Author Topic: Rail guide differences, newbie questions  (Read 3078 times)

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Offline gitaarwerk

  • Posts: 2
Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« on: July 29, 2022, 06:24 PM »
Hi all,

Sorry for the perhaps most obvious questions, but I couldn't find them properly after hours of searching.

I've been lurking around for a long time and gotten some Festool equipment for some proper woodworking. As I'm still doing simple projects, I've decided to get some basics. Now the workshop I planned is getting less big than I expected, and more or less been told do this stuff only outside (don't ask  [big grin] ), So I need to narrow my tools a little.

So,... I have not the option for a full blown table-saw, and it seems the track-saw is a great tool for most of the things I probably do. As for smaller work, like a bird house i.e. I'm ok in doing a bit of extra work to measure and do some extra clamping and repositioning work, as it's a hobby. But I am still in the need of something to do clear and repeatable cuts, as I can't use a table saw.

Currently, I do own the TS55, OF1010 2 guide rails, a dust extractor, and the FS-WA kit (for angles).

Now.. as I am not having a proper work bench, I am eyeing eithr the MS1000 or the MFT/3 table. As a pegasus or workmate probably won't cut it. I usually work with medium size slabs of plywoods, and obviously, cutting.

Now... I couldn't find when it's useful to use which guide systems. As I may think I could either use the extension kit for the FS-WA, or get something new instead... I hope you can shed some light on the following questions:

1) There is the MFT/3 table including the rails and the angle stop. Is this the older version of the newer FS-WA kit (+ extension)?
2) On either the MFT/3 & FS-WA angle stops, you can make smaller repeatable cuts, do they hold up their precision against the FS-PA-VL parallel guide?
3) Am I right to think that the parallel guide is made for wider rips, instead of cross cuts like the angle stops?

Maybe I'm thinking it all wrong, but would love to learn.
Looking forward to your replies,

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Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 1667
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2022, 06:45 PM »
For small parts, the track saw is a very good choice, though the technique may need to be a bit different. Think more like "fixturing", where you make some kind of holding device for your parts that has some kind of stop to reference the track against. This is very repeatable and far safer than a table saw.
With the exception of purpose-built sleds, small parts are not exactly table saw safe.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1010F
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation
MFT clamps set

Offline Coen

  • Posts: 1682
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2022, 07:45 PM »
1) There is the MFT/3 table including the rails and the angle stop. Is this the older version of the newer FS-WA kit (+ extension)?

No

2) On either the MFT/3 & FS-WA angle stops, you can make smaller repeatable cuts, do they hold up their precision against the FS-PA-VL parallel guide?

Sure

3) Am I right to think that the parallel guide is made for wider rips, instead of cross cuts like the angle stops?

What angle stops? The parallel guides are good to cut longer pieces to identical width.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2022, 03:55 AM by Coen »

Offline mino

  • Posts: 1043
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2022, 06:03 AM »
Before you go MFT/3, I would look at the Ron Paulk system and the Peter Millard MFT series.

Not that they are better than the MFT, but the original Festool MFT is geared heavily to site work which is not always well-aligned with what a hobby user does/needs.

Also, before any expensive MFT style thing, I would look heavily to the TSO Parallel guide system (without the GRS). It does not require any serious infrastructure and you can achieve precision -and- repeatability with it which you would be hard-pressed to tune to with an MFT. And all that without needed any serious experience.

Lastly, if you have the FS-WA, do make sure to ged a high-precision reference square for calibrating it (aka DIN class 1 orbetter equiv.). That way it can completely replace a need for the TSO GRS and equivalents.

ADD:
As this is like 10th thread on this topic, I checked and there does not seem to be "normal price" precision squares on the US market beyond the DIN class 00 level Starret pieces which are an overkill here. Probably comes from the fact there seems to be no US standard for precision squares.

As such, here is what I would recommend, they are 1/3 the Starret at a bit less accuracy but still very hard to beat the price/quality here as DIN/0 is vere close to the Starret master square class at 1/3 the price:
https://taytools.com/products/kinex-machinist-square?variant=17828742594611
https://taytools.com/products/kinex-flat-machinist-squares?variant=18077144940595

DIN 875/0 means 10 microns (0.010mm/0.0004") maximum error over the 250mm length. This is like 5x better than the normal "precision squares" I saw on Amazon for $20 or so ...

For squaring cuts, the 250/165 size is just about the right size as has enough reference surface to use directly with wood.

Disclosure:
No affiiliation, is a local company which I know very well. (https://www.kinexmeasuring.com/en/)
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Offline mino

  • Posts: 1043
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2022, 06:16 AM »
3) Am I right to think that the parallel guide is made for wider rips, instead of cross cuts like the angle stops?

What angle stops? The parallel guides are good to cut longer pieces to the same width of a larger sheet.
I would add to Coen here.

He is a pro and as such is right that - if you already have a good way to make shorter cuts - the parallel guides role would be limited to longer cuts.

However, there is nothing preventing you to use the PGs for short cuts even in the 10" cut length category even. It is just that shorter cuts can usually be done via faster means, e.g. using just a one-sided square like the FS-WA or the TSO GRS, or the MFT/s with a stop, or even a compound mitter saw etc.
So usually people with proper shops would not use the PGs for that. But they can definitely be used to make such cuts. It is just a question of speed/convenience.
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3865
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2022, 06:36 AM »
Although I have 2 MFTs, I recommend looking at the DashBoard table system. They have a small workbench that seems to be a lot more stable than the MFT and has a far better rail/hinge system.

If I were starting out again. I'd buy the MFT top, the DashBoard hinge, and a Festool rail. I'd build a base for the top and (most importantly) include a nice big woodworking vise.

I added an extension to my MFT to accommodate a full size vise that I use all the time. The extension uses steel legs that add a lot on stability to the MFT.
Birdhunter

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 1465
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2022, 09:28 AM »
ADD:
As this is like 10th thread on this topic, I checked and there does not seem to be "normal price" precision squares on the US market beyond the DIN class 00 level Starret pieces which are an overkill here. Probably comes from the fact there seems to be no US standard for precision squares.

As such, here is what I would recommend, they are 1/3 the Starret at a bit less accuracy but still very hard to beat the price/quality here as DIN/0 is vere close to the Starret master square class at 1/3 the price:
https://taytools.com/products/kinex-machinist-square?variant=17828742594611
https://taytools.com/products/kinex-flat-machinist-squares?variant=18077144940595

DIN 875/0 means 10 microns (0.010mm/0.0004") maximum error over the 250mm length. This is like 5x better than the normal "precision squares" I saw on Amazon for $20 or so ...

For squaring cuts, the 250/165 size is just about the right size as has enough reference surface to use directly with wood.

Disclosure:
No affiiliation, is a local company which I know very well. (https://www.kinexmeasuring.com/en/)

@mino , thank you VERY much for this addition.  It definitely helps cut through the noise of all of the junk that can be found on Amazon and other places.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9880
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2022, 10:42 AM »
I'll just add a little bit to what mino has said. Starrett Master Precision Squares are guaranteed accurate to .0001" for every 6" (.0025 mm for every 150 mm) and are available from Starrett with a SLC, Standard Letter of Certification.

If purchased brand new from a conventional tool house the Starretts are indeed very expensive. However, there are lots of machinists retiring and machine shops are closing their doors everyday so I've found that these can be purchased on the used market for pennies on the dollar. For example, I purchased a Starrett 20-6 that retails for $420 for $70 and a 20-4 1/2 that retails for $315 for $45.

Because these items are used as "Standards" they are usually well taken care of because they don't see daily use. It's not unusual for a used Starrett square to be in like-new condition.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2022, 11:01 AM by Cheese »

Offline mino

  • Posts: 1043
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2022, 10:52 AM »
I'll just add a little bit to what mino has said. Starrett Master Precision Squares are guaranteed accurate to .0001" for every 6" (.0025 mm for every 150 mm) and are available from Starrett with a SLC, Standard Letter of Certification.

If purchased brand new from a conventional tool house the Starrets are indeed very expensive. However, there are lots of machinists retiring and machine shops are closing their doors everyday so I've found that these can be purchased on the used market for pennies on the dollar. For example, I purchased a Starrett 20-6 that retails for $420 for $70 and a 20-4 1/2 that retails for $315 for $45.

Because these items are used as "Standards" they are usually well taken care of because they don't see daily use. It's not unusual for a used Starrett square to be in like-new condition.

(Attachment Link)
One thing to note. When you buy a used square, epecially in the master squares (DIN class 0) category, nevermind the original precision, you can never depend on it until having it calibrated.

The issue is you do not know how it was used - e.g. many cold-hot cycles can affect the accuracy without any visible damage. Etc.

When using such squares professionaly, over here, the company is expected to calibrate(check) them every 2 years against a known-good reference. Otherwise they are not considered "metrological" instruments.

This is not to scare - one can find incredible value on used metrological kit. Often the people selling have no idea how expensive/valuable the stuff is. But having it checked is a must for the higher accuracy classes. Their reason of sell can as well be they are no longer accurate ..
« Last Edit: July 30, 2022, 10:55 AM by mino »
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9880
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2022, 11:00 AM »

One thing to note. When you buy a used square, epecially in the master squares (DIN class 0) category, nevermind the original precision, you can never depend on it until having it calibrated.

The issue is you do not know how it was used - e.g. many cold-hot cycles can affect the accuracy without any visible damage. Etc.

When using such squares professionaly, over here, the company is expected to calibrate(check) them every 2 years against a known-good reference. Otherwise they are not considered "metrological" instruments.

This is not to scare - one can find incredible value on used metrological kit. Often the people selling have no idea how expensive/valuable the stuff is. But having it checked is a must for the higher accuracy classes. Their reason of sell can as well be they are no longer accurate ..

That's a good point and that's the reason I had both of these checked against a granite cylinder along with the 4 other Starrett combination squares I own. Belt & suspenders... [smile]

Offline mike_aa

  • Posts: 1299
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2022, 12:51 PM »
That's a good point and that's the reason I had both of these checked against a granite cylinder along with the 4 other Starrett combination squares I own. Belt & suspenders... [smile]

@Cheese Where did you have them checked?

Thanks, Mike A.

Offline gitaarwerk

  • Posts: 2
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2022, 03:07 AM »
For small parts, the track saw is a very good choice, though the technique may need to be a bit different. Think more like "fixturing", where you make some kind of holding device for your parts that has some kind of stop to reference the track against. This is very repeatable and far safer than a table saw.
With the exception of purpose-built sleds, small parts are not exactly table saw safe.

Yhea, that's exactly my experience :) not bad, but it takes a little bit more time. Without a good work-area, it's a hassle at the moment, but doable. I want to improve that. But later on that :)

1) There is the MFT/3 table including the rails and the angle stop. Is this the older version of the newer FS-WA kit (+ extension)?

No

2) On either the MFT/3 & FS-WA angle stops, you can make smaller repeatable cuts, do they hold up their precision against the FS-PA-VL parallel guide?

Sure

3) Am I right to think that the parallel guide is made for wider rips, instead of cross cuts like the angle stops?

What angle stops? The parallel guides are good to cut longer pieces to the same width of a larger sheet.

Thanks for the explanation Coen, wave from the Netherlands back :)

1) Thanks, how do they differ in purpose? I saw that the old protractor can be a little higher for a bunch of smaller stapled stuff. And th e way it connects to the track saw a bit different. I enjoyed the idea of having some form of mft/side table where I could connect a lift/attachment for the rails and just lift it, and put another thing under. Having it set, it's easier to keep than moving it right now.
The new angle unit is in that sense a little less practical, but it I guess working around it. Not a biggy.

2) Cool, thanks.

3) Cheers... it seems with the extension bar, which is not too expensive, and may just leave the parallel guide for what it is, as I usually don't do large slabs (and just have it cut roughtly at the place where I get my wood)

Before you go MFT/3, I would look at the Ron Paulk system and the Peter Millard MFT series.
Cheers, I have seen the Peter Millard MFT series, as well as the New Brit Workshop and David Stanton's ideas. Like the channels a lot.

The "problem" with these systems is that they are not foldable. I know that's not idea. But I'm not in an ideal situation. I am working on an angled slope where you usually park your car in front of your house.. that's my workspace. And I need something foldable as I don't have the space for a permanent set-up, nor the space for a bigger movable table.
The MFT Kapex, MFT/3 or the Mobile workstation (mw-1000).

Not that they are better than the MFT, but the original Festool MFT is geared heavily to site work which is not always well-aligned with what a hobby user does/needs.
Indeed... I know below here is mentioned a vice, which makes sense. I don't use a vice that much (yet), but I probably will. In one of the videos, one guy that makes a table on a budget, made some specific stuff for a handplaner, which was pretty cool.

Also, before any expensive MFT style thing, I would look heavily to the TSO Parallel guide system (without the GRS). It does not require any serious infrastructure and you can achieve precision -and- repeatability with it which you would be hard-pressed to tune to with an MFT. And all that without needed any serious experience.
This is a great set. Thanks. As I quoted Coen, I think for now, I'll keep it at the protractor, and calibrate it... ill leave the parallel guide for later perhaps :) this would be a good option!

Lastly, if you have the FS-WA, do make sure to ged a high-precision reference square for calibrating it (aka DIN class 1 orbetter equiv.). That way it can completely replace a need for the TSO GRS and equivalents.

ADD:
As this is like 10th thread on this topic, I checked and there does not seem to be "normal price" precision squares on the US market beyond the DIN class 00 level Starret pieces which are an overkill here. Probably comes from the fact there seems to be no US standard for precision squares.

As such, here is what I would recommend, they are 1/3 the Starret at a bit less accuracy but still very hard to beat the price/quality here as DIN/0 is vere close to the Starret master square class at 1/3 the price:
https://taytools.com/products/kinex-machinist-square?variant=17828742594611
https://taytools.com/products/kinex-flat-machinist-squares?variant=18077144940595

DIN 875/0 means 10 microns (0.010mm/0.0004") maximum error over the 250mm length. This is like 5x better than the normal "precision squares" I saw on Amazon for $20 or so ...

For squaring cuts, the 250/165 size is just about the right size as has enough reference surface to use directly with wood.

Disclosure:
No affiiliation, is a local company which I know very well. (https://www.kinexmeasuring.com/en/)
Thanks a lot, I've read tons of topics about this on this forum indeed :D I don't want to get into it. But you're right. Expensive, even the cheaper ones, but this is one of those tools that better be dead on, as you need a reference point. I saw the Woodpeckers one. They are beautiful. Not out of my reach, but they are just too expensive for my hobby work. The ones you mentioned are great. I can't get all the USA stuff here in the EU, but there are some affordable ones. Like Kemmler Germany, 100,- for a 300mm one. Ill do some more research there on the items you've mentioned.

3) Am I right to think that the parallel guide is made for wider rips, instead of cross cuts like the angle stops?

What angle stops? The parallel guides are good to cut longer pieces to the same width of a larger sheet.
I would add to Coen here.

He is a pro and as such is right that - if you already have a good way to make shorter cuts - the parallel guides role would be limited to longer cuts.

However, there is nothing preventing you to use the PGs for short cuts even in the 10" cut length category even. It is just that shorter cuts can usually be done via faster means, e.g. using just a one-sided square like the FS-WA or the TSO GRS, or the MFT/s with a stop, or even a compound mitter saw etc.
So usually people with proper shops would not use the PGs for that. But they can definitely be used to make such cuts. It is just a question of speed/convenience.

Cheers :) that makes sense indeed.

Although I have 2 MFTs, I recommend looking at the DashBoard table system. They have a small workbench that seems to be a lot more stable than the MFT and has a far better rail/hinge system.

If I were starting out again. I'd buy the MFT top, the DashBoard hinge, and a Festool rail. I'd build a base for the top and (most importantly) include a nice big woodworking vise.

I added an extension to my MFT to accommodate a full size vise that I use all the time. The extension uses steel legs that add a lot on stability to the MFT.

Thanks, I didn't know this system yet. I'll have a better look. Did a fast one, but initially, they are looking big. I mentioned I need to work on a slope, those mft tables, mobile or not, all cannot have adjustable lengths. Obviously, as they will have less sturdyness. I really need to solve some issues regarding this. Perhaps a couple of very study and adjustable sawhorses, and DashBoard system... it's a bit of a differet discussion of this thread I guess :) need to read more about this.

I'll just add a little bit to what mino has said. Starrett Master Precision Squares are guaranteed accurate to .0001" for every 6" (.0025 mm for every 150 mm) and are available from Starrett with a SLC, Standard Letter of Certification.

If purchased brand new from a conventional tool house the Starretts are indeed very expensive. However, there are lots of machinists retiring and machine shops are closing their doors everyday so I've found that these can be purchased on the used market for pennies on the dollar. For example, I purchased a Starrett 20-6 that retails for $420 for $70 and a 20-4 1/2 that retails for $315 for $45.

Because these items are used as "Standards" they are usually well taken care of because they don't see daily use. It's not unusual for a used Starrett square to be in like-new condition.

Makes total sense. Every two year, wonder if I am able to do that. Of course, I do not need that form of precision, but it will make things alot easier and dependable. I can recall myself that I just skipped some measuring steps thinking I can sand it later on to make it work. And it was fine...after spending a day on sanding it precisely how it had to be. So.... that's me told there :).


Thanks all. My questions are answered regarding the repeatable stuff. The next thing, the square and the table... that's a new adventure :)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2022, 03:25 AM by gitaarwerk »

Offline Coen

  • Posts: 1682
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2022, 04:04 AM »
1) There is the MFT/3 table including the rails and the angle stop. Is this the older version of the newer FS-WA kit (+ extension)?

No

2) On either the MFT/3 & FS-WA angle stops, you can make smaller repeatable cuts, do they hold up their precision against the FS-PA-VL parallel guide?

Sure

3) Am I right to think that the parallel guide is made for wider rips, instead of cross cuts like the angle stops?

What angle stops? The parallel guides are good to cut longer pieces to the same width of a larger sheet.

Thanks for the explanation Coen, wave from the Netherlands back :)

1) Thanks, how do they differ in purpose? I saw that the old protractor can be a little higher for a bunch of smaller stapled stuff. And th e way it connects to the track saw a bit different. I enjoyed the idea of having some form of mft/side table where I could connect a lift/attachment for the rails and just lift it, and put another thing under. Having it set, it's easier to keep than moving it right now.
The new angle unit is in that sense a little less practical, but it I guess working around it. Not a biggy.

2) Cool, thanks.

3) Cheers... it seems with the extension bar, which is not too expensive, and may just leave the parallel guide for what it is, as I usually don't do large slabs (and just have it cut roughtly at the place where I get my wood)

1) The MFT is great for cutting smaller stuff, like 610x1220 sheets and smaller. Also great for clamping things for all kinds of other work than sawing.

The new FS-WA (577040) is basicly the replacement for the FS-KS (491588). Would also work with stuff that won't fit under the MFT rail.

3) You mean the extension bar for the FS-WA, the FS-WA-VL (577041)? Well, that still leaves in the angle inaccuracy of the FS-WA and lacks the precision of a dual guide like the TSO PG system or even the Festool Parallel Guides. But for shorter lengths it is less likely to be an issue. If you for example want to make your own Ikea Pax and you need 2m+ long pieces at exactly the same width... I wouldn't trust the single guide stop.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9880
Re: Rail guide differences, newbie questions
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2022, 09:21 AM »
@Cheese Where did you have them checked?

Thanks, Mike A.

Hey Mike, a good friend of mine still works at the company I retired from. He's the QA manager so he was kind enough to help me out.  [smile]