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Forum topic by oneclickwonder posted 01-23-2022 06:44 AM 692 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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oneclickwonder

16 posts in 1048 days


01-23-2022 06:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: festool track saw dewalt makita plunge cut

Thinking of picking up a plunge cut track saw soon. Debating between Festool, Makita and Dewalt. Here in Canada I can get the Festool TS-55 REQ corded kit (which includes one 55” track, carrying case and stock blade) for $899. The Dewalt Flexvolt kit (59” track, carrying case, 6ah battery and charger, stock blade) for $850. Or a Makita corded kit (55” track and case/blade) for $670. (cordless Makita kits go for about $900)

I recently test drove the Dewalt for a number of cuts in 3/4” walnut. Both 90 and 45 – handled it quite well. Upside – liked the dual sided tracks. Downside – when battery got low it started stalling out mid cut. (like any cordless tool I suppose).

I’ve only read about the Festool and Makita – no first hand experience. Seems people like the Festool for the accuracy and higher degree of depth/angle setting control, and Makita for the value and power.

For me, I’m an intermediate hobbyist woodworker who works with sheet goods and hardwoods. I’m a member of a “maker space” that gives me access to table saws, jointers, planers etc. The table saw does me well in most applications but its a pain with big sheet goods and dialing-in accuracy on it can be tough (45s especially) without spending a heck of a lot of time on setup because its a shared saw – ie: constantly gets out of wack through use. I believe a track saw would be a great investment for me and compliment the above tools I have access to.

I won’t put it through daily abuse like a contractor, nor will I be in many situations where cordless is a must (its a nice to have though). I’m not part of any battery eco-system really – I have a Dewalt cordless drill, but that’s about it.

I lean Festool primarily because my cabinet maker cousin swears by it. But the Dewalt was certainly no slouch when I tried it out.

Any advice out there for those who have more track saw experience?


17 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7481 posts in 3954 days


#1 posted 01-23-2022 11:31 AM

I’ll skip the brand choices (I have the Festool) but unless i was a contractor using one out on job sites the cordless version just doesn’t make sense to me.While there are a few reasons for this, the biggest one is that eventually the batteries croak….and also eventually they aren’t available anymore. To tie so much money on a tool and have that happen just strikes me as something to avoid. Now if they ever made them convertible (both battery and cordless on the same tool) I might reconsider. At least then if the battery goes south you can plug it in.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

4845 posts in 3410 days


#2 posted 01-23-2022 11:41 AM

I have the corded TS75 and love it. I have not tried other brands. I had the Festool dust collector because I bought a domino. Beautiful cuts with that saw in IPE which is very hard! I just added the Festool sanders, now I am hooked!

-- Petey

View Robert's profile

Robert

4989 posts in 2941 days


#3 posted 01-23-2022 12:29 PM

Cannot speak first hand to another brand besides Festool. If DC is a concern, I would say Festool.

With another 55” track & paired with a good quality HEPA dust extractor, you’ll have a good set up.

I also like the tracksaw for straight line ripping a bowed board.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Nick424's profile

Nick424

211 posts in 2100 days


#4 posted 01-23-2022 12:45 PM

My son bought me the Festool TS-55 for Christmas. I have only used it a few times but I really like it. It was very easy to use and the track stays put better than I thought it could. Cuts were very accurate and splinter free. I would never have spent that much on a tool that I don’t think will get used every week, but I will try to find places to use it now that it is in the shop. I went out and bought the impactor TID-18 so the batteries would get used weekly and not set too long without some use.

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

1156 posts in 4436 days


#5 posted 01-23-2022 02:32 PM

Another Festool user (TS55) and very happy with it. Totally agree with Fred Hargis on corded vs battery. 90% or more of my use is in shop so I’m fine with corded.

View BB1's profile

BB1

3200 posts in 2308 days


#6 posted 01-23-2022 03:00 PM

I haven’t taken the plunge yet (no pun intended), but have gathered a lot of helpful insights from LJ on a recent question similar to yours that might be helpful.
Best wishes with your finial decision!

View Rich's profile

Rich

8124 posts in 2050 days


#7 posted 01-23-2022 03:24 PM

Regarding Festool corded versus battery, the cordless TSC 55 K is currently their flagship saw. It just came out in June and features redesigned blades, an anti-kickback feature as well as other improvements. The TS 55 cannot use the new blades because the riving knife is too thick.

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

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oneclickwonder

16 posts in 1048 days


#8 posted 01-23-2022 06:06 PM

Thanks for the replies! I think beyond the question of quality of each of the above mentioned saws (Bosch also gets love as a good track saw and probably should be considered) – and corded vs cordless – there’s the bigger questions of down the road applications and foreseeable usage.

Like I said, I’m an intermediate woodworker hobbyist whose passion is mostly building furniture / home furnishings – l’ve built cabinets, tables, entertainment centres, vanities, benches, etc. And small stuff as well – cutting boards, floating shelves and the like.

I work with hardwoods and veneered ply – hardwoods can sometimes be as thick as 2 – 3” for legs etc. Unfortunately I don’t yet have a shop at my house – its in the long term plans but I need to renovate our detached garage to make that work. Hence why I go to a ‘maker space’ to use their tools.

I don’t expect a track saw to do everything I need, but rather to compliment a table saw etc. But to future proof the purchase a bit, its important to think about whether you want to build on to it – by adding an MFT table like Festool offers, or router adapter for the track, etc.

As well for me, depth of cut may be more important than first thought – with thicker hardwoods it may be better to pay a little extra and get a Festool TS 75 for instance.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

11506 posts in 5108 days


#9 posted 01-23-2022 06:19 PM

Festool/Makita have a lot of accessories available that fit the tracks and/or interact with MFT tables with 20mm holes on 96mm centers.

Check out the TSO square and the various parallel guide systems that fit Festool type tracks and that may sway you one way.

View pottz's profile

pottz

25836 posts in 2445 days


#10 posted 01-23-2022 06:20 PM

ive got the dewalt corded and it’s been a great saw.i hook it up to my dust collector and does a pretty good job.personally i would not go cordless especially considering your a hobbiest and it wont get that much use.why mess around with batteries and chargers.i also have an adaptor i attach to my pc router to use with the track.you just need to decide whats best for you.for me the dewalt has worked perfectly and was much cheaper than the festool.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View NohoGerry's profile

NohoGerry

59 posts in 170 days


#11 posted 01-23-2022 08:18 PM

I’m an intermediate level woodworker like you, who needs to rip and crosscut sheet goods to manageable sizes (which can then be “trued up” on my tablesaw).
For 20 yrs+, I used Clamp and Tool Guides with a corded Black and Decker circular saw with very satisfactory results-have built cabinets using this setup. I use sturdy sawhorses with 2×4’s and clamps to hold the sheets and then cut by running the saw along the guide-always accurate if I measure and set up the guides correctly. A few years back I switched to a 20V DeWalt cordless saw because it weighed less, and I’ve never run out of battery power on the sheet goods work I’ve done (always have a spare battery in the charger for the saw).
When I moved into my new shop, I looked into the same track saws you’re currently evaluating.

Then asked myself-”how much sheet goods cutting work will I really be doing to justify the cost of a track saw?

The answer for me was to keep the saws I was currently using and just get 2 Kreg Straight Edge Guides-the 4ft and the XL (8ft) lengths-total cost $150 on Amazon for both. Even if you have to buy a new circular saw with these guides, you’ll still be well under the price of a track saw-and have more portability with a non-dedicated circular saw for other work.
I did pair up both circular saws I have with Freud 60T Ultra Finish blades to minimize chipping of veneer plywood-a good blade is a must to get the best results.

As far as your comment on depth of cut in hardwoods (e.g. to rough cut for chair parts), if you need to rip the lumber, take it to your shared shop building and rip it on a bandsaw with a fence. Got this technique from Michael Fortune, and I agree with him that it’s safer than ripping thick hardwood on the table saw, and the kerf is much smaller (i.e. less waste). You can then crosscut it on a table saw with a crosscut sled.
Hope this was helpful to you.
Gerry

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

9194 posts in 4037 days


#12 posted 01-23-2022 08:27 PM

The use of a rip blade in a track saw yields great results when ripping solid lumber.

View oneclickwonder's profile

oneclickwonder

16 posts in 1048 days


#13 posted 01-23-2022 08:28 PM



I m an intermediate level woodworker like you, who needs to rip and crosscut sheet goods to manageable sizes (which can then be “trued up” on my tablesaw).
For 20 yrs+, I used Clamp and Tool Guides with a corded Black and Decker circular saw with very satisfactory results-have built cabinets using this setup. I use sturdy sawhorses with 2×4 s and clamps to hold the sheets and then cut by running the saw along the guide-always accurate if I measure and set up the guides correctly. A few years back I switched to a 20V DeWalt cordless saw because it weighed less, and I ve never run out of battery power on the sheet goods work I ve done (always have a spare battery in the charger for the saw).
When I moved into my new shop, I looked into the same track saws you re currently evaluating.

Then asked myself-”how much sheet goods cutting work will I really be doing to justify the cost of a track saw?

The answer for me was to keep the saws I was currently using and just get 2 Kreg Straight Edge Guides-the 4ft and the XL (8ft) lengths-total cost $150 on Amazon for both. Even if you have to buy a new circular saw with these guides, you ll still be well under the price of a track saw-and have more portability with a non-dedicated circular saw for other work.
I did pair up both circular saws I have with Freud 60T Ultra Finish blades to minimize chipping of veneer plywood-a good blade is a must to get the best results.

As far as your comment on depth of cut in hardwoods (e.g. to rough cut for chair parts), if you need to rip the lumber, take it to your shared shop building and rip it on a bandsaw with a fence. Got this technique from Michael Fortune, and I agree with him that it s safer than ripping thick hardwood on the table saw, and the kerf is much smaller (i.e. less waste). You can then crosscut it on a table saw with a crosscut sled.
Hope this was helpful to you.
Gerry

- NohoGerry

Do you find yourself making accurate 45s with that circ saw / guide set up? Im doing some stuff right now with waterfall edges in walnut and was having a HELL of a time getting it accurate with the shared table saw at the maker space. (for a number of reasons related to saw setup – but also at 52” it was a fairly long run which increased the chances of movement through the cut) Wasted some stock in the process. But with the track saw, it was a breeze. Great 45s with minimal effort. The reason I ask it that mitred cuts / waterfalls is something I can see being part of my woodworking future.

View IdahoTy's profile

IdahoTy

2 posts in 123 days


#14 posted 01-23-2022 08:44 PM

I’ve just recently been immersed in the track saw world, and can confidently say you’ll love having one. I’m a budget-conscious woodworker, so I did a lot of reading, researching, comparing, before I decided to get the Dewalt DWS520CK from Acme Tools. My Dad has a Makita and loves it, I used it with recently building some book cases. They both seem to have really comparable features, but the Dewalt came in slightly cheaper with all the included track that mine came with.

I really like having a single long track rather than having to connect two tracks together for long cuts, but storage could be a consideration. They both run equally nice in my experience, nice soft start up, but Makita has one feature I really like. It has a push button feature that lets you do a scoring cut before a full depth cut. You can do that with the Dewalt, but you have to manually adjust the depth knob so it takes a little longer. Nothing deal breaking, but doing lots of cuts at one time sure was nice having a quick adjustment that Makita offers.

I too vote to stick with corded version unless you are “in the field” cutting and building a lot. I do all my track saw work in my shop so power cords is a norm for me and it doesn’t bother me. I also like the quick clamps that Dewalt offers, rather than the hand-crank F style clamps that Makita makes. I also like that the saw can be turned 180* on Dewalt tracks whereas the Makita is a one-side cut surface.

I’m sure it all will boil down to personal preferences and features you like more, but for the price point, the kit from Acme Tools has been fantastic. Good luck!

They both run great, plenty of power

View Rodwolfy's profile

Rodwolfy

22 posts in 784 days


#15 posted 01-23-2022 08:50 PM

I’ve had a Festool 55 for about 15 years. I sold off my 52” fence table saw and now use a 36” SawStop. It was too difficult to accurately move sheet goods over the table without a huge outfeed and other help.

For most projects, I bring the sheetgoods home and put them up on plastic saw horses in the driveway, along with a 3” hard foam to cut on. I have the 55” and 9’ tracks, along with the Festool 1400 router that runs on the track. I made a complete set of cabinets in my parents garage when I bought the stuff and still use it every few months. The saw is a little underpowered, so if you are doing other than sheet goods, get the 75. 45 degree cuts work just as well, as when the saw is tipped, the teeth are closest in and the inner part of the blade is tipped out towards the off cut side.

The best part of it is that you just mark on your piece where you want your cut and then put the rubber from the track to the marks for an exact cut. If you need a sheet that is 1” narrower at one end, you just mark 1” less and cut with the track. I would agree on the use of a battery. Many companies have changed battery designs over the last 15 years and if they’d had a battery version then, I doubt the batteries would still be available now.

-- Rod

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