Author Topic: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?  (Read 761 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline hmlee2008

  • Posts: 3
Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« on: October 09, 2019, 07:21 PM »
A month or two ago I got an HK-55 cordless saw during one of Festool's refurb sales. At the time, I was planning on buying a MFT 3 or MFT Kapex and an assortment of guides in order to work with it. Well, life intervened and I had to delay my purchase of the MFT and other guides.

Still, I'd like to get to using my saw, and I'm wondering if anyone has any tips or links for effectively doing rip and cross cuts. I'm mainly interested on ways to properly secure material without the use of an MFT. I have a large workbench in the shop I work out of, and am open to buying specific accessories (Festool or otherwise) or clamps in order to make my life easier until I'm able to invest in the MFT I want. Any recommendations?

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Online jeffinsgf

  • Retailer
  • *
  • Posts: 141
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 09:50 PM »
Did your package include a rail? If not, that's step one. Either the one made specifically for your saw or the traditional one...which I am pretty sure works with your saw, too.

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 536
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2019, 05:52 PM »
Not so much work holding but its worth trying the saw out without the guiderails at all, it's a nice saw with great sightlines for where the cut is. I have the 420 crosscut rail and several traditional rails but when I'm just ripping cladding I tend to ping a chalkline on it and rip it freehand. Worth a try, its fast.

As for work holding? I don't have a MFT but manage just fine for general site carpentry wih two saw horses, a couple of 8 foot lengths of 2x2 and going lengthways over them and then four more at a metre or so long going across the 8 foot lengths.

The aluminium hopups are junk, too low for comfortable cutting but if you get the heights of the sawhorses right you can put a CTM 26 extractor with a size 1 box on top underneath it so the extractor is out of the way.

The Ron Paulk tables look nice but take a fair bit of van space up,  just using sawhorses and 2x2 means you dont have to carry the 2x2 from site to site, you can just leave it and get more on the next site.
Saves a lot of van space.


Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2681
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2019, 01:45 PM »
Get the rip guide for accurate rips off a rail. Saw horses work great. The smaller 250 guide works great for most crosscuts in 2× material.

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 536
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2019, 02:36 PM »
Get the rip guide for accurate rips off a rail. Saw horses work great. The smaller 250 guide works great for most crosscuts in 2× material.

The rip guide is good but not much use for tapering cuts on cladding/decking and requires setup time, pinging a chalkline and ripping freehand is fast and usually accurate enough. Its worth practicing.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1779
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2019, 04:02 PM »
The question is a little odd.  The HKC is a construction saw, not a track saw.  So there is nothing that stops you from throwing it on a piece of plywood and freehand cutting.  You don't need their tracks. 

But, their FSK track doesn't require the material to be clamped.  As long as it's adequately supported, throw the track down and make your cut.  At the end of the day, you have tacky strips under the rail, two fixed stops under the rail and your left thumb can wrap over the top of the rail to keep it from shifting around. 

And the FS rails are similar.  The tacky strips underneath will keep the rail in place on a wide board.  On a short board, you don't have enough friction and that rail may move around.  Festool's rail clamps (screw type or quick clamps) work great with the FS rails and are worth having (regardless of MFT or no MFT).  You may also need to clamp the work piece to your table or at least put some cleats or dogs on the table behind your work piece to keep it from sliding away.  The cut will need to be off the end of the table because the rail clamps will extend under the rails and below the top of your table. 

So I guess the question is what are you trying to do with the saw where you are hindered by not having an MFT?  How accurate/consistent does it need to be?  Is it for framing or cabinet work?  And what do you currently have other than the saw of course?  With that information, someone can make a few recommendations.
-Raj

Offline hmlee2008

  • Posts: 3
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2019, 05:57 PM »
The question is a little odd.  The HKC is a construction saw, not a track saw.  So there is nothing that stops you from throwing it on a piece of plywood and freehand cutting.  You don't need their tracks. 

But, their FSK track doesn't require the material to be clamped.  As long as it's adequately supported, throw the track down and make your cut.  At the end of the day, you have tacky strips under the rail, two fixed stops under the rail and your left thumb can wrap over the top of the rail to keep it from shifting around. 

And the FS rails are similar.  The tacky strips underneath will keep the rail in place on a wide board.  On a short board, you don't have enough friction and that rail may move around.  Festool's rail clamps (screw type or quick clamps) work great with the FS rails and are worth having (regardless of MFT or no MFT).  You may also need to clamp the work piece to your table or at least put some cleats or dogs on the table behind your work piece to keep it from sliding away.  The cut will need to be off the end of the table because the rail clamps will extend under the rails and below the top of your table. 

So I guess the question is what are you trying to do with the saw where you are hindered by not having an MFT?  How accurate/consistent does it need to be?  Is it for framing or cabinet work?  And what do you currently have other than the saw of course?  With that information, someone can make a few recommendations.

Yeah, I realize I probably should have been a bit more specific. What I'm really wondering about is being able to make rip cuts on narrower / thinner / shorter stock that might be at risk of sliding around underneath a rail. Sheet goods and larger pieces, as well as cross cuts, make sense to me with just saw horses. I have access to a standard size table saw, but it's in a shared space and therefore not always available / sometimes a pain to get adjusted for what I need to do. I know the HK isn't the same as the TS saws, but since it fits the standard rails in addition to its own rails, I figured I could make it work to take care of a lot of stuff I have to do when I don't want to make a trip to the table saw.

I also assumed that the clamps that attach to the rails were intended to be used with the MFT. Is that not the case? Can you just use them with any bench or table?

Offline gunnyr

  • Posts: 177
    • Compass Custom Creations
Re: Tips for using HK-55c effectively?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2019, 09:18 PM »
I use my HKC55 most days when I'm doing interior trim and cabinet installs.  There is generally a poorly adjusted jobsite table saw available on site with nice, but dull, cross cut blade installed  (after all, more teeth = better cut, right? [wink]).  Rather than suffer through table saw I routinely install a rip blade on my HK to rip small pieces of trim for fillers.  If I need a very narrow rip I trap the waste side of my stock under the rail and adjust the piece so that the finished piece is on the outside.  I'll often use stock of the same thickness to better support the rail when ripping pieces shorter than 12 inches and narrower than 6 inches.  For longer pieces I use my 1400 or 1900 rails.  My HKC and TS are both matched so I can use them on the rails interchangeably.

I find that the HKC is an excellent jobsite saw.  I tend to keep my TS in my shop and use it only for furniture making.  The key to both saws is to use the correct blade for the application.  Festool has made the blades easy to change.  There is no excuse to use a 32 tooth fine cross cut blade to rip anything other than sheet goods. 

I have the FSK420 and FSK670 rails for my HK.  I rarely use the 670; at some point I will get the 250, as one of the previous posters said, the 250 is long enough for most framing tasks with 2 by lumber.  The 420 can be a little unwieldy 30' up on a scaffold....

I wish Festool did not refer to the HK as a 'construction' saw, that moniker seems to have put in the class with the big box circular saws.  I find the saw a little underpowered for all day, production framing but it is perfect for high-end, precision tasks.  The HKC55 with a FSK420 often replaces a mitersaw for me.  The ability to cut accurate and repeatable compound miters is superb.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 10:23 PM by gunnyr »
Semper Fi,
Jeff

TS 55 REQ|HKC 55|PSB 420|DF 500|ETS EC 125/3 EQ|ETS 150/3|DTSC 400|RO 90|RO 150|OF 1400|MFK 700|LR 32|MFS 400/700|CXS (2)|PDC 18|DWC 18-4500|CT MIDI|CT 26|CT 48|MFT/3 (2)|VAC SYS-SET|DUO-SET|SYSLITE KAL II
US Marines - UK Wildcats - Cincinnati Reds