Author Topic: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?  (Read 1707 times)

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Offline gearhound

  • Posts: 126
When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« on: December 30, 2020, 10:34 AM »
I assume this has been talked about a lot, but I can't seem to find a good thread talking about it.

I know I should change it when switching to a different blade, but I'm just a hobbyist and have always used the stock blade in my TS55. Running my hand along the strip, I can feel some small Knicks/deviations....I assume this is from plunge cutting and blade deflection. Does this mean I should replace it?

Is there a good way to remove and re-use the current one? In my searches I see a lot of folks have trouble getting replacements to stay stuck on properly, so not sure if it is best to just deal with the small amount of chip-out I could possibly get from it not being a perfectly straight line?

Thanks for any suggestions. Cheers!

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Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2984
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2020, 11:59 AM »
I don't change mine out with a blade change from rip to crosscut.  I do see some roughness in the edge as you did as well.

I am a hobbyist as well and have changed mine maybe 3 times in 12+ years.  I did change them when they lost adhesion, typically from being stored in a warm area.  Other than that, I just keep using them.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3353
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2020, 02:14 PM »
Never changed one in a coon’s age. If one peels off, I’ll change it.
Birdhunter

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 2334
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2020, 02:23 PM »
I know I should change it when switching to a different blade, ...
No, you should not.

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 510
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2020, 02:37 PM »
My track saw is a DeWalt but I doubt that makes a difference.  I've had it about 10 years and never changed the strips.  They are definitely dinged up and I will probably replace them.  I have used DeWalt, Oldham, and Freud blades.  The whole length of the strip is not a good guide for placement of the track.  I think that is the main reason people replace the strips.  But I use a track positioning guide (home made) that indexes off the rib of the track so I don't need the strips to get accurate cuts.  It also doesn't prevent splintering on crosscuts as well as it once did. 

I think a key reason to guide a decision on replacement is what you want to accomplish.  More accurate placement?  Reduced splintering?  Make it looks better?  That should guide your decision.

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 994
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2020, 05:11 PM »
When they show wear and start falling off it is time to clean them, flip them around and re-stick them to the rail, leaving enough overhang to re-cut the strip.

This is one option for double stick tape. 3M 2145C

Offline dwillis

  • Posts: 82
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2020, 05:48 PM »
I've only replaced them when they loose their adhesive, but not because of damage to their cut edge (I'm a hobbyist). To remove them peel the strip off and clean the track with a solvent to remove any adhesive residue. Then apply a new guard strip to the clean, dry track, making sure the track and guard strip are at room temperature and pliable.
Remember that the only scientist to walk on the moon was a geologist.  Dr. Harrison Schmitt - Apollo 17 - Valley of Taurus-Littrow - 11 to 17 December 1972.

Offline SoonerFan

  • Posts: 481
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2020, 07:49 PM »
Like many I only replace when adhesion is lost and the splinter guard starts to come off.  I did buy a TS75.  I am now going to calibrate my 55 and the 75 to the same splint guard and will replace the splinter guards on the rails before doing that.

Offline Imemiter

  • Posts: 131
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2020, 08:38 PM »
I've got a mixed bag of Makita and Festool rails and saws. The HKC is fairly easy to adjust but, so far I haven't been able to get it to align exactly with my Makita tracksaw. In the course of using one or another saw on the other brand's rails I've trimmed the splinter guard too close to guard against splinters. This has led to me tearing off the guard, scooting it over, and then re-attaching it to the rail with Fastcap double-stick tape more than a couple of times.

I'm about giving up on getting them perfectly aligned (can it be done? Pls report if so.) While a little frustrating, I've gotten pretty quick at reapplying Festool and Makita splinter guards.   
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Offline AlexGn

  • Posts: 5
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2020, 09:56 PM »
One option is to remove the strip and put it back in place with a bit more of the strip sticking out so you can cut a new edge. I changed from TS 55 to MT 55 which has a slightly different kerf line and was able to do that to my rail using the same adhesive.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4096
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2020, 09:55 AM »
When Festool's crappy adhesive gives out, peel off the strip, then peel off any remaining adhesive from the strip.  Clean both the track and the remaining strip with denatured alcohol.  Apply a strip of double-faced carpet tape to the remaining strip.  Peel off the protective tape and apply the strip to the rail, but move it out 2-3mm so you'll cut a new edge when you run the track saw down the rail the next time.  Rinse, repeat...   [smile]
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline gearhound

  • Posts: 126
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2020, 11:17 AM »
Thanks for all the suggestions! Sounds like I'm just going to roll with mine until it starts losing adhesion.


Cheers!

Offline Coen

  • Posts: 779
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2021, 04:28 AM »
In 15 years I only replaced the strip on my 2nd newest rail... one having the transparent strip that lets loose.

You dont have to change between different blades since the blades are now same thickness.

The next strip I'll replace is of the MFT rail... that being my other rail with the transparent strip. I wonder if the rail I got last week suffers the same... I guess I'll use the Makita strip to replace.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 10:56 AM by Coen »

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8142
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2021, 10:20 AM »
This is directly from Festool.

"The integrated splinterguard is a critical guide rail system component, and after some time and heavy use, will need to be replaced. Replace your splinterguard as needed to ensure perfect alignment of your guide rail to the cut line, and to protect against tear out, on cuts both with the grain and across. Though you should expect many cuts from your original splinterguard, its life expectancy is heavily dependent on your application. Keep your cuts perfectly splinterfree by periodically replacing your splinterguard, especially if you are switching between blades, or using the guide rail with more than one saw."

Personally, I'd still rather find a different material to use on the Festool rails. Festool uses a HDPE or a MDPE material which is brittle relative to flexible polymers. So rather than cutting smoothly, the HDPE has more of a tendency to chunk, you can actually notice that small pieces are missing from the splinter guard. This makes aligning a rail on a pencil mark impossible. [sad]

Here's a comparison of a Mafell splinter guard vs a Festool splinter guard. If you enlarge both photos you'll notice the differences in gaps immediately between the splinter guards and the steel scale.

The Mafell has just a slight gap-osis going on around the 10 5/8" to 10 3/4" marks.




While the Festool has multiple gap-osis going on along the entire steel scale. You'll also see several very small chunks still attached to the splinter guard.




Another contributing factor is that Festool saws, when cutting a bevel, undercut the splinter guard because of where the blade pivot point is. This thins out the edge of the splinter guard and can lead to chunking.




The Mafell on the other hand moves away from the edge of the splinter guard by about 1.5 mm to 2 mm. However, that brings up its own unique issues.



Offline Coen

  • Posts: 779
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2021, 10:59 AM »
Huh no? My TS55 pivots around the edge of the splinterguard. I've used my saw at 45 degrees and not lost any splinterguard to it. However, keeping the saw on the track is somewhat harder and if you have debris that gets in between the rail and the saw you end up cutting the strip.

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 2334
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2021, 11:08 AM »
Huh no? My TS55 pivots around the edge of the splinterguard.
Same thing with my 55 and 75. Spot on, no undercutting.

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 205
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2021, 05:58 PM »
Mine doesn't undercut either.
As far as the plastic itself, I would think that some form a hardness is required? If it is to soft, it would flex away from the cut line allowing splintering or tearing of the splinter guard itself.
Blade changes bring up a different issue that is thickness of the teeth. If you always use the same width of blade, you should be fine. If you start with a thinner blade, you can go wider and it will just cut into it more. The problem comes with going back thinner again. The gap may be insignificant to some though. It all depends upon what you are cutting. It makes more of a difference with crossgrain cuts in veneered ply, MDF or melamine coated sheetgoods, but if that is not what you do, or if that is not the final cut on that edge, not so much.
I cut a lot of raw particle board, MDF, and shop-grade ply. It doesn't matter with them. Just the fact that the saw is on a track and with a good blade, the minor chipping of the strip keeps tear out to a minimum.
The multiple saw on the same track can be adjusted for too. You can move the base of the saw to meet the existing cut line of the track.
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Offline mino

  • Posts: 189
Re: When to replace splinter guard strip on guide rail?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2021, 08:55 PM »
Personally, I'd still rather find a different material to use on the Festool rails. Festool uses a HDPE or a MDPE material which is brittle relative to flexible polymers. So rather than cutting smoothly, the HDPE has more of a tendency to chunk, you can actually notice that small pieces are missing from the splinter guard. This makes aligning a rail on a pencil mark impossible. [sad]
...
Have to emphatically disagree - as long as a perfect cut is the end goal.

I was playing a LOT with different splinter guards when I bought a set of Makita Tracks which use a soft rubber guard and a couple shorl big store rails which use a black guard harder than a Makita one but softer than the Festool one.

My results on cut quality were hence: Festool > BigStore >> Makita. I guess Maffel's being rubbery but thicker will fall somewhere around  "BigStore" one. I am now confident a rubber-based guard can never achieve the perfect cut a hard-material can simply due to how physics work on the contact point with the material.

To note, I was testing with the same new blade and new splinter guards freshly cut - as I got the new rails and also was re-splintering my Festool rails. Also, I got the same behavior with both a TSC55 as I got with a cheapo $80 track saw (same blade).

Truth be told, the longevity is not something I am concerned. The 5m roll of the Festool guard is $25 here which is basically a consumable.

Some detail:

After analyzing the rail mechanics, that is exactly because the Festool one is made of the hardest material:
 => when the guard is cut precisely (with new blade), the hardest one will get trimmed with the cleanest cut (on the guard) meaning it can put consistent pressure on the material surface the closest to the blade line.
 => the hardest guard will deform the least on the contact point - meaning it will not only put the pressure closest to the blade but will put the most pressure there, preventing tear-out the most

My conclusion was that the Festool guard is definitely superior (when in good shape) for perfect cuts precisely because of its hardness.
The Makita one likely is superior for longevity - if you just need to see the cut line. But it will never work as well as the Festool one in the anti-splinter purpose.

I actually bought a couple packs of Makita new guard, but threw them for garbage. I ended up replacing the (new) rubber guards on all rails with Festool ones. Just this single change now means that the $80 "BigShop" tracksaw in our workshop cuts as clean as the Festool does.


Never underestimate The Splinter Guard!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 08:59 PM by mino »
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