I'm finally going to take the plunge (pun intended) into a track saw, and I'd really appreciate any insight or guidance that anyone can offer.
My use will mostly be on sheet goods, and my top priority is precision edges, although I'm sure I'll put it into all kinds of different service.
I'm thinking about one of the KSS's or MT 55
- If there is a difference in precision, I'd go with the most precise. - I still don't know how important cordless is to me, the cost increase doesn't seem too bad, but is there a downside to going cordless? - cross-cutting is important - I'll be doing 10' rips, too, so I'll need track for that, unless it's not too bad to move an 8' track - nice/necessary accessories?
Can anyone point me to a simple breakdown of the differences and strengths and weaknesses?
Anything you purchase will be a "compromise". There's just no such thing as a perfect saw.
Nevertheless, the MT55, as a sheetgoods saw, approaches perfection. It's biggest advantage are the terrific rails available from Bosch/Mafell, and particularly the joiner, which sits unobtrusively onboard and due to its dovetailed fixture ensures effortless and virtually automatic alignment when joining rails. An essential feature for 10" cuts unless you choose an alternative, rather unwieldy longer single piece rail. Nobody else's rails even approach the beautiful intuitive simplicity of these.
The saw itself has quite a few "nice to have" features, in common with many others. Variable speed, preselection of plunge depth, dual scale on/off rail depth of cut indicator, an accessory gauge to easily determine actual plunge dimension, & the quickest blade exchange in the business. None of these could be construed as essentials, however.
Where it excels, standing absolutely head & shoulders above the rest is an easily selected "pre-scoring" facility, that takes a minuscule angled scoring cut along the surface of critically sensitive & easily damaged materials, such as melamine coated or natural veneered sheet material. Returned back to the start, the main cut proper can then be accomplished relatively safe in the knowledge that even cheaper, easily chipped or feathered surface finishes are much less likely to be damaged by the severing cut.
Where it is lacking is perhaps in it's crosscutting capabilities: a KSS type saw with its onboard dedicated x-cut mini-rail and rubber band ensures quick, efficient docking of narrower workpieces. This lack can at least in part be overcome with a shorter 800mm rail, which is fixed to the workpiece rather than the saw itself, as with the KSS family. Another viable workaround is to modify a dedicated Festool workbench to fit the Mafell/Bosch saws & rail. Details of these modifications are available elsewhere on this forum. Either way, x-cutting operations will be slower but no less (& even possibly more) accurate with either of these methods.
I only just bought a MT55cc so I’m not the best to respond but having said that I’ll throw out some thoughts.
How critical / important is dust collection to you? Both are good one is better. What environments will you be primarily using saw(s) in?
I own many cordless tools but often opt for corded depending on how frequently I use the tool. This has to do with pulling out the tool and finding the battery well drained or unable to hold a decent charge from lack of use. With newer Li-ion battery technology I’m not sure this is as much an issue as in the past though. But still I like the lighter weight of a corded tool, not having to carry around the charger & back up batt, and my work environments always have handy power because when I cut I’m ‘setting-up’ and the vacuum needs power etc. A drill is an example of a tool that lends itself perfectly to battery operation ( fwiw - I’ve had the same Panasonic for over 23 years and abuse it everyday but can’t kill it. Other than one internal cleaning and buying it new batteries). All my cordless nail guns sit in storage (not quite a fair example here) because I much prefer my pneumatic guns even though that requires hauling a mini compressor & flex-eel hose along. But the point comes up, if you are going to attach a vacuum hose is it that much more cumbersome to have a cord along for the ride.
Re: Accessories - if you do opt for the MT55 check back here on the forums every now & then … I’m working on an accessory right now that I think a lot of folks will like.
I had the Festool TS55, and sold after a year. It is underpowered for anything more than sheet goods and cuts out, the rails are fiddly to join, the splinter strip un-sticks from the rail, the saw fitted outer edge splinter strip needs to be changed for each depth cut you want to do or it is useless - etc...
The Mafell is so much better, it is worth more than it costs to me. The motor is fantastic - powerful and smooth, the rails connect and disconnect so quickly and perfectly aligned, the splinter strip is a better made and fitted item, and with the pre-scoring feature, the cuts are splinter free, even on cheap melamine. (Search YouTube for Jonathan's video showing this)
If you want precision, don't be fooled by the enthusiasm on the FOG for the TS saws, and find the extra money for the Mafell. You won't regret it.
Welcome and good luck, there's a lot of info on track saws since they first hit the market. The members above, laid it out nicely, and I agree, Mafell makes excellent saws and their track saw is my go to for sheet goods and delicate veneers.
Thanks kraftt- great comments, especially regarding the cord. I don't think the dust situation is _critical_- I'm used to making a mess, but with a such careful design toward managing the dust, I'm really interested in how much it improves my work experience.
huntsgemein, I cant thank you enough for your thorough and thoughtful comments. I am very excited to entering a new world of work flow. I can't help but to think how much easier my life would have been if I had bought one of these a long time ago :-)
Gotta say the KSS300 looks pretty sweet. Track rolls up in box & you’re good to go.
Knowing what specific tasks you most commonly do and buying towards those needs will bring the most satisfaction with the tool compared to a tool that can do more, but not do best what you most engage with it for. i.e. those very few times during the year when you wished you had the other tool and instead just did a workaround vs loving every second, the rest of the time, with the best tailored tool.
The KSS300 will get within 11mm against a vertical surface (the MT55 about 31mm), is that important to you?
How often do you cut wet wood? The KSS’s have riving knives.
Do you want to just pick up the saw with track attached for exposed framing work? In my case I’ve used old skillsaw’s for so long for (mostly concealed) framing I don’t value the track on timber. If I’m cutting flooring, boards etc. I prefer to set up a compound miter anyways. Are you jumping around the job site where a battery becomes important? Are you mostly remodeling where you’ll end up using an old skillsaw for demo instead? Repurposing old materials with nails & staples shot in, etc.?
We think about what we ‘could’ do with a tool rather than what we will really be doing with it. Everybody owns a Fein Multimaster or Supercut. But when they got their first one they were expecting to rely on it more than we actually do. It’s a very, very handy tool - when you need it, which really isn’t that often. (frankly, my dremel tool gets used 10 times as much).
I like to get out ahead of a project and pre-fab as much as possible to avoid improvising on site. The MT55 is a very specific tool for me. It’s for working with fine finish material on-site in occupied settings. I want to keep my clients spoiled/loyal and dust collection is part of controlling their perception (besides it being expected). It helps reduce the need for poles & plastic and the time erecting that. I want the saw pampered (no need really other than not dropping it), tacks clean & true, and all blades razor sharp because I’m in a certain mindset at that point.
I don’t see why the KSS couldn’t make just a clean a cut.
* 1x Aerofix guide rail (I've found that clamping guide rails with clamps takes too much precious time, Aerofix is dummy-proof & secure. And it's just a pleasure for those slippery laminated materials!)
* 1x F110 guide rail (really handy for those smaller cuts) * 1x F160 guide rail (good size for cross cutting full size sheets) Connect it all together and you can rip full size sheets with ease.
* 2x guide rail connector (for connecting the rails)
Might seem like quite the shopping list and investment, but this setup, in my opinion, will allow a VERY broad range of applications and deliver very good results and accuracy. And if you put it all together, this isn't a lot of gear if you need to be portable or don't have a large shop. This is a very compact package for all the possibilities it offers.
Below some of my reasoning:
The MT55 is specifically designed for laminated sheet goods. No other plunge saw currently available will do a better job. The KSS saws are more general purpose saws that can be used for a very wide range of applications, but they too plunge.
If you detach the KSS60 from the KSS crosscut track, and compare it to the MT55 plunge saw, it is only 200gr heavier but offers you extra depth of cut which can be useful when you're doing more general construction work. Combine that with the larger bevel range and you get the obvious mitering capabilities with the KSS rails.
The 700mm KSS rail will allow you to cut large, square or angled crosscuts in a super quick and dummy-proof way. Very useful for 600mm deep cabinets or OSB sheets. In my experience I've found that with my MT55 it takes more concentration and a good square to get perfect 90° crosscuts. Might not seem all that big of a deal, and I hate to say it, but I've regularly had to re-cut because I wasn't setting up quite square enough with just a loose F guide rail...
If you put a 56 tooth blade on the KSS in combination with the rubber anti-splinter strip, you should get good tearout free results as well.
In an ideal world you'd get both a MT55cc and a KSS60/KSS85. It'll cover almost all of your cutting needs.
Best of luck with your decision and purchase. I look forward to hearing what you end up deciding on.
From a MT55 user: The MT55 is the undisputed king of sheet goods. Using it off the track on construction lumber? ...Wouldn't recommend that, at all. Remotely. There's an intense level of awkwardness there that you don't want to try. Mitering? Get the miter guide out. I'm probably going to end up importing another rail to cut into a short segment so I can have a less awkward miter guide. That or procure a KSS60 in the future.
Post by Knight Woodworks on Mar 2, 2017 20:46:23 GMT -5
Sounds like you've decided on Mafell, but are undecided on which model?
Given you're stated desire is the most precise saw for use with sheet goods the MT 55 is the saw of choice. It has a scoring function and the ability to adjust slop/tension on the rails. It's designed to give the best possible cut on sheet goods when used with F rails. Off rails it's a fish out of water.
The KSS saws are general purpose saws. They work on or off the track & rails and can be used for everything from framing lumber to trim, with limitation: Typically the off cut side of sheet goods has tear out. The plunge is awkward compared to the MT55. There is no adjustment for use on the rails. The blade guards are similar to those on most sidewinders, making them awkward to use on cutting tables.
Corded vs cordless? Corded unless you need to be cordless, batteries have a relatively short short lifespan.
Accurate cross cutting is challenging. The Festool MFT can be modified to except a Mafell rail. Otherwise buy an accurate square and be patient.
For long rips, get enough tracks. Trying to cut and then slide the track forward will not end well. Part of the attraction of Mafell is that the rails join easily, you'll need sufficient rails and a rail connector.
You may not know it yet, but you need dust extraction. Plan on getting a high quality dust extractor to go with your new track saw.
I own a TS 55, a MT 55 and a KSS300. When I want the best possible cut on sheet goods I use the MT.
abdon: I stand corrected , the angle fence is only attaches with F -Tracks , what confused me was , that the Timberwolf site mentioned it will work with the NFU machine, yes it will work but only I guess when you use the Ftrack , with other tracks Like the KSS L.
Nov 28, 2020 22:52:01 GMT -5
glynnco: Did you order from GereedschapPro? I see them as in stock but I'm located in the US and am not sure if they ship here. I sent them an email asking about shipping but it was returned undeliverable...
Dec 10, 2020 7:37:40 GMT -5
jonathan: I've purchased a lot of stuff from our neighbours @ GereedschapPro.nl As far as I know they are one of the larger Mafell dealers in the EU. I can recommend them, they usually respond quickly.
Dec 11, 2020 13:58:36 GMT -5
NFU 50 Transportation?: Hi Guys, is there some Systainer for the NFU 50?
Dec 11, 2020 14:30:12 GMT -5
frezik24: Hello everyone
Dec 13, 2020 9:20:00 GMT -5
lasse: Thanks for the tip! I have own a mafell rail which is 160 cm and one that is 80 cm. Will it work just as well or will I need to buy rail that is 110 cm?
Mar 18, 2021 15:35:15 GMT -5