Author Topic: HKC55 Review  (Read 2123 times)

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Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
HKC55 Review
« on: August 27, 2019, 12:08 PM »
So this is one of those niche tools that isn't a good fit for everyone.  But, if you're doing construction tasks, it's a clever little tool.

I picked up an HKC55 about a year ago, but only used it for small rough cuts here and there.  Finally I had an excuse to put it through it's paces while helping a neighbor build a new deck.  I let him and his buddy do the footings and framing because I'm allergic to 80 lb bags of concrete.  :)  He starts laying the composite decking and says "these ends aren't square".  I tell him to hold on, I've got just the tool for this.  I run back over with the HKC, point the dust shoot away from me and zip, clean, straight cut and I barely moved that 16 ft board out of place.  For someone like me, who is guide rail dependent, this is just what the doctor ordered!  And I love how light this saw is (well, compared to the cordless tracksaw).  Obviously, you could use a framing square and a $50 circular saw for this, but it doesn't put a smile on your face quite like this and you're covered in sawdust (but you look like you're doing real work covered in all that sawdust).. 

Over the past week I've also cut 2 templates for stair stringers on 2x10 material.  The actual stringers will be 2x12, but I had some scrap 2x10 on hand.  The 250 rail fell short, so I used a 420 rail which gave me enough length to cut the notches.  The last time I did this was using my tracksaw, guide rail and a pair of screw clamps.  That was painful, but those stringers were bigger.  This time around with the HKC was a breeze!  I marked out my cuts with a framing square, set the track down and aligned both angles, set the stops for each and marked the angles on the rail.  In just a few minutes it was cut and nearly perfect!  I say "nearly" because the edge of the 2x10 wasn't dead straight, so the angles were a little off, but we're not building jewelry boxes here, it's fine.  For a noob like me, I couldn't ask for more!  It took me longer to clean out the waste inside the notches with a jigsaw than to cut all the notches.  We made some more changes to the plans, so I'll make one last template after the pad is poured, and if everything looks okay I'll cut the 6 stringers.

Dust collection - fantastic for what it is.  Without a bag, point it away from you...at least you're not covered in sawdust.  With a bag or dust extractor it obviously doesn't match a track saw, but considering the blade is not encapsulated, it's far better than I would have hoped. 

Power - it does fine in construction material.  It's not winning any races and I might feel differently if I was ripping or doing bevel cuts, but crosscuts aren't an issue, it will eat 'em up.  The ripping is probably where people find it better to use the more powerful corded version. 

I do have one small question.  Crosscutting with the stop on the FSK rail at 0 degrees gets me a cut that's out 1mm on a 9" board.  Is the fixed stop adjustable in any way or do I need to shim it to dial it in? 

And a funny story about the CXS.  We were laying the last run of decking against the house and and it was only a little over an inch wide.  His dewalt right angle drill wouldn't fit where we needed to run the screws, the head was too fat.  No problem, I have a tool fo that I said!  The CXS sunk them without an issue!  A few minutes later we transitioned to another task.  Those screws required a T25 bit.  I grabbed his bit (came with the box of screws) and tried to slip it into the bit holder on the CXS.  No go?!  I looked a little closer and realized, rather than rounding off the points on the back end of the bit that is inserted into the bit holder, they smashed them, deforming those points and created a bunch of slag around the flats of the bit.  My neighbor laughs and says "your fancy german tools are too good for my chinese bits!".  We finished with his Makita impact driver instead.   [tongue]
« Last Edit: August 27, 2019, 05:05 PM by RKA »
-Raj

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Offline rst

  • Posts: 2241
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2019, 06:51 PM »
My first project was deck that required steps for my daughter.  I bought all three sizes of rail and set each one for the different angles required for the stringers...20 minutes later I had three five step stringers.  Love mine.  I had in the past used my 55, two 32" and another rail to do the same thing, so much easier with the HKC and rails.

Offline safety1st

  • Posts: 181
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2019, 07:06 PM »
i like my hkc for dimensional lumber, however i often get rough cross/end cuts.

is it because the battery might be slow/bad? i only have one 18v battery and it is pretty new.

i used to assume that it is because it runs slower than corded hk 55, but thought i'd ask if others see this issue?

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2019, 07:41 PM »
@safety1st I can’t say the cuts are rough, in fact nowhere near my last Makita saw (and they usually come with decent blades).  I’ve only been sawing dry wood and the composite boards though, haven’t put it through pressure treated wood yet.  On some OSB I got some splintering, but less than I expected. 

Anyway, post some pics here and let use know what material and whether it was freehand or track cut.
-Raj

Offline safety1st

  • Posts: 181
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2019, 08:16 PM »
it was just 2x3 dry dimensional lumber from big box stores. and cut with the fsk rail.

yes, let me post some pics. this has been nagging me so might as well find out why.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6454
Re: HKC 55 vs TSC 55
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2019, 10:09 AM »
i like my hkc for dimensional lumber, however i often get rough cross/end cuts.

is it because the battery might be slow/bad? i only have one 18v battery and it is pretty new.

Here's a comparison of ripping cuts in aromatic cedar 1 3/4" thick using a TSC and a HKC. Both had new Panther rip blades attached. I started with the TSC because of the dual batteries, but it was having a difficult time and was leaving marks in the cedar so I decided to haul out the HKC and try that instead.
I actually pulled one of the batteries from the TSC and just used that in the HKC. The HKC went through the cedar much easier. I wrote it off to the thinner kerf blade on the HKC.

First up is the TSC. If you look closely at the edge of the board you can see blade marks and artifacts.




Here's a close up of the same TSC cut board on the top versus the HKC cut on the bottom.



Offline TXFIVEO

  • Posts: 297
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2019, 12:14 PM »
I’ve used the HKC quite extensively over the last couple months and I must say I’m pretty impressed with it. Have used it for many cuts for accent walls and have used it for trimming doors.  Haven’t used my TS75 in a bit because of the HKC. 

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2019, 02:10 PM »
Last weekend I used the parallel guide (no guide rail) to rip a 2" wide strip of 3/4" plywood.  The HKC was already sitting on my workbench and since this piece was only going to be used to level out an area of flooring in my attic, I didn't care how it looked (and I didn't want to drag out the TSC, guide rails, screw in parallel guides, etc. etc.).  Surprisingly, the resulting piece was pretty consistent over a 30" rip and very nearly splinter free.  I could see some faint circular saw marks on the rip as I changed my grip and pressure on the saw through the rip, but that's it.  It looked much better than any freehand cut I've made with a standard circular saw, which would have been +- 1mm over the length of the cut and had much deeper saw marks and a lot more tearout.
-Raj

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2019, 09:36 PM »
@safety1st I had a chance to cut some pressure treated 2x12’s with the HKC today.  In the pics below the top stringer was a regular 2x10, everything below was wet pressure treated 2x12’s.  The saw cut it relatively easily.  It slowed a bit in the middle where to wood was as wet as the trees in my yard. 

In the first pic the tip of the saw is on the short angled cuts that were to the right of the blade (no splinter guard to help).  Some tearout but better than I would expect.

In the second pic you have a close up.  The brighter side was under the rail and splinter guard.  The shaded side was to the right of the blade.  You do see some saw marks on the face of the cuts, but it’s minimal and hard to see in the pics. 

« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 09:38 PM by RKA »
-Raj

Offline safety1st

  • Posts: 181
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2019, 09:45 PM »
yes, the cuts look pretty clean!

still haven't gotten a chance to reproduce my issue with the basic 2x3 lumber.
i'll also fully charge my battery and retry.

thanks!

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2019, 10:08 PM »
I’ll just finish this thread with a few more pics.  We installed the stringers today.  They needed a slight tweak on the back edge that rests against the deck.  The angle was off a little, but with the HKC that was no problem. I didn’t use the stops on the track, just laid it on my marks and made the cut.  On a 6” wide cut, one edge was trimmed between 1/16”-3/16” and the other edge wasn’t touched effectively fixing the bad angle.  Each step was fitted individually and when I got all the stringers resting flat against the deck the steps and risers were all coplaner and plumb/level.  This saw made this work easy for a first timer (well, not far from that).  There is still some more work to do before we call it done, but getting these stairs right was the meat of it and the HKC made it much easier than I envisioned.



« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 11:02 PM by RKA »
-Raj

Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1295
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2019, 11:46 PM »
I have found the HKC to be a little gutless cutting pressure treated stringers. Definitely had to keep a battery with a fresh charge in there. Beautiful cuts but I just feel like I should get more than one 16' stringer, if that, per battery.

I wish the stationary dog was eccentric so that I could adjust it for true 0 degrees. Festool, what were you thinking here?
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline TXFIVEO

  • Posts: 297
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 08:28 PM »
My HKC has served me so well that I haven’t used my TS75 in well over 3 months.  I use the HKC on EVERY job to cut 6/4 White Oak, Poplar, Alder, Douglas Fir, etc..I’ve used to for 90 and 45 degree cuts with zero issues. 

Will have to purposely use my TS75 on my next job ONLY to put some use on it.   HKC has served me well.  It’s one of those tools I wish I would have gotten much sooner...

Offline safety1st

  • Posts: 181
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2019, 07:41 PM »
finally getting a chance to post the cuts that i see.

you can see a lot of fuzz in the cuts. is this not typical?

yes, the cuts look pretty clean!

still haven't gotten a chance to reproduce my issue with the basic 2x3 lumber.
i'll also fully charge my battery and retry.

thanks!

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2019, 08:53 PM »
Do you have another tool, like a table saw or miter saw, that you could cut the same wood to compare?  That fine does appear soft and fibrous, so see how it cuts on another tool with a good blade.
-Raj

Offline safety1st

  • Posts: 181
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2019, 11:39 AM »
Oh yes get much cleaner/smooth cuts with table/miter saw.

I contacted festool USA and they said I need the fine blade for finer cuts.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4219
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2019, 01:01 PM »
finally getting a chance to post the cuts that i see.

you can see a lot of fuzz in the cuts. is this not typical?

yes, the cuts look pretty clean!

still haven't gotten a chance to reproduce my issue with the basic 2x3 lumber.
i'll also fully charge my battery and retry.

thanks!

Is that wood dry? Looks like most of the pieces are wet-ish which will allow fibers to bend and avoid getting sheared cleanly.

Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2019, 01:17 PM »
With the standard blade I get occasional rought cuts when chopping down studs. If they are bone dry does not really matter. There is a difference in the quality of pine over here, depending on where it has been harvested I guess. Some types are quite splintery, as are the off cuts. For wooden wall studs it is generally not a problem and I prefer "fast cuts" to "no guts" in this case. 

With a finer blade the cut is a little bit slower and the cut better, but off cuts are still a bit frayed.

Overall I think the HKC55 and FSC250 has been a bit of a game changer for me in terms of how I work. Great machine. I don't use it for work that requires the best quality cut but it certainly has a place for me as a go to saw for a lot of jobs. 
Festool:  CS 50EB precisio set, Domino DF500, DF XL 700, OFK500 edge router, OF1010 router EHL65 planer, CTL Mini/Midi Vac, CTL 26 vac MFT800+1080 tables
DSC-AG Grinder,  RAS 115
Rotex 150, ETS EC 150/5 RTS400
Drills: T18, BHC18, CXS.
SysLite KAL II, SYS Rock.
Sys- and Sortainers galore.

Line up has been reduced with the introduction of Mafell/Metabo tools. Red Green and Blue do mix well in the shop.

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 510
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2019, 03:19 PM »
Think I've had my HKC for three years or so and during that time I've absolutely hammered it on site.
I paid good money for it so its got to pay its way, its looked after but not babied.

As far as the cut edge not being perfect? Who leaves a bit of second fix timber with a visible cut edge?

Decking and cladding, maybe but internal finish timber? Naah. I don't even like leaving end grain visible.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1751
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2019, 05:25 PM »
I think he's just trying to understand whether the cut quality is indicative of a problem.  Looking at the picture on a larger monitor, the 3rd piece down on the left side appears to be decent while the rest are ragged, which would suggest it's the wood, not the blade.  Try it again on something more dense?
-Raj

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6454
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2019, 05:42 PM »
FWIW...here's some 2" thick aromatic cedar.

The top piece was ripped with a TSC and a Panther blade.
The bottom piece was ripped with an HKC and a Panther blade.


Offline safety1st

  • Posts: 181
Re: HKC55 Review
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2019, 06:28 PM »
thanks all for the comments!

correct, i was just making sure that my unit doesn't have a problem.

true, i can try denser lumber. like you guys say, it could be the lumber.

I think he's just trying to understand whether the cut quality is indicative of a problem.  Looking at the picture on a larger monitor, the 3rd piece down on the left side appears to be decent while the rest are ragged, which would suggest it's the wood, not the blade.  Try it again on something more dense?