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Thread: which tool?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default which tool?

    So I just sold my baby (my project car. not one of my kids though its tempting sometimes) I plan on taking some of the money and investing in a new tool or two. The things I feel I need most are:
    decent table saw- right now I only have a portable hitachi table saw and while I am able to use it for a ton of things I feel like I need a bigger/more accurate one. Cant use dado blades on what I have now either. I havent really looked much and have no idea what saw would work best for me. I probably wouldnt be as inclined to get a new table saw if I had a decent portable one
    track saw- I rip alot of plywood and am always clamping boards to run my circ saw against or running full sheets through my portable TS. Im thinking maybe its time for my first festool for this one. I would get the dust collection system if I got the festool but am not sure what size DC to get. Also how well does the DC system work with non festools? Say my 10"bosch miter saw for instance
    Clam Clamps- saw these in a post somewhere and they look like something I could use alot and if not they are one of those tools that will make you look like your a 10th degree master carpenter (you'd be surprized how many clients are amazed by my kreg poket hole jig)
    Domino-I would use one for built in face frames but I dont do a huge number of them and I'm not sure the price of the domino is worth it for me at this time. I like tools that are very versitile and I think the domino could probably wait for a while. I do want one though.
    Lr 32 - The hole punching system. This will probably wait too I guess unless it does alot more than punch holes

    I haven't really done too much research on any of these tools yet. My biggest debate is shop table saw or track saw w/ dust collecton. While I do a lot of things on my table saw I also do a lot of things on the road but a track saw is limited in what it can be used for. I think the dust collection is something I would really like to have though.

    Don't ask me what type of carpentry I do most because I'm not even sure but I guess I would say I am gearing towards built ins. If any of this makes any sense I would appreciate the insight from peers who have built up their tool arsenal and can look back and see what the difference makers were. The pocket hole jig and multi master are the two biggest game changers I have I think. I'm looking for the next one.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington
    Posts
    13,029

    Default Re: which tool?

    Hmmm... seems like you probably should get most or all of it. Tablesaw... track saw... domino... what can we spend here?
    Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
    Website - Facebook

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: which tool?

    Track saw, it will be a nice addition. Only regret I have about mine is how long I waited to purchase it.
    If your using it in the field more than in a shop, the Midi vacuum. Shop CT26 or CT3?.
    Compatibility with other tools, depends on tool.
    I use my Domino often. I don't have the LR32.

    I also only have a portable table saw. Not sure I want a cabinet saw.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Danbury area of western CT
    Posts
    4,441

    Default Re: which tool?

    What "baby" did you unload, if that's not too personal and won't cause emotional stress ;-)

    Phil
    It's better to try and fail, than fail to try.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    glastonbury ct
    Posts
    362

    Default Re: which tool?

    If your TS is decent enough a track saw would be a great compliment, but you will also need a five foot and nine foot rail to effectively process sheet goods. The CT 26 will be just fine for shop/on the go needs. If you do alot of builtins the domino and LR 32 will blow away the tools you are currently using for thise functions. You would need to buy the OF 1400 router to work with the LR32 bc the OF 1010 is underpowered and the 1400 is the do it all of the Festool family and can be used with edge guides and rails to do dados. Wont need a dado cutter. The domino has endless possiblities in carcass, FF, drawer, and door applications. Honestly i have a lot of respect for anyone who can do builtins without the Festool system.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    glastonbury ct
    Posts
    362

    Default Re: which tool?

    Oh yeah, you will also want one MFT to start, im up to three, two for the shop and one for the road. I use four saw horses with a sheet of 3/4 shop with one inch thick sheet of foam. I put sheet of ply down, set saw for an 1/8" more then the material and line up the rail and cut into the foam. After hundreds of cuts i get new foam. I take sections that are manageable over to the MFT and make repeatable cuts. If you have two MFTs together you can get repeatable cuts up to 41x55. If you have one its app 24x55. Festools are amazing and expensive, but pieces larger then that have a level of human error. Did i mention the drills...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Berwyn, PA
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: which tool?

    Always a tough question...

    Track saw is pretty much agreed upon as being completely awesome: cutting doors, plywood, tapered extension jambs, cabinet scribes, cutting flooring out for a hearth, it goes on and on... Definitely not a "limited" tool (except it can't scoop ice cream)

    As far as guide rails- I like to have a long one (2800mm or two 1400mm joined) and one 1400mm that way I can go back and forth between ripping and crosscutting (doors, plywood, whatever)

    Domino- I love this tool. Not really necessary for face frames (I use pocket screws) I do use it to align FF on carcass, though. It is also nice for lining up shelf edges, and I do make some cabinet doors with it as well as it being awesome for fixed shelves.

    I don't have the hole drilling set up- that's like $1000 by the time you get the set up and router and all the do-dads that go with it.

    DC- I use a fein. The are really nice, quiet, very durable, and quite a bit less expensive than Festool, although you save some $ when you buy a tool and DC together.

    Oh yeah- I use the MFT- ALOT. It is overpriced, sort of. I do think it is too expensive, but I am always glad I have it. I have the one with the protractor and rail, but ever since buying the parallel guides, I don't use that stuff much anymore.

    Good luck
    Josh O.


    "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. "

    - Michelangelo-

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: which tool?

    Is the track saw rail specific to the track saw and the LR32 rail specific to router set ups? For instance if I got a 9' rail for the track saw could it double as a rail to dado with a router? If it is compatable do I need a festool router or will my bosch routers work?
    After an hour straight of sanding today I'm thinking maybe a nice festool orbital sander is in order as well. Any recommendations there? I haven't even looked at sanders yet. I really wanted to spend $1500 maybe $2000 for now. So it might be just the track saw setup with longer rail, paralell guide and dust collector or ditch the DC and add a sander + some other small stuff or domino. Decisions, decisions. Anyone know when the next Festool 50% off sale is?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    london, england/frederick,md
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: which tool?

    The track profiles are the same, but the LR32 requires the track/rail with the holes. They are a little more expensive than the regular rails/track but the saw can be used on it as well. All the rails can be used with routers for rabbets and dado work. But only the ones with holes work with the lr32 set up. I wouldn't skip the dust collection. A good basic sander is the 150/6 inch random orbit with the 5 mm rotation. The 50% off sale. I think it's called Armageddon. If you are planning on a lot of routing, you want to consider an additional 36 mm hose. I think the best first step is the track saw, a few rails, a vac and maybe a basic sander. Get to know the system then figure out what you actually need.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: which tool?

    The sanders are two different animals without dust collection. You will have to learn how to adjust both to work in harmony. If you had a lot of rough in sanding in that hour, a Rotex would be your better choice. They rough and finish sand. You will hate the Rotex for about a week.

    Put the dust collector first, build from there. You mentioned a Domino, you can use it without dust extraction, you just have to change the bit every couple of holes.

    I also have the MFT, crazy how handy it is. I use mine to cross cut the ripped panels. Properly set up it is as accurate as anything on the market.

    As mentioned rails interchange and connect.

    When you purchase the saw get the CT. There is a discount on the package. Ask the dealer to substitute the standard rail for a LR 32 rail.

    Call Tom, great service;

    https://www.tool-home.com/products/catalog/login.php

    Is Phil going to get an answer to his question? I am wondering also.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    glastonbury ct
    Posts
    362

    Default Re: which tool?

    RO150 and ETS125 is the perfect combination of stock removal/rough sanding and light duty sanding, like FFs. Eric

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Ashland,Ma.
    Posts
    590

    Default Re: which tool?

    Track saw top of the list, get one short rail for the lr32 so you have it. Dust collector next. I would try the sanders before I bought one I was ready for one a couple of years ago but when I tried it I just did not like the feel and for the money it should feel right.[to me at-least]
    Tom D.

    more tools please.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,654

    Default Re: which tool?

    Track saw first. I prefer the Makita, the rails are interchangeable. You can also make rails easily in various lengths
    Vac for sure, Festool is nice but others will work fine.
    Hole puncher only if you do a lot of holes. A cheap Rockler or similar guide works very well, just not for volume work.
    Table saw - get the small DeWalt and set up the Hitachi in the shop with long outfeed, etc. Not ideal, but you already own it.
    Domino - only if you can use it a lot and it saves you time on the kind of work you do.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    glastonbury ct
    Posts
    362

    Default Re: which tool?

    Whatever you do, get the DC and another tool in a package. Everyone loves savings and none of the Festool tools were made to be used without DC. The CT26 will do everything you need and can be picked up and put in your truck. The little ones are way to small if you are a pro and the larger ones are only practical for shop use. I just bought the longlife bag for a whopping $205 and its actually gonna save me $ compared to buying those worthless paper bags. There are a million hidden costs with Festool. I have way more then $2000 in accessories. Try to do the most homework you can to see what youre getting into. Unfortunately all the Festool extras really work. If you wanna buy two small rails and connectors i will give you the deal of the century to get you started, Eric

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: which tool?

    My "baby" that I was referring to probably won't be that exciting to most but it was a 1991 VW GTI that I had suped up to about 400 hp. Had it for a while and it had some sentimental value to me. Showed many 'Vette owners my tail lights. Just grew out of it and hadn't drive it since last July. So I sold it to pay off some bills, toss a few bucks into the savings account and plan on buying some tools cause there's nothing better than getting a new tool and staying up all night to see what you've been missing.
    As far as other brands over the festool ts55 and DC I don't think the price is that big a difference to get a brand that it seems most would rate #1. Now the miter saw would be a different story because I love my Bosch and don't see how much better a miter saw could get to justify paying twice as much. I could be wrong.
    It looks like I'll be going for the TS55 and CT26? I'll probably grab a 9' rail as well. I think I'll have to get one of the sanders as well but will have to look in to those a bit more. Right now I use a 5" Milwaukee and I get impatient with it and probably stop short of finishing the sand on projects now and then. Could be that usually by the time I get to the finish sand I'm covered in dust and my contacts are shriveled up and dried out. Hoping the DC changes that.
    I've pretty much taken the domino off the immediate list mostly due to cost. I can make due with pocket screws and biscuits for now. Been doing ok with them this far.
    The table saw is something I am also putting on the Christmas list. I'll make due for now and hopefully the track saw will really cut down on the need for it. The hitachi works and it's light and easy to transport. Power isn't that big of an issue as long as the blade is sharp. My biggest gripe is the p.o.s. fence but I'm used to it at least.
    MFT's look cool but as long as I don't know what I'm missing I have a few different sized tables I made up that sit on top of horses and will do for now.
    Thanks for all the advice. Now to figure out where to buy.

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