Author Topic: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?  (Read 828 times)

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Offline memilanuk

  • Posts: 5
Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« on: November 01, 2019, 12:06 PM »
More specifically, do you keep the rail sections joined together for long rip cuts and just get another one (assuming the cost of an extra section isn’t an issue) for cross cuts, or do you just make do with two sections and take them apart / put them together on the fly as needed? Any issues or concerns with making sure the sections are aligned when putting them together, or do you even worry about it?

I’m hoping this is a fairly ‘general’ topic across brands, but in case it matters I’m looking specifically at Festool. I’d like to hear about other makes as well, though.

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Online PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 195
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2019, 12:17 PM »
Personally, I use longer rails when possible. That being said, I don't like to travel with longer rails, so if I'm helping someone out, I bring two shorter ones.

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1280
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2019, 12:21 PM »
I'd get a long track  (the longest that you'll need for your usual work, 4×8?) and a short one for regular and cross cuts. I would prefer not to waste my time on joining and unjoining tracks for a variety of cuts.

The same reason why many of us have more than one router although we can just have one router and keep changing bits. I value my shop time more than the initial outlays.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 02:15 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Mike Goetzke

  • Posts: 368
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2019, 12:23 PM »
I don't take my rails on the road (well almost never) so I have a 118" rail for long rips. But, from what I have read there are some rail connectors that do better job at aligning the two rails than others. Maybe you should look into this.

Mike

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 595
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2019, 12:26 PM »
Multiple Tracks,

I have the 3meter and then some shorter ones.  I have many rail clamps, so I will pop the clamps set that rail to the side, grab a shorter one with clamps all ready on it, and do the next cut and so forth.  When I'm done cutting I take the loose clamps off the tracks and put things away.   I would hate to fuse with track connecting, and also you really do want the tracks to be about the right length, too short doesn't work and to long gets very awkward too (weight hanging off).

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5887
  • Festool Baby.....
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2019, 12:45 PM »
I have a variety of rails 2 1400 holy rails ,1 1400 rail, 1900 rail 3000 rail , 800 rail and a couple of custom 400 and 500 rails cut from a damaged 1400 rail.

 I bring what ever i need to do the job. Except in the case of the 3000 rail then ill bring the 2 1400 rails w conectors and the 800 rail.

depending on the job of course

Offline Dove_Tail

  • Posts: 14
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2019, 12:46 PM »
Better to have a long track for rips and a short track for the crosscuts.  Joining two short tracks is fussy and requires investing in a jig to ensure a straight line like a Betterly StraightLine Connector at $109 https://www.festoolproducts.com/betterley-slc23-straightline-connector-for-festool-guide-rails.html

Why not invest that in a long rail...

Offline Dove_Tail

  • Posts: 14
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2019, 12:50 PM »
I have a variety of rails 2 1400 holy rails ,1 1400 rail, 1900 rail 3000 rail , 800 rail and a couple of custom 400 and 500 rails cut from a damaged 1400 rail.

 I bring what ever i need to do the job. Except in the case of the 3000 rail then ill bring the 2 1400 rails w conectors and the 800 rail.

depending on the job of course

Good point to consider - Buy holy rails if available.  If you get into LR-32 later you'll wish you had bought these.

Offline memilanuk

  • Posts: 5
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2019, 01:30 PM »
Quote
Why not invest that in a long rail...

Well, to be frank... homeowner/hobbyist here.  Limited space, and honestly, better things (in the shop) to spend $400 on.  More time than money, compared to someone doing this for a living, I suppose.

Not saying it can't or won't happen... just way down there on the purchase priority list :)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 01:33 PM by memilanuk »

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 103
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2019, 10:39 PM »
Quote
Better to have a long track for rips and a short track for the crosscuts.  Joining two short tracks is fussy and requires investing in a jig to ensure a straight line like a Betterly StraightLine Connector at $109


No; it doesn't.   
We've been cutting (without complaint) very expensive lacquer, exotic veneer and textured laminate panels for European kitchens going on two decades with joined rails and not used an alignment jig once.  They didn't even exist when Festo brought out the tracksaw.    It's a crutch.  Some people need them, most don't.


Quote
Why not invest that in a long rail...

This is great advice.  No compelling reason to have 2 shorter rails if you rarely or never separate them.

 

Offline Laminator

  • Posts: 347
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2019, 12:41 PM »
Just get an extra shorter rail for crosscuts and leave the other two joined for ripping.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2717
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2019, 01:49 PM »
I’m building a reception desk with 3/4”  birch using a TS55 and two rails joined with the Betterly connector. With 3 sheets cut up, I’m very happy with the Betterly connector.

I checked straitness of the 2 joined rails with a 48” Starrett rule. Absolutely straight.

I’d prefer having one rail long enough for a 8’ sheet, but I almost never use big sheets and the two rail seems to work.
Birdhunter

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 159
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2019, 02:26 PM »
I bought a long rail (118") and a short rail (55" LR32).  I've since added another 55" for travel and larger cabinets with LR32.  In the shop; I use the long rail.  If you've already got two of the shorter ones it's a bit trickier, because you've already sunk the cost of the two short rails vs. the longer one.  Having a separate cross cut rail is definitely nice, but it isn't clear that a joined rail vs the separate is best.

I want a 75" at times, and will probably add one.  The TS75 works with the 55" rail to crosscut a 48" sheet but it can be a pain to align it just right sometimes.

Offline TSO_Products

  • Retailer
  • *
  • Posts: 102
    • TSO Products LLC
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2019, 12:26 AM »
memilanuk – and others
TSO  is not a Festool dealer – but we are FESTOOL (and other brand) users and here’s some of our user experience:
We are  in the midst of building a set of storage shelves involving 7 ft rips and 24 inch cross cuts. After struggling with a 55 inch /FS1400 rail for crosscutting 4x8 sheets for a couple of years, we added a 75 inch / FS 1900 rail – so much easier! If we ever find the extra few inches getting in the way, we’ll just shorten that guide rail -  simple.
For the 7 ft rips we join two 55 “ / FS1400  / LR-32 lengths and leave them together until we need the shorter rails for something else. At the moment we're cutting prefinished Maple plywood. So we have a couple of GECKO suction cups attached to the assembled pair of guide rails. – faster and easier than clamping the rails on the slippery material.

Now our experience for connecting:
we struggled for a few years with the Festool optional connectors.  We scratched our heads why they are sold singly. We suspect that is a legacy issue going back to early days when FESTOOL apparently had guide rails with a single T-slot = only one connector needed.
 Then we tried the MAKITA Connector . It leaves no dimples in the guide rail but consists of loose parts and does not solve the alignment issue any better than Festool -  and it also sells singly.  Then we  bought a BETTERLEY alignment tool – very well made tool, which does what it claims to do but requires extra steps and does not improve the connection itself  - just helps with alignment.
None of this was ideal, so in 2018 we developed and continue in full production with TSO's very well accepted GRC-12 Self Aligning Guide Rail Connector Set. Priced at just $ 49.95 for the pair – including a 3mm Hex Driver for the included special flat-head Screws securing this Connector:

https://tsoproducts.com/tso-products-guide-rail-squares/GRC-12-Self-aligning-Guide-Rail-Connectors/
Read the customer reviews. Money back satisfaction guaranteed. Enjoy [smile]

Hans


Offline Coen

  • Posts: 465
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2019, 06:43 AM »
For really short cuts I have the 800 rail that came with the OF 1010

Every time I connect my two 1400s I think about buying a 3000 rail....
They should sell the 3000 in holey too

Offline memilanuk

  • Posts: 5
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2019, 11:38 AM »
@TSO_Products so if I'm understanding this right, with the GRC-12 rail connectors, something like the Betterly alignment tool is no longer necessary?

Offline jarbroen

  • Posts: 159
Re: Track saw rails - take 'em apart, or keep them joined?
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2019, 11:44 AM »
I just received a set of the GRC-12 rail connectors this weekend and used them already.
No alignment tool needed.  I still double checked with a long Stabila, but I didn't need to spend several minutes farting around.
With the Festool version connectors I would have to screw around for a bit and check multiple times with a straight edge.

Plus, the TSO version uses a ball head wrench instead of a teeny flathead.  So much easier to tighten.

I usually join a 75 and 55 rail when doing edge cleanup on an 8' sheet of ply.  Yesterday I even used that setup to straight edge 9' long pieces of 5/4 cherry.
When I'm done with long rips I take the rails apart for storage or if I'm doing crosscuts.