Depends entirely upon what you do.
Most cabinet/casework requires the dead-on accuracy that can best be
achieved by "batch cutting" of parts and I doubt seriously whether the
Festool saw will beat a table saw and fence combination for that.
Ask anyone who has to cut identical end panels for 20 or so cabinets whether
they would want to measure each, and set up the guide for all those cuts,
and you'll probably get a resounding "no".
I can certainly imagine using it to rough cut plywood to make it more
manageable in a small shop, but even for one cabinet, with only two panels
that need to be identical, I'd still put my money on a table saw and fence
for accuracy and efficiency.
Just my tuppence ...
I think I would focus on making the first one square, and the second
one close-but-slightly-larger. The template-following router bit is
my new best friend.
Of course, if I had a table saw with infeed and outfeed tables large
enough to stabilize a 4x8 sheet, there would be no where to stand in
my shop, so I am perhaps biased.
That's one way ... but a cabinet around here would be finished by the time
you got around to cutting out the end panels. :)
Don't feel bad, I can't cut a full sheet of plywood in my shop either, but
that hasn't stopped me, so far, from building _lots_ of cabinets ...
although I am getting a bit tired of barking my shins on, and tripping over,
I think the Festool is a superbly fine tool ... I just simply don't need the
one-off precision in most of my woodworking endeavors, so it would never
replace a table saw for cutting plywood for me.
me that for the amount of work I do, he would recommend a Festool saw.
Although expensive, it is still only 10% of a sliding table saw.
One of your other replies said it was inappropriate for 20 panels. Probably
true, but for the individual projects I do, I am going to give it a try.
If making the final cut w/ it is mandatory, may be worth it. I rigged
up a poor-man's panel saw w/ the Mag 77 and simply cut sheet goods to
rough size where can be handled on the table or RAS for final cutting.
Seems a much faster/cheaper alternative to me, but to each his own and
everybody has their own objectives and methods of work...
Not considering one, just an interesting comment, in view of my
Just got done cutting about 20 sheets or so of ply for kitchen
cabinets. Now that I'm nearly done (cutting, not the kitchen), I
hear this and pause to think, would that have been a better
alternative. When I started the project, I was in the mode of - I'm
saving soooo much $ doing this myself that it justifies tool
purchases. So, I mighta talked myself into one. Seems like it's
better that the option didn't enter my mind.
The way my shop's (and myself) set up, it's difficult for me to cut a
sheet by myself. I got neighbors to help so it hasn't been too bad.
But, cutting across the width doesn't fly since the shop's too narrow
(well, it won't be once I rearrange, move the wood storage out, but
that's too late for this project).
Since I'm gonna be send ole Robin (Lee) a decent size order soon, and
spending another few bucks on some other supplies, no way can I
splurge right now on this saw. Besides, I just "splurged" on the
Anyway, thanx for all the comments.
For the task you describe above, IMO you made an excellent decision by
resisting the temptation.
Providing you batch cut your cabinet panels/parts on a well setup table
saw/fence system, you are going to end up with a MUCH better chance of
SQUARE, identically dimensioned cabinets, than if you had cut each part of
like length and width individually with a circular saw, regardless of the
quality/accuracy of said circular saw.
Just the act of multiple measurements/setups is guaranteed to result in some
error, and measurement errors have a habit of accumulating.
By batch cutting on a table saw/fence system you reduce this phenomenon to
almost nil because all the parts are the same, regardless of whether their
final measurement is precisely what the plans call for.
And, by starting off with a SQUARE cabinet, you are going to save an
inestimable amount of time in installation and, VERY importantly, getting
your drawers, drawer fronts, and cabinet doors to fit properly without a lot
of extra work.
I once built cabinets without a good table saw and there is no circular saw
in the world that would make me voluntarily go back to that way of working,
for that type of work.
As usual, and depending upon what you do and how much time you have on your
As a guy who has built a lot of cabinets over the years, I have
hammered away at my guys that "sameness is goodness".
Not only do errors accumulate, as Swing pointed out, they follow you
around the entire process of building, all the way up to and including
installation. Hinge locations, drawer slides, doors and on and on....
I would spend at least one day per month babying my sliding table saw
(with scoring blade...another challenge in itself) cleaning the linear
bearings and slides, blade alignments, fence alignments etc, to assure
'sameness' and "squareness".
Now, if I HAD to do it manually, the Festool system would be on top of
my list. I'd be pretty confident that with some diligence and
patience, I'd come pretty close. BUT.. at a snail's pace and with lots
of room for screwing up.
Last year I cut up 27 sheets of plywood for 2 kitchens for Swingman and this
year 15 sheets for another kitchen. The TS is certainly the way to go. If
you did not have a TS and you do a lot of on the job cutting where hauling a
TS around with you is not practicle the Festool Saw and the Festtool table
would be a pretty good decision IMHO for the smaller jobs. With the table
and the saw/fence you can make repeated angle and square cuts, however
probably still not as accurately as a TS.
If you are cutting plywood to rough demensions to later be accurately cut on
the TS a good circle saw would probably do you although the Festool guide
fence does not need to be clamped down and that in it self would save time
if you want to make straight cuts.
For the record, every woodworker needs to experience the phenomenon of
working with a clone of himself, and finding a clone a tee bit smarter, at
least in the other's shop, is a plus. Working with Leon is like that and
proves that Great Minds do think a like ... if not look alike.
... I'm the good looking one. <g d & r>
| The way my shop's (and myself) set up, it's difficult for me to cut
| a sheet by myself. I got neighbors to help so it hasn't been too
| bad. But, cutting across the width doesn't fly since the shop's too
| narrow (well, it won't be once I rearrange, move the wood storage
| out, but that's too late for this project).
I have some photos at the page below that show how I sometimes cut
plywood sheets using a little PC circular saw. The approach shown is
quick and easy, and I've been happy with the accuracy it provides -
and I tend to be unreasonably fussy.
In those photos I used it in conjunction with a LV clamp-on guide and
an "offset block" cut from a scrap of 1/4" plywood with the same saw
I don't think it's really necessary to spend a bunch to have both
convenience and accuracy.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Depends on lots of things. If your table saw is a cheap bench top or
such saw with poor fences and no infeed table or outfeed table, then
it would take quite a bit of luck to get a straight cut where you want
it on a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" maple veneered MDF. The handling of the
full size plywood sheet during the cutting is where lots of
inaccuracies can occur. If you can minimize this, then you will get
better cuts. One way is to use a horizontal sliding panel saw. The
plywood is held by the sliding table and guided through the blade via
a mechanically restrained sled. Or the vertical panel saw where the
plywood stays stationary and the blade is mechanically guided through
the plywood. Both of these methods allow you to cut multiple sheets
at once for even better batch processing. Instead of making 20 cuts
on 20 pieces of plywood, you make 5 cuts because you cut 4 sheets
thick. The Festool circular saw lets the heavy large piece of plywood
remain stationary and the blade is mechanically guided by the guide
plate. You do have to measure and mark for each cut though. Maybe
best to use the Festool for the longest finish cuts to do half the
cuts and break the panel down to a manageable size in the process.
Then take the smaller pieces to the table saw for repetitive cuts.
Its a lot easier to accurately guide a 2x2 panel through the blade and
against the fence than a 4x8 panel.
One thing the Festool has that few table saws have is the ability to
cut without tearout. Unless you have a scoring blade and meticulously
set it up on your panel saw. If the chipped edges from a regular
table saw can be seen, it may not make much difference how accurately
the piece is cut. Unless you recess the first 1/16" or so of the
plywood, you will see the chipped edges. Festool won't have the
We should compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges here. The Festool
does not have tear out because of the "replaceable" plastic splinterguards.
New saws come with 5 replacements. When these splinter guards wear the saw
will leave a splintered cut. The TS uses the zero clearance insert to
accomplish the same thing. It too should be replaced when it wears.
Hmmm ... wonder why, then, a TS 55 reviewer/user would specifically state:
"I do get some splintering to the right of the blade on the topside, but
this is virtually unavoidable with a circular saw."?
Any saw will tearout under the right combination of blade/material/setup,
including the Festool.
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