I am new to the world of Festool ownership, even though I have been salivating over the TS55 for a few years now. I just picked one up a few weeks ago
I'm not a very skilled wood worker (more of a jack of all trades), but I love to build my own projects so having a tool for almost anything is important to me. I usually go on huge building sprees that last months then take a long break (otherwise my wife might kill me). Last thing I built was a whole bunch of acrylic fish tanks for a large saltwater aquarium set up... acrylic is not as nice as wood to work with, but it’s great practice for making true square edges, that's for sure!… anyways I ended up selling the jet jointer I used to have after completing the project, since I didn’t have much room or organization in my old garage (and it was a lot of maintenance keeping such big tables from rusting out in my super humid fish tank garage). Of course now I am kicking myself for selling such a nice machine, and trying to pre-plan to make sure I don’t run into that situation again. Also going to not store any tools in the same room as fish tank filtration… since I learned firsthand that a protein skimmer might as well be called a rust generator
I moved into a new house around a month ago and decided to design my garage from the ground up this time, before I started filling it up. This meant designing and building cabinets and countertops for the garage since the garage will be a multi-purpose room. It's a 2 car, around 23 x 23', no cars will be parked inside. I plan to fit a small indoor garden, a workshop, and a small corner of the room sectioned off for my 5 dogs.
When I got my 4’ x 8’ panels of melamine, I quickly realized it would take me FOREVER to cut them myself using my dewalt jobsite tablesaw and circular saw. I would have to lift each panel onto the horses, get it down to size a bit, then finish on the table saw, with sleds etc. With half my garage filled with moving boxes, and the other half filled with some random other sheet goods and some pre-cut sizes of shelving, it was just waay too much to deal with.
Those challenges inspired me to buy the TS55, and what a great purchase it was. I can’t even fathom finishing my cabinet project myself without it. Now instead of lifting panels onto horses, all I have to do is lift one side of a panel a few inches, and slide some pieces of sacrificial ½” MDF under, and I cut the panels right on the ground. I haven’t even touched my dewalt table saw and will likely sell it. It works fine, but I no longer see it having value in my shop. Fine for lots of repetitive quick cuts, but the fence isn’t that sturdy, not really a precision piece of hardware if you ask me. I could not do this with my circular saw, as it was not a plunge saw and I would have had to use three layers of ¾” stuff to cut on the ground, … kind of defeating the point of doing it that way although to be fair it WOULD be possible if you had the patience…
Oh yea… when I got the TS55, the local woodcraft didn’t have any in stock. They were really generous and let me take the store demo saw, reminding me that I could easily cancel the sale if I didn’t like it. The demo worked excellent of course. I would’ve been crazy not to buy the saw after using one
The only issue with using the demo saw was I had to re-cut my splinter guard on the rail when mine came in since theirs was a bit off (about 1/16” of difference). I didn’t do it by the directions, didn’t use acetone, didn’t even apply a new strip. Just removed the strip reapplied a bit further out
I bought a new strip I just haven’t applied it yet. Can anybody confirm that it’s crucial to use the acetone etc? so far mine is working fine and it’s not even pushed up against the little edge on the guide rail (which I assume helps make the 0 clearance line stay accurate?)
I’m really impressed by the quality of the cuts I get in melamine with the Universal blade. Almost as good as my router. Oddly enough, I also got the tri-chip blade that said it was for melamine (495377)… and I got some noticeable chipping on the side of the cut where the splinter guard goes… with the splinter guard fully engaged. Not sure what’s going on but I just can’t get a quality melamine cut with the tri chip blade… too bad… I'd be glad to hear anyone elses experience with it, seems wrong. I'm not sure if I feel like changing blade again TBH, since I didn't realize that the splinter guard really needs to be recut for each blade. Probably better off sticking with universal, but I'd like to know what I did wrong.
My cabinets are maybe ½ done. Been working on them 2 weeks, but between my wife and daughter being constantly sick and me falling asleep early lately (as opposed to my usual 3am routine), it’s taking forever. This weekend is my daughter's 3rd birthday so I probably won't get anything done. Maybe another 2-3 weeks.
Can't wait to get all the junk boxes up and out of the way from moving, it will make the rest go faster.
A random scrap of melamine I had fit perfectly in the systainer spot on the CT36, with room for the splinter guard to fit. Happy accident
My MDF jig for cutting holes for the Rafix knockdown fittings (bought from Hafele). There is no drilling side holes for the cams, notice the hole grazes through the edge, which acts as the side hole:
One of the fixed shelves adding strength on my 8' cabinets, showing a rafix connector
Lots of shelves...
Still a few 4x8 panels to slice up for cabinet doors.
The CT36 does a great job of getting the sawdust when cutting inside a panel, but when exiting the panel or making smaller miter cuts, it still sprays out a good amount of dust from the front.
This hack worked GREAT! Almost all of the dust produced at the end of the cut gets sucked up by the shopvac. The only reason I am being so anal is because my garage is full of household stuff, and I got tired of it all getting dusty. Most of the fine dust is from the sacraficial MDF (at least I think so).
everything is going pretty well so far. The one thing I didn't account for was how out of square my garage walls are... making it difficult to get the cabinets aligned perfectly, but I'm trying not to care too much
Anyways, just wanted to poke in and share what I've been doing with my Festools.
After I finish my general purpose cabinets (which are more for household and hobby storage), my next project will be some kind of Systainer workbench combo similar to Timtool’s. Then I plan to make an island style machine area with a cyclone built into the center, inspired by this FWW piece: http://www.finewoodworking.com/Workshop/WorkshopArticle.aspx?id=23974