Author Topic: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?  (Read 13454 times)

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Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1186
parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« on: May 10, 2009, 11:05 PM »
I am in the process of selling my cabinet saw for a variety of reasons, primary being space concerns.  Once gone, it leaves me a choice to have to make.  Do I get a small, portable table saw like the Bosch or will the new parallel guide set adequately replace my cabinet saw?   I mostly do smaller projects, i.e. cutting boards, in-box trays, smaller stuff.  I would be concerned about the parallel guides ability to allow me to rip say a 1x4 in half that may be 4' long.  I don't know that much about the system yet.  What's the real world answer to those of you who have gone completely Festool and no longer own a cabinet saw?  Can you operate without one efficiently?  Will I be happy with just having the PG's? 
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 11:06 PM by HowardH »
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, Trion, MFT/3, T15, OF 1400, RO150FEQ, TS55, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router and jig saw plates.  Sawstop contractor.

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Offline woodshopdemos

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  • Posts: 759
    • Woodshop Demos - 1400 pages of how-to
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2009, 11:20 PM »
Howard,
   This is my favorite subject. I sold my trusty Unisaw about 9 months ago and am doing everything that I used to do. Check out my website...(www.woodshopdemos.com). You will see many projects using the plunge saw and the guide rail. Yes, there are many other Festool products in my shop but the plunge saaw and guide rail is where it starts. By the way, I think there are about 120 pages of Festool uses and a few photos of my favorite ashop assistants.



Here is a url for the Festool submeni:  http://www.woodshopdemos.com/men-fes.htm
In memory of John Lucas (1937 - 2010)

Offline Tom Bainbridge

  • Posts: 1009
  • Limey Carpenter
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2009, 11:22 PM »
the parallel guides wont do everything

after you have ripped a piece of timber by hand

you will go and buy a tablesaw
Bromley, Kent. UK

aka dirtydeeds

Offline Tom Bainbridge

  • Posts: 1009
  • Limey Carpenter
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2009, 11:24 PM »
well that looks like two totally different points of view already  ::)
Bromley, Kent. UK

aka dirtydeeds

Online tallgrass

  • Posts: 877
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 12:10 AM »
here is the truth about this........it all depends...... ;D ;D ;D :P

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 984
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 01:13 AM »
Everything depends on whether or not you have an MFT 3.  If you do then you need to check out Steve Jones new invention in the Amazing Inventions forum.  If you don't have an MFT 3 get the Bosch. 

I wouldn't get the FS-PA/VL unless I intended to use it frequently to break down 4x8 sheet goods.
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1186
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 09:52 AM »
Howard,
   This is my favorite subject. I sold my trusty Unisaw about 9 months ago and am doing everything that I used to do. Check out my website...(www.woodshopdemos.com). You will see many projects using the plunge saw and the guide rail. Yes, there are many other Festool products in my shop but the plunge saaw and guide rail is where it starts. By the way, I think there are about 120 pages of Festool uses and a few photos of my favorite ashop assistants.



Here is a url for the Festool submeni:  http://www.woodshopdemos.com/men-fes.htm

John, I remembered that you made the switch.  I'll have to go back out to your website and see how you use your system to make smaller cuts.

Everything depends on whether or not you have an MFT 3.  If you do then you need to check out Steve Jones new invention in the Amazing Inventions forum.  If you don't have an MFT 3 get the Bosch. 

I wouldn't get the FS-PA/VL unless I intended to use it frequently to break down 4x8 sheet goods.


I have the original MFT but have lusted after the new one. 

If the new parallel guide system is only really useful for breaking down sheet goods, then it isn't a good fit for me.  I do very little of that work.  I can get accurate enough when I do that kind of thing with the pink foam and a sharp pencil.  I looked at the Bosch the other day and it seems kinda plasticky to me.  I guess they have to do that to keep the weight down.   
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, Trion, MFT/3, T15, OF 1400, RO150FEQ, TS55, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router and jig saw plates.  Sawstop contractor.

Offline Jerry Work

  • Posts: 307
    • The Dovetail Joint
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2009, 11:26 AM »
Hi Howard,

I addressed this very question in a short tutorial I wrote that is available for free download from my web site (http://jerrywork.com) or from Festool, the previous month's Shop Notes IIRC, or from several of the Festool dealers including Highland Hardware in Atlanta. 

With the parallel guide set, guide rails and a guide rail saw you can do most things you would do on a table saw and do them safer.  If you work with sheet goods primarily, then I think it is no contest - the guide rail & parallel guide set wins hands down from my perspective.  Ripping narrow stock is a task not well suited to a table saw (too dangerous for my taste) and does take some set up time to do with guide rails but can be done quickly and safely once you practice a bit.  Nearly everything else can be done easily and quickly with the guide rails.  If you have MFTs buy a set of 20mm bench dogs or bolts and use those to more quickly position the rails for many tasks since the holes in the MFTs are machined to by very uniform and are exactly 90- degrees one to another.  I rarely use the guide rail tipping fixture attached to the sides of the MFT any more as I like the freedom to position my work piece and the guide rail using other means that are faster and more accurate for the way I work.  I keep nine MFTs busy all the time in my studio set up as reconfigurable jigs for the piece(s) I am building at the moment, squaring units for glue ups and the ever present book matched panel gluing.

The safest and fastest way to rip narrow stock is on a band saw (rip to rough width) and then plane to exact width but that takes two pieces of equipment you may or may not have available.  As John L. has shown so well, if you adjust your work processes and practice a bit with the new way of working you will get just as good and just as fast with guide rails, the parallel guide set and the plunge saw as you now think you are with a table saw.  Your lungs will thank you for the change, your ten good fingers will thank you for the change, you will thank yourself every time you have to clean up without fighting the table saw legs or pedestal, and you will really like the extra space/flexibility you free up in our work area.

Because I build largely with solid woods, I still have and use a European combination machine largely for the jointer/planer but also because the saw has a sliding table that is calibrated to exactly 90 degrees and the stops to exact measurements from the blade.  I rarely use the rip fence or the shaper or the horizontal mortiser any more as I prefer to do all of those things with the guide rails, saws, routers and the Domino machine.  Hope this helps.

Jerry
The Dovetail Joint
Fine furniture designed and hand crafted by Jerry Work
in the 1907 former Masonic Temple building
in historic Kerby, OR. 
26 mi SW of Grants Pass on US 199, The Redwood Highway
Visitors always welcome!
http://jerrywork.com
glwork@mac.com

Offline HJHMD

  • Posts: 10
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2009, 03:43 PM »
Jerry,
You have done it again ! You have a marvelous ability to put it all together in a very thoughtful and concise way. You are such a great asset to this forum. Thanks again !

                    Jim

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 984
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 01:34 AM »
If the new parallel guide system is only really useful for breaking down sheet goods, then it isn't a good fit for me.  I do very little of that work.  I can get accurate enough when I do that kind of thing with the pink foam and a sharp pencil.  I looked at the Bosch the other day and it seems kinda plasticky to me.  I guess they have to do that to keep the weight down.   

You need a smaller foot print, the Bosch certainly gives you that.  The name brand bench top saws are pretty much all plastic with some sort of alloy table.  The Bosch may be the leader of the pack with it's quick release true riving knife and digital fence and host of add ons but it's still a plastic bench top saw.  You fold them up and put them away.  The current crop are great little tools.  The DeWalt and Ridgid also have splitters that are actually riving knives.  They all have dust collection of some sort.  A shroud around the blade or something.  In my opinion, riving knives change the nature of the beast.  A table saw with a proper riving knife is just a different tool.  Kickback is all but eliminated.  It FEELS different to me.

Jerry and John make good points though.  Try using your TS55 exclusively and if you can't stand it then get a bench top saw.  Either way you don't need a parallel guide.  Here's a cross section of a cutting platform I made specifically for making narrow rips from narrow stock.



The little 1/4" thick fence is made by screwing a piece of mdf down to the platform so that some would stick out past the edge of the guide.  Make sure the screws are under the guide of course.  Then you lay the guide down on it butted against the backstop and rip of the excess using the blade you intend for ripping hardwood.  I made a bunch of spacers of various sizes.

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

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3721
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 06:53 AM »
Howard,
   This is my favorite subject. I sold my trusty Unisaw about 9 months ago and am doing everything that I used to do. Check out my website...(www.woodshopdemos.com). You will see many projects using the plunge saw and the guide rail. Yes, there are many other Festool products in my shop but the plunge saaw and guide rail is where it starts. By the way, I think there are about 120 pages of Festool uses and a few photos of my favorite ashop assistants.



Here is a url for the Festool submeni:  http://www.woodshopdemos.com/men-fes.htm

What's this?  I thought it was 120 pages with photos of favorite shop assistants with a few tools thrown in.
surprised
Tinker

PS:  John, I have not forgotten about your DVD.  Just waiting for spring rush to level out so income overcomes out go

Wayne H. Tinker

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1186
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 10:10 PM »
that jig you made was very cleaver!  I had to look at it a couple of times before my brain engaged to understand what you explaining.  I see where you would have to make quite a few spacers of different widths if you don't simply do standard sizes.  I am going to have to rip a bunch of poplar pretty soon for the rails and stiles of the kitchen cabinet refacing project coming up soon.  That jig would make short work of that.  Thanks!
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, Trion, MFT/3, T15, OF 1400, RO150FEQ, TS55, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router and jig saw plates.  Sawstop contractor.

Offline Ashlee52

  • Posts: 15
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 11:12 PM »
Fshanno

That is a killer jig... I think you just saved me the price of a SawStop.

I need to rip some 20 foot 1x1.5's for building a kayak... and I can easily see how to do that with the jig... cut 8 feet, then slide the board and saw back to the beginning and continue the cut. Probably easier than feeding a 20 foot board through a table saw.

Ash

Offline Greg_R

  • Posts: 153
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 03:23 PM »
I built a few projects using only Festool and came to the following conclusions:

1) A good table saw or bandsaw will allow faster setup and feed rates for cuts.  Not an issue for hobbyists. 
2) Small pieces (cut 1" off a 3" piece) are hard / dangerous to cut with a Festool TS or chop saw.  Hold-downs with a destructible fence (or hand tools) were the safest way I could find for accomplishing that operation.

For cabinet projects, I was able to complete everything with the TS55 and Domino.  For other furniture containing small pieces, I found that I had to go back to the table or band saw.

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 984
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 04:40 PM »
that jig you made was very cleaver!  I had to look at it a couple of times before my brain engaged to understand what you explaining.  I see where you would have to make quite a few spacers of different widths if you don't simply do standard sizes.  I am going to have to rip a bunch of poplar pretty soon for the rails and stiles of the kitchen cabinet refacing project coming up soon.  That jig would make short work of that.  Thanks!

Howard,

I do have quite a few spacers.  I've got them in 1/4 increments from 1 1/2" to 4".  Pluse 1 7/8" and 2 1/8".  The natural improvement is to have a movable stop mechanism.  I thought about the clamps that comes with miter saws.  I also thought about a piece of T track that runs through the back stop like this.....



Notice in this drawing that the fence is just a complete board the width of the guide.  Total support.  You could have boards the length of your platform in useful thicknesses.  The beauty of this rig is the guide is not attached to anything and nothing is attached to the guide.

One thing I highly recommend if you're going to use a cutting platform like this.  Use your vac!  Plus get a little cordless leaf blower and keep it handy.  One piece of saw dust can make you very unhappy. 

The more I think about it the more I think Jerry is right about the table saw.  This is really not a bad setup is it?  You can easily make narrow rips down to 1/4".  And you can rip just about anything you want including base molding and casing trim.  Tell you what.  Hold off on the bench top saw and give a platform like this a try.  You can make one for each guide length.
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 984
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2009, 05:30 PM »
I built a few projects using only Festool and came to the following conclusions:

1) A good table saw or bandsaw will allow faster setup and feed rates for cuts.  Not an issue for hobbyists. 
2) Small pieces (cut 1" off a 3" piece) are hard / dangerous to cut with a Festool TS or chop saw.  Hold-downs with a destructible fence (or hand tools) were the safest way I could find for accomplishing that operation.

For cabinet projects, I was able to complete everything with the TS55 and Domino.  For other furniture containing small pieces, I found that I had to go back to the table or band saw.

I disagree.  The clamping action of the guide on the MFT makes cutting short pieces eminently easy and safe.

Here's the first piece.  I want to split the lines.  Imagine they are sides of a laser.

15151-0

Here's the setup.  I have a board on the off side of the guide so the cut will be square.

15153-1

Here's the result.

15155-2

Are we done?  I don't think so.  One more cut.

15157-3

Both hands were on the saw for both cuts.  No clamps or sacrificial pieces.  Just the weight of the saw on the guide plus a board of the same thickness to support the back side of the guide.

The TS55 on the MFT is almost miraculous don't you think?

But wait there's much more.







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

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 984
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2009, 06:37 PM »
How about those thin rips from thin stock?  Okay, let's rock.

We'll start with a fairly wide 3/4"  thick by 8' long board. 

How about 0.60" wide at it's narrowest.

15159-0

Here's the setup.  We'll shoot for a 0.150 rip.

15161-1

The cut is made.

15163-2

I felt like it was a safe cut.  Nothing remarkable or unexpected.

Two pieces

15165-3

Let's check the width.

15167-4

Not bad.  I didn't have any 0.15 spacers so I just offset the guide with the calipers.

But that off piece is still pretty wide.  What say let's rip it down to size a bit more?











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

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 984
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2009, 07:00 PM »
This piece of 8' long European beech is unacceptably wide wouldn't you say?  We'll take care of that with our TS55.

15169-0

We're going for 0.16 on this one and we make the cut.

15171-1

Not a bad result.  Let's check the width.

Two thousands off at the end.  Oh well.

15173-2

On the mark in the middle.

15175-3

And on the money at the beginning.

15177-4

Also the cut is extremely smooth.  Right this minute it's better than I can get with my new Ridgid granite top hybrid, but that's with the gimme blade that came with it.  I've got a Forrest on order.

15179-5

You can't tell with my stupid phone camera but I'd be happy to put a high res shot up if anyone wants one but really, it's a very smooth cut.

You could make this cut on a table saw with a sacrificial push stick but it would be a little dicey if you ask me.

Festool should send me some tools to test and we'll see how many angstroms we can get down to.





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

Offline Benjamin Miner

  • Posts: 43
    • Benjamin Miner Fine Carpentry
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2009, 12:01 PM »
Howard - from the tone of your post, and what we've seen here, it seems as though you might be able to do without a table saw. In cases where working cabinet shop production is a concern, you would be hard pressed to get away without owning a 5 figure sliding table saw. But if you don't have room, you could do a lot worse than to switch over. I built an entire library without using the table saw until the end, to rip molding. If anyone's figured out a way to do that with guide rails, I'd be very curious to see it!

My own feeling on the matter is that any shop needs a decent table saw (this is all relative - the Bosch portable is a great machine, and very well might serve the needs of a small shop), but that any shop should also have a Festool saw. They're so useful and so affordable, it's doing yourself a disservice not to have one around!
"I always felt like anyone who told me I couldn't live in the past was trying to get me t forget something which, if I remembered, would get them into serious trouble."

 - Utah Phillips

Offline worldburger

  • Posts: 46
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2019, 04:34 AM »
If the new parallel guide system is only really useful for breaking down sheet goods, then it isn't a good fit for me.  I do very little of that work.  I can get accurate enough when I do that kind of thing with the pink foam and a sharp pencil.  I looked at the Bosch the other day and it seems kinda plasticky to me.  I guess they have to do that to keep the weight down.   

You need a smaller foot print, the Bosch certainly gives you that.  The name brand bench top saws are pretty much all plastic with some sort of alloy table.  The Bosch may be the leader of the pack with it's quick release true riving knife and digital fence and host of add ons but it's still a plastic bench top saw.  You fold them up and put them away.  The current crop are great little tools.  The DeWalt and Ridgid also have splitters that are actually riving knives.  They all have dust collection of some sort.  A shroud around the blade or something.  In my opinion, riving knives change the nature of the beast.  A table saw with a proper riving knife is just a different tool.  Kickback is all but eliminated.  It FEELS different to me.

Jerry and John make good points though.  Try using your TS55 exclusively and if you can't stand it then get a bench top saw.  Either way you don't need a parallel guide.  Here's a cross section of a cutting platform I made specifically for making narrow rips from narrow stock.

(Attachment Link)

The little 1/4" thick fence is made by screwing a piece of mdf down to the platform so that some would stick out past the edge of the guide.  Make sure the screws are under the guide of course.  Then you lay the guide down on it butted against the backstop and rip of the excess using the blade you intend for ripping hardwood.  I made a bunch of spacers of various sizes.

Fshanno (or anyone else), any chance you have images of this setup? Nothing's loading and I'm curious to see how to accomplish something similar.

Conceptually, I think I have a rough idea, but I'm not able to lay it out effectively in my mind.

Came here through some google-fu. Wow, 10 year old thread :)

Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 65
Re: parallel guide set - replace the table saw?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2019, 12:05 PM »
lets say you are making a face frame and need to rip lots of boards at 2 1/2".  Do you use the table saw and get the job done in a 1/2 hour or do you make do with the parallel guides and the narrow stock adapter and get the job done in 3 or 4 hours ?

I also thought I could get rid of my table saw after 2+ years of not turning it on. My last project still would not be finished (ok, thats an exaggeration)  if I only used the parallel guides.  Yes the guides will do the job, but "maybe" not as accurately as the table saw and certainly not as fast.

 Now, I am thinking sell the Unisaw and buy that small SawStop Jobsite, that will do the narrow stock easily.
ex-cabinet maker, now I just play with wood