Author Topic: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide  (Read 1169 times)

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Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Hello All, Complete newbie.
Hobbyist. Learning a lot from FOG and many thanks to all members who are willing to share and explain.

1. While setting up my TS-55 track saw for my cuts, I first get rid of the factory edge by recessing 5mm from the long side and mark on both side (near and far) and place my track and do my first sacrificial cut.
Qn is: If the factor edge is not clean, by doing a 5mm recess on near and far won't translate the problem?
What is the best way to do the first cut.
1a. When I'm doing the marking for say 100mm to be my piece length, do I place the track's splinter guard right on the mark? Do I need to add any extra for the blade thickness (48 tooth festool plywood blade)
2. I see the new TSO guide rail (90 degree) clamp. While adding that to the short side of the 4x8 and if I have not gotten rid of the factor edge, will that be perfect 90 before I can cut?
What is the best way to square my playwood sheet (sacrificial cuts) for accuracy?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2020, 04:26 PM by rajun.services »
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

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Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2020, 04:43 PM »
1.) This sort of work is what the TSO guide rail squares are designed to handle. You make your first cut with the rail along an edge, trimming 2-5mm of material, which (assuming your rail is straight) gives you a known-good edge to work from. Then if you want to square the whole sheet, you use that edge with the guide rail square to make three more cuts counter-clockwise, each one using the previous cut as its reference edge to make the next one perfectly square.

Note that you don’t need the TSO system to do this: if you have any known-square measuring tool of decent size (like a framing square or even just a precision-cut piece of plywood), you can do the alignment of the rail manually and it will work just fine. The GRS just makes the process much faster.

2.) The track’s splinter guard, when you first get it, is inaccurate. This is intentional. The first thing you need to do is make a sacrificial cut with your saw down the entire length of the track with material of some kind backing it. What this will do is precisely trim the guard strip to the exact width and alignment of the blade in your saw. (Make sure you have correctly aligned and tightened the saw on the track before doing this! If the saw is loose and skews during the cut, that will ruin the edge of the splinter guard and you’ll have to replace it!)

Once you’ve done this, the edge of the splinter guard becomes an exact reference: anything it covers will be uncut, and anything to the right of its edge will be cut.

3.) The factory edges on a plywood sheet may or may not be straight, and they are virtually never square. If precision matters (and keep in mind, for many applications, it really doesn’t; “close enough” is perfectly fine), you’ll always want to start by ripping a reference edge and then working your way around to square the others.

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2020, 06:14 PM »
Thank you very much for the detailed answers.
So to make sure I understand it right, a right angle guide rail (most prefer TSO) or any good carpenter square can be used and that edge I'm using the square on is still not fully square or cleaned up, which is OK, is that right? And the start square will be the last one I will be fixing when I go around and reference the most recently addressed edge as a reference.
Then we go around all the edges and fix them for accuracy.
When you say most work don't need a perfect square, I'm just starting off with building cabinets, won't that be an issue?
As a practice I built this bookshelf (my first project)324925-0
I used a nail and glue technique to put the pieces together and I ended up with some sections having gaps. I was freaking out to address it, so I was thinking accuracy is super important on these situations.
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3353
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2020, 08:56 PM »
You have already invested in Festool gear. Suggest buying a really good square to produce best results. Home Depot squares are seldom really square. You can test your square to see if it is ready square.
Birdhunter

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2020, 09:53 PM »
Yes for sure I'm not banking on the HD or LW square. I was looking at the TSO square, bit pricey, but seems to be ace in the measurement.
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2020, 02:21 AM »
You’ll almost certainly wind up buying a number of squares to address various use cases. Keep in mind that the TSO guide rail squares are not carpenter’s squares: they address a very specific use case for aligning a guide rail and, while they are precision-machined and square, they’re somewhat awkwardly sized and shaped for doing a lot of other alignment tasks. The closest things TSO has to a traditional carpenter’s square are their triangles, which have precise laser-inscribed scales for both dimensions and angles.

When it comes to squares, you’re going to find that many professionals swear by Starrett and will accept nothing else. I can’t speak to whether they live up to their legendary reputation myself, as I don’t own one. I do however have the TSO triangles, a couple of Woodpeckers squares, a full set of Groz machinist’s squares and a PEC combination square. All of them check out with each other to the best of my ability to measure, and none of them were even half the price of the equivalent Starrett. So I’m personally of the opinion that unless you’re doing high-precision milling, you’re likely going to be better off spending your money to get a broader array of tools from vendors with high quality standards but without a 150 year-old brand.

Also, the reality is that unless you’re buying extremely expensive industrial-grade machinery, you’re going to have a very, very difficult time precisely calibrating things like jointer tables and band saw fences to the degree where the several thousandths of an inch accuracy difference between a Groz and Starrett square makes a difference. Most power tools designed to fit in a home shop simply aren’t that accurate themselves.

One thing I will mention, with regard to your comment about gaps in your bookshelves (which look really nice, by the way!): a big mistake that a lot of beginners make is to draw plans and then measure and cut to the plan rather than to the material. No matter how hard you try, your frail human body is going to introduce error into the process, and once you’ve cut your first piece for joining, whatever error you made needs to be matched in the complementary pieces in order for them to fit together properly. When you’re cutting out new shelves and panels, always ensure that you’re marking and measuring using the pieces you’ve actually cut, not the dimensions you intended to cut them to.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3353
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2020, 05:11 AM »
It’s been a long time since I was a Newbie, but I distinctly remember the mistakes I made that almost injured me. I also remember how difficult I made things because I didn’t have experience.

I have mentored a few people getting started in woodworking. My early emphasis is on safety, measuring, and tool usage.

If you could find a woodworking club in your area and find a mentor, it might speed your learning.

I own a number (too many) Starrett tools and they are incredible, but for squares, I buy Woodpeckers. Super accurate and not as pricy as Starrett.

Be safe and have fun.
Birdhunter

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2020, 09:42 AM »
Thank you Cypren!!
Yes I was looking at getting the TSO triangle.
Right now I have a couple of woodpecker squares and was thinking TSO does more than those esp it’s ability to work with the Festool bench top.
I agree, I can live with those thousandths of accuracy mismatch.
In regards to my bookshelf I later realized I didn’t start from a clean edge from HD ply. Also learnt that the 4x8 is not truly a 48 and I think issue for the gap compounded from that.
Going back to my earlier qn on ts55 blade width factoring in, is it absolutely needed or once my splinter guard is set on the marking, I’m good to go?
Thank you for kind words on the book shelf. Watching YouTube and doing the actual works are completely different is what I have realized.

Thank you Birdhunter for you tips.
Yes I did reach out to a few for mentoring and learning from.
Most times they are not ready due to liability to let me in their shop or don’t have the interest to do it. I’m still trying to get that exp. it’s increasing hard due to Covid times as well.
Safety and measure twice with the right tool are my approach to this.
With limited knowledge and not having accurate tools fixing an issue that arise out of a newbie mistake is even more painful😀
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2020, 01:23 PM »
Going back to my earlier qn on ts55 blade width factoring in, is it absolutely needed or once my splinter guard is set on the marking, I’m good to go?

Once you’ve cut the splinter guard the first time, you no longer need to worry about the blade when the piece you’re dimensioning is the one to the left of the cut (underneath the track); the splinter guard shows you the exact line of the material that will be left behind after cutting. If you’re dimensioning the piece to the right of the cut, then you need to factor in the blade width, since the right edge of the cut will be the guard line + blade kerf.

Note that if you change the blade, you will need to check the track to ensure the new blade aligns with the splinter guard. If I remember correctly, all of the Festool saws are designed to place the left edge of the blade at the same distance from the rail regardless of which saw and blade you’re using, but nothing in the physical world is ever perfect, and the differences in the angle and protrusion of different blade teeth as well as tiny variations in manufacturing will usually result in the guard being very slightly inaccurate for a new saw and new blade. You can either choose to manually compensate for the inaccuracy (which is usually a fraction of a millimeter), or you can replace the splinter guard strip and bed in a new one to get a precise alignment. But this does mean that if you have multiple saws or frequently change blades, you will ideally want a dedicated rail for each pairing.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 01:38 PM by Cypren »

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2020, 08:41 PM »
Thank you much Cyphen! You are awesome in giving details explanation.
In your opinion, what is the best Straight Edge ruler?
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
Re: TS55 tracksaw setup for accurate cuts and parallel rail guide
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2020, 09:18 PM »
I just use some cheap no-name ones I got off of Amazon. I checked them using the TSO parallel guides for straightness when I got them, and that was good enough. Honestly the parallel guides themselves make pretty good straightedges, but since they’re aluminum, I tend to baby mine and wanted some steel I could treat a bit more harshly without worrying about it.