Author Topic: Guide rail square  (Read 2990 times)

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Offline Taylormade

  • Posts: 23
Guide rail square
« on: June 06, 2021, 06:23 PM »
Wondering the pros vs cons of the TSO guide rail square vs the Festool Angle Unit?  What rail length is needed with each to cut 4X8 or 5X5 plywood as they both eat up some rail length?  Cheers!

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Offline neilc

  • Posts: 3093
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2021, 06:29 PM »
TSO set the standard for guide rail squares.  Festool OEM’s their square from TSO for international sales.  It’s far more accurate than the angle unit from Festool.  Plus I like it because of the option of adding parallel guides to it for repetitive cuts of a defined width.

I cut 4’ ply all the time with the 55” standard guide rail from FT.  I add an extension when I need either 5’ or 8’ cuts in ply.

Offline mino

  • Posts: 1129
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2021, 07:48 PM »
You need at least 25 cm (10"), but preferably 30 cm of rail overhang to place the saw on before the cut. The TSO/Festool rail square is about 15cm, so it has no effect on needed rail length.

Only, if you use the GRS PE to reference from the "far" edge, then you need to count about 10 cm more than the 5cm needed for the saw to exit the rail.

Ref angle unit versus square. Two different purposes. Square job is to be as accurate as possible, while the angle unit can be a bit "loose" with accuracy but has the flexibility to go for an arbitrary angle. Kinda like a rail car and a car. Both are cars, right ?
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Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 372
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2021, 08:04 PM »
I use a bosch digital angle finder/square for framing.
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Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5604
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2021, 08:41 PM »
Neither consume any more of the rail than you should reserve for the saw.

The difference is that the TSO square is only good for square cuts, but it’s reliable. The Festool Angle Unit can be set to a broad range of angles but it won’t reliably stay on any of them. You’ll need something else to check what angle the rail is at so you’re better off drawing the line you want to set the rail to and then clamping the rail.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1415
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2021, 08:57 AM »
I had bought the rail square and sold it.  I wasnt a big fan.  I didnt always get as square of cuts as advertised and it is somewhat of a one trick pony.  If you need something for quick cuts it would be great.  My preference is the MTR-18 triangle. It is way more versatile has longer reference edges making it more accurate. The MTR-18 has some posts that screw into it so that the rail can clip to it to keep the rail snug to the MTR.  It doesnt become a solid one piece like the rail square does so its not as fast but the benefits outweigh that in my opinion. 

One other trick with it is is you remove the extra aluminum bar that screws to the triangle and use a longer piece of hardwood or Russian birch that extends under and past the cut side of the rail then make a sacrificial cut. That extended piece of hardwood now becomes an excellent cut indicator. Just make a pencil mark and slide the triangle over till the hardwood is inline with pencil mark and place or pivot the rail down and you should have perfect cut.

It really depends on your needs and type of jobs you do.   

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 157
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2021, 05:59 PM »
Note that if you need the angle functionality of the Festool angle unit, Woodpeckers makes a rail square that has the same degree of precision as the TSO square but also incorporates a protractor with locking detents every 5°. It's the most expensive of all of the rail square options I'm aware of, but nothing else offers the same combination of angle functionality with precision squaring.

I still mostly use the TSO square for doing actual squaring -- it's lighter weight, easier to position and supports the TSO parallel guides, which I use constantly -- but having the WP square has been nice on more than one occasion. The support tab it has to stabilize the square is especially helpful when trying to align a squaring cut with a very long rail (like squaring a full 4x8 material sheet), where the TSO square has a tendency to shift around a bit and be very finicky to precisely square up.

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 1877
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2021, 06:08 PM »
I have the WoodPeckers adjustable rail square. It's expensive as just a rail square, but the very accurate and repeatable angle adjustment makes it the best of both worlds. It has the advantage of the angles but can make wider cuts than the Festool protractor head on the MFT, as long as your rail can handle. Plus, it is portable. You can take it too the work, rather than the work too it.
It's not an everyday thing for me, because I can cross-cut up to 36" on my table, and I have far easier ways to cut full sized sheets. But, it has definitely saved the day quite a few times.
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Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 1069
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2021, 01:15 PM »
My friction of my guides is strong on most surfaces.  I find it difficult to overcome when using a t-square attached to a guide.  I guess I'm the lone ranger.
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Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 449
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2021, 04:58 PM »

+1 on the TSO. It's flawless and every cut I make is absolutely dead square. Plus - it fits neatly into the TS55's Sys 4.

Offline avogra

  • Posts: 4
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2021, 07:43 AM »
My friction of my guides is strong on most surfaces.  I find it difficult to overcome when using a t-square attached to a guide.  I guess I'm the lone ranger.
From the videos, the trick is to lift the rail from the surface by pushing down the overhang. then push the square against the edge and lower the rail onto the surface. That way, the friction of the rail doesn't make a difference.

Offline John_mx

  • Posts: 5
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2021, 04:18 PM »
I have the Festool Accessories set FS-SYS/2 set and can say I never use it, the guide never wants to sit pushed up against the panel and I have to use something else to square it up, I would not buy it if I could have used it first .

Offline Josef

  • Posts: 11
Re: Guide rail square
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2021, 03:56 PM »
I have the TSO after debating for some time.  Been really happy with it.  It cuts dead square, can be used from both ends of the workpiece (if you get the GRS-16 PE), and is solid as a tank.

because it clips so securely, I can even use it with a short track to cross-cut boards when I don't feel like heading to the miter or the table.  Perfectly square every time.