Author Topic: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!  (Read 1034 times)

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Offline surfjungle

  • Posts: 10
Firstly, thank you for clicking. Kindly note that I've done a lot of research and am not not posting this completely ignorant of the many useful forum posts either here or on your counterpart's at Mafell. In fact it was a kind and well informed user on the Mafell Users Group that suggested I go with Festool instead of Mafell for my needs. Please forgive me but I'm reusing most of my original post on the other forum as it equally applies here.

Background

Woodwork and related pursuits are something that I'm trying, well, to pursue more. My uncle was a carpenter and I've always enjoyed DIY from the time I could lift a hammer. Woodwork in secondary school was one of my most enjoyable and rewarding subjects. While I don't yet have a proper shed / shop and must make do with portable set ups, I hope to have one some years down the line as I save the money to build one. Over the past several years, I've been collecting quality hand and power tools that I'll expect to have for a very long time. I live in a 1960's house in the suburbs of a city. Now I'm looking for a portable circular saw, portable bench (multi-function table / MFT) and a vice to help me with many DIY projects.

Constraints

Currently, I'm in a lucky position that I can afford any Festool circular saw up to the 85mm / 75mm depth of cut models and some related accessories. I do not believe I would be better served by a mitre saw. Moreover, I cannot afford / justify a Festool mitre saw with all of the trimmings and not just in terms of cost but also the space it takes up and the understandable yet unwieldly weight. Whatever I get in terms of a saw, MFT and vice must each be portable and have a small footprint relative to the item. The saw must fit into a Systainer or similar (I don't mind if it's a big box), the bench must fold down and the vice such as the Sjobergs pro workstation must be attachable / detachable to the MFT.

Here in Ireland, the cost of proper power tools is astronomical. As an aside, it may not be because our dealers are greedy, just that most power tools come from the UK (Brexit) and that coupled with our dealers not having the pull to do deals directly with companies like Mafell and Festool nor in bulk as we don't have the large market result in much higher consumer prices. Therefore, I choose only to consider reputable websites and only those that ship to EU countries. I won't be purchasing anything from the US or elsewhere outside of the EU (due to cost / shipping / customs / voltage) though I absolutely would consider purchasing from the UK despite the British Exit from the EU. For example, I have had successful dealings with Axminster.co.uk. Also, as I live in Ireland, we don't have the EU plug so that's another reason to buy via the UK providing costs are similar.

General Context

The following should give you an idea of nature of the upcoming work and what I expect to use this saw and set up for:
  • The majority of my work is on the small to medium side as regards the depth of cut
  • I envision more cross cuts than rip cuts but need the ability for both
  • The saw will be used on a variety of work including solid wood, bonded wood (plywood etc)
  • I may have the opportunity to use the saw on hardwoods but not fixed plans
  • While many saws have a plunge ability which may come in handy, I have no plans to use such a feature
  • I doubt I will be using it for plastics / aluminium
  • I wish the saw to be cordless as I find it hard to justify a corded product given there is nothing too taxing here
  • I fully expect to purchase Festool cordless power tools and buying a Festool saw compliments such plans thanks to the batteries and some system interoperability
Upcoming Projects

To give additional context, for the remainder of the year, here are some items I will be working on:
  • Making and fitting a pine based closet
  • Installing pine skirting
  • Flooring the attic with plywood
  • Creating pine frames to hang carpets / tapestries
Future projects include:
  • Creating a cedar based door for side of the house
Hard Requirements

I'm rather immovable on the following requirements for the saw:
  • Be extremely accurate for all supported cuts
  • Allow for mitres, bevels and both together
  • Work extremely reliably on and off rails / tracks so as to work with the MFT as well as make long cuts
  • Be reasonably light
Finally

I have some ideas about this, especially thanks to the Mafell Users Group forum member's advice, but rather than queer the pitch here, I won't yet state where I stand in order to give you the opportunity to advise. While I've done a tonne of research (many hours), assume I know nothing which isn't too far from the truth since I've never used circular saws / track saws before. My research is purely academic and as we all know, the map is not the territory.

Feel free to ask questions / advise as you see fit providing you give me some good rationale / your applicable experience. Also, feel free to educate and disabuse me on any topic above which you may consider as a flawed assumption. I try to keep an open mind. Typically, I'm not a myopic fanboy who cannot see the wood from the trees. For me, I would like to buy the best tool for the job within the above constraints / requirements.

Thank you kindly for your time.

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Offline Paul_HKI

  • Posts: 98
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2021, 06:07 PM »

Fáilte go FOG, a chara. Cá bhfuil tú i do chonaí?


My Irish is too rusty to get any further than that!


TSC 55, MFT and anything other than a waste of space Sjobergs on top of the MFT.  Don't bother with it.  If you need a bench vise, you need a real bench to attach it onto, not an MFT. 


Been there, done that, those are my recommendations giving due consideration to what you've written and plan on doing.


Don't forget your dust extraction.  CTL Midi I is where I'd look if you don't have something in mind already.


Screwfix are running a promo until tomorrow, 10% discount with code SF10.  Worth a look.  Otherwise, try Joe McKenna down in Limerick.  I've only heard good things.  The usual suspects like McQuillans in Dublin, The Carpentry Store in Naas or nearby Strahan Timber could also be helpful to check a package price with. 









TSC 55, TS 55 REBQ, HKC 55, DF 500 & DF 700, OF2020, OF1010 REBQ, OFK 500, T18+3, PDC 18/4, TID 18, RO 150, RO 90, RAS 115, RTS 400, ETS 125, ETS 150/5, EHL 65, HL 850 EB, CTL 26 E, CTL MIDI I,  CTL-SYS, MFT/3, SYS PowerHub, DUO SYSLITE, KAL & KAL II's and the truly awful BR 10.

Offline mrB

  • Posts: 911
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2021, 08:16 PM »
Don't expect to use a plunge track saw off the rails!!  (like TS not HKC)
If you're not using a rail, straight edge, parallel guide . . . You won't be able to control it.
The 'loose' plunge on the saw means the saw really kicks/jumps if the blade binds even slightly in the cut, which will happen when using free hand. I'm a pro who's owned a TS55 for over a decade, and I won't do a free hand cut with my TS.

If you want the most versatile saw for the money I'd recommend the HKC with both types of rail. HKC can be a 'chop saw' with the FSK rails and a track/plunge saw with the FS rails. Plus it can be used free hand nice and easy.

All day track saw use is way less fun with the HK, but I've done it many many times and it's totally fine. The TSC55 is obviously a great saw and the only reasons not to go that direction is cost, battery requirements, dicey free hand use, and lack of FSK rails support.

I have the HKC and the TS55.
The TS has slightly but noticeably better cut quality and is easier to use on the FS rails all day, and make accurate plunges on the FS rail.
I love the HKC for the FSK rails & the cordless single battery. Although I prefer the TS for certain situations, I like knowing that if it ever breaks I could complete pretty much any task just as well with the HKC.

If I was starting again, and only making/building things just for me on a weekend basis, I'd buy the HKC and both rails types.

The new CTL MINI / CTL MIDI are awesome and a total must if you can afford it. The built in Bluetooth is amazing for the cordless tools.
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline woodferret

  • Posts: 130
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2021, 08:22 PM »
Judging solely on the pine builds and realistic accuracy working with that wood, HKC55.  The TSC needs a track.  HK is closest to a standard circular saw and can be used without a track for rip cuts but it also has a optional plunging action.  With the short FSK track, it'll replace a mitre saw.  The only thing you may miss over the real thing is being able to sneak up on cuts for fine trim work.

Offline surfjungle

  • Posts: 10
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2021, 06:08 AM »

Fáilte go FOG, a chara. Cá bhfuil tú i do chonaí?


My Irish is too rusty to get any further than that!


TSC 55, MFT and anything other than a waste of space Sjobergs on top of the MFT.  Don't bother with it.  If you need a bench vise, you need a real bench to attach it onto, not an MFT. 


Been there, done that, those are my recommendations giving due consideration to what you've written and plan on doing.


Don't forget your dust extraction.  CTL Midi I is where I'd look if you don't have something in mind already.


Screwfix are running a promo until tomorrow, 10% discount with code SF10.  Worth a look.  Otherwise, try Joe McKenna down in Limerick.  I've only heard good things.  The usual suspects like McQuillans in Dublin, The Carpentry Store in Naas or nearby Strahan Timber could also be helpful to check a package price with.

Go raibh maith agat, a chara. Tá mé i mo chónaí i Baile Atha Cliath.

And that's past the extent of my Irish!

Thanks a bunch for the information. From the research here and elsewhere, a TS55 would be a great option if I didn't need the FSK rail and being able to use it off rail. Perhaps that's one for later ;) Most advice is pointing to a HKC 55 or a Mafell KSS 400 / KSS 50, the latter of which I have both discounted.

About the vice, I'm not in a position to have something to mount a real vice too - that's for later when I get a shed built! I'm not expecting the same experience as a professional woodworking steel vice mounted to a heavy bench several times my weight :D I just need something for finer work.

Thanks for the heads-up on Screwfix - that was a good thing to know. I had a look but unfortunately they don't have the type of HKC package I'm looking for - all the trimmings! SauterShop.de seem to have everything I need. I've purchased from them before and they seem fine despite their trustpilot reviews. As a point, I refuse to buy most power tools in Ireland because they are massively overpriced and as I mentioned, it's not necessarily because the middlemen are greedy. The good thing about Festool is that it doesn't really matter where you buy the tool within reason. Once you register it, you have your 3 years warranty. I buy from Germany, register in Ireland. I checked this one the phone with Festool themselves but would always recommend people do their own research. One of the better places in Dublin is City Saw Services in Stoneybatter. While I see you are in Finland, if you're ever back, that might be good to know. In addition to Festool, I believe they're the only Irish Mafell dealership. The guys there are very friendly, it's just the price I have a concern with.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2021, 07:44 AM by surfjungle »

Offline surfjungle

  • Posts: 10
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2021, 06:25 AM »
Don't expect to use a plunge track saw off the rails!!  (like TS not HKC)
If you're not using a rail, straight edge, parallel guide . . . You won't be able to control it.
The 'loose' plunge on the saw means the saw really kicks/jumps if the blade binds even slightly in the cut, which will happen when using free hand. I'm a pro who's owned a TS55 for over a decade, and I won't do a free hand cut with my TS.

If you want the most versatile saw for the money I'd recommend the HKC with both types of rail. HKC can be a 'chop saw' with the FSK rails and a track/plunge saw with the FS rails. Plus it can be used free hand nice and easy.

All day track saw use is way less fun with the HK, but I've done it many many times and it's totally fine. The TSC55 is obviously a great saw and the only reasons not to go that direction is cost, battery requirements, dicey free hand use, and lack of FSK rails support.

I have the HKC and the TS55.
The TS has slightly but noticeably better cut quality and is easier to use on the FS rails all day, and make accurate plunges on the FS rail.
I love the HKC for the FSK rails & the cordless single battery. Although I prefer the TS for certain situations, I like knowing that if it ever breaks I could complete pretty much any task just as well with the HKC.

If I was starting again, and only making/building things just for me on a weekend basis, I'd buy the HKC and both rails types.

The new CTL MINI / CTL MIDI are awesome and a total must if you can afford it. The built in Bluetooth is amazing for the cordless tools.

Very useful advice here given my requirements and from my own research, I believe is spot on. The FSK is the key and nothing else seems to use it other than the HKC. My only concern now is that with the advent of the new TS55 last April, is the HKC due for an update. I'd hate to by it for it to be updated soon! I have a Starmix iPulse H 1635 which I plan to use. While it doesn't have blue tooth it is or at least was ahead of most Festool vacuum with self cleaning filters. I'll keep ye informed!

Offline surfjungle

  • Posts: 10
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2021, 06:26 AM »
Judging solely on the pine builds and realistic accuracy working with that wood, HKC55.  The TSC needs a track.  HK is closest to a standard circular saw and can be used without a track for rip cuts but it also has a optional plunging action.  With the short FSK track, it'll replace a mitre saw.  The only thing you may miss over the real thing is being able to sneak up on cuts for fine trim work.

Thanks for the info and confirming what others are saying - I appreciate it.

Offline nvalinski

  • Posts: 146
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2021, 09:23 AM »
The skirting and frames makes me wonder if a handheld circular saw is actually the right tool... these are typically better done with a miter saw, but the plywood and closet work would lend itself better to a circular/track saw or table saw. Have you considered looking at the push/pull saws available from Festool or Mafell? They'll take up more space than a track saw, but maybe less than a track saw + MFT and be able to get more accurate cross cuts at smaller scales.

Offline surfjungle

  • Posts: 10
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2021, 12:15 PM »
The skirting and frames makes me wonder if a handheld circular saw is actually the right tool... these are typically better done with a miter saw, but the plywood and closet work would lend itself better to a circular/track saw or table saw. Have you considered looking at the push/pull saws available from Festool or Mafell? They'll take up more space than a track saw, but maybe less than a track saw + MFT and be able to get more accurate cross cuts at smaller scales.

I agree that my requirements could easily see use for a crosscut saw (HKC), track saw (TK / Mafell MT), mitre saw (Kapex) and table saw (TK, Mafell Erika). Most important, I cannot afford anything other than 1 saw and accessories right now. Even if I could, I have nowhere for a Mafell Erika nor a Festool TKS nor any Festool mitre saw. While they somewhat fold, I don't want to put precision machines in my old shed which needs to be raized and replaced. I can get away with putting a Festool MFT in there though.

I think the HKC with the MFT with some additional FS rails is the way to go for now. As space and budget dictate, I can

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 825
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2021, 01:09 PM »
I was very pleasantly surprised at how easily and accurately I've been able to use my HKC with the FSK rail as a mitre saw, both simple and compound.  It's usually quicker for small jobs for me to just wheel out my MW1000 (on which I store the HKC and TS55), set up the extension table, and make a few cuts on trim pieces compared to digging out the Kapex and getting it all set up.  I grabbed a TSC55 bag for the HKC for the instances where I don't also feel like rolling out the MIDI-I (for which the Bluetooth batteries are a ton of help).

For 5-10 cuts, the MW1000 and HKC roll out and stow away more quickly and have never given me a reason to make the Kapex easier to get to for small jobs.

The MFT is more versatile than the MW1000 if you need to work on any sort of wide pieces, though.  I've only really done trim work on the MW1000 setup that I described.

Offline surfjungle

  • Posts: 10
Re: Your kind advice required for a track circular saw and more!
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2021, 12:58 PM »
I was very pleasantly surprised at how easily and accurately I've been able to use my HKC with the FSK rail as a mitre saw, both simple and compound.  It's usually quicker for small jobs for me to just wheel out my MW1000 (on which I store the HKC and TS55), set up the extension table, and make a few cuts on trim pieces compared to digging out the Kapex and getting it all set up.  I grabbed a TSC55 bag for the HKC for the instances where I don't also feel like rolling out the MIDI-I (for which the Bluetooth batteries are a ton of help).

For 5-10 cuts, the MW1000 and HKC roll out and stow away more quickly and have never given me a reason to make the Kapex easier to get to for small jobs.

The MFT is more versatile than the MW1000 if you need to work on any sort of wide pieces, though.  I've only really done trim work on the MW1000 setup that I described.

Thanks for the information. It's good to know the HKC and FSK are very comparable involving an MFT or more.