We’ve written often about power saws and their blades and how best to use them. We’ve also written about some of the power saws in our woodworking shop and why we live/love them.
Recently it was the circular saw in a piece published here in a piece about how deep a circular saw can cut. We noted it had to do with circular saw blade size, which determines the size of the saw.
We’ve also written in the past about Festool track saws. We have a track saw in our shop, although it’s a Kreg. Nonetheless, we like track saws, think they are a very cool tool and can do the work of other power saws well. You’ll find one of those pieces about our Kreg track saw here and another about Festool track saws here.
Let’s see what we can say about the Festool plunge saw and the blade sizes for one.
Festool was the first to introduce the plunge-cut tool in 1980. It slid along an aluminum track, which resulted in a perfectly straight cut. The saw relied on the track it slid along, rather than the steady hand a circular saw relies upon, and does so with great ease, no steady hand required. As long as you measured correctly and aligned the track accurately, the cut was perfect for your project.
The track guides had non-skid strips on the bottom that would hold the track in place while you cut, although clamps could also be used to hold the track in place if you wanted that “belt and suspenders” approach. The saw itself has a fully enclosed blade and runners on its base that fit inside grooves on the track. Those guides then hold the saw in place as you move it through the cut.
The blade in its housing sits at the edge of the track that you have aligned with your cut measurements and cut line. The blade simply cuts along that line accurately and straight while gliding on the track smoothly.
These track saws make long and very precise cuts much easier, faster, and more accurate than can be made with a circular saw or even a table saw. The saw itself is light and easy to hold and move along the track guides. The tracks are as easy to set up as the model train tracks of your youth. They don’t necessarily need to be clamped, although you can, and they are capable of making bevel and miter cuts, even.
In short, they are a fantastic power tool that can replace your table saw in most instances and certainly provide a more accurate cut than a hand-guided circular saw.
Ripping plywood or other long sheets, cutting trim, and even cutting floorboards, are just some of the convenient tasks track saws can perform for you. It’s even a plunge saw, and you can set the depth of the plunge and cut yourself and know with confidence it will be maintained during the entire cut.
The rails come in a variety of lengths, and they come with easy to assemble connectors to accommodate any length of cut you need to make. If your shop is spacious, that could be a very long cut, too. With enough space and enough rails, you could easily cut 100’ or more if you needed to.
As you can imagine, Festool makes its own tracks to go with the plunge saw. It offers a wide variety of track lengths, which contribute to the flexibility of your cut lengths. Tracks among other manufacturers are different, and there are some compatibility issues, so you want to make sure you are careful if you decide to mix and match saws tracks.
Festool Plunge Saw Blades
- 36 tooth; 2.4mm kerf; 30mm arbor; 15 deg hook angle; ATB
- Clean cutting general purpose blade for wood and soft plastics; fine rip cut blade for glue-ready…
- Oversized 30mm arbor enables more secure fastening of the blade to the saw, reducing vibration for…
- Thin kerfed blades meet less resistance, for more efficient cutting, and produce less material waste
Blade saw sizes are only a part of the consideration when outfitting your Festool plunge saw. One of those considerations is arbor size. The arbor is where the blade is connected to the saw, and not all saws, blades, and arbors are compatible. It is the first thing you should check before getting a new blade for your Festool plunge saw.
To illustrate that point, every track saw available today uses a 20mm arbor, with the exception of the Festool TS75. This Festool saw uses a 30mm arbor, which differs from most circular saws, table saws, and miter saws that use a ⅝ “ arbor size.
Additional considerations include:
- Width. Blades vary somewhat in width. While this will not affect the cut, the blade may be just a smidge outside the rail. So, take this into account when measuring your cut and aligning the track.
- Thin Kerf. A thinner kerf will reduce the power needed to make a cut, especially through especially hard or thick pieces of wood. Thin kerf blades do vibrate a bit more, so watch your cut for quality.
- Sizes. The Festool TS55 (the TS simply stands for track saw) can use up to a 6 ¼ “ blade. The Festool TS75 can use up to an 8 ¼ “ blade.
- Types of blades. Remember, too, that blades come in different types for a different type of cuts. These include the rough cuts on one end and fine cuts at the other end. So, what you are cutting and what use the workpiece will be put to will determine the type of blade for the cut. The right tool for the right job, if you will, is something we often say here.
Festool Plunge Track Saw Demonstration
As is our habit, we searched for a helpful video to illustrate what we have discussed here. We found a video on Festool track saws, but applicable to all track saws, and it includes 6 ½ handy tips that we think you will find interesting and informative.
As you can tell, we like track saws. Our Kreg model serves us very well, and we use it often. There are major price differences between the various track saw models, with Festool at the high end of the price range spectrum. Makita and our Kreg are other track saw brands very much worth considering, and they are priced more moderately. Be sure to consider track compatibility, too, for each of your purchases.
And then get to work and see how easy, versatile, and handy your track saw’s addition to your power saw inventory is in your shop.
Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API