The HK 55 was my second Festool purchase and my first purchase of a saw from the company. The first tool was the Finish sander 150/3.
First impressions of the tool are it feels great. Light weight and easy to operate. Although I slammed my left thumb a few times when hitting the switch to disengage the plunge feature. Seems like a really odd thing for designers to not plan into the saws operation but it will only happen a few times before your brain remembers "place thumb there = experience pain"
Super easy bevel adjustments. The plunge depth adjustments are super easy too... again, the first few times I probably looked like a total noob as I tried to figure out the correct sequence of steps but it only took about 15 minutes of using the saw to get it under muscle memory.
Clean cuts but I guess you all know that..
The saw saved my life on a job where I was installing 9" MDF baseboard and my SCMS experiences a catastrophic bearing failure which caused damage to the armature. Having no other options for cutting base this large I took the plunge when I walked into the lumberyard and they have the saw on display. It is a different head you need to use as planning out certain cuts can be pretty tricky when using a saw like the HK55 instead of a SCMS. Small cuts ( 8" or less ) which have an outside miter on one side and a cope on the other created the most issues but maybe having a more "festoon like" system of clamps/bench dogs would make this easier/safer. I had to make due and it was awkward but achievable.
What I am not entirely happy about is the amount of dust still tossed around the room when cutting MDF. Maybe my expectations were too high all things considered. The blade shroud allows a lot of dust to escape during the plunge operation.. I guess with the regular track saws this isn't as much of an issue since the blade is fully enclosed? Once engaged ( the plunge operation ) the dust collection seemed adequate, but again not exactly what I was expecting given the Festool claim to fame regarding dust collection. ( hooked up to a RIGID portable vac with a bag installed ) The saw seems to pick up the same amount of dust my EZSMART equipped circular saws are able to pick up. Not familiar... ? - EZSmart system
. For the cost of the saw, I feel my expectations are not unrealistic ones... I know some dust will get out but it sure felt like 20-25% of the dust made it out on plunge and 15-20% was escaping during the cutting operation. Not enough to cut inside a customers house without setting up plastic walls for all day cutting jobs. By comparison, my SCMS setup captures at least 90% as I have the Fastcap saw tent thing.. can't remember the same but you probably all know what I am talking about. That combined with a shop vac is pretty effective at keeping the dust right under the say station. Once I shifted over to the HK55... the entire room was covered in a layer of dust by the end of the day.
So, I am hoping a modification might be available to help capture more of that dust. I'll have to look up the part the user mentioned above which is slightly modified from the TS55.
All in all, I am pretty happy although I still have moments where I am debating whether I chose the right saw for my needs. I just really like the idea of this saw operating like a standard circ saw and no track required. I have about 15 days left on the 30 day return.. I'll be debating that with myself and also considering the substantial financial investment by continuing to drink the green cool-aid
- that has been the hardest part for me to swallow in all honesty.