|Review by Mark Colan||posted 08-20-2010 01:57 AM||3876 views||0 times favorited||16 comments|
[I originally published this on Amazon. If you find it useful, I’d appreciate it if you went there and clicked “Yes” (useful) just below my review.]
The product is useful, and speeds up panel cuts (etc), but it is far from perfect.
When cutting a sheet of 4-foot-wide 3/4” plywood, it clamps securely, but the guide can flex significantly if you push too hard in the middle, resulting in a cut that is not straight. The less wide the wood, the less of an issue this is.
I was able to push mine more than the reported 1/16” in the middle when used across a sheet of plywood (4’). To me, ANY amount of flexing is a problem, because it is inevitable that I have to push the tool against the edge while cutting. However, use of the optional tool guides presumably reduces the problem, because when using them you don’t have to push against the guide.
Another reviewer suggested clamping a piece of the wood to support the middle of the straight-edge. A good solution, but it takes away from the instant-setup convenience this tool is said to offer.
Years ago I bought an aluminum straight edge called Cutters Edge II. I can’t find it in google so I assume it is no longer available. It was substantially more rigid than this one, and it came in two 4’ lengths which could be joined together. However, its clamping system was much less convenient than this one.
I have not tried it yet, but I suspect this guide would not work well for very thin sheets, such as plywood less than 1/4”. Because the clamps rely on edge-to-edge force, thin sheets have the potential to bow with this kind of clamping force applied.
The All-in-One Clamp Guide seems to be best suited to 90-degree cuts, yet they do not have any means of ensuring that the cut will be square. There is a squaring attachment (wide jaws), but measuring and/or checking with a square will still be required.
I only just learned about the “Ultra” model that is 100 inches long. That’s the tool I really need (for ripping sheets), and I wish I had bought it instead. Being wider, it should flex less, however with its longer span, it is more subject to flexing. But it’s expensive, and I could easily build my own jig, albeit using clamps that are not as quick to use, but with immeasurable flexing.
-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA