Author Topic: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?  (Read 2428 times)

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Offline Jimmy69

  • Posts: 23
Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« on: September 13, 2020, 11:56 AM »
Hi,
I'm about to start making some plywood kitchen base cabinets so I'm after some advice on the best methods to cut along 8 ft sheet.
The cabinets are all the  same depth so keeping that consistent across all the sheets will make things like the dado for the backs less prone to human error, at least that's the theory
I know the obvious answer is to get a 3000 rail and do it  in one go but I don't have anywhere to store such a beast. Next option is to join 2 1400 rails together. I already have a 1400 and an 800 so all I'd need to buy was another 1400 rail and a connection kit - that should be long enough for a TS55 and a benchdogs rail square.
Problem is, I'm probably only going to do this the once , maybe twice and buying a second rail is not very exciting when I have a long list of other stuff I want
So I'm wondering are there any other techniques for cutting along 8 foot sheet accurately?
Any advice is much appreciated for such a noob question [wink]

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Online afish

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2020, 12:07 PM »
Is your current 1400 rail a holy rail?  sell the 800 and get a 1400 holy rail instead that way you have both the ability to cut down full sheets and with the addition of LR 32 kit the ability to drill for hardware. 

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 134
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2020, 12:45 PM »
Is your current 1400 rail a holy rail?  sell the 800 and get a 1400 holy rail instead that way you have both the ability to cut down full sheets and with the addition of LR 32 kit the ability to drill for hardware.
Don't know about Jimmy69 but my 800 rail is the one I use the most! Wouldnt part with it, ever.

Another option (which I did) is to buy a cheap Evolution 2 x 1400 track. I got my pair off Amazon for £70 inc a bag, and its Festool saw compatible (but wont connect to a Festool track). I now throw this pair in its bag into the wagon when I'm off to do a job elsewhere and dont need all the Festool track niceties. That way my expensive Festool track stays in my workshop and doesn't get knocked about.

Or if its just a couple of cuts, do it the old fashioned way and find a long enough straight piece of timber and just run the saw up the side of it.
Retired engineer/scientist

Online afish

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2020, 01:28 PM »
I agree with getting some cheaper rails is a possibility. I typically use Makita rails and happy with the performance. I might even say happier since the rubber splinter piece is always trying to fall off the festool rails  [mad] I guess it all comes down to what you cut most of the time.  For me 1400 is the shortest rail I need sure its longer than I need sometimes but its not so long its hard to manage, store, or transport like a 118"er.  I think if space and budget is a concern as original poster mentioned then 1400 rails strikes the perfect balance and all around single best rails to own.  One 1400 will crosscut or put 2 together and rip an 8' Having one as a holy rail will open up a whole new world to him for making cabinets.  He can buy 2 powertech rails for 125ish but then he would have 3 1400 rails which is redundant. For 145 he can get one more holy rail which is only 20 more than the powertechs and have future 32mm drilling capabilities. The festool rail will also have higher resale if he ever decides to sell it.  Since an 800 wont even be long enough to cut down all doors im curious as to what people are using the 800 for so much?  I understand that everyone has different needs but I struggle to see what an 800 is so valuable for. I have never wished that my 1400 rail was 800 long if anything I wished it was 1500 or 1600 However its good to know there is a good market for 800 rails if he wants to sell it. 

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2448
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2020, 01:36 PM »
 For the first couple years I joined a 55 and 75 in order to cut 8'ers.  I fianally gave in and bought the 3000 which I would not have to take the two apart to crossct sheets.

Offline Jimmy69

  • Posts: 23
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2020, 01:49 PM »
I was scratching my head there for a minute thinking " what does he mean - holy rail"? Divine, Sacred? [laughing] then the penny dropped. Great idea as it's on the wish list and not a duplicate. I can use it for the shelf holes too!
The 800 came with my OF1010 router kit and is great because I have a ridiculously small work space. No bigger than the 8x4 sheets we're talking about [eek] so it works well with my Paulk style MFT
Holy rail it is then and some Makita connectors.

I did wonder if the parallel guides could be used to accurately cut one length in 2 parts i.e cut half way then move the guides and continue the cut but too much room for error I guess.

Thanks

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 220
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2020, 02:00 PM »
I would either buy a bigger rail to join (I have a 3000, and 2 1400s that I join when not at home in the shop); or go with the old fashioned method of getting a straight piece of lumber and building a guide.  I would not try to restart a cut after beginning it.

If you are trying to split the sheets in half to get your cabinet depth, and use the old fashioned straight edge, you have the possibility of drifting into the offcut, because you are only registered against the "fence" on one side.  If you have to special order the sheet material, the delay there can be expensive and frustrating making the proper track worthwhile.

Online afish

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2020, 02:10 PM »
The holy rail is one of those things that makes me wonder why Festool even bothers making a rail without the holes?  They dont hurt anything being there so I ask why Festool?

and also yes I would not trust parallel guides to rip a full sheet accurately enough for case work.  Im not a big fan of parallel guides to begin with.  They tend to make a long rail unwieldy especially if its a 2 piece long rail.  For doing multiple smaller crosscuts a stop on the MFT bench will work just as good for a lot less money and you can use those funds towards LR 32 which will be money better spent in my opinion.   

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 2015
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2020, 02:13 PM »
One school of followers says if the purchase solves the immediate problem you have even if it's a one-time issue, it's worth it. I don't belong to that school, unless my plan is to sell it after the project (and with no anticipation of a huge loss). I like lean and clean.

If your shop is small and the longest rail is meant to be left unused for ages (only you can define it), I'd suggest buying something that can solve your one-time problem. but will get used again and again for other projects. I'm talking about the TSO guide rail square (or the Festool licensed version): https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/power-tool-accessories/guides/111280-grs-16-pe-guide-rail-square?item=86N5402

Use the square to cut on one side and move the square to the other side to finish the rest. Much like cutting a board on the miter saw that is beyond the cutting saw's capacity. (I'm assuming the long rail you have is long enough to make such cuts.)

The guide rail square (which I have never used) has a good reputation, and it can be used for any projects that require breaking down the sheets. It definitely has a smaller footprint than the longest rail.

Offline demographic

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2020, 03:44 PM »
I use two 1400 rails joined together for eight foot sheets but am also finding that a Japanese Inkline is handy for marking long straight lines.
Far thinner mark than a chalkline.

Or if its repeat cuts I make a couple of spacers up to ensure the cuts are always the same size.
I've done this on repeat cuts across a board then measured the smal offcut and after five cuts its been 1 mm or less.
I can live with +/- 0.2mm for each cut.

Offline TwelvebyTwenty

  • Posts: 101
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2020, 03:54 PM »
Unless I'm missing something and being thick... Put a few marks down for the width you wish to cut, make a decent size cut with the 2200mm available to you (1400+800) and then slide the rail along and realign using a combination of the kerf that has been made and the remaining pencil marks. It may possible be a couple of thousand of an inch out compared to if you had one big rail - but this isn't an interference fit for the space station we're talking about.

Offline TSO_Products

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 04:09 PM »

Holy rail it is then and some Makita connectors.

I did wonder if the parallel guides could be used to accurately cut one length in 2 parts i.e cut half way then move the guides and continue the cut but too much room for error I guess.

Thanks

- with so many custoemrs replacing their MAKITA and FESTOOL rail connectors with the TSO GRC-12, you may want to look into that . . .

- and repositioning any parallel guide, including the TSO, would not be our first choice either!

all the BEst with your project!

Hans

Offline woodferret

  • Posts: 11
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2020, 07:24 PM »
I'd second the TSO connector.  I used the triton ones which are the same as the makita.  Pretty good at the time but requires a straight edge to align.  I got tired of fiddling with it and got the TSO.  I still keep a straight edge as a final check but so far its cut down on the amount of readjustments to almost zero.  Only time was due to poorly cut ends on a new track.

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 1008
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2020, 08:10 PM »
Buy a 106" and save the box?

Just base cabinets?  No wall cabinets?
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 193
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2020, 02:25 AM »
To the OP. Look into a 1900 guide rail it will be plenty long to make a straight cut for the lower and uppers and might work well if you rough cut your sheet goods or if you’re working with 5x5 BB. . If your doing a tall pantry then you could join two tracks. The issue I’ve had with Festool tracks is there is a plus or minus tolerances from the extrusion process. So the tracks might not line up well. I’ve tried the TSO connectors and they are good, but two different tracks if they are off more than a 1/32” wont line up. The tracks need to be within fairly tight tolerance.  So you might want to either get the 1900 or the 3000, one solid track is the best solution. anything Festool sells very quickly on the used market for 30-40% off. If it’s a few months old you could get 75%? Bring your track down to the dealer and see if whatever track your joining matches and the saw doesn’t wiggle and twist through the track connection. It will never sand out.

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 193
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2020, 02:36 AM »
One school of followers says if the purchase solves the immediate problem you have even if it's a one-time issue, it's worth it. I don't belong to that school, unless my plan is to sell it after the project (and with no anticipation of a huge loss). I like lean and clean.

If your shop is small and the longest rail is meant to be left unused for ages (only you can define it), I'd suggest buying something that can solve your one-time problem. but will get used again and again for other projects. I'm talking about the TSO guide rail square (or the Festool licensed version): https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/power-tool-accessories/guides/111280-grs-16-pe-guide-rail-square?item=86N5402

Use the square to cut on one side and move the square to the other side to finish the rest. Much like cutting a board on the miter saw that is beyond the cutting saw's capacity. (I'm assuming the long rail you have is long enough to make such cuts.)

The guide rail square (which I have never used) has a good reputation, and it can be used for any projects that require breaking down the sheets. It definitely has a smaller footprint than the longest rail.
agreed. Tso guide rail square and the longest track. The TSO GRS will take up about a foot of track length so for cabinets the 1400 Festool track is useless. For ripping a full sheet I would get the 3000? But I think the 1900 would work you just have to rethink your work flow. Measure twice, cut twice. Stick to  5x5 sheet Baltic birch.  Other than ripping a 4x8 sheet the 3000 guide rail Track is way too long. Push comes to shove you could always pay a cabinet shop to make 5-10 rips on A full length sheet 4x8 sheet of plywood

Offline Jimmy69

  • Posts: 23
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2020, 07:03 AM »
One school of followers says if the purchase solves the immediate problem you have even if it's a one-time issue, it's worth it. I don't belong to that school, unless my plan is to sell it after the project (and with no anticipation of a huge loss). I like lean and clean.

If your shop is small and the longest rail is meant to be left unused for ages (only you can define it), I'd suggest buying something that can solve your one-time problem. but will get used again and again for other projects. I'm talking about the TSO guide rail square (or the Festool licensed version): https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/power-tool-accessories/guides/111280-grs-16-pe-guide-rail-square?item=86N5402

Use the square to cut on one side and move the square to the other side to finish the rest. Much like cutting a board on the miter saw that is beyond the cutting saw's capacity. (I'm assuming the long rail you have is long enough to make such cuts.)

The guide rail square (which I have never used) has a good reputation, and it can be used for any projects that require breaking down the sheets. It definitely has a smaller footprint than the longest rail.
agreed. Tso guide rail square and the longest track. The TSO GRS will take up about a foot of track length so for cabinets the 1400 Festool track is useless. For ripping a full sheet I would get the 3000? But I think the 1900 would work you just have to rethink your work flow. Measure twice, cut twice. Stick to  5x5 sheet Baltic birch.  Other than ripping a 4x8 sheet the 3000 guide rail Track is way too long. Push comes to shove you could always pay a cabinet shop to make 5-10 rips on A full length sheet 4x8 sheet of plywood
I have a benchdog rail square which takes about 15cm of the rail.
leaving me with 6ft + of usable rail if I join the 1400 and 800 together. That's plenty for doing 5x5 Baltic birch. That means all I need to buy is a joining kit. The TSO ones look great and I don't doubt their superior design, but in the UK they sell for £75 and are usually sold out. That's about $95 which is interesting because the TSO rail square 16PE is only £120. That's competitive with most other rail squares in the UK.
Also, getting the supplier to cut along the length is an option. Time to measure up and do a cut list I think!

Thanks for all the help. :)

Offline jcrowe1950

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2020, 11:27 AM »
Hi,
I'm about to start making some plywood kitchen base cabinets so I'm after some advice on the best methods to cut along 8 ft sheet.
The cabinets are all the  same depth so keeping that consistent across all the sheets will make things like the dado for the backs less prone to human error, at least that's the theory
I know the obvious answer is to get a 3000 rail and do it  in one go but I don't have anywhere to store such a beast. Next option is to join 2 1400 rails together. I already have a 1400 and an 800 so all I'd need to buy was another 1400 rail and a connection kit - that should be long enough for a TS55 and a benchdogs rail square.
Problem is, I'm probably only going to do this the once , maybe twice and buying a second rail is not very exciting when I have a long list of other stuff I want
So I'm wondering are there any other techniques for cutting along 8 foot sheet accurately?
Any advice is much appreciated for such a noob question [wink]
Hi Jimmy,

    What I'd consider is this....two 1400s is 2800mm, or about 110" which gives you ~7" of space on each end for startup of the saw before plunging and after exiting the stock. Make sure that gives you enough space on both ends to full engage your cams on the saw before entering/exiting the sheet goods. This is one reason I do not recommend the 2700mm rail for that application as it is inadequate in that respect. Besides, the 2700 and 3000 rails present storage challenges. My solution is to use my 1900mm (75") rail from my original TS75 and the 1080mm (42") rail from my MFT, united with TSO connectors to provide a total of ~117" and around 10.5" on either side of an 8' sheet of plywood. The first thing you want to do is shave off the factory edge. This is demonstrated quite well in Youtube videos from Festool USA.
Festool Specialist at Woodcraft, Chattanooga, TN

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2020, 12:03 PM »
@Jimmy69

You may only build kitchen cabinets once but Im sure there are other projects that you will use the 2nd guide rail for.  I have a lot of guide rails some even custom sizes (500mm- 300mm) that I find a use for.

Theres no way around it if your getting into wood working and have chosen festool.

Tools arent cheap

Offline JimD

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2020, 07:01 PM »
My track saw is a DeWalt largely because I could get it, their long track (103 inches or 2616mm) and a 59 inch track for about $600.  I use the long track a lot, I used it today to cut some 3/4 plywood for an open shelving unit for a utility room.  I store it on the back of my garage door now.  There is at least one commercial arrangement for storing track this way but I just made some simple brackets out of scrap.  My garage door is only 9 feet wide so I don't think it would work with a track much longer than mine.  But on a 16 foot double door you should be able to put about any track.

If you want to join tracks, I think you will have better results with two track connectors.  I cannot do that on my DeWalt tracks but plan to try joining my long track to one of my others, probably the 44 inch, to rip glue ready edges on cherry boards 10 feet long for my new dining table.  I do this fairly regularly on 8 foot boards with my long track but I want a 10 foot table. 

I work almost totally inside my shop and for that arrangement I think a long track is very nice to have and very useful.  But if I was doing mostly site work, I would probably not want to carry the long track and risk it's damage. 

Online afish

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2020, 09:23 PM »
If you want to try some parallel rails but funds are tight you can make some of these.  If you have some scrap laying around they will only cost you a few bucks. I would forgo the 3rd setting guide he made as it seems redundant but if memory serves he talks about that and just use one to set the other.  As I mentioned earlier I dont use them and dont like the kind that attach to the rail as I feel it can be a bit cumbersome more so with the long rail and even more so with 2 rails joined to make a long rail.  However everyone has their own way but I actually prefer how these are not attached.  If you wanted you could screw on a draw clamp like the one used on the GRS rail squares.  You can order them from mcmaster carr.  if you are concerned about the rail moving.   

Offline jcrowe1950

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2020, 08:47 PM »
If you want to try some parallel rails but funds are tight you can make some of these.  If you have some scrap laying around they will only cost you a few bucks. I would forgo the 3rd setting guide he made as it seems redundant but if memory serves he talks about that and just use one to set the other.  As I mentioned earlier I dont use them and dont like the kind that attach to the rail as I feel it can be a bit cumbersome more so with the long rail and even more so with 2 rails joined to make a long rail.  However everyone has their own way but I actually prefer how these are not attached.  If you wanted you could screw on a draw clamp like the one used on the GRS rail squares.  You can order them from mcmaster carr.  if you are concerned about the rail moving.   

    The video is interesting, and will give a parallel cut, but there is no way to calibrate it to different rails so while it's a nice jig, it would not work well in the scenarios for which the Festool, TSO, Woodpecker etc. parallel guides work. Also, since these guides are not attached to the rail, the stock will have to be pushed under the rail to the stops and then the rail put into place before cutting. I guess this would work if your parallel rips were short but if your intention is to rip the stock for cabinets from a typical cut list, this would probably not be a great solution. There is also no means of cutting narrow stock in this scenario. That said, good on this young man for coming up with a nice solution for his situation. To truly appreciate the value of the parallel guide systems out there, you have to actually use them a few times. Also, there are tons of methods of work for individuals....if it works for you.....have at it...
Festool Specialist at Woodcraft, Chattanooga, TN

Online afish

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2020, 08:54 AM »
If you want to try some parallel rails but funds are tight you can make some of these.  If you have some scrap laying around they will only cost you a few bucks. I would forgo the 3rd setting guide he made as it seems redundant but if memory serves he talks about that and just use one to set the other.  As I mentioned earlier I dont use them and dont like the kind that attach to the rail as I feel it can be a bit cumbersome more so with the long rail and even more so with 2 rails joined to make a long rail.  However everyone has their own way but I actually prefer how these are not attached.  If you wanted you could screw on a draw clamp like the one used on the GRS rail squares.  You can order them from mcmaster carr.  if you are concerned about the rail moving.   

    the stock will have to be pushed under the rail to the stops and then the rail put into place before cutting.

I dont understand this.  why the stock has to be "pushed under the rail"  the DIY parallel guides simply sit on the stock and clamp to it.  So one would simply clamp parallel guides ( some simple 2" spring clamps) would probably be sufficient then butt the rail to the guide.  I actually prefer them not being attached.  If you have ever tried turning, spinning a long rail with a set of parallel guides attached it isnt fun especially in a small space then combined with a two piece rail could put enough stress on the joint I would be concerned with it moving out of alignment and at the very least make me paranoid enough to constantly be checking it.  As far as ripping narrow stock isnt that the same issue with most parallel guides?  Its also easily addressed by having a few spacer blocks that are of the same width that would go between the sliding part that typically butts to the material and the material. this would push the parallel guide over that dimension.  Or if you wanted to get real fancy you could make a couple stop pieces that project past the edge that butts to the rail.  Most objections are easily overcome with a little out of the box thinking.  The O.P. did stress that space and budget was an issue.   If it wasnt then parallel guides still arnt the best solution in my opinion and table saw, panel saw, cnc is better if size and budget arnt a concern.  Im sure parallel guides are great for some

Offline jcrowe1950

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2020, 06:22 PM »
 

    the stock will have to be pushed under the rail to the stops and then the rail put into place before cutting.

I dont understand this.  why the stock has to be "pushed under the rail"  the DIY parallel guides simply sit on the stock and clamp to it.  So one would simply clamp parallel guides ( some simple 2" spring clamps) would probably be sufficient then butt the rail to the guide.  I actually prefer them not being attached.  If you have ever tried turning, spinning a long rail with a set of parallel guides attached it isnt fun especially in a small space then combined with a two piece rail could put enough stress on the joint I would be concerned with it moving out of alignment and at the very least make me paranoid enough to constantly be checking it.  As far as ripping narrow stock isnt that the same issue with most parallel guides?  Its also easily addressed by having a few spacer blocks that are of the same width that would go between the sliding part that typically butts to the material and the material. this would push the parallel guide over that dimension.  Or if you wanted to get real fancy you could make a couple stop pieces that project past the edge that butts to the rail.  Most objections are easily overcome with a little out of the box thinking.  The O.P. did stress that space and budget was an issue.   If it wasnt then parallel guides still arnt the best solution in my opinion and table saw, panel saw, cnc is better if size and budget arnt a concern.  Im sure parallel guides are great for some
[/quote]

    Let me ask if you've ever used parallel guides. I'm not trying to criticize you here but until you use a set a few times, it's unlikely you will grok the value.

    With the aforementioned implementation, which is great for a budget solution, you set your length of cut...fasten the parallel guides to the, hopefully straight, edge of the stock and then butt the guide rail against the parallel guides. Then you repeat, but what if you want a different width? With at least the Festool and TSO parallel guides, you attach the guides to the back of the rail, or connected rails, and calibrate them. Then you set the desired width of the cut on the parallel guide stops and slide the rail up to the edge of the sheet goods and make the cut. Then you move the material you just cut and shove the rail again until it hits the stops......then if you want to change the width, it takes less than a minute and you are making dead accurate cuts. The other thing I don't know about the "cheap alternative" is how narrow cuts (less than the width of the guide rail) would work. Since the parallel guides are not calibrated to the rail, even with spacer blocks, it seems to me problematic. The parallel guides are a useful tool for a specific purpose. They are much more accurate and safer than using a table saw for the same purpose. CNCs large enough to process 4'x8' sheets of plywood are really nice and pretty expensive. Of course, they can cut parts accurately, drill holes accurately and so forth, but for a small shop or a hobbyist, that's a stretch. As always, YMMV.

Full disclosure: I work for a Festool dealer and use and demo the Festool parallel guides  there. Festool invented the parallel guides and that was and still is a really nice tool. I also own the TSO parallel guides which I use at home and like very much. If you would like a demo of either and are ever in the Chattanooga area, give me a bit of warning and I'll give you a test drive.
Festool Specialist at Woodcraft, Chattanooga, TN

Online afish

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Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2020, 09:07 AM »
 

    the stock will have to be pushed under the rail to the stops and then the rail put into place before cutting.

I dont understand this.  why the stock has to be "pushed under the rail"  the DIY parallel guides simply sit on the stock and clamp to it.  So one would simply clamp parallel guides ( some simple 2" spring clamps) would probably be sufficient then butt the rail to the guide.  I actually prefer them not being attached.  If you have ever tried turning, spinning a long rail with a set of parallel guides attached it isnt fun especially in a small space then combined with a two piece rail could put enough stress on the joint I would be concerned with it moving out of alignment and at the very least make me paranoid enough to constantly be checking it.  As far as ripping narrow stock isnt that the same issue with most parallel guides?  Its also easily addressed by having a few spacer blocks that are of the same width that would go between the sliding part that typically butts to the material and the material. this would push the parallel guide over that dimension.  Or if you wanted to get real fancy you could make a couple stop pieces that project past the edge that butts to the rail.  Most objections are easily overcome with a little out of the box thinking.  The O.P. did stress that space and budget was an issue.   If it wasnt then parallel guides still arnt the best solution in my opinion and table saw, panel saw, cnc is better if size and budget arnt a concern.  Im sure parallel guides are great for some

    Let me ask if you've ever used parallel guides. I'm not trying to criticize you here but until you use a set a few times, it's unlikely you will grok the value.

    With the aforementioned implementation, which is great for a budget solution, you set your length of cut...fasten the parallel guides to the, hopefully straight, edge of the stock and then butt the guide rail against the parallel guides. Then you repeat, but what if you want a different width? With at least the Festool and TSO parallel guides, you attach the guides to the back of the rail, or connected rails, and calibrate them. Then you set the desired width of the cut on the parallel guide stops and slide the rail up to the edge of the sheet goods and make the cut. Then you move the material you just cut and shove the rail again until it hits the stops......then if you want to change the width, it takes less than a minute and you are making dead accurate cuts. The other thing I don't know about the "cheap alternative" is how narrow cuts (less than the width of the guide rail) would work. Since the parallel guides are not calibrated to the rail, even with spacer blocks, it seems to me problematic. The parallel guides are a useful tool for a specific purpose. They are much more accurate and safer than using a table saw for the same purpose. CNCs large enough to process 4'x8' sheets of plywood are really nice and pretty expensive. Of course, they can cut parts accurately, drill holes accurately and so forth, but for a small shop or a hobbyist, that's a stretch. As always, YMMV.

Full disclosure: I work for a Festool dealer and use and demo the Festool parallel guides  there. Festool invented the parallel guides and that was and still is a really nice tool. I also own the TSO parallel guides which I use at home and like very much. If you would like a demo of either and are ever in the Chattanooga area, give me a bit of warning and I'll give you a test drive.

[/quote]

OH Ok,  well to answer your first question yes I have and I also understand how the festool P.G's work.  As well as the benefits and limitations of both systems.

My confusion was not with how PG's work but your statement " Also, since these guides are not attached to the rail, the stock will have to be pushed under the rail to the stops and then the rail put into place before cutting"  The way I read that, I'm not the one confused with how things work.  Perhaps Im reading it wrong but the only accurate part is the "then the rail put in place before cutting" Nothing about the low tech PG requires you push the stock under the rail to the stops.  If anything I would say that is a more accurate description of how the Festool PG work for narrow cuts.  You keep saying that the low tech PG are not calibrated to the rail which is incorrect. There are easy ways to to calibrate them just as there are ways to make them work for narrow cuts. Is the festool version better suited for narrow cuts "yes" but that's not to say the LTPG (low tech parallel guide) can't do them.  It just takes a little creative thinking.  There are also situations I see benefits of not having the PG attached to the rail. To say they are "much more accurate than a table saw" is... Not sure what table saws you have been using but I will have already made a dozen perfectly dimensioned cuts before the PG are attached to a rail and calibrated. At least you didnt say they are faster.  Are PG's More portable =YES, Safer = Probably,  Much more accurate = NO,  Faster = NO  However, I never compared PG's to a table saw or CNC.  I only offered a possible solution for someone with space and budget constraints. Im not trying to sell anything here and have no horse in this race. Its up to the reader to decide what works best for his/hers situation based on facts.  The LTPG might not be the ideal solution for you or someone else reading this just as the commercial PG offerings might not be the ideal solution for all either. Both systems have their pluses and minuses. Thanks for the demo offer but I am well beyond the point of needing or using PG's in my workflow.

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 484
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2020, 12:22 PM »
I like the budget idea already posted but they depend on a track design like all track saws use with one soft edge that shows where the saw will cut and one hard edge where Festool attaches the parallel guide.  My track saw is a DeWalt so I have two soft edges.  So I built a couple jigs I call track positioning guides that register off the guide rib of the track.  That should work on a Festool style track except you'd need a wider dado to get over the hard edge of the track.  I grab the track with a dado in the jig and the other end of the jig has a movable stop with an adjustable hairline pointer.  I use the same jig at both ends of the track so I have to go back and forth, at least 3 times.  One of my jigs works with the piece you want under the track (like the posted jig) and the other works with the workpiece not under the track.  The latter works fine for cutting narrow slices off bigger pieces. 

I also have home made parallel guides (no commercial ones for DeWalt) but I like the track positioning guides better.  The parallel guides might be quicker for repeat cuts, probably are, but the positioning guides don't take very long and they don't make the rail bigger and more difficult to handle.  Festool's parallel guides for their rails look very nice, however, and probably work a lot better than my home made ones. 

It's nice we have choices.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 1234
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2020, 04:15 PM »
To the OP, I know it's late but when it come to sheet good I rarely cut 8' long pieces. Because I never need a 8' long board. Perhaps in your case you do. I always try to organize my cut list to start my first cut on the 4' side.

About the DIY parallel guides. I would give em a try since they cost almost nothing. I also don't like the fact that most parallel guides are attached to the rail.
Mario

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 962
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2020, 05:45 PM »
The holy rail is one of those things that makes me wonder why Festool even bothers making a rail without the holes?  They dont hurt anything being there so I ask why Festool?

and also yes I would not trust parallel guides to rip a full sheet accurately enough for case work.  Im not a big fan of parallel guides to begin with.  They tend to make a long rail unwieldy especially if its a 2 piece long rail.  For doing multiple smaller crosscuts a stop on the MFT bench will work just as good for a lot less money and you can use those funds towards LR 32 which will be money better spent in my opinion.

Cost is the answer.

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 193
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2020, 03:07 AM »

Holy rail it is then and some Makita connectors.

I did wonder if the parallel guides could be used to accurately cut one length in 2 parts i.e cut half way then move the guides and continue the cut but too much room for error I guess.

Thanks

- with so many custoemrs replacing their MAKITA and FESTOOL rail connectors with the TSO GRC-12, you may want to look into that . . .

- and repositioning any parallel guide, including the TSO, would not be our first choice either!

all the BEst with your project!

Hans
the newest rev c is nice by TSO. I’m planning on selling my Festool connectors

Online afish

  • Posts: 80
Re: Cutting along 8 foot sheet?
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2020, 01:34 PM »
The holy rail is one of those things that makes me wonder why Festool even bothers making a rail without the holes?  They dont hurt anything being there so I ask why Festool?

and also yes I would not trust parallel guides to rip a full sheet accurately enough for case work.  Im not a big fan of parallel guides to begin with.  They tend to make a long rail unwieldy especially if its a 2 piece long rail.  For doing multiple smaller crosscuts a stop on the MFT bench will work just as good for a lot less money and you can use those funds towards LR 32 which will be money better spent in my opinion.

Cost is the answer.

Yea, but both the 1400mm rail with no holes and the 1400mm rail are the same price on amazon $145 so it still makes no sense to me why anyone would buy or Festool makes one without holes over the holly rail.  I highly doubt Festool is taking a big hit on the LR32 rail selling it for the same price.  It would make sense that if customers already had rails with holes they would probably be much more likely to buy into the the LR32 system.  This would = more sales of LR32's Even if they just made all 1400 and 3000 rails holly and raised the price a few extra bucks I doubt that would cost them any sales.  The other thing is the long holly rail is only 92" so it cant do double duty as a 8' cut rail.  That's just dumb on Festools part and my biggest gripe of the LR32 system.  Who wants to buy and store two long a$$ rails? Not to many people. Rant over.