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designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Festool TS 75 plunge cut circular saw review

The Festool TS 75 plunge cut saw is a big circular saw.  So big, in fact, that my contractor friend Kris doesn't much like it.  He's used to wielding his 5" Makita freehand - driving it up walls and across sheet goods with ease.  The TS 75 is more suited to riding on one of Festool's aluminum guide rails, like some new breed of panel saw.

And here the TS 75 performs as well as I could ask.  I have used the TS 75 to melt through sheet goods.  I used it to size my bench top, which was made from two layers of 3/4" MDF, one layer of 3/4" plywood, and 1/4" of hardboard.  That's 2 1/2" of dense material.  But the TS 75, with it riving knife backing up the blade, made short work of it, with blade capacity to spare.

I have also used the TS 75 to make angled cuts, and here is where the Festool precision really pays off.  these angled cuts were for the pedestal feet of some high-end speakers I was making.  The angles had to be perfect, and the cut perfectly straight.  The TS 75 dis as well as this task as any tool can: it did exactly what I expected.

I have tried the TS 75's smaller sibling, the TS 55.  And while the TS 55 is more like Kris's Makita, I love having the capacity and power of the 75.  And besides, with the Festool system, I don't need a little circular saw.  I have Festool's Trion jigsaw, which cuts as straight as and circular saw, but with a lot less lugging around.

The TS 75 has a few more features I really like:  the dust extraction is pretty good, very good if you use a waste board underneath your work.  The depth stop helps when cutting on a precious bench top.  And, of course, the TS 75 works with the Festool guide rails.  Using the guide rail is much better than using a simple fence, because there is no chance of the blade wandering away from the rail.  Also, you can use limit stops on the rail itself to guide your cuts.

At around $550, the TS 75 is relatively less expensive than other Festool products.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that at the end of the day, there aren't many fundamental differences between Festool's circular saws and those from other makers.  That relatively lower price make sit easier to cough up the bucks, though.  I recommend it.

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