Festool for ripping vs table saw

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Forum topic by ChrisCarr posted 09-02-2012 02:15 PM 13218 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 3138 days

09-02-2012 02:15 PM

I have an old delta contractor saw that needs a new arbor shaft and a fence upgrade. I have thought about buying a new table saw in the $500 range instead. But am thinking about the festool plunge saw also. Would the festool be suitable for ripping lumber, assuming i have a guide and stops? Will it have enough power? I am a hobbiest and looking to start selling furniture i make. Space is tight so thats another reason i am considering it. Most the stuff i’ll rip will be under 2 inches thick. Am i wasting my time , should i just stick with a table saw?

16 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2932 days

#1 posted 09-02-2012 02:30 PM

Can’t go wrong with the green plunge (or the blue). 2”, the plunge can handle. If you’re rocking out that much sheet goods, have you considered a panel saw? I don’t own the Festool plunge, but I almost did, lol. If you can justify a beefy extractor, I’d buy the 75 and start the systainer collection:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View josephf's profile


213 posts in 2336 days

#2 posted 09-02-2012 03:04 PM

I have both festool trac saws .Small 55 does about everything I need it for .Yes a very valuable tool .I can straight line lumber for instance . Though I use my tablesaw also .They can be interchangeable but I feel they each have there specialities . If I could only have one or the other I would probable blow a gasket trying to figure which one to let go of

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2816 days

#3 posted 09-02-2012 03:12 PM

Compound tapered angle cuts are made with the Festool plunge saw and rail system as well.
Get a good ripping blade for the Festool and it will rip all day long. I like the Panther blade, others
like the Tenryu (sp?) blade.
Festool is spendy and works well with limited space. You’ll need a dust extractor and a dust
deputy is advised to save on bag replacement.
Welcome to the slippery slope, you’ll dig it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5240 posts in 2732 days

#4 posted 09-02-2012 07:44 PM

I have the 55, bought specifically for cutting sheet goods. Then I realized what a great tool it was for straight-edging rough sawn lumber, and it spends almost as much time doing that as cutting sheet goods. I still don’t see it as a substitute for a TS, but it does rip wood very well…of course, you do need the rip blade and the rails long enough to do whatever your cutting.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4132 days

#5 posted 09-02-2012 07:55 PM

If the Festool plunge saw is calibrated right, and used with their track, pending which one you buy, you can obtain perfect glue line rips up to approx., 2 7/8” deep for lengths determined by the track, and or tracks connected together (plus a long extension cord : ))

Changing the blade from a rip to cross cut, you can also obtain chip free cuts in veneer,

Its slower going then a TS for knocking out parts but I find it faster then a jointer for “joining edges” on large timbers

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3400 days

#6 posted 09-02-2012 07:55 PM

Each has their own purpose. Its not an apples to apples comparison IMO. One is portable, one is not, etc, etc, etc.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3887 days

#7 posted 09-02-2012 07:56 PM

Festool’s system doesn’t rip narrow strip stock or tapers without
considerable fuss. Festool fanatics have managed to come up
with ways to do all varieties of straight cuts with the system.

The larger Festool plunge saw will do better work on 8/4
hardwoods. I had the smaller Festool saw for many years
and straight lined a lot of boards with it. It can do it but
it’s not that fast and the way the clamping system works
the board you are straight lining needs to be about 5” wide
or more.

There’s an aftermarket usa made guide rail system that does
a better job with clamping the guide to narrow boards.
People love to argue about the virtues of Festool versus
its competitors. Festool’s tool designs and integrated
dust collection are excellent. The dollar cost to make
all cabinetmaking and lumber straight and panel squaring
cuts with the Festool guide rail system really gets so
high that you could afford a professionally-fitted table saw
for what you’d spend on the Festool straight sawing gear.

For cutting 8/4 lumber straight lines a lot I’d bet on a
worm drive or hypoid saw getting the job done faster, though
the plunge saws have a riving knife that can make
ripping hardwoods feel more predictable and reduce
binding and burning.

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2872 days

#8 posted 09-03-2012 01:37 AM

Wait. Hold the phone. A track saw is a viable method for jointing rough lumber???
I honestly had no idea. Never occurred to me.
I’ve always looked at a track saw as a power tool that would be nice to own. And I’ve (briefly) considered buying the Makita version in the past. But its always been somewhere around #87 on my tool purchase priority list.
This changes everything. I only have a small, 50 year old, 4 3/8 jointer. It works great for smaller work, but its useless for larger pieces. I don’t really have the space for a larger jointer. At the same time, my tiny shop makes working with sheet goods a real PITA. The sheet good issue, by itself, wasn’t a good enough reason to buy a $500 track saw. But I’m now learning that a track saw can solve two of my biggest woodworking hassles….....It looks like I need to start comparing the Festool, Makita, and Dewalt again.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2803 days

#9 posted 09-03-2012 03:33 AM

the festool is freaking nice

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View timrowledge's profile


45 posts in 3772 days

#10 posted 09-03-2012 04:03 AM

I’ve used my ts55 so much while building the house that I just couldn’t imagine not having it. Perhaps the least-good aspect is cross-cutting; the angle guide+track is a bit tricky to use with planks as opposed to sheet material. If you could afford an extra section of track I’d suggest getting one a bit longer thayou think you need and cutting 12-18” off to use as a short section for short cross-cuts.
A 12 tooth rip blade is near-essential; a 28 tooth is useful for fast rough cuts and the standard 48 tooth combo is excellent for high quality trimming.
A really, really useful accessory that I wouldn’t want to be without is a large chunk of EPS. We had a couple of 8×4 sheets of 6” thick (spares from the roof insulation) that have done sterling service as workbench, painting table, assembly surface and even daybed for hangover recovery. EPS won’t damage a protruding blade.

View James 's profile


138 posts in 3165 days

#11 posted 09-03-2012 04:23 AM

I had a TS55, I bought it because I thought it would make for a great table saw replacement and what I was wrong. Yes it does rip stock but not well, sheet goods all day but when you get into harder woods like purple hard and hard maple the saw bogs down and the cut is not as clean as on a table saw. I only had a few tools so I was limited by how much stuff I could really make, got frustrated and ended selling the TS55 and have not bought anything else since selling it. The TS55 is a good if you are working primarily with sheet goods but I would recommend a table saw, which has a lot more versatility IMHO. I got caught up in the Festool hype and thought I would find woodworking bliss. Unless you can get several other tools to complement the TS55 is just not worth it.


View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 3261 days

#12 posted 09-03-2012 05:11 AM

Have you considered other tasks (besides ripping) that you will be doing in your furniture making? I regularly cut dadoes, rabbits and tenons on my TS. I’ve also used it to raise panels, cut large coves, make box joints, and probably a number of other tasks. All of these tasks could be done on other tools (assuming you own those tools too) but I find the TS to be the one that does them most efficiently. If you’re going to trying to produce furniture for profit, you have to remember that your time is money too. I couldn’t imagine trying to build furniture for profit without a TS.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View ProDrawerCom's profile


13 posts in 2333 days

#13 posted 09-03-2012 05:19 PM

I have a Unisaw and a Festool TS-55. In my opinion there is no substitute for a table saw. I bought the Festool to do the one thing I don’t like using a table saw for: squaring plywood (large cross-cuts). And here’s a device I came up with to make it easier.

View MikeyCZ's profile


31 posts in 1643 days

#14 posted 09-17-2014 04:41 PM

I agree with Sawdust4blood. There is no substitute for a good TS in your shop if you are looking to make furniture for profit. They’re both great tools but I wouldn’t replace one for the other. The TS is very versatile and is great for joinery and quick, accurate cuts. It can cut small pieces MUCH easier than a track saw. However, the track saw makes it much easier to work alone. Trying to rip large pieces of plywood by yourself on a TS is difficult without a good set up. I have a Makita and a Festool TS 75 and both are great. Tesdor, if you’re looking to purchase a track saw to use as a jointer for rough cut wood, go with the TS 75. The Makita I have is great for cutting sheet goods but is nowhere near powerful enough to use on thick rough cut hardwood. Even with a good 12 tooth ripping blade. Believe me I tried and burned up the motor. Thats why I got the TS 75. Makita was good about replacing it free of charge because it was supposed to have an overload protector. I’m assuming the TS 55 is underpowered as well from James’ post. The TS 75 has the power and with the right blades for the situation, will cut/joint thick hardwood and make clean, splinter free cuts in plywood. Chris, its hard to say which one. I would go with the table saw unless the majority of what you need it for is ripping boards. IMHO. Hope that helps a little.

View Mike Throckmorton's profile

Mike Throckmorton

124 posts in 1904 days

#15 posted 09-17-2014 05:23 PM

You can do a lot with a track saw, but in terms of time expended, cutting sheet goods (or other large items) is the big win.

With a table saw, you can bang out rips in no time. With a track saw, time gets burnt setting up to make the cut.

Cutting sheet goods with a table saw is just misery. You can get final cuts in one go with a good track saw (or even properly jigged up circular saw).

I have the TS-75. The festool blade is a dream. Mine cuts great even after making a clean 1/8” deep groove through my steel vise. Whoops.

I can bust up a 4×8 sheet into components in a trice (or maybe half-trice), not counting layout time. Rips and crosscuts. Without the physical pain of horsing the sheet through a table saw. Don’t want to do that any more.

-- You are never complete, you just draw a line where done is and stop at that line.

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