Tool Guides: Festool, Tru-Grip, or Veritas/Lee Valley?

I want to buy a tool guide -- inspired by one I saw on New Yankee Workshop (NYW). On the show, I saw one made by Festool. Unfornately it's really expensive and only works with the Festool plunge circular saw (and Festool router), which is also expensive (but a cool tool!). A nice feature of this system is that the cut line is right next to the guide. See http://www.festool-usa.com/portando/index.cfm
Then I discovered Tru-Grip by Griset. Available at Amazon: ((Amazon.com product link shortened)) Looks like a cheaper alternative. The guide is offset from the cut line which is a small nuisance -- I'd easily deal with that nuisance to save 2-3 hundred bucks, which I could spend on other tools. Other than price, there's one more important advantage of this system: you mount your cicular saw to a polyethylene base. You have to use your saw to cut a slot out for the blade, but when it's done, you have a zero-clearance baseplate which prevent splintering. Micro-fence also sells there route micro-fence to this system. http://www.festool-usa.com/portando/index.cfm
The saga continues...
Next, I discovered a system by Veritas/Lee Valley. It has a nice feature in that the 8 foot guide is really a little more than 8 feet so MDF boards can be cut. Plus it breaks down into two sections so it can be used on smaller pieces. It also has a slider to attach tools (circular saw). You could buy a piece of polyethylene to mimic the Tru-Grip system. The price is comparable to the Tru-Grip.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageA707&category=1,240,45313&abspage=1&ccurrency=2&SID All three systems can work with circular saws or routers.
So, with that background, I have some questions: 1. On the Veritas System, does having two pieces create an appreciable inaccuracy - a lost of striaghtness? If the loss (and there has to be some) is tiny, the extra length is a nice feature. 2. On the Veritas, does the slider slide smoothly? 3. I can't think of why I'd use the micro-fence (attached to tthe Tru-Grip) -- I never need pieces 8 feet long dado'ed. Smaller pieces I could do on my router table or my table saw. Am I missing something? 4. Is a plunge circular saw (Festool) all that useful -- saw work an extra $125?
Anyone done a similar tradeoff and have recommendations?
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over time and repeated assemblies/disassemblies it's bound to.
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This works fine: http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00035.asp
Mark
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Never Enough Money) wrote in message

((Amazon.com product link shortened))
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageA707&category=1,240,45313&abspage=1&ccurrency=2&SID=
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Thanks Mark! Making my own will probably get me 95% of the performance for 5% of the cost.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mark Wells) wrote in message

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I have been using the Tru Grip clamps for over 12 years including the 8 foot long ripping setup. I think they are the most valuable tools in my shop bar none. They are versatile, convenient, accurate and can be adapted in ways I have not even thought of yet. And while I have the urethane base, I have never put it into use. I get very accurate cuts just running the saw ( porter cable) against the guide. The important accessory ( which I talk about in my panel cutter on my website http://www.woodworkinghobby.com/html/cabinet_panel_cutter.html ) is the spacer blocks I cut to match the width of my baseplate with my finish blade mounted in the saw. I cut two of these for each side of the saw to use for lining up the cutting guide at each end of the cut line to get a perfect alignment of the guide to the cut line.
So my suggestion is, if you are going rip full sheets of plywood, then but the pro 8 footer. if not, then but a couple of the 52 inch (I would buy the new version) and use them for a multitude of projects; fences, clamps and cutting guides.
Good luck,
Dennis Slabaugh, Hobbyist Woodworker www.woodworkinghobby.com

ls&search-type=ss&field-manubrand=Griset/102-7287193-2106525)
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Never Enough Money) wrote:

I have both a 24" and a 48" Tru-Grip. They are great. I use the 24" one on the drill press as a fence ad well as a cutting guide. I have a 2 piece 96" guide that I almost never use. I use the 48" clamp to cut 48"x96" sheet goods into tablesaw workable size, which for me is not full sheet! Bruce
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I have the Tru-Grip, both the 4-foot and the 8-foot guide, and the baseplate for the circular saw.
I love them. This is SOOO much easier than trying to run a full sheet of plywood over a tablesaw. In particular if you have a small tablesaw (I'm still using an 8" benchtop saw). In particular if the piece of plywood is an expensive and heavy one (like 3/4" cherry ply), and the first mistake or careless handling means another 3-hour trip to buy another sheet.
I find that just running the saw along the guide is not all that easy. Sometimes the saw wanders a 16th of an inch (in particular in the middle of a sheet, and in particular towards the end of the day, when I'm getting tired). Sometimes the saw seems to hang up a little bit on the guide, and then bind in the cut and burn. This just doesn't happen when putting the saw on the polyethylene carrier plate.
A few disadvantages. First, mounting the saw on the polyethylene plate so it is perfectly parallel to the guide (fence) is very time-consuming. In particular, if you also want the distance from the edge of the guide to the saw blade to be a nice round number. It took my several hours to get my saw mounted to it is exactly 3" from the edge of the fence, yet cuts smoothly on both sides of the blade. Also, not all saws are set up to be mounted on a plate; sometimes you have to drill extra holes in their shoes.
Second, the base plate for the saw looses 3/4" of saw depth. For an 8" saw this is probably irrelevant. For a 7" saw this is not a big deal. For my little 6" Porter-Cable saw, this means that I can only cut 3/4" plywood on the guide. Not a big deal (because that's what this setup is for), but sometimes annoying.
One more hint: The 4' guide is considerably longer than 4' (I vaguely remember about 54"; it's in storage right now, as we are remodeling the basement to build a real shop). Similar with the 8' guide; when cutting 8' sheets of ply or MDF, it still has a few inches to spare.
Note: I have never used the Lee Valley/Veritas guides; I can't speak for or against them. I just happen to love the TruGrip ones.
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Wow! You've sold me. Nice to hear some solid facts.
Now I may for get the cheap approach and buy Tru-Grip ..... besides I'm looking for an excuse to replace my old circular saw (it's a 20+ year old Skil)... oops, if I mount it on the Tru-Grip poly baseplate, I'll have to buy two: one for the Tru-Grip, one for general use. Hesitation....
That dilema aside, you mention that you may have to drill holes in the circular saw baseplate. I want a Porter-Cable 447K (I'm left handed). Wonder if I'll be drilling holes in that baseplate. I realy don't like the idea of drilling in my equipment......
Does the fact that I'm left handed present any problems? (Other than those society already throws at me like door knobs and refrigerator handles all being on the wrong side.) I can stil cut with my right hand, I just prefer the left. Does the Tru-Grip allow the slider to be on either side?
BTW, I'd realy like a worm-drive with the blade on the right. No one seems to make one. I guess left-handers just don't represet a big enoug market ... r maybe there's a technical difficulty of putting the blade on the right for a worm-drive.....
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On 22 Feb 2004 07:06:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Never Enough Money) wrote:

there is this: http://www.portercable.com/index.asp?eT7&p '42
it is worm drive, the blade is on the right... and it is supposed to be a very nice piece of equipment. some day I'm gonna get me one.
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Bridger wrote:

It's a /great/ little saw. I bought mine back in the 70's and it still runs like new. Don't wait until "someday"!
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I use the tru-grip with a Porter-Cable 345 saw (the little 6" saw, powerful enough for getting work done, while being lightweight and convenient). It turns out that the 345 already had one 1/4" hole in the baseplate. I had to drill a second one. This was in principle quite easy, except that it took long because it had to be done to the utmost precision.
I find that changing the saw from use on the Tru-Grip plate to freehand use is very simple. It is held with two 1/4" machine screws (I drilled and tapped two screw holes in the polyethylene plate). One of these days I'll have to get 1/4" screws with thumbweels for this task, but even with Allan head screws it takes less than a minute.
This reminds me of another warning: Since the polyethylene plate is used in the same fashion as a zero-clearance insert, there is no guard on the blade. This means that after a cut, you can't just put the saw down on the concrete floor (unless you enjoy buying new carbide blades). And you have to be 150% sure the saw blade has stopped before putting the saw down (unless you enjoy the saw running around under its own power with the blade exposed).

The Tru-Grip slide can be used on either side; it is perfectly symmetric. It has two slots, one on either slide. This is actually convenient: When working with two people (pretty much necessary when dealing with 8' sheets of ply), my helper on the back of the panel can handle the clamping, while I run the saw. If I'm working by myself, I put the clamp and of the Tru-Grip on my side, and don't have to run around the workpiece all the time.

Sorry, can't help you there. That's why I like the 345 saw: It has the blade on the correct (left!) side of the saw. I can't understand why most cheap circular saws have the blade on the right, given that the majority of people are right-handed.
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