Author Topic: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?  (Read 15922 times)

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Offline Acrobat

  • Posts: 465
Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« on: July 10, 2008, 08:35 PM »
Hi
I am left handed and naturally prefer to use my left hand to do things with. Obviously I have had to learn to adapt to using my right hand, which of course for me is not my strongest and most skilled side, indeed somewhat awkward at times- especially circular saws. I am wondering if Festool or anyone else for that matter make or can adapt the saw and rails to work on the left? I know its a big ask as just about all manufactures of nearly everything say "darn you lefties we're only gonna make it this way!" Some tools can be used in either hand but alot can't and it just makes life just that bit harder! And in this day and age it surely cannot be that difficult to make? Believe me, it's such a hassle-some tools shoot crap out one way and guards deflect it straight to my face! aaargh.!! . Can the rail etc be switched around at all? I am considering purchasing the table and saw and rail, but if it can't be made for left hand use, I see nothing but as usual, a long slow painful learning curve with plenty of grief ahead. If you don't believe me, try picking up a tool and using it in your OTHER hand!:) And hey, I can adapt and do, but why should I have to?



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Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline patrick anderson

  • Posts: 153
    • neoshed
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2008, 08:51 PM »
I'm right handed, but when it comes to making cuts with the rail on sheet goods it's far easier to do it left handed and walk along the side of the sheet. The same applies to cross cutting sheets. Using the mft I use whatever feels comfortable.
patrick anderson
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Offline SteveD

  • Posts: 75
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2008, 08:57 PM »
Not to make fun - but if I read this correctly is the ONLY item that really needs to be a left handed version is the saw? The guide rails are ambidextrous - they don't care if stuff runs one way or the other. It is the saw that needs to be flipped around.
Is there any other tool specifically needs adapting?
I must admit that there are times a 'left handed' TS whatever would be very useful, especially on sheet goods. However looking at the MFT the guide rail supports would need to be changed too or just reverse them - not as safe and easy though.
It would also possibly have the advantage of when buying a second saw to get a left handed version, probably keeping a different blade on it.
Hmmm.

SteveD

Offline Kevin Brun

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2008, 09:10 PM »
I thought acrobats did everything with with both hands?

I had to learn to shoot left handed, just took some practice.

K B

Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2008, 09:36 PM »
Give me a left-blade circular saw any day...and I'm a righty!!

Offline Acrobat

  • Posts: 465
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2008, 12:11 AM »
I'm right handed, but when it comes to making cuts with the rail on sheet goods it's far easier to do it left handed and walk along the side of the sheet. The same applies to cross cutting sheets. Using the mft I use whatever feels comfortable.

Aha, maybe that will do the trick for me. I must admit I have only seen video demos where its used in the right hand, but there may be times where it's inconvenient to, but I can't think of when that may be so if/when I get them I'll try that.
Thanks guys.
Oh, by the way, my whilst my avatar name is acrobat,  it alas is not something I can do at all! but hey, I did manage to drive on the wrong side of the road when I was in the USA, now that was weird, thanks god we drive on the LEFT down here!:)
Don't wake me, I'm livin' the dream!

Offline jonny round boy

  • Posts: 3227
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2008, 05:52 AM »
I too am right handed, but depending on the exact situation I use either hand on the saw handle.

One example being when making plunge cuts - I stand to the right of the saw & use my left hand on the handle - that way I can see the back edge of the blade & plunge right into the corner.
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Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2008, 07:51 AM »
Both the 55 and 75 are as ambidextrous as you can get.

In most cases (lets be clean here fellas) my left hand is useless.

Not with these saws.

On a regular circular saw, two problems arise. The one problem is for

people who insist on guiding the saw by watching the blade.

This is a bad habit, you should work on using that V notch in the front of the saw.

I call it leading the duck. I mentioned this to a PETA donating hippy chick friend of mine

once. She said don't you mean leading a horse? No. No I don't.

Your other issue on a regular saw is lifting the saw guide with your opposite hand.

None of these conditions exist in the application of these saws.

You know what? It never crossed my mind until you mentioned it.

9936-0

Per
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2008, 09:19 AM »
As Per's pictures demonstrates, which hand guides the saw depends on which side of the guide rail you're standing on.

The MFT is pretty much right handed though, because of the rubber splinter guard, unless someone figures out how to guide the saw from back to front.

Offline Steve Baumgartner

  • Posts: 98
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2008, 09:33 AM »
I'm with Patrick and Per.  Since the rail sits on the good (i.e. measured) side of the cut, which is usually wider than the waste, for me it is less awkward to push with the left hand while walking along the scrap, as Per shows, than to push with the right hand while leaning out over the wider good side.  I thought this would be uncomfortable (I'm a righty), but found that the combination of guide rail and smooth plunge action overcame my offside clumsiness.  Of course, if you are cross-cutting a full sheet of plywood somewhere near the middle, there isn't much choice but to lean out from the side.

Offline Forrest Anderson

  • Posts: 1072
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2008, 03:23 PM »
I'm mainly left-handed, and use the saw exactly like Per in the photo. It seemed totally natural to hold it in my left hand in order to get a good view of the blade and anti-splinter strip on the guide rail. In fact, it seemed so natural, that it seemed to me that it was the right-handed folk who might find it awkward!

Forrest

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Offline Acrobat

  • Posts: 465
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2008, 05:02 PM »
I'm mainly left-handed, and use the saw exactly like Per in the photo. It seemed totally natural to hold it in my left hand in order to get a good view of the blade and anti-splinter strip on the guide rail. In fact, it seemed so natural, that it seemed to me that it was the right-handed folk who might find it awkward!

Forrest


Well, thats sums it up for me, and the picture Per shows sets my mind is at ease knowing it works well and clearly looks easy, if a "righty" can do it, I am sure it will be comfortable for us lefties. Thanks for the input people, I feel far more inclined to get one now. Oh the bank account is looking like some withdrawals are coming soon! cheers guys.
Don't wake me, I'm livin' the dream!

Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2008, 08:30 PM »
On a regular circular saw, two problems arise. The one problem is for

people who insist on guiding the saw by watching the blade.

This is a bad habit, you should work on using that V notch in the front of the saw.

Per

I'm guilty.  Why is this a bad habit?

- Pete

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2008, 08:46 PM »
Peter,

The key to cutting a straight line with a regular circular saw is leading your target.

There are so many analogy's I can think of. I like to think of it as leading ducks.

When you watch the blade your mind will make you over correct.

Like when you shoot pool. You want your mind wrapped around where you want to be not

where you are at. Am I making sense here?

Go try it on a hunk of scrap ply.  Snap a line and just loosen up, real relaxed. Don't look at the blade,

 just the front of the saw and scan your eye ahead. Put the saw where you want it not where it is.

Its a Zen thing.

Per

PS

relate this also to

shooting
driving
bowling
boxing
baseball
right the list is endless.
so why do we continue to stare at that blade?

p.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2008, 08:54 PM by Per Swenson »
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Offline patrick anderson

  • Posts: 153
    • neoshed
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2008, 10:59 PM »
Funny, when I wrote my reply I was picturing Per in the photo walking along side the cut, it's the only way to me that it really works.

As far as the pool/snooker(limey) point of view you always focus on the ball your trying to hit and not the cue ball....as least as far as I've learnt.

The whole left / right blade thing is a can of worms. I'd personally prefer to see the blade as a right hander, which would mean a left side saw....that's why I use my left hand. Also I'm ambidextrous as I had surgery on my right hand as a child.
patrick anderson
www.neoshed.com
may the festool be with you.....always

Offline Bill Wyko

  • Posts: 821
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2008, 12:48 PM »
I'm glad I'm ambidextrous. 1/2 the time I can't figure out which way to hold tools. ??? ;D
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Offline d.epstein

  • Posts: 19
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2008, 01:11 PM »
Hi
I am left handed and naturally prefer to use my left hand to do things with. Obviously I have had to learn to adapt to using my right hand, which of course for me is not my strongest and most skilled side, indeed somewhat awkward at times- especially circular saws. I am wondering if Festool or anyone else for that matter make or can adapt the saw and rails to work on the left? I know its a big ask as just about all manufactures of nearly everything say "darn you lefties we're only gonna make it this way!" Some tools can be used in either hand but alot can't and it just makes life just that bit harder! And in this day and age it surely cannot be that difficult to make? Believe me, it's such a hassle-some tools shoot crap out one way and guards deflect it straight to my face! aaargh.!! . Can the rail etc be switched around at all? I am considering purchasing the table and saw and rail, but if it can't be made for left hand use, I see nothing but as usual, a long slow painful learning curve with plenty of grief ahead. If you don't believe me, try picking up a tool and using it in your OTHER hand!:) And hey, I can adapt and do, but why should I have to?




Harder, dangerous and awkward.
Cutting with the wrong saw is nothing but trouble.
How do you measure?  From right to left or left to right?


Offline Acrobat

  • Posts: 465
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2008, 01:28 AM »
Harder, dangerous and awkward.
Cutting with the wrong saw is nothing but trouble.
How do you measure?  From right to left or left to right?

I measure funnily enough from left to right mostly, with pencil in my left, but I suppose I change direction depending on what I need to do at the time. The tapes I have all go from left to right, standard tape measures. It's taken a while to get used to circular saws but I am getting better with use. Just hate the little 100mm grinder I have spitting stuff towards my face because I cannot adjust the guard.  So I have to use it in my right hand, clumsily. And for that matter the old sander I have blowing dust at me when in my left. (now have a new festool which when hooked up to the vac is great). Also when I think about it, my weed eater, again a non-adjustable guard so I am forced to hold it in my right weaker hand.
And the lawnmower starter cord again on the wrong side for us lefties! But hey, lifes not all bad, the garden hose is left handed! haha.
Don't wake me, I'm livin' the dream!

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2008, 06:50 AM »
Ya know,

Left handed people are working with the right side of the brain.

The creative part.

So the way I figure it, and no derision meant or implied,

seeing as you have this gift.....

You can use the right side of the brain that you exercise more then us rightys,

to finish the above sentence. ;D

« Last Edit: July 13, 2008, 06:51 AM by Per Swenson »
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Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3671
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2008, 08:43 AM »
I am lefty, but have never had a problem with using "righty" tools. 
Left tilt TS is safer and less associated with kickbacks.
righty circular saw is dangerous it you operate from right side.  If it kicks back, it can climb right up your leg before the blade guard closes down over the blade. (actually happened to a friend of mine with over 50 yrs experience in construction)  This cannot happen with Festool saws.

My wife is also left handed.  she does a lot of sewing and has sometimes wished she had some lefty shears.  I finally bought her a pair.  She ran into all sorts of problems and could not cut a thing.  I tried them and finally figured out that lefties using righty shears must push sideways with their thumbs to make them work.  do that with lefty shears and you cannot cut as you are pushing the two blades away from each other.  It takes a lot of practice to operate them successfully. 

Tinker
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Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3616
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2008, 09:04 AM »
Ya know,

Left handed people are working with the right side of the brain.

The creative part.

So the way I figure it, and no derision meant or implied,

seeing as you have this gift.....

You can use the right side of the brain that you exercise more then us rightys,

to finish the above sentence. ;D



That's why it's annoying to have to use the right hand, then you're using the wrong side of the brain.

Sorry about skipping out on the creative writing thing Per but it's too much like a fill-in-the-blank test, which always bugged me since there are so many possibilities and only one gets you any points.

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2008, 11:07 AM »
Michael,

Oh I am sorry.

Creative and independent.

The correct "fill in the blank answer" revised due to your perceptive reply is...

Quit moanin and independently create a usable work around.

Please notice the smiley faces ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Per
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2008, 12:59 PM »
Michael,

Oh I am sorry.

Creative and independent.

The correct "fill in the blank answer" revised due to your perceptive reply is...

Quit moanin and independently create a usable work around.


Please notice the smiley faces ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Per

I sure did! You've now exceeded your monthly allotment and it's only the 13th.

What happened, keyboard stuck?

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2008, 01:09 PM »
No. No, the keyboard is not stuck.

I just wanted to make sure the sensitive types understood

that I wasn't was kidding.

Per

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Offline d.epstein

  • Posts: 19
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2008, 05:27 PM »

righty circular saw is dangerous it you operate from right side.  If it kicks back, it can climb right up your leg before the blade guard closes down over the blade. (actually happened to a friend of mine with over 50 yrs experience in construction)  This cannot happen with Festool saws.


Tinker

The potential for an accident is the same with all saws.
Retracting guard and retracting blade.
If you have a kickback with any saw you better be at the safe side.




Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2008, 06:13 PM »


The potential for an accident is the same with all saws.
Retracting guard and retracting blade.
If you have a kickback with any saw you better be at the safe side.




[/quote]

Err,ah, No.

Per
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


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Offline d.epstein

  • Posts: 19
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2008, 02:47 PM »

I don't know any circular saws with auto stopping blades.
Even the saws with electric brakes are to slow to prevent an accident.


Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3616
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2008, 04:08 PM »
I think Per is referring to the spring that will quickly un-plunge the Festool saw as quickly as the saw blade extracts itself from the wood to come at you. It's a simple compression spring way more powerful and quick acting the the usually wimpy little overextended extension springs on retractable guard type circular saws.

Also, the way I use my saw is to release the plunge lock with my thumb and pull the trigger with index finger then move my thumb off the plunge release and saw ahead. If the saw should kick back and come off the rail (unlikely with the splitter) the saw will quickly un-plunge and be locked from re-plunging.

Finally, the plunge motion pivots from the rear which offers a little more margin of safety in the event of kickback. Should the saw base hit your leg there isn't enough leverage from the back end of the shoe to re-plunge the saw even if the plunge lock is released.

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2008, 05:52 PM »
........Also, the way I use my saw is to release the plunge lock with my thumb and pull the trigger with index finger then move my thumb off the plunge release and saw ahead. If the saw should kick back and come off the rail (unlikely with the splitter) the saw will quickly un-plunge and be locked from re-plunging...........


Michael, great tip! I knew it was just a matter of time before you posted something worth while, it only took you 1200+ posts to do it.  ;) ;D
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2008, 06:29 PM »
Yeah!

What Michael Said...and

Yeah! what Brice said.

Now back to reality.

Mr Epstein, I have to ask, do you use a 55. 65. or 75 saw?

I only ask, because as Michael said if you experience kick back with one of these saws,

it would be with the At 55 or 65 with the riving knife removed

I have done this, experienced kick back with the knife removed, once.

When it happened the saw blade was inside the guard before any damage could be

done to body or material.

Just sayin.

Per
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2008, 07:38 PM »
........Also, the way I use my saw is to release the plunge lock with my thumb and pull the trigger with index finger then plunge the saw, move my thumb off the plunge release and saw ahead. If the saw should kick back and come off the rail (unlikely with the splitter) the saw will quickly un-plunge and be locked from re-plunging...........


Michael, great tip! I knew it was just a matter of time before you posted something worth while, it only took you 1200+ posts to do it.  ;) ;D

Thanks Brice but if that's the one sentence of mine that you like I better add in the bit I left out. I'll add it into the quoted section above.

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline d.epstein

  • Posts: 19
Re: Festool saws and rails for Lefties?
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2008, 08:58 PM »
Nice tip releasing the plunge lock.
The plunge spring is very quick and I can see the safety benefits if the saw jumps straight up.

With or without the riving knife when something goes wrong the saw walks backwards.
Step on the cord and the safety device, the spring, creates the kickback.
Do the same with the plunge spring locked in plunge position and the saw
stops without a kickback.

The riving knife prevents the wet and twisted wood from pinching
 the blade and may cause a kickback.
I don't see the need for a riving knife on panels and stable materials.

I can only  see one safety benefit with  non retractable riving knifes on circular saws.
You have a kickback. The non retractable riving knife forces the saw to jump off the rails instead of the saw walking back on you.

 Cutting from the opposite side of the blade is  always safer.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 09:34 PM by d.epstein »