Author Topic: Feedback on Parallel Guides  (Read 1508 times)

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Feedback on Parallel Guides
« on: August 01, 2020, 10:03 AM »
Greets FOGr's,

I have a few question for those of you who currently, or have, owned ANY parallel guides. I have the Festool parallel guides and extensions and love them. My current tool and transportation conditions makes having them a must (no truck or table saw at the moment).

I'm wondering for those that had them and sold them: Why did you buy them in the first place and why did you sell them?

Those that still have them: How often do you use them and why do you still use them?

I appreciate the feedback!

Cheers,

Ben

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Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 513
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2020, 12:21 PM »
I have had the systems from Festool, Woodpecker, TSO.
I liked the Festool for their ability to accommodate all rip widths. But the ease of putting on the extensions for narrower rips is a bit clunky with the massive overhanging arch.
The Woodpecker is fine in principle but set up is a little finicky and time consuming and not too obvious in setups., and I dont think will allow a wide range of rips, because you are limited by the length of the setup pieces. Also the narrow rips are not too obvious, although there must be a way to do them.
The TSO complete system works with (and requires the use of) their rail squares.  I just love their rail squares and since I had them I decided to try their parallel guide system (complete). Although quite expensive, it is easy to setup and with the available tracks in 3 different lengths, can accommodate a rip as much as 50 inches and as little as 20 inches.  Smaller rips can also be done with the rods that come with the kit.  Although narrow rips are best on a table saw.

I ended up selling both the Woodpecker and the Festool since I found the TSO a lot easier to setup and use.
Vijay Kumar

Offline Df1k1

  • Posts: 114
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2020, 01:45 PM »
I have the woodpeckers. I find it easiest to calibrate them and leave them attached. I then use the Systainer for the rest of the pieces. They’re OK but I find them a little finicky. tempted to sell them to try the TSO parallel guide since I already have the guide rail square but I’m not sure I can justify the hit in price I would have to take. All in all they work like I said a little finicky though

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2788
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2020, 03:27 PM »
I have the Festool version and the TSO. The TSO is the best of the two for sure and super accurate. The Festool work fine, just not as elegant. Once dialed in they are all accurate.

Offline Stan Tillinghast

  • Posts: 65
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2020, 04:40 PM »
I bought the Woodpeckers probably cause they’re so dang purty, but having everything fit in a systainer, although neat in principal, is finicky, especially for me as I don’t do job site work. I’ll try them some more but if too fussy will sell and get the TSO parallel guide system.

I even bought the hex head screws to replace the Phillips for the attachments to the rail,  as recommended here on FOG.

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2020, 08:11 PM »
I have had the systems from Festool, Woodpecker, TSO.
I liked the Festool for their ability to accommodate all rip widths. But the ease of putting on the extensions for narrower rips is a bit clunky with the massive overhanging arch.
The Woodpecker is fine in principle but set up is a little finicky and time consuming and not too obvious in setups., and I dont think will allow a wide range of rips, because you are limited by the length of the setup pieces. Also the narrow rips are not too obvious, although there must be a way to do them.
The TSO complete system works with (and requires the use of) their rail squares.  I just love their rail squares and since I had them I decided to try their parallel guide system (complete). Although quite expensive, it is easy to setup and with the available tracks in 3 different lengths, can accommodate a rip as much as 50 inches and as little as 20 inches.  Smaller rips can also be done with the rods that come with the kit.  Although narrow rips are best on a table saw.

I ended up selling both the Woodpecker and the Festool since I found the TSO a lot easier to setup and use.

Thanks for the feedback! Do you find yourself still using them despite having a table saw? I'm currently working on a YouTube video on parallel guides, its not a how to but hey if you are this type of person - then you should or should not buy them. I have my reasons for owning them, and wanted to see where there are similarities and differences between owners.

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2020, 08:12 PM »
I have the woodpeckers. I find it easiest to calibrate them and leave them attached. I then use the Systainer for the rest of the pieces. They’re OK but I find them a little finicky. tempted to sell them to try the TSO parallel guide since I already have the guide rail square but I’m not sure I can justify the hit in price I would have to take. All in all they work like I said a little finicky though

Appreciate the feedback. What's your reason/s for owning them and using them versus just having a table saw?

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2020, 08:13 PM »
I have the Festool version and the TSO. The TSO is the best of the two for sure and super accurate. The Festool work fine, just not as elegant. Once dialed in they are all accurate.

Appreciate the feedback, Scot. If you had to make a recommendation to a friend, what would you tell them? What type of tool/workshop circumstance would they need to be in to give a "yes, buy these" or "no, I don't think you need them"?

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2020, 08:15 PM »
I bought the Woodpeckers probably cause they’re so dang purty, but having everything fit in a systainer, although neat in principal, is finicky, especially for me as I don’t do job site work. I’ll try them some more but if too fussy will sell and get the TSO parallel guide system.

I even bought the hex head screws to replace the Phillips for the attachments to the rail,  as recommended here on FOG.

Thanks for the opine, Stan. Why did you buy parallel guides, in general, to begin with? Do you own a table saw? Why the guides if you already have a table saw?

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2788
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2020, 08:56 PM »
I have the Festool version and the TSO. The TSO is the best of the two for sure and super accurate. The Festool work fine, just not as elegant. Once dialed in they are all accurate.

Appreciate the feedback, Scot. If you had to make a recommendation to a friend, what would you tell them? What type of tool/workshop circumstance would they need to be in to give a "yes, buy these" or "no, I don't think you need them"?

If just starting, without a doubt the TSO - MUCH better execution and design and the squares are a must-have accessory. If cost is an issue, then the Festool version is fine - just not as refined and you do not get the benefit of the rail square for accurate 90 degree cuts.

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 331
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2020, 09:05 PM »
@BenMarshallDesigns    Just in case you want another view.

I first got the Precision Dogs Precision Parallel Guides.   Like the Seneca (and some others?), they are based on the Incra T-Track.  They work fine once set up and give repeatable results.   Because they use the T-Track, it's easy to get longer or shorter tracks and you can change from Imperial to Metric tapes easily.  They were less expensive than the Seneca by a little, and a lot less than the Woodpecker.   Seems to me like the Precision Dogs, Seneca, and Woodpecker all do the same thing, slightly different implementation but functionally the same.

I never really consider the Festool version, seemed complicated and expensive.   

Because I already had the TSO GRS-16, I got their Parallel Guide Rail system (Right hand set) when it first came out.   I find that easier to use and compliments their Guide Rail Square quite nicely.   Especially if one is already using the Guide Rail Square to make 90 degree cuts.  At some point, I might add the rest of their set (PE and Right Hand set) if I am cutting a lot of plywood.

Hope this is helpful.

Bob

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2020, 09:11 PM »
@rmhinden, I appreciate the input!

What were the circumstances that led you to picking up some parallel guides? Were you hitting some limitations in your work flow or just because?

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2020, 09:13 PM »
@ScotF

In general though and in your opinion, why would someone need to pick up any set of parallel guides? A track saw, guide rail and table saw can get you a long ways - so why the parallel guides?

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 331
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2020, 09:30 PM »
@rmhinden, I appreciate the input!

What were the circumstances that led you to picking up some parallel guides? Were you hitting some limitations in your work flow or just because?

I got the first set to make repeatable parallel cuts, better than I could do by measuring and marking the plywood.  It's also quicker once it's set up to make the cuts.

Bob

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2788
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2020, 09:37 PM »
@ScotF

In general though and in your opinion, why would someone need to pick up any set of parallel guides? A track saw, guide rail and table saw can get you a long ways - so why the parallel guides?

For repeatable rips, of course! In all seriousness, ripping big sheets of plywood on a table saw is not the easiest and parallel guides is much faster and safer, in my opinion. Yes, you can mark each cut and line up the track, but you will likely get some slight variances in each rip. If you are making casework, these small variances can add up. It is much more accurate to use guides to ensure each part is exactly the same. Narrow rips are where a table saw excels. Wider pieces are where a track saw excels.

Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 513
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2020, 12:28 AM »
A + 2 to what @ScotF and @rmhinden said.
Vijay Kumar

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2417
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2020, 08:17 AM »
I have used Seneca's since they were released and they work great.  I actually have two sets, one with 28" and one with 52" Incra rules.  I also have the Festool's.  Recently I needed to cut 85 pieces 6" by various lengths up to 85".  The Festools made this a breeze attached to my 118" rail.  The Seneca's are more useful for larger pieces.  I am often making pieces in large quantities, hence the various setups.

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2020, 07:08 PM »
@rst, wow that's a lot of ripping!!! What kind of work/project were you doing to use that many rips??

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2417
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2020, 07:31 PM »
6" x various lengths of 3/16" acrylic for consruction reception area job and employee displays.

Offline pettyconstruction

  • Posts: 594
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2020, 08:02 PM »
I have the Woodpecker version, and as stated, are finicky.
The reason I got them was twofold, one
They were being fazed out by Wp
2: I bought them used on the Fog ( good price)

Any repeat cut that is made is more accurate with some sort of jig, removing a tape measure and pencil.

I have a table saw, track saw, and hand saws.lol.

If I where to do it now, I would get the TSO version, as I have a rail square already .
The WP systainer is nice but TSO has one also.

Btw. The tape measure and pencil are never going to give the results of a jig,
Be it a pattern bit on a router or a table saw. It introduces a Chance of error that doesn’t exist with a pattern.  The pattern has to be made well though.

Cheers, Charlie


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Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 863
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2020, 10:00 PM »
If I where to do it now, I would get the TSO version, as I have a rail square already .
The WP systainer is nice but TSO has one also.
Have you tried to find a way to mount the WP track to the TSO square? I would think you could rig something up fairly easily. Maybe just machine a couple slots in the WP track?

Offline pettyconstruction

  • Posts: 594
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 12:05 AM »
If I where to do it now, I would get the TSO version, as I have a rail square already .
The WP systainer is nice but TSO has one also.
Have you tried to find a way to mount the WP track to the TSO square? I would think you could rig something up fairly easily. Maybe just machine a couple slots in the WP track?
Good idea,
Although , I think I would rather keep it all original.
The WP guides work well once set up,worth the time it takes.
Thanks,
Charlie


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Offline jaguar36

  • Posts: 208
    • Toolamanjaro.com
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 08:39 AM »
Are you trying to design an alternative or something?  If you already have them and like them, why so many questions?

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 03:33 PM »
@jaguar36, I'm making a video this week on parallel guides, the use of - not a particular brand, and wanted to opine the group to share their thoughts on the reasons they have them. I have use mine quite often and wanted to see if the reasons I have them are similar to others before making content on the idea. The video is more or less a recommendation for the use of parallel guides for those that don't have them or have not used any before. It's obvious the usefulness of them, however I wouldn't want someone purchasing them if they really didn't need to, especially since most are rather pricey.

Offline Jeff Zanin

  • Posts: 257
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #24 on: Yesterday at 05:42 PM »
I have the Festool parallel guides with the extensions, I use them mainly for cutting sheet goods which I do outside on a piece of foam on my front porch  [scared].

I do have a Bosch 4000 table saw but it is not set up with infeed and outfeed tables, and by iteself it is too small to handle 4x8 sheets.  Getting full size sheets through the door & stairs to the table saw, or bringing the table saw up and outside, are much more awkward than doing the cutting with the track saw and the parallel guides.

I also have the Woodpecker parallel guides, I use the Festool much more often and the Woodpecker is mainly for ease of transport which has not been needed very often.

Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #25 on: Yesterday at 09:32 PM »
@Jeff Zanin, I do the same but at the lumber dealer for sheet goods. I have a foam board, cut into 4 equal parts for easy storage, and dimension rip to project width and then load it up into my car (Prius). I also don't own a tablesaw, so it's currently my only way of getting those repeatable cuts with a track saw. Thanks for your input and I appreciate you explaining your process!

Offline Roachmill

  • Posts: 217
Re: Feedback on Parallel Guides
« Reply #26 on: Today at 03:20 AM »
I use mine (Seneca) mostly (~60% of the time) for ripping narrow stock as I don't have a table saw due to space constraints. Setting the width of cut with a stop on a ruler is my preferred method and gives great results.

I had the RIP guides previously and they worked brilliantly. But they used Incra track sliding under the rail for narrow rips which meant the rail would be raised 18(?)mm off the table and that caused problems with thinner stock. The Seneca ones have a thin sliding piece that's only about 6mm thick and alleviates that problem. The TSO and possibly the WP ones have a thin bar and would work just as well I'm sure.

I'm not a fan of using a rail square (or 2) for narrow rips as they have to go on the ends of stock that may flex in the middle and, often times, you don't have much to register off when working with narrow materials. Having the guides movable on the rail accessory slot means you can position them to provide the best support as and where you want it.

Were money no object, I'd likely go for the TSO set with 2 rail adaptors. But the Seneca ones work well enough... at a fraction of the price.