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Thread: Tool review - Scheppach versus Festool track saws

  1. #1
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    Tool review - Scheppach versus Festool track saws

    A friend of mine recently acquired the Scheppach CS55 track saw, and he brought it by my shop yesterday in order to compare it to my Festool TS55.

    At first glance, it appears that the Scheppach system is a clone of the Festool , with enough modifications to the design to prevent them from running afoul of copyright laws.

    The tracks although similar, are not compatible. The Scheppach track is about wider between the guide rail and the edge of the track, which means that a Festool saw will not work at all on the Scheppach track. Additionally, the spacing is different between the two guide ridges, preventing one track from being attached to the other.

    The Scheppach saw will glide down the Festool track; however it overhangs the side of the track by , negating the benefits of the rubber strip that reduces tear-out.

    From a size and handling perspective, the two saws are very similar. They both cut through a 6/4 white oak board w/o any problems; however there was a noticeable difference in the smoothness of the cut between the two saws. While neither saw left any kerf marks, the surface left by the Festool saw was noticeably smoother than the cut left by the Scheppach.

    The price of the Scheppach is fantastic though, and unless you need the utmost in quality on your cut it is a worthwhile track saw to consider.


    Side by side 3.jpgSide by side 1.jpgSide by side 2.jpg

    Rail comparison 1.jpg Rail misalignment.jpg

    In the photo below you can see where the Scheppach track is about 1/4" wider than the Festool

    Rail comparison 2.JPG



    The photo below shows the Scheppach saw sitting on the Festool guide rail. Note that there is about 1/4" distance between the blade and the rubber anti-tear out strip on the Festool rail.

    Scheppach on Festool rail.jpg

    Oak strip.JPG

  2. #2
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    Amazon has this for $199. It comes with two 25" guide rails, wonder if additional can be purchased so you can cover a full 8' sheet of plywood.

    George

  3. #3
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    Well, you almost always get what you pay for. There are exceptions of course but... Sounds like a good price, but if it doesn't cut great now, it won't get better. Festool tools aren't perfect, but in SOME cases they make the best the market seems to offer. This will appeal to a large body that don't want to pay the green and black tax.

  4. #4
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    So, with a cheap carbide blade in the saw, the Scheppach track could be cut down for use with a festool saw?

    John

  5. #5
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    Great review. Too bad the track isn't interchangeable. I'm seriously considering the Grizzly-colored version of the Scheppach when it is (supposed to be) available next month. They also will have extra track, blades and accessories. Grizzly shows a parts list for their version, implying that parts will be available if necessary. The whole Grizzly package for cutting a full sheet of ply, clamps included, is around $250. That's much easier for me to justify.

  6. #6
    Excuse my ignorance, but do these tracksaws produce superior cuts to a table saw in plywood? If one had a suitably large infeed and outfeed arrangement with a table saw, how would they compare with a tracksaw cut?

    I have it in my mind that people buy these because ripping a whole sheet of plywood on a table saw can be a bit awkward, but I'm cogniscent of the fact I might be wrong. Other than not having to manhandle an 8x4 sheet through a table saw, what's the advantage of the track saw?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ashmeade View Post
    Excuse my ignorance, but do these tracksaws produce superior cuts to a table saw in plywood? If one had a suitably large infeed and outfeed arrangement with a table saw, how would they compare with a tracksaw cut?

    I have it in my mind that people buy these because ripping a whole sheet of plywood on a table saw can be a bit awkward, but I'm cogniscent of the fact I might be wrong. Other than not having to manhandle an 8x4 sheet through a table saw, what's the advantage of the track saw?

    Mark, in terms of cut quality I've found that my TS55 is equal to, but not superior to my cabinet saw. It is ideal for a cabinetmaker that needs to make shop-grade cuts on-site. It also works well for making long, straight line rip cuts in boards, before ripping them to width on a tablesaw. Same thing with breaking down large sheets of plywood that are too large for one person to handle comfortably in a table saw. If your tablesaw has large in and outfeed tables, then no great benny.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McClanahan View Post
    So, with a cheap carbide blade in the saw, the Scheppach track could be cut down for use with a festool saw?

    John
    Most likely, yes. The Festool track guide rail (that guides the saw) is slightly narrower than the Scheppach, but we're probably only talking .050, which should be within the adjustment range of the guide adjuster on the Festool saw.

  9. #9
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    Do the guide rails simply rest on the stock being cut (that's how it looks when Tommy Silva uses one), or do the guide rails clamp to the stock? How about the Dewalt guide rail?
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  10. #10
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    Hi Mark. The Festool track saws (can't speak for the others) produce very clean cuts. For two reasons it seems: (a) the track functions much like a zero clearance insert in that it presses down on the wood right beside one side (at least) of the cut to minimise splintering, and (b) because the OEM blades anyway cut very cleanly. (which could be to do with accuracy/solidity of the spindle too)

    The cut as Scott said is similar to what you get off a decent table saw running a sharp blade - clean (in e.g birch or WBP ply in both directions) unless the blade is starting to get a bit blunt.

    Can't speak for the track saw, but Scheppach kit is over here at least not really positioned at the same point in the market as Festool. The floor machines anyway tend to be fairly well designed and made, but of quite light/low cost construction...

    ian

  11. #11
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    When you say the festool left a noticeably smoother cut were both saws using the exact same type of blade. In other words same tooth count grind?

    I'm trying to understand how one could be smoother than the other but neither one left any kerf marks.

  12. #12
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    Now you need to buy the Grizzly track saw and have all three of them for a shootout!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ashmeade View Post
    Excuse my ignorance, but do these tracksaws produce superior cuts to a table saw in plywood?
    I like them 'cause they don't leave scratch marks from running my expensive plywood over a cast iron top.

    Every contractor that has used my track saw wants one.

  14. #14
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    Mark, not all plywood come with a truly straight edge. Cabinet saws cut parallel to the fence. Sometimes I clean up the plywood edge with my track saw prior to cutting on the table saw.
    Rich
    ALASKANS FOR GLOBAL WARMING

    Eagle River Alaska

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the review.
    It would be nice if one could test them both with the same blade and compare the quality of the cuts; blade can play a huge factor (I think the most important one) in the quality of a cut a tool produces.

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