Author Topic: Track Saw Suggestions  (Read 2672 times)

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Offline sg1011

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Track Saw Suggestions
« on: September 17, 2018, 01:09 PM »
Hi,

Newbie question about Festool's track saws.  I'm a hobbyist and I'm mostly interested in building furniture with hand tools and joinery.  I typically work with hard woods and I've recently thought about making table tops with glue-ups as slabs can get very expensive.  I'm sold on the Domino for sure.  My question is this, is the Festool track saw a good compromise to a table saw, or will I find myself needing a table saw more often than not?  I'd like something that can break down hard woods to size quickly and accurately.  I use mostly mortise and tenon joints.  I know that I can use a table saw to break down the joints quickly and that will allow me to go in with chisels and hand planes to further tighten/perfect the joints.  Is the track saw suitable for that kind of work? 

Thanks in advance for your input!

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2018, 01:15 PM »
My personal recommendation, based on your anticipated usage would be:  If you are mainly using lumber versus sheet material, then look more for a table saw.  The track saw can be used for lumber with some work arounds and can be useful for straight line ripping, but then you when you get into more exotic joinery you get more into work arounds.

Peter

Offline Svar

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2018, 01:18 PM »
Yes, track saw will work well to accurately dimension your stock and cut tenon shoulders. In most cases it'll produce square, glue ready cuts for lamination (no need for a joiner). It's not that great for small or narrow stock. You will need to supplement the saw with a cutting table, such as MFT or your own design.
It will not substitute table saw entirely, but you can get by with just a track saw especially if you are a hobbyist.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 01:26 PM by Svar »

Offline sg1011

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2018, 01:26 PM »
Thanks for the input Peter/Svar.  Yes, I use mainly lumber.  Actually, I don't think that I've ever used plywood other than for creating specific shipping crates.  My main concern was the work arounds and small cuts.  I know that the Festool track saw is real accurate and clean, but without ever using one, I wasn't sure how quickly or efficient it would be at doing those small inch or two long cuts.

Out of curiosity, what is a good/compact table saw that a hobbyist could use?

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2018, 01:32 PM »
I'm a hybrid woodworker, using the tablesaw for most stock preparation tasks (after or before the thicknessing step), and had never found my previous TS75 (sold now) an efficient alternative to my tablesaw. After finding a good way to cut large sheet stock on my tablesaw precisely, I sold the TS75.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 01:34 PM by ChuckM »

Offline sg1011

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 01:35 PM »
Thanks for the input Chuck.  Having experience with a table saw, is there a brand or model that you could recommend to a hobbyist?

Offline Svar

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 01:36 PM »
I wasn't sure how quickly or efficient it would be at doing those small inch or two long cuts.
Doable, but not very efficient.

Out of curiosity, what is a good/compact table saw that a hobbyist could use?
If in USA, then Dewalt 745.

I think track saw (long rips, slabs, straight edge, bevels) and a compact table saw (small parts and joinery) is a great combination.

Offline usernumber1

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 01:55 PM »
imo, table saw with a sled would benefit you more than tracksaw.

Online Dick Mahany

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2018, 02:08 PM »
The track saw is very versatile will do a myriad of tasks very well.  When I downsized a few years ago I sold my Unisaw cabinet saw and went the TS55 / MFT3 route.  That combination was a game changer for me.  I built a very large media center including cabinets, drawers, doors and face-framed box type display shelves all with the just the tracksaw and MFT3.  The track saw readily produced glue-ready joints without the need for further jointing.

The areas where I struggled the most were cutting small parts and ripping long, narrow face frames.  The track saw could do it however it was not as convenient as if I had a table saw.  Also I really missed the ability to run a dado stack for some operations (even though a router could just as well do dadoes).

I recently purchased a DeWalt DWE 7491RS compact portable table saw and couldn't be happier.  Used in combination with the TS55  my work flow is much more comfortable and improved.  It stores in a small footprint, yet is fully capable of running a wide 8" dia dado and dust collection is excellent with above and below the blade collection.  Used in conjunction with a shop built sled, it cuts small parts safely and easily.  True it isn't a cabinet saw but it has far more capability than folks who haven't used it realize.

I am very glad that I went the track saw route as I have learned many new ways to work and still use it frequently.  Many have replaced their table saw with only the track saw, but I just found that for my tasks, I didn't want to be completely without the table saw.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 06:12 PM by Dick Mahany »

Online RKA

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2018, 02:17 PM »
Having recently been "forced" to make a couple half lap joints with my TS55, I wouldn't wish that on you.  I used what was available at the moment and finished with a plane.  Though it got the job done, it took longer than I would have liked and it's fiddly.  I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.
-Raj

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2018, 03:06 PM »
My shop has a TS55 used mainly for breaking down plywood and some odd angled cuts. My TS55 is used most often on an MFT. The combination is very effective especially with bench dogs.

Most of my cutting is done on a SawStop Industrial table saw. It’s SawStop biggest model. I do a lot of work requiring extremely precise cuts. The table saw does that very well especially with jigs. I think the SawStop is the best saw made and would have bought it even without its safety feature.

I also use a Kapex often although I don’t try to achieve high precision with it.

If I had only one saw, I would keep the SawStop.
Birdhunter

Offline Alanbach

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 04:32 PM »
Based on the work that you describe I too, would recommend a table saw. The Dewalt’s seem to be well liked here and they are economical. Like Birdhunter I am sold on SawStop. They are not cheap but they are very well built and the safety features are second to none. They make a job site saw as well as a Contractors variety in addition to the big cabinet saws that Birdhunter and I both have. I have a 3hp Professional Cabinet Saw with a 52” fence. I believe that Birdhunter said that he has the Industrial Cabinet Saw so I am guessing that he has a 5hp motor?

There are so many table saws available in such a very wide range. Wood Magazine has quite a few reviews on line if you are interested.

You mentioned that you work in mostly hardwoods but you did not mention thickness/dimensions. Do you generally work with 3/4” thick boards or 1 1/2” boards or thicker. This will help determine how much power you might need. Just as an example, If you cut a lot of 2” thick hard maple or Oak you are not going to be happy with a dinky portable table saw that you pick up at the Home Depot or Lowe’s for a few hundred dollars. It just won’t have the power that you will need.

If you tell us more about the size and type of work you do and want to do in the future we can try to suggest the type and size of table saw that might suit your needs better. Once you narrow that down then picking brand and specific model gets a little easier.

Offline Joe Felchlin

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2018, 04:37 PM »
I’m a long time hobbyist woodworker.
I use my Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Table Saw and my Festool TS 55 Track Saw / MFT3.
Together - They cover virtually all my “everyday” needs.👍
The times I’m working with hardwoods thicker than 1” - I pull out my trusty TS 75.
Cuts thru anything. [smile]
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 04:44 PM by Joe Felchlin »
FESTOOL: CT26 and CT33 E HEPA Dust Extractors, MFT 1080, MFT-3, TS 55 REQ-F-Plus USA, TS75 EQ, Guide Rails: 1080's/1400/3000mm, LR 32-SYS/Holey Rail, Parallel Guides and Extensions, OF1400 EQ Plunge Router, OF1010 EQ Plunge Router, HL 850 Planer, RO125 FEQ Rotex Sander, LS 130 EQ Linear Detail Sander, DX93E Detail Sander, C12 Cordless Drill, CXS Cordless Compact Drill Driver, SYS-Centrotec-Set, Domino XL DF 700 EQ Plus Tenon Joiner Set, Domino DF 500 Tenon Joiner | WOODPECKERS: DF 500 Offset Base System | BOSCH: 5412L Compound Miter Saw, 4100-09 10-Inch Table Saw | POWERMATIC: 60HH 8" Jointer, PWBS 14" Bandsaw w/Riser Block | MAKITA: 2012NB Bench Top Planer | JESSEM: Mast-R-Lift XL/Fence/Slide, Rout-R-Plate/Table Stand | RIKON: 50-120 6inX48in Belt-Disc Sander | JET: JBOS-5 Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander | PORTER CABLE: 7518 and 690LVRS Routers, 557 Pro Plate Joiner, 16/18/23 Gauge Nailers | LEIGH JIGS: D4R 24 Pro Dovetail Jig, FMT Pro Mortise & Tenon Jig | LIE-NIELSEN: Almost every hand plane | DOWELMAX: 3/8" and 1/4" | KREG: K3 Master System | FEIN: Multimaster FMM 250 Q Kit | TORMEK: Super-Grind 2000 | DUST DEPUTY: Industrial (ALL) Steel Deluxe Cyclone (2)

Offline Svar

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2018, 04:45 PM »
An important question to ask is do you have a dedicated space for stationary machinery?
People are different. Even having enough space some prefer minimalist, portable approach to their hobby.

Online Birdhunter

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2018, 05:47 PM »
Table saws do best with high volume dust collectors. My SawStop attaches to a 2HP cyclone via a 4” ducting. My saw uses 220v so power is a consideration as is space.

I agree totally with the opinion that a big box light weight table saw or contractor saw will be disappointing. The problems include inadequate power, poor fence, and flexing trunion. I would choose an MFT plus TS55 or TS75 over a cheap table saw.
Birdhunter

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2018, 12:27 AM »
With familiarity with a tool you can do things it isn’t”meant” to do. I’ve used a track saw (TS55) to cut a small piece of end grain from a floor board in order to fill an exposed groove at a landing. A piece about 5/16” x 3/8” x 1/4”. Way too small to safely cut on a table saw (without special fixtures) but with back stops and tape it could be captured well enough to cut with the track saw.

Offline Sometimewoodworker

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2018, 01:41 AM »
Hi,

Newbie question about Festool's track saws.

Every one was in your position at some time

  I'm a hobbyist and I'm mostly interested in building furniture with hand tools and joinery.  I typically work with hard woods and I've recently thought about making table tops with glue-ups as slabs can get very expensive.

If you are making longer cuts or using heavy pieces of timber while a really good table saw can do those a Track saw is better and faster

 
I'm sold on the Domino for sure.  My question is this, is the Festool track saw a good compromise to a table saw, or will I find myself needing a table saw more often than not?  I'd like something that can break down hard woods to size quickly and accurately. 
It rather depends on the kind of stock that you are starting with, if it's rough sawn then you are going to need a planer and thicknesser (U.K. Terms) as well anyway. As to speed and accuracy experience helps but I would say yes.


I use mostly mortise and tenon joints.  I know that I can use a table saw to break down the joints quickly and that will allow me to go in with chisels and hand planes to further tighten/perfect the joints.  Is the track saw suitable for that kind of work? 
For smaller pieces the table saw wins. But  not if you are using a Domino you will not be using hand tools as the joints will be perfect (if you cut them in the correct place)

When you get to really big pieces then a hand saw and chisels will be the best way, unless you can use a router.

For me a track saw and (very) small table saw does virtually everything I need.

I have the funds to buy a good table saw as I have the funds to buy a Kapex neither of them are sufficiently better than the tools I have to make me spend that kind of money.
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 05:44 AM »
The best situation is to have track saw, table saw, and compound miter saw. Each excel in their areas. Great hand saws, hand planes, and chisels expand your possibilities.

I’ve got a surfeit of power tools and now learning to do hand work after 40 years of woodworking. Getting a hand cut dovetail joint to snick together is amazingly satisfying. Getting a chisel or a plane blade to a mirror sharp edge is also satisfying.
Birdhunter

Offline sg1011

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2018, 10:25 AM »
Everybody,

Thank you so much for the input!  I have some homework and thinking to do before I purchase either one or both.  One of the concerns is space and power for sure.  I'll never forget how I blew out some of the wiring in our condo years ago when I hooked up a Makita circular saw to one of the outlets.  Thankfully, it didn't cause much damage, but I definitely learned my lesson!  I went out and replaced that with a battery powered Makita.  I was leaning towards the cordless TS for that reason (along with space limitations).  If I did decide to get a corded TS or table saw, I'd have to get an electrician to properly set everything up in my garage.  In any case, thanks again for all the suggestions!

Online Birdhunter

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2018, 11:44 AM »
If you get a cabinet saw, I found a mobile base gives me a lot of flexibility. I have all of my larger power tools on a mobile base. The SawStop web site shows an excellent hydraulic base that I have under my saw. I step on the foot pump 8 to 10 times and I can roll the saw around. The overarm combination blade guard and dust collector works very well.
Birdhunter

Offline sg1011

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2018, 01:26 PM »
If you get a cabinet saw, I found a mobile base gives me a lot of flexibility. I have all of my larger power tools on a mobile base. The SawStop web site shows an excellent hydraulic base that I have under my saw. I step on the foot pump 8 to 10 times and I can roll the saw around. The overarm combination blade guard and dust collector works very well.

Thanks.  I'll check out their site today and see what they offer.

Offline sg1011

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2018, 01:29 PM »
Having recently been "forced" to make a couple half lap joints with my TS55, I wouldn't wish that on you.  I used what was available at the moment and finished with a plane.  Though it got the job done, it took longer than I would have liked and it's fiddly.  I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.

That's what I was afraid of.

Offline sg1011

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2018, 01:52 PM »
Based on the work that you describe I too, would recommend a table saw. The Dewalt’s seem to be well liked here and they are economical. Like Birdhunter I am sold on SawStop. They are not cheap but they are very well built and the safety features are second to none. They make a job site saw as well as a Contractors variety in addition to the big cabinet saws that Birdhunter and I both have. I have a 3hp Professional Cabinet Saw with a 52” fence. I believe that Birdhunter said that he has the Industrial Cabinet Saw so I am guessing that he has a 5hp motor?

There are so many table saws available in such a very wide range. Wood Magazine has quite a few reviews on line if you are interested.

You mentioned that you work in mostly hardwoods but you did not mention thickness/dimensions. Do you generally work with 3/4” thick boards or 1 1/2” boards or thicker. This will help determine how much power you might need. Just as an example, If you cut a lot of 2” thick hard maple or Oak you are not going to be happy with a dinky portable table saw that you pick up at the Home Depot or Lowe’s for a few hundred dollars. It just won’t have the power that you will need.

If you tell us more about the size and type of work you do and want to do in the future we can try to suggest the type and size of table saw that might suit your needs better. Once you narrow that down then picking brand and specific model gets a little easier.

That's a great point.  It seems that I'm mostly working with 4/4 and thicker boards.  I haven't built anything with a live edge yet, but those are almost always 8/4 and above, and so that would be important to take into consideration.

I'll definitely have to look into saw stop.  Safety is a BIG concern for me.  Who needs injuries!

Offline fshanno

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2018, 02:47 PM »
I built my kitchen without a table saw.  Face frames and all.  Used my TS55 to rip the parts for the face frames.  Used my Domino to put the doors together.

I rigged up a cool ripping platform for my 55 that worked very well.  I could rip a 1.5" face frame part from a 1 5/8" piece.  The wood was European beech which can be a challenging species.  It's dense and hard and loaded with internal spring.  It can be a challenge on a 3 horse cabinet saw.  It loves to burn.

And here's the kicker.  I did most of the crosscutting for the doors and drawers and face frames on my MFT.  And they were dovetail drawers. 

A table saw wasn't essential but in my case a planer and a router table were.  And I did have those.

But then friends and family started asking me to do their kitchens and baths.  While the TS55 and my ripping platform were effective, they were also a bit slow.  So I bought a Grizzly G0691.  They had a special and it cost me only $1275 total to get a 3hp 220v cabinet saw with a 50" fence set up in my garage shop.  And I bought a jointer.

A PCS was going to cost me about $3500 delivered.  The Grizzly did have a true riving knife and for me the knife is the essential safety feature so that was my choice. 

Today the G0691 is over $2100 delivered.  I've never been hurt or even close to being hurt on the Grizzly and it's made 10's of thousands of quality cuts.  I had to replace the capacitor last year but it's been a gem aside from that.  But still, if I was buying today with current pricing, I'd have to go with the 3 horse PCS.  The extra measure of safety and somewhat better quality of the PCS are worth the much smaller price difference.

The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2018, 03:00 PM »

Snip.

Today the G0691 is over $2100 delivered.  I've never been hurt or even close to being hurt on the Grizzly and it's made 10's of thousands of quality cuts.  I had to replace the capacitor last year but it's been a gem aside from that.  But still, if I was buying today with current pricing, I'd have to go with the 3 horse PCS.  The extra measure of safety and somewhat better quality of the PCS are worth the much smaller price difference.

Does the quoted price on the Grizzly include the tariff? I heard Grizzly is passing on all or part of the tariffs to the customers by raising the retail prices. SS is made in Taiwan and so it is not subject to any tariffs.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2018, 03:12 PM by ChuckM »

Online Birdhunter

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2018, 03:17 PM »
I don't know the Grizzly saw, but I'm sure it is a good bargain.

If you can afford the SawStop i'd recommend buying it. The quality and engineering is outstanding. No one is forever perfect around tools and one slip around a table saw can cost a hand or fingers. The SawStop goes a very long way in avoiding an amputation.
Birdhunter

Offline rmhinden

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2018, 05:20 PM »
I have an ~25 year old Roybi BT300 table saw, a TS55 and TS75, and a Kapex.   The Ryobi has a nice sliding table, but clearly isn't in the same class as the Saw Stop table saws discussed here.   Some times I wish I had room for a larger table saw, but that would also require bringing more power into my shop space.   

I use the track saws for sheet goods and boards that are too big for me to handle on the table saw.   Basically, I bring the saw to the wood.  I use the Kapex (with wings and stops) for cross cuts.   With the wings and stops I get very good repeatability.   I still use the table saw, but not as much before I got the track saws and Kapex.   The TS75 was my most recent acquisition, I partly justified it by saying it was cheaper than a new table saw :-)

As others have stated here, there are a lot of choices depending on what you are trying to do and what you can handle.   What I have works well for me.
Bob

Offline SilviaS7

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2018, 09:02 PM »
A true track saw is on my shopping list, but in the interim I am using a circular saw and the Kreg Rip-cut and Accu-cut jigs to cut down sheet goods which is my primary supply to work with.  For cutting down sheet goods, I can get some really accurate cuts, even really thin stuff - I just support the track so it won't move and cut away.  If I was trying to cut down lumber it would certainly be more difficult, but not impossible.

Me, personally?  I'm scared to death of the table saw.  I'd rather use my circular saw and jigs and take the saw blade to the work piece than taking the work piece to the saw blade.  So I already know I'm going to be making cuts that would probably best be done on a table saw, with some other method.  I also have a cheap miter saw that does the job as far as cutting across smaller pieces.  I think a table saw makes more sense for you, but I'm not the right person to recommend it.  I can say that a track saw (or in my case, a cheap circular saw with some swell jigs) can get you farther than you think, you just have to be creative with how you setup and stage your cuts.

Offline ChuckM

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2018, 09:45 PM »

Snip.

Me, personally?  I'm scared to death of the table saw.  I'd rather use my circular saw and jigs and take the saw blade to the work piece than taking the work piece to the saw blade. 

I like this self-awareness of yours. I have known a few woodworkers in person who had their fingers cut using a tablesaw. One complained about pain even months and months after the accident. He now owns a TS55 and track, after ruling out the SawStop (because he does not do a lot of woodworking anymore to justify the investment).

Offline Sometimewoodworker

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Re: Track Saw Suggestions
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2018, 04:03 AM »


That's a great point.  It seems that I'm mostly working with 4/4 and thicker boards.  I haven't built anything with a live edge yet, but those are almost always 8/4 and above, and so that would be important to take into consideration.

I'll definitely have to look into saw stop.  Safety is a BIG concern for me.  Who needs injuries!

Do think about the weight of the boards and if you really can move them over even a large table saw. If you are using 2" to 3" thick boards they are really heavy.

I know that there is no way I could be getting perfect straight line cuts in 6' long material on my table saw even in 1" thick material but with my TS55 it's easy.

You would probably need the TS75 for the material you use.
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
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