Author Topic: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide  (Read 1512 times)

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Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« on: December 24, 2020, 12:19 AM »
I'm a newbie and as I'm looking at parallel guides between Festool and TSO; what are some major improvements with TSO over Festool?
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

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Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2020, 01:43 AM »
The TSO guides are a more flexible and extensible system (albeit a more expensive one). Advantages I can think of off the top of my head:
  • Vastly more secure anchoring and squaring when used with TSO's guide rail squares
  • You can attach multiple stops to a rail simultaneously so you can "set and forget" multiple specific cutting dimensions without introducing error when switching between them
  • Mounts and re-calibrates in a matter of seconds when switching between tracks or repositioning the track
  • Supports accurately measuring and cutting stock narrower than the track itself (assuming you have something of the same thickness to use for supporting the track)
  • Offers multiple rail lengths that can be switched out very quickly without tools and without disturbing your set stops
The TPGs are one of those tools I just can't say enough good things about and an absolutely indispensable part of my workflow. The exceptional accuracy and repeatability give you a lot of the capabilities of a full size cabinet saw in a form factor that can fit in a toolbox.

Probably the most telling thing I can say is that my father is a longtime carpenter and diehard Festool skeptic who generally thinks I'm punch-drunk on German kool-aid. He came out to visit me earlier this year, used the TSO system on one cabinet project with me, flew home and immediately bought a Festool track system just to use the TPGs. ;D

His opinion of Festool isn't a lot higher than it was before, but he's sure a diehard TSO fan now.

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2020, 08:08 AM »
Thank you very much for a detailed answer. TSO makes these amazing products and want to start adding them to my collection.
LOL, a kitchen table conversation with dad on why Festool is better is always fun and challenging 😊
On the same topic, does TSO guide rail square replaces any of the Festool accessories?
Also from what I can tell TSO square set can simply replace the MFT protector setup.
Can the square can also be used in conjunction with track for accurate cuts?
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5017
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2020, 11:07 AM »
The main difference is that the TSO rig sits on top of the panel being cut while the Festool rig has to be fairly precisely sized to the workpiece and is supported by whatever the workpiece is sitting on.

For example, if you plop a big piece of plywood on top of a pair of sawhorses you won’t be able to use the Festool rig. TSO, no problem. With the Festool stuff whatever you are cutting always has to be sitting on top of something larger to support the arms, which also have to be set to no more than an inch farther apart than the length of the workpiece.

TSO is much more convenient, plus all those other benefits listed above.

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 1329
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2020, 11:11 AM »
Since you said youre a newbie, just to make sure, you've checkout the other much less expensive parallel guides on the market too right? Like those from Seneca and Precision Dogs? Ive had the Precision Dogs setup for years and never felt the need to upgrade. Tried the Woodpeckers offering too but ended up selling them as I didnt feel they were worth the additional cost.
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2020, 11:32 AM »
Thank you!
Yes I’m looking at alternatives.
I want to invest and get the right one and not having to revisit.
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 257
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2020, 01:34 PM »
If you look at some of the Festool videos, they let the parallel guides hang out unsupported, and using them that way does work. They are easier to work with if you have the right side extensions on, which helps to counter-balance the long side. A mistake I've had with them is setting them too close to the workpiece, which is also something mentioned in their videos. They are easier to work with, and produce more accurate results if the guides are 1/2 inch/12mm or so away from the workpiece at both ends.

All that said, I think the systems using a guide that sits on top of the workpiece are easier to work with overall, with the possible exception of cutting narrow pieces which works quite well with the Festool guides, assuming you  have the extensions. The aftermarket guides let you work in a more constrained space than the Festool guides which need a foot or so at both ends of the workpiece.



Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2020, 06:13 PM »
On the same topic, does TSO guide rail square replaces any of the Festool accessories?
Also from what I can tell TSO square set can simply replace the MFT protector setup.
Can the square can also be used in conjunction with track for accurate cuts?

I’m assuming you meant the MFT protractor and got clipped by autocorrect. The GRS-16 PE can replace the Festool protractor for doing 90 and 45 degree cuts, but it can’t handle angles in between. Used alone, without the TPG, it offers precision squaring of material; extending it with the TPG allows for both squaring and parallelling simultaneously. Using the TPG without the GRS will let you accurately parallel material, but its squaring accuracy isn’t as precise. The nature of the TPG quick connector is that it will still be pretty close to square with the rail, and if you’re making fairly narrow rips, close is likely good enough. But if you’re cutting very wide pieces, the small inaccuracy will add up. The GRS provides a three-point connection with the rail for alignment as well as much higher tension and a larger contact and support surface that minimizes deflection in the rail.

To echo what ben_r said above, do realize that when you’re asking enthusiasts on an enthusiast forum like this, you’re going to get a lot of obsessing over tiny details and distinctions between products. As a hobbyist, buying “the best” gets very expensive, very quickly, and unless you’re doing extremely high precision work, you’ll probably never notice the difference between the top of the line and a more affordable model of most tools. If the price of these things isn’t a trivial cost to you and you’re not using them to make a living, you’ll probably be better served by getting something like the Seneca guides that isn’t commanding the market leader’s premium.

Of course, I say this as a hobbyist who pathologically buys “the best”, so, uh... do as I say, not as I do?  [embarassed]

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 1032
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2020, 04:06 PM »
Question about the TSO.  It looks to me like the $40 TPG adapter would get the rig square enough for ripping.  That would keep the price down to $270 which I think is very reasonable. 

By the way, is the new TPG fast attach adapter still $40?
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 51
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2020, 06:01 PM »
The guide rail adapter isn't really designed for squaring. @TSO_Products can probably confirm on this, but when you're running long rails, you need a lot of surface contact area to ensure squareness, and the guide rail adapters simply don't have enough.

One of the early things I had to learn the hard way with the guide rail squares is that they need to be fully inserted into the rail in order to be square. You can partially-insert them if you're trying to stretch a rail that's just barely too short to reach the other side of your material, and they'll look square, but if you actually measure them, you'll find they're off by a degree or two -- basically invisible to the human eye, but an error that will really add up if you're making a long cut. I would expect the guide rail adapters to be similar: if you try to use one at the end of a rail to square it with the parallel guide rail, it's probably going to look square while being slightly off. You could fix this if you have a large and accurate enough framing square to do the alignment by hand, but if you have one of those, you can just use it to align the guide rail and you don't need the parallel guide for the purpose.

My personal opinion is that if you want both squaring and paralleling, the cheapest you're going to get it (with TSO, anyway) is by getting the basic 30" TPG set ($190) and the GRS-16 ($160) for a $350 total cost. Trying to short the pieces of that set to save money is almost certainly going to cost you the accuracy that makes the pieces so expensive in the first place. And if sub-millimeter precision isn't that important to you, there are a lot cheaper solutions you can buy or build to get things "close enough".

Offline rajun.services

  • Posts: 44
Re: Festool parallel guide vs TSO parallel guide
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2020, 05:21 PM »
Thanks much for the details. Will continue to learn from you all :)
Festool TS55, Domino XL, OF-1400, Jigsaw, TS-32, Sawstop 3HP, MFT/3, CMS-VL