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Thread: Does Festool TSC 55 Track Saw cut accurate 45 deg bevels?

  1. #1

    Does Festool TSC 55 Track Saw cut accurate 45 deg bevels?

    I love long bevel miter joints, especially now that I have the Festool domino. They're really challenging to cut accurately/safely on a table saw. I also need a way to break down 4x8 plywood.

    I currently own the Makita SP6000J (few months old) and it's only job so far has been to break down 4x8s. With some off-market tracks (Powertec), it cuts accurately enough to be used for making final dimensional cuts. I found out it's limitation recently when I had to work with some badly bowed plywood. The blade would bind at the end of the cut (unless I stuck a wedge behind the cut). It's useless for cutting miters since the angle gauge is stamped and not accurate enough to allow precise repeated cuts.

    I'm thinking of selling it for $300-350 and buying the FS TSC 55. Not a big fan of the batteries (up-keep cost) but the portability helps. Being so expensive, it only makes sense to buy because/if:

    1. It has a riving knife. It boggles the mind that this has been a known problem for ages and we still see circ/track saws without them.
    2. It must be able to do 8'-long 45 deg bevel rip cuts.
    3. Motor is strong enough to cut bevels through hardwood.
    4. Breaking down plywood, short bevel cuts are assumed to be givens. I also prefer tracksaw when doing cross cuts on long (7-8') plywood pieces that is unwieldy on the tablesaw and too wide for the miter saw (e.g., 24" wide).

    Do you folks find it useful?

  2. #2
    I've used one for 14 years. Underpowered motor, if you're cutting more than 4/4 hardwood. But, no problem for 8' sheet goods. Not sure on the riving knife, but it is likely a patent issue.

    The new 55KEB uses batteries and no riving knife. Instead, it has a thin kerf blade & an electronic anti-kickback feature. Look on eBay or Craigslist for a used one. I have the 109" & 55" tracks, along with clamps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Princeton, NJ
    Blog Entries
    I have the corded version and two other track saws, the issues are mainly that it is underpowered and the OEM blade is not all that effective.

    Changing the blade to a dedicated crosscut blade from Tenryu helped a lot along with having a dedicated rip blade for heavier solid wood work.

    Ultimately I decided on a heavier duty Mafell track saw for work in thicker solid woods, with a crosscut setup for easy crosscuts. Then the smallest Mafell track saw for quick crosscuts. IMO I think they make a top quality track saw, so I would purchase one of theirs rather than the festool.

    Also, if you are hooking this up to a vacuum I don’t see the value in it being cordless. The cordless are great for job site work but adding weight to the unit without improving any other feature seems counter productive.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Houston, Texas area
    I have an 8 year old corded TS55. It has a riving knife. It cuts sheet goods easily at any angle with a sharp blade. I had to rip some 10' solid 3/4 cherry 2 weeks ago and ended up buying a dedicated rip blade to avoid burning.

    In my opinion the TS55 is slightly underpowered, requiring blade changes rather than just saying 'the stock 48 tooth blade will make any cut'.

    I have done a dozen or so 45 degree 8' cuts on plywood and they are clean and straight but I've never tried to mate four 45 degree sides and see if I can get a perfect square. Little 45 degree slivers are the way the cabinets joints are done in my home and I can make a 45 degree triangle without any problem for paint grade work.

    Here is an example of the 45 degree cabinet corners made with a TS55, Much easier to do it this way compared to a sliding table saw.

    Mark McFarlane

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    To answer the question in the thread's topic.... The saw has an adjustable stop at 45 degrees. The factory sets it, but you can adjust to any accuracy you want.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Northeast Ohio
    I think highly of the Tsc55. I use it frequently cutting 4/4 hardwoods, various varieties to put a straight edge for further milling. As others have said, it is underpowered and struggles occasionally with oak. On plywood, there has not been any issues. I have had it for maybe ten years and it has served me well. I have not cut bevels with it so can not comment on that aspect.

  7. #7
    The saw can easily be set up to cut perfect 45s. The problem that arises is the track cupping ever so slightly when you clamp it down. It throws of the angle and cut width it those points. It won't make much difference with solid wood but plywood and laminates don't leave much room to sand out imperfect joints.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Houston, Texas area
    Two more quick notes.

    On the TS55 there is a green plastic zero-clearance 'clip' to the front right of the blade. That clip needs to be removed from the saw before making any 45 degree cut. If you don't remove it the saw won't sit flush in the track (the tilt is towards that clip) and there is a good chance you will end up cutting into the track.

    Also, the TS55 is not well balanced in the track when at 45 degrees, a lot of the weight is off the track, so you have to be a little more careful moving down the track.

    A couple practice runs with the motor off is recommended to verify the zero clearance clip is removed and the balance is under control, then it works fine.

    If you get in a hurry and just grab the saw, set it to 45, and jam it on the track you may be cutting some aluminum. A little replacement clear splinter guard and it's good as new other than the embarrassment of having to keep looking at the track in the future and see it has been shaved here and there :,).

    The plastic splinter guard is your cut line reference so budget for a roll of it in your initial purchase.
    Last edited by mark mcfarlane; 01-02-2022 at 9:00 AM.
    Mark McFarlane

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    Festool's track saw does a great job on long rips. Last November we used our TS55 to make 20' long 45degree bevel cuts in some SYP boards for boxing in some LVL's. The joints came out dead on accurate.

    We use Festool ripping blades in both our TS55 and 75. The one in the 55 has bee resharpened multiple times; it gets that much use.

  10. #10
    I don't understand how a questionable scale/stop on the Makita means you need a new saw. I check 45 degree cuts with a drafting square or other known angle gauge. I don't trust any of my tools except a 45 degree router bit in my router table or hand held router. I'd check a Festool track saw setting too. But a solid adjustable stop could make it less of a "every time" issue.

    If you want a riving knife on a saw with more power, my DeWalt has one. It's tracks are not at all compatible with a Makita or Festool, however. Blade changing is also more complicated than it should be.

    The depth of the cut is greater on a 45 degree bevel cut. So an underpowered saw is even more likely to have a problem.

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