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Thread: Festool T55/75 vs cab saw..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    phoenix
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    178

    Festool T55/75 vs cab saw..

    Hi all
    its been a while, I havent had much time for the hobby since we had a new addition to the family in June.
    I have 500+ bucks to spend on tool(s) and thinking about the Festool T55 for building vanities/cabinets,etc so alot of sheet goods will need to be cut.
    I work in a garage shop shared by two cars and everything is pretty much on casters. I dont have a extension table for my Jet contractors saw for sheet goods.
    So the question is, should I spend less money to build nice extension/outfeed table for the contractors saw or invest in the Festool system. Of course, I am biased to new tools but trying to looks at the larger picture for other projects too.
    Any input?

    Thansk
    Chris

  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    Chris,

    For breaking down sheet goods, a circular saw + guide rails is best way doing it. And, the TS55 is probably the best saw available for this purpose. I have one and love it. That said...

    What are you using for dust collection? Vac? Built in system? You'll probably want to leverage the TS55's excellent dust capturing with a vac of some kind.

    Also, if you're cutting lots of sheet goods, a 2700 or 3000mm guide rail would be very useful for ripping 4X8 sheets. (You can get by with connecting two shorter rails, but that starts to be a hassle if cutting LOTS of sheets.) You can get along with just a long rail, but a 1400 or 1900mm guide rail would be nice for cross cutting sheets and general use.

    The downside of this? Money. Festool tools and accessories are spendy:

    • The saw is $475.
    • One of the longer guide rails is $245 or $270.
    • Add either $89 or $157 if you opt for one of the shorter ones too.
    • The good news is that the fine 48-tooth blade is included with the saw.
    • If you don't have a decent vac, you may want to consider a Festool CT22 or Fein Turbo vac. Add another $490 for the Festool or $300-400 for one the Fein vacs.
    • Throw in another $50-$100 for other little odds and ends.

    Bottom line? Your $500 TS55 saw may cost $800 to $1,500 by the time you get through. And once you get the saw, you'll probably start buying other Festool tools also. (Slippery slope and all that.)

    Are they worth it? IMO, yes. But my opinion doesn't count. Only you can judge their value to you.

    Regards,

    Dan.

    p.s., whatever you decide to do, please consider one suggestion - write everything down and quantify it. You've got a good start by defining your needs. So write those down and answer the question, "What are all the pieces I need to achieve my goals?" Then write down the costs. I'm pretty sure that there will be several little things that sneak in. It's good to get a handle on this before spending your hard-earned money.

    p.p.s I've watched people hoist big sheets of ply on their table saw and go for it. To each his/her own, but that scares the @#$# out of me!
    It's amazing what you can accomplish in the 11th hour, 59 minute of any project. Ya just have to keep your eye on the goal.

  3. #3
    Chris,
    I also recomend the TS 55 guide rail combo. My dealer says that one of the short rails is supposed to come with the saw. I bought another short rail and connectors. I don't do enough cutting that I can justify the long rail, but I'd certainly use it if someone gave me one! I have a Rigid 3650 contractors saw which I use frequently for closer work. I HIGHLY recomend using a vacuum with the saw. That doesnt have to be a Festool vac, but the Festool vac or the Fein both suck better than a standard shop vac but the shop vac works well. I used that for a year after buying my saw. I keep a piece of chepie plywood or mdf to throw on the floor or saw horses. The depth setting works so well that I often cut through the piece with nil scoring on the backup. Often dealers have the saw and vac on package deals which will save you some over buying separately. The price is never cheap though. BTW The sander vac combo works VERY well and if you work in an attached garage it is a godsend. My $.02.
    Bill

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    phoenix
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    178
    Well put Dan, I woudl take your advise. This would be my first Festool product - I could see where this brand grows on people and could get real expensive for the limited budget hobbiest!

    The vacuum is the kicker, its expensive!! A few have told me you could get away with using any style shop vac with reduced couplings if you can deal with the noise!!

    thanks...

  5. #5
    That's just too much money for a circular saw & guide rail. Granted it does work well, but when you come right down to it, it is a circ saw and a straight edge.

    I recommend a nice little 5" Skilsaws and a simple aluminum edge guide. That will be $150 out the door. It is a grounded, ball-bearing saw and will cut as deep ast 1-1/2" at 90°.

    Use this setup to break the sheets down, then trim them to exact size on your table saw.

    Spend the money on something else, like a Kreg Jig, Dowelmax, and lumber.

  6. #6
    Ya know,

    Any tool, and I don't care which, comes down to the person who wields it.

    Keeping that statement in mind, comparing the Festool guide rail system

    with a circular saw and straight edge is akin to a race between a Yugo

    and a Porsche 911 down Mullholland.

    Kinda depends on who is driving the Yugo.

    Per
    "all men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night....wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."
    T.E. Lawrence

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Cave Creek, AZ - near Phoenix
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    1,261
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Zorns View Post
    That's just too much money for a circular saw & guide rail. ...
    Whether or not it is too much money is a decision for the buyer. Having used several Festool products for a few years, I can honestly say their tools are worth the added cost for my own shop.

    I'd much rather have a well-designed, well-built and properly performing tool for a bunch of money, than to work with a cobbled-together set of weak alternatives that do the job in a less well than desired fashion.

    I cut sheet goods just as Jeremy described for a long time. Now I use a Festool TS55 saw and rails and get finish cuts in a one-step process. I never did like cutting sheets on a table saw, and as I got older that job became more difficult. Taking the tool to the work makes a whole lots more sense and yields superior results.

    You can certainly use your existing shop vac and upgrade to the Festool dust extractor at a later date wjen you buy the next Festool product you just cannt resist.
    Dave Falkenstein aka Daviddubya
    Cave Creek, AZ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwestern Connecticut
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    7,149
    Nice analogy Per.

    I work with an older cabinet maker who started out with a skill saw and a straight rip of plywood to build beautiful cabinets, a small TS for the solid stock. It can be done. The festool is real nice, convenient, great dust collection, pretty quick set up times too I imagine. These are features that are essential to many installers or on site builders, pretty cool to have for work around the house or in a hobby shop, but not essential. I think with a dust adapter from Eureka zone and a good skill saw guided by a straight edge you can break down full sheets pretty effectively, the festool would be more luxury than necessity.

    Your post headline says festool vrs cabinet saw? I have a cabinet saw with out feed and out board set up for sheet goods in my shop and a custom saw horse to support infeed. At my job we have four cabinet saws and a 10' slider, two straight line saws, etc, so I am familiar with cabinet saws. You could buy several festool 55's for the price of a good cabinet saw, and I've rarely seen even an old beater for $500, so I'm not sure what your options are there? Are you able or prepared to dedicate the space and money to buy a cabinet saw equipped to easily break down sheet goods?

    Another option would be an entry level vertical panel saw with a good skill saw as the power plant. Some can take routers too for quick dado production. Might cost a bit more than the festool, a bit less than a cabinet saw and also less versatile, but takes up a lot less space in your garage. They are easier for one person to dimension sheet stock than almost any method I can think of.

    To keep the auto analogies flowing, comparing a festool 55 to a 5HP cabinet saw is like comparing a sporty Toyota Tacoma to a Mack tri-axel dump truck. Sure, they both have beds, and they can both move things......

  9. #9
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    Feb 2003
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    Griswold Connecticut
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    Chris

    You should build a rolling portable extension table for your saw, and not just for sheetgoods. To process sheetgoods safely and accurately on a tablesaw requires infeed tables too.But you should at least have an outfeed table for safety reasons.
    I'm 6'3" tall, a pretty fit 200+ lbs, and have almost a 7' arm span, (yep, monkey arms). Plywood on a tablesaw is two person operation, even with my orangutan arms.

    Get the Festool. It's what you want,and what you'll have confidence in. Make sure you get guide rails long enough to extend past both ends of an 8' panel.
    Use the Festool to build the outfeed table.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  10. #10
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    Feb 2006
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    phoenix
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    Thanks for input....everyone. Hello David, we met at a Mimi Cafe a couple of years ago - just been out of the loop lately with being a dad! You were first first to demonstrate this very saw in your garage.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments. I am the guy who uses a skil saw and a pretty nice puruchased clamping guide rail. It works ok, but have tried many practices of dealing with tear out - blue tape and flipping the good sid down, etc. so setup, checking dimension 3-4 times it does take a long time.

    As far as the title, I really meant to write Festool vs. fancy outfeed/extension table.
    Good point about no matter what you still need a second set of hands when dealing with a 4x8 sheet.

    Chris

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Portsmouth, VA
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    476
    Quote Originally Posted by chris fox View Post
    Hi all
    its been a while, I havent had much time for the hobby since we had a new addition to the family in June.
    I have 500+ bucks to spend on tool(s) and thinking about the Festool T55 for building vanities/cabinets,etc so alot of sheet goods will need to be cut.
    I work in a garage shop shared by two cars and everything is pretty much on casters. I dont have a extension table for my Jet contractors saw for sheet goods.
    So the question is, should I spend less money to build nice extension/outfeed table for the contractors saw or invest in the Festool system. Of course, I am biased to new tools but trying to looks at the larger picture for other projects too.
    Any input?

    Thansk
    Chris
    I'm going against the flow here and will tell you that a nice cabinet saw is more of an asset than one of the festool guided saws. I have one of the festool saws and I love it, but I wouldn't give up my unisaw for it. You will use it much more for general woodworking then you will a festool. The festool is great for breaking down sheet goods and making straight cuts on very large pieces you wouldnt want to wrestle on top of a saw, but for a alot of the daily woodworking tasks, a nice cabinet saw rules.

    You can always look for used stuff. I bought the festool saw used and saved a few bucks on it. You can also find a used cabinet saw if you are patient and keep your eyes open. Sometimes the used stuff comes in spurts, I have found a jointer planer, bandsaw, drill press and an old uni within the last six months and the most expensive was less than 300 bucks. Now they do take some more money to refurb, but they still have a much better bang for the buck over new equipment.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    phoenix
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    a new twist...

    A co worker of mine is selling his Jet 50" Xacta cab saw(Jet 708715DXK) with router lift insert/bosch router(2.25hp) - all on a mobile base. Hardly used too.
    So this is a new wrench thrown into the works.

    Any of you have this saw? What would you ask for it? Amazon shows $1900(w/o router etc.)

    My Jet sales catalog came in but it looks like this SKU isnt available anymore(router insert), any reason why?? Anyone notice the 1:12 scale models they thrown in for free for a purchase? not sure who would want one of these...for a doll house

  13. #13

    DeWalt Track Saw

    Chris,
    DeWalt is about to bring out a similar saw with quite a few advantages. You might want to look into that. At any rate, in your situation it sure is nice for breaking down sheet goods and a whole lot easier than trying to do it on a table saw by yourself.

    Cole

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
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    2,033
    Another vote here for the Festool saw and guide rail. So far I have only used mine for cross-cutting plywood. Got mine after making a mess of an expensive sheet of hardwood plywood with a circular saw and a piece of angle iron for a straight edge.
    Even with a cabinet saw in the shop, I still find the need for a set-up like this. I use a PC tool-triggered vac hooked up to mine, and the dust collection is great.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Laguna Beach , Ca.
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    7,201
    There is no equal for a cabinet saw in my shop. I have the Festool 55 and use it pretty often to break down large panels. It is not nearly as universal as a cabinet saw to furniture making
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

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