days


#14 posted 07-31-2021 01:55 AM

Good solid review. All I need now is DW’s money and my funding is taken care of.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7924 posts in 2037 days


#15 posted 07-31-2021 02:09 AM


Good solid review. All I need now is DW s money and my funding is taken care of.

LOL

- woodbutcherbynight


Rest assured butcher, DW may keep his shekels in his pocket, but will freely give you his blessing… for $2… collection plates cannot be ignored… liturgy need their vino!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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