Woodsmith panel saw opinion?

In a previous thread, I had 15 sheets of 3/4 plywood to cut, and was bouncing between lumber core (lighter) and mdf core (more uniform, and cheaper). From it I concluded that an accurate panel saw would allow me to handle the cheaper mdf core. Looking at various choices, http://www.woodsmithstore.com/panelsawkit.html appeared pretty good in price, and they generally have good designs there. The cost would be about covered by the savings in using mdf core ply.
A search only found two brief reports, both favorable, but old. I'm thinking of ordering one tomorrow. Has anybody built this panel saw or heard any more about it?
GerryG
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<< A search only found two brief reports, both favorable, but old. I'm thinking of ordering one tomorrow. Has anybody built this panel saw or heard any more about it? >><BR><BR>
I built it years ago, and it was fine. It's really only as good as the saw you use for it (you an also adapt a router).
It's heavy, very heavy, and wheeling it around is not easy. I mad ea few minor modifications, such as some stops and rulers.
i took it apart years ago, because it took up a lot of space, and I don't work with alot of plywood anymore. But it's fine-it does just as described.
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bouncing
From
cheaper
The
-------------- It looks a bit awkward to wield and would only be as good as your saw. You might want to consider a Festool CS such as the TS 55. Armed with a Festool guide rail it makes cutting panels accurately a breeze. I bought one a couple of weeks ago and have found it to be superb and well worth the money.
In Europe the lastest version of this saw is the TS 55 which you can find on this site but you'll have to locate it yourself as the framed site does not provide a URL I can copy: http://www.festool.co.uk /
In the US they still only have the older version, the ATF 55 on their site: http://www.festool-usa.com/ but again you'll have to find it yourself (copy of other site). However there is a good review of the ATF 55 here: http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com/festool_atf_55e_part1.htm
The difference between the old and the new is partly cosmetic and partly a fundamental change. The cosmetic is related to user friendliness, easy to read scales etc, and the fundamental is the ability to plunge cut without removing the riving knife. Setup is quick and accurate. If it says it is at 0 or 45 degrees ii is at 0 or 45 degrees, and that applies for all settings inbetween. Ditto for depth. If for some reason it's wrong you can't mess with it only they can. All the checks and adjustments you would need to make on just about any other CS before you let it loose are not required with this baby, anyway they're not even available - such is their confidence. Another difference is that using the guide rail ALL cuts will be on the scribe mark, whatever the angle. There is no need to compensate, just slap the guide on the line and that's it. You don't even need to clamp the guide, it will hold itself in place. It's such a pleasure to use.
I personally barely qualfy as a weekend wood-butcher so I will never get the real use out of it a more professional or active hobbist would, but nevertheless I now know I can cut up just about anything without splintering or run-out and just the plain inaccurcy I refused to let spoil my hopeful efforts. I just built a computer desk to get used to this toy and everything is perfect and square and exact (and zero splintering on either top or bottom or either side of the cut). A simple job granted but not one I would have accomplished with my old saw and a straight edge.
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That review looks very impressive, but my current saw has done well and I'm not sure the somewhat high cost is justified (as yet). I'll start with tuning up the saw, and adding a new Forrest blade, then see how some test cuts turn out. I should get the panel saw kit in a week or two, and will post a review later on.
Thank you for the advice, GerryG
On Sun, 19 Sep 2004 22:46:39 +0100, "gandalf"

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I'm
tuning
turn
review
------------------- Well Gerry, I'm not qualified to give advice so you flatter me. But I can offer an opinion.
And, seeing as you mention that you have some 15 sheets to chop up - can this panel saw arrangement you posted handle more than one sheet at a time? For repetitive work this ability would be a considerable timesaver. The TS 55 can chomp through 2 x 3/4" sheets at a time and the TS 65 can do 3.
Anyway, if you've already gone that route and bought the panel saw kit then I wish you well with it and will watch out for your review. I shall post one on the TS 55 when I've done a little more with it, such as plunge cuts and angle cuts. I won't wait for a project I'll just attack what I have left from a couple sheets of bare MDF that I used on the desk. (I am never ever using bare MDF for a furniture type project again. I cut it all out and put it together in an afternoon. I've spent 6 times that trying to make it look acceptable. I should have just treated it as a proof of concept and then got some veneered MDF, but oh no.)
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On your MDF project, it could have gone worse. Years ago I did one out of particle board, cutting it outside to avoid the dust. Went in for some coffee, and a cloud broke...
As for cutting multiple sheets, I don't think that's an option. I have many sheets of cutting diagrams, all of them different. This is two (different) bookcases, an entertainment center, and an armoire containing a desk and two computers. The real challenge will be figuring out how to cut the molding that SWMBO wants for this, when she finally decides.
Also, when cutting multiple sheets that are angled up, they may not press tightly together, resulting in more splintering than otherwise.
I will be interested in your qualified opinion on the TS 65. GerryG
On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 01:15:17 +0100, "gandalf"

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