Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 50

Thread: need advice on track saw related purchases for building built-ins at home

  1. #1

    need advice on track saw related purchases for building built-ins at home

    Hi Everyone,
    I've been reading this forum the past two days collecting as much information as I can about track saws, accessories, and the Festool MFT/3 table. There's so much knowledge and experience here that I thought it a good idea to request some opinions on what I'm thinking about doing. Hoping folks can help.

    Some background:
    I purchased a house 2 years ago, completely gutted it, and have been remodeling it myself. It's been a very long process, with everything taking much longer than I initially think it will. I've finally finished installing all my hardwood floors and am getting to the stage of wanting to build some built-in cabinetry and shelving using plywood and face frames.

    Relevant tools that I own for creating these built-ins include a Craftman 10" table saw, a Ridgid 10" Sliding Compound Miter Saw, Dewalt 15 Amp 7-1/4" Circular Saw, aluminum straight edges to use as guides for the circular saw, Dewalt 5" Random Orbital Sander, Kreg Jig R3, Dewalt Saw Horses, Ryobi Cordless drills (impact and regular), Ryobi Router, and Ridgid 14 Gal 6 HP Shop Vac with Dust Deputity. I have more tools, but I'm just trying to paint the picture that I probably have what's needed to get the job done. However.....

    My process and workflow is a nightmare. This is because our garage is overrun with material while our construction is happening. I pretty much have to unbury my table saw and other tools and drag them out into the driveway to work. Here my table saw often doubles as my work bench, which is a giant pain. So step 1, obviously, is to clean the garage out. Fortunately, this is actually becoming a possibility now that so much of the material that's been in the garage has actually been moved into the house.

    For step 2, I'd like to switch up the way I work. I've watched many videos and read many reviews and feel that the tracksaw and Festool MFt/3 Multifunction Table would suit my personality and provide more accuracy compared to what I get with my current method. Also, because I'll be working in my 2 car garage (which will eventually have cars in it, as well) I like the fact that this table folds up for easy storage.

    So, after watching countless videos, and reading countless posts, I've put together a shopping list of items I think we could be good for a small garage workshop, which focuses mostly on building built-ins. Please let me know what you think.

    1. Festtool MFT/3 Multifunction Table. $615.50
    2. Festool TS 55 REQ Tracksaw. $560 (have wavered back and forth between this, Makita, and Dewalt like so many folks do!)
    3. Woodpecker 1281R 12" x 8" Precision Woodworking Square. $109.99 (I seem to have a hard time getting things exactly square and am hoping this will help).
    4. Makita 118" guide rail. $178.99 (I've read this is compatible with Festool and it's 1/2 the price as the Festool model. Can anyone comment about if this is working fine for them?)
    5. Precision Dog Parallel Guides: $164.99
    6. Festool 488030 Clamping Elelments (2-Pack): $118.
    7. Festool 491594 Quick Ratcheting Clamp, 65/8" (2): $80.00
    8. Was Super Pack (2 pairs of Qwas Bench Dog and 1 pair of rail dogs): $98.00

    Grand total: $1926.47

    Having never had an MFT/3 I'm not 100% confident in my choices for clamps (6, 7, and 8), but many posts seem to recommend these.

    Also, I'm now thinking it might make things easier to add a 55" Guide Rail to use when crosscutting 4 x 8 sheets. I had originally left it off the shopping list to save money thinking I could use the 118" Guide Rail all of the time, but that's a pretty long guide, which might be cumbersome to use at times.

    Two more things:
    1) To save money I thought I would start out trying to use my Ridgid shop vac and dust deputy for dust extraction. Anyone have thoughts on this?

    2) I would love to get the Domino and a Festool Router (for Dados and Rabbits), but that drives the cost up so much. Since I don't think I will get these to start, I'm thinking I will most likely use butt joints, glue, and pocket screws for all of my cabinet joints. I do have a Ryobi Router, which works better than I expected it to. It's possible I could use that for Dados and Rabbits, but I don't have a table for it. Not sure if I could somehow integrate that into the MFT/3. I also have a table saw, which can can use Dado bits (I've never done it), but I'm not sure if moving between the MFT/3 and the table saw is the sort of workflow I'm looking for.

    Finally, it would be really cool if I could get rid of the table saw after making this purchase, as it takes up some space, but I'm sure there'll still be times when I want that.

    Anyways - thanks for reading. Any feedback is appreciated. It's late and I'm beat - I truly hope this wasn't too rambling!

    Last edited by Rob Wolfbrandt; 02-16-2018 at 12:26 AM.

  2. #2
    I guess you need to decide if you want the most bang for your buck or whether your ready to slide down the tool collecting rat hole. Before I start, let me say I have a domino, track saw, mft and festool router.

    If you want a festool track saw, great, it will serve you well. But you don't need it. You have a dewalt circ saw, you can make a track with a straight piece of lumber and some plywood. The mft is nice but and expense gimmick, its just some mdf and extruded aluminum. Its not as portable as you might think, as a table its heavy. Again, if you want one great, but you can do as much with a couple of saw horses and some mdf. Here's why I'm being so negative. We dream that if we only had those wonderful things that gorgeous wooden monuments of art will pour out the other side and we will get our well deserved accolades. And when you get everything it doesn't happen. If you collect tools first and build projects later you always have tools you don't need and need tools you don't have.

    If I had to do it again, and actually, the way I do it now is.. I plan a project and draw it out. I design or choose project based on my skill level, comfort level that is what work bias I have developed, and what my wife tells me to build , what we need I meant to say. And what tools I have. I then buy or acquire tools as I need them. After all, Amazon delivers in 2 days. I have most of what I need now so I don't tap the account as much as I used to. Be careful not to get into that tool collection trap if you are a hobbyist working out of a 2 car garage. It really frustrates you eventually.

    Okay back on topic, the mft comes with a short rail that you can use off the table. A long rail or rail connectors is almost necessary for sheet goods. The rail that comes with the mft connected to a 55 might be enough. I would want a 108. Any vac with the proper connection will work, the festool stuff is designed for construction (European construction specifically) and as such have good dust control. Also, lots of European woodworking is sheet stock centric. Festool works best on sheet goods. Pocket screws work great for cabinets. I've built a lot of cabinets early and pocket screwed the frames on. Now I work with hand tools mostly and solid wood. I hate sheet goods, routers and table saws now, but when I didn't I liked cutting rabbits and dados on the table saw and a dado stack more that using a router, but large pieces could ride up, so I ended up buying my first hand plane, a shoulder plane to clean them out and get uniform depth. Okay my response is getting too long.

    One last note, the mft might not be as large a work surface as you think.

    Last edited by Mike Cary; 02-16-2018 at 1:22 AM.

  3. #3
    I suggest you have a look at Peter Mallard's "Ten minute workshop" on youtube. He works in a very small shop and builds mainly built-ins using plywood and MDF. His main tools are the Festool tracksaw and Domino. You might pick up some tips as well as help decide on your tool selection.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    What Mike Cary said!

    After recovering from cancer, I decided to get back into woodworking after a lot of moving in the Air Force. I thought I knew what I wanted, and I splurged and equipped my shop. Today, some of those tools just gather dust, while others have been replaced several times as I used them and discovered what better fit my style of work.

    I recommend buying only what you need now in quantity and quality. I'll almost guarantee that you'll choose to add different tools and pay for different features/quality when you do. Buy quality, but don't be afraid to not buy the fanciest brand, and a cept that you may upgrade later. When you do, it'll probably be different than what you would choose now.

    For example, even though I have a sliding table saw, it's more convenient to break down large sheets on sawhorses with a "track saw". My "tracksaw" is 50" and 98" edge clamps with a good quality circular saw & 1st rate carbide blade on a PTFE zero-clearance base designed to mate with the profile of the edge clamps. Carefully tweaking the saw's [blade] alignment yields a cut that is almost indistinguishable from the table saw, though entry & exit splinter slightly. Generally however, I rough cut slightly and trim to size on the table saw, where the fence makes duplicate widths much better. I've looked dreamily at the fancy "track saws" since day one, and a couple of generations since; but now I think their value added isn't that important for the way I work, so I spend my money elsewhere.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    N.E. Ohio
    My advice?
    Forget the expensive track saw & goodies & stick your money into a 3 plus HP router and router table.

    I admit, I used my Festool TS55EQ a whole lot putting together a kitchen a year or two ago, but, the router (Milwaukee 5625) was the real workhorse.
    'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance...

  6. #6
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Mike: Words of wisdom there, for sure! A couple of things: the tools I have now have been amassed on a per project basis. Table saw came when I needed to build a fireplace surround at the last house. Circular saw came when I finally realized I couldn't cut straight cuts with my very old, very cheap, Black and Decker saw. That circular saw made such a huge difference. I bought some aluminum straight edges that can be connected together to rip my 4 x 8. It works, but I'm, indeed, interested in the accuracy and repeatability that a track saw with parallel guides offers. I'm also a guitar player and some of what you wrote made me think of a term we use in that world called GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome! I fully admit, there's some of that going on here! :-) Finally, given that the MFT/3 comes with a 42" rail, maybe buying a 75" along with the connectors would be a wise choice (afraid 42 + 55 might be a hair too short?)

    Doug: Thanks for the video suggestion. i just watched that and it was very inspiring. It got me thinking I might not want to fold up the MFT/3 and instead install it on a wall in the garage along with some benches at the same level on either side. Very cool.

    Wayne: wow man, happy to hear you've recovered - that sounds scary. Your comment about buying quality, but not necessarily going with the fanciest brand resonates. The Dewalt and Makita tracksaws look nice, too, and can be had for less. Something to consider.

    Rich: Thanks for the router advice. I definitely believe you on this point. I currently own an inexpensive Ryobi router (I think it's 8.5 amp 1.5 HP) and I've only done a few things with it so far including door hinges, strike plates, and rounding edges on some trim. I gotta say, routing edges of boards is one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. So far I've only done it by hand and I keep wishing I had a router table. And at some point, I won't doubt if I need to upgrade the router (come to think of it, last time I used it something was going on with the switch and it would suddenly pop to the off position. I had to hold it with my finger.)

    I guess at this point, I really need to decide if I want to keep working with what I have or buy into the tracksaw and MFT/3 setup. I really like the videos I've seen using this setup.
    Last edited by Rob Wolfbrandt; 02-16-2018 at 12:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Pasadino, CA
    DeWalt if 99% of the Festool for half the price.
    I've got both.

  8. #8
    I would definitely buy the Festool track saw, but not the table and clamps (unnecessary).
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hollingsworth View Post
    DeWalt if 99% of the Festool for half the price.
    I've got both.
    Wow. And it looks like the Dewalt is compatible with the Festool track, which means the Dewalt should work with the 42" Rail that's attached to the MFT. The author of this post appears to agree with you about the two saws being similar (and it's what I used to learn the tracks are compatible): Not to sound too all over the map, but the 36V cordless Makita looks to fall in between the price of the Dewalt and the Festool - another interesting option.

  10. #10
    I owned a Makita. I think it's the best value out there.

    I have a serious distaste for DeFalt/Black & Decker as a company, so they don't get my business typically.

    I've used a few Festool Saws. They're nice, but I don't think they are that much better than the Makita.

    I use a Mafell track saw. It's stupid expensive, but it's a very, very nice tool. The tracks are proprietary, which I don't care for, but it can be used on the Festool or Makita tracks. The Mafell tracks are much nicer. They're a bit narrower, and the joiner is pretty much idiot proof. One of the things I didn't like about my Makita was the long track. I always handled that thing with kid gloves because I was worried about damaging it. It's a long piece of flimsy aluminum.

    Buckle up though. The saw, two 62" tracks, one more that is about 30" long, two clamps, one joiner, and a case for the tracks was $1500.

    Worth it? Hard to say, but I really like using it over the other's that I have used.
    Shortcut for putting me on ignore:

  11. #11
    "...thinking I could use the 118" Guide Rail all of the time, but that's a pretty long guide, which might be cumbersome to use at times...."

    I am completing a project using an EZ Smart 96" guide. You are right. It is tedious, awkward and a fatiguing to manipulate it more than you have to. Also, for cross cutting, it can cantilever in an awkward way.

    For me, I don't think I could part with the tablesaw. My vote is to find a way to make it easier to get in and out when you need it.

  12. #12
    I just researched the Dewalt track saw a bit because the price point is so good and I like my Dewalt circular saw quite a bit. One issue, though, is I couldn't find a company making parallel guides for the Dewalt. I noticed a lot of guys make their own, but I don't really want to spend my time doing this. To me the parallel guides seem extremely useful, so perhaps this is a deal breaker on that.

    "My vote is to find a way to make it easier to get in and out when you need it."
    Yeah, this is something I've been thinking of working on. The saw has wheels, but they don't spin (haha) so I have to pick it up and carry it out to the driveway. It'd be cool to be able to easily wheel it out from the wall, connect a dust extractor, and run it in the garage. That said, I'm really liking the idea of a track saw for breaking down sheet good, and I need a work bench and better clamping system, which is what got me interested in the MFT/3. My guess is even with that stuff, I'd use the table saw from time to time.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    New Jersey
    You got a lot of good advise, so I will chime in. If you buy the festool and vac/mft at the same time you get 10% off. I'm not a huge fan of the clamping elements, but do use them. There are other options.

    If you look and don't mind a little wait, I believe you could order the Bosch track saw from Europe, the rails are the same as the standard Mafell rails Martin mentions. Also Triton has a track saw. I don't believe the dewalt saw will work on the festool tracks, because of the base of the saw. Makita will work, the Makita guide rail connectors are better and cheaper than festool and work fine.

    If you go with the long Makita rail and decide on the festool saw, I would ask the dealer to swap the 55" rail that comes with the saw for the 75" rail and pay the difference. Or you could swap the 55" for the holy rail at no extra cost.

    i tried the ridgid vac with the saw and forgot to turn vac on 70% of the time so I went with the ct vac. The mft isn't a super stable bench, but it does fold up for moving, the cross braces help.

    The he whole thing with Festool is the system and does work well together.

  14. #14
    Home Depot has a great deal right now on a cordless Makita track saw with 4 batteries, track, charger and 2 cases for $499.00 (save $319)

  15. I would suggest the Makita track saw with the 55" and 118" tracks. Then add a TSO products squaring rig (I have all of these and they are great). Then get the Makita router attachment and you can use your Ryobi router for dados (it needs a peice of 3/16 plexi on the bottom to level it out). Buy an extra sheet of plywood and use that for a bench for now and start building! Oh, and don't forget to get clamps! Some pipe clamps (you're doing big stuff) and some smaller hand clamps.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts