Rail Saw

I’ve been flat out recently getting the next magazine articles together (so sorry for being so quiet here – the combination of everything has been overwhelming, so I had to let some areas slip right).

One of the projects has involved making quite a bit of use of a rail saw, and in this case it was the Festool Tracksaw system, including the MFT/3 (multifunction table) that was extensively used, and as much as some are going to hate hearing it, it is bloody awesome!

This was the first time I had a chance to start putting them through their paces, and I was doing jobs on it that I would have struggled to work out another way, at least finding another way that was as easy.  The more I use it, the more it becomes apparent that it is incredibly useful in the workshop.  It doesn’t remove the need for a good tablesaw, or a SCMS, and both the SawStop and the Kapex got a heavy workout as well, but it was a real pleasure to use the right tool for each job.

hb_mft3_495315_p_01aThe MFT/3 with the rail that flips out of the way was brilliant.  Being able to drop the rail down in a consistent location meant that at one point I needed to shave off about 1/2mm, and I was able to set up for that accurately, and quickly.

ts-55-r-fs-2

If the MFT/3 was good, the TS55 running on the rail was even better.  Precision height adjustment, accurate tracking made very easy given the saw is captive on the track.

I’ll shoot some videos of these doing their thing soon – cool tools.  There are always many ways to skin a cat, some just make it so quick, easy and accurate.  When I used to look at a circular saw, I saw a rough machining tool, inaccurate, noisy and dangerous.  (My old man almost killed himself one year with a circular saw).

The Festool version is like comparing this:

Lada 2103 1300 1978 frontwith this:

00_Masterbild_1230x692_e_klasse_cabrio_NEW_1_1179_582

Both will get you from A to B.  Sort of.

Some people can’t see the point to anything more than the Lada.  Or justify the price difference (the cost of a good coffee, vs a small house!)  Although they both have 4 wheels and a motor, but that is about where the simularity ends, and the same applies to the difference between a basic Bunnings $50 circular saw, and a $1000 Festool.  The longevity of one tool over the other is just one small factor in the decision.

Adding to the tool library

Made a minor layout modification, which resulted in the ‘sink’ being relocated to outside the back door of the shed (outdoor sink), so I could fit the Walko as a wall-mounted option in the back corner instead.

This then left the area beneath the window open for the appearance of a new tool: The Festool MFT/3, with the TS55 R saw. (Both from my “Breaking Bad” dealer, Ideal Tools)

What we are talking about here is the multifunction table, complete with a rail that flips out of the way when not required, and a relocatable, multiangle fence.  The top is very familiar, being the model I’ve adopted for the TWC, and that is already on the Walko workbench as well.  A matrix of round dog holes across the surface.

zoom__hb_mft3_495315_p_01aThere is plenty of storage area underneath (I haven’t worked out how I’ll use that area yet, but for the time being it will be kept open for some filming I am planning).  I’m looking to obtain a clear perspex sheet as an alternate top, so I can film up through it for a bit of fun.

The rail (green striped thing) which can flip out of the way on a hinge at the rear, can mount a circular saw, or router (or jigsaw etc) from the Festool range.

So it is complemented by the saw

ts-55-r-fs-2The TS55R.  This would have been really useful on the recent coffee table project!

So to fit everything in took only a little amount of shuffling (although the Cleantex (vacuum) has lost its home for the time being).

FirefoxScreenSnapz006However, that has caused me to think more about the one problem area I was still having.  The relationship between the jointer and the thicknesser, the space each was taking, and their restricted infeed and outfeed.

Played a bit (using the Grizzly Workshop Planner), and came up with an alternative that looks remarkably promising.

Shed

Without loosing any real estate (in fact this gains some), I have doubled the infeed and outfeed areas of both tools.  It makes use of the space either side of the tablesaw as infeed (or outfeed) for the thicknesser and jointer respectively.  That space needs to be empty anyway, as infeed and outfeed for the tablesaw, so why not use it for all three tools?

It gives me good access along the front of the jointer (important obviously!), and access right alongside the right-hand side of the thicknesser (much more convenient).

And I can still get the dust extraction to pump the sawdust straight into the potbelly.  (Just kidding – I don’t need to generate that much heat!  If I had a mini foundry, that would be a different matter!)  Mmmm mini foundry…….

index

The layout is definitely getting there.  Each change is a build on the previous, rather than being a complete rework, so that is good.  Refinements are fine (and are typically the status quo on my place!)

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