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Thread: My first (and probably last) drink from the green well

  1. #1
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    My first (and probably last) drink from the green well

    DISCLAIMER: This is more or less a rant.

    A little over a year ago, I purchased my first Festool - a TS55 track saw. I have only used this saw about 7 or 8 times since then. The second time I used it, it bogged down cutting through some 1" pine stock - I know, weird... Anyhow, since then, the TS55 has never impressed me. I buy the most expensive tools for my shop because I don't want problems, but this tool just doesn't measure up. My PM2000 and Ceros impress me(for reference). Anyway, fast forward to last week. I was trimming a rustic table top to size, and the top was made from 100 year old Poplar which is 7/8" thick. The saw bogged down, and then quit running. I called Festool and spoke to their tech department. The guy first asked which blade I was using, to which I replied "the one you shipped the saw with", and I read off the part number. He asks how long the board was, and I told him 7ft. At this point, I could only describe the next part of the story as a fountain of B.S. spewing from his mouth. He first tells me that this is the wrong blade. Then, he proceeds to tell me that with this blade, I can only rip 4ft or so of stock, and that I need -wait for it.....- a different blade! Yep, I need a 12 tooth ripping blade for any rip over 4ft long. After that, he then tells me that the saw has a thermal overload protector, and that it shut itself off by design. He says that in 15 minutes, it will come back on. Well, it had already been almost an hour, so I plugged it in, while on the phone, and nothing. He tells me to plug it into a different receptacle(like I'm an idiot), and so I did - nothing. At this point, he informs me that the motor must be burned up. OK, well so much for a "thermal overload protector". While he's giving me instructions to send the saw in for repairs, he mentions that.... OK, this one is going to BLOW your minds. He proceeds to tell me that "you should never have this plugged into and extension cord if you want full power. It must be plugged directly into the wall outlet". HOLY SMOKES FOLKS! Well, there you have it Ladies and Gentlemen. Be sure not to plug your portable circular saw into an extension cord. Are you serious? Are you kidding me? Alright. Now it's time to be completely fair. Let's just saw that I rewire my entire shop so that there is a receptacle every 12 inches around the perimeter of the room. What do you suppose those yellow romex wires have in common with extension cords? They're both just wire? The hell you say.

    OK, I'm going to take a breath.

    So, I ended up finishing the table using my $60 refurbished Hitachi Circular saw(with original blade from 5 years ago), plugged into an extension cord. If that isn't pathetic enough, allow me to inject this anecdote into the story. 6 Months ago, I replaced my kitchen floor with hardwood. To get rid of the multiple layers of subfloor and linoleum, I went to Home Depot and purchased a throwaway saw. I bought a $39 Ryobi corded circular saw. Then(with an extension cord) I sliced my kitchen floor, cutting through staples and cleats, from left to right over and over until I had 1ft thick strips. Then, I cut them the other direction, essentially making 1ftx3ft strips of flooring which I could pull up and discard. The saw was literally smoking at times as I rammed it through the nails. I never ended up throwing the saw away, because it still works fine.

    On the other hand, I have a $660 "best tool money can buy", and it has to have a special blade to cut poplar and can't be plugged into an extension cord. Why did I buy this saw again?

    OK, my rant is done. I'm ready for the support of those who have had bad Festool experiences, as well as the thrashing from the loyal Festool enthusiasts.
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

  2. #2
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    Mike

    Hopefully when you get it back it works properly. It sounds as if it never was working correctly.
    There is an element of truth to the extension cord part of your rant, but it's not just as simple as the tech rep was detailing. If an extension cord is undersized, awg
    , or too long, it's amapacity ability to carry current, is diminished. and the apparent voltage at the end of the extension cord will be less than the beginning. Translation the device being used, your saw, could potentially see a lower voltage, and higher current, to operate. You would have had to have a pretty light duty extension cord for this t have had an effect.
    That being said, I still think something was wrong with your TS55 from the beginning. I had my TS75 plugged into a 100', 10awg, extension cord to cut panels and 2x10's for a run in shed for horses in the paddock and it never caused me any problems. We were out there for a couple of days. ( I don't buy my tools to baby them. They can see some extremes during use.)

    As I said, I hope everything works better when you get it back. Tools break, even the best of them.

    I do like the 4' cut limit part of the story. I'll have to use it on my wife.

    Cut 4', have a beer.
    Cut 4', have a beer.
    "But honey, that's what they said I was supposed to do"
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 09-28-2017 at 11:18 AM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    Mike

    Hopefully when you get it back it works properly. It sounds as if it never was working correctly.
    There is an element of truth to the extension cord part of your rant, but it's not just as simple as the tech rep was detailing. If an extension cord is undersized, awg
    , or too long, it's amapacity ability to carry current, is diminished. and the apparent voltage at the end of the extension cord will be less than the beginning. Translation the device being used, your saw, could potentially see a lower voltage, and higher current, to operate. You would have had to have a pretty light duty extension cord for this t have had an effect.
    That being said, I still think something was wrong with your TS55 from the beginning. I had my TS75 plugged into a 100', 10awg, extension cord to cut panels and 2x10's for a run in shed for horses in the paddock and it never caused me any problems. We were out there for a couple of days. ( I don't buy my tools to baby them. They can see some extremes during use.)

    As I said, I hope everything works better when you get it back.

    I do like the 4' cut limit part of the story. I'll have to use it on my wife.

    Cut 4', have a beer.
    Cut 4' have a beer.
    "But honey, that's what they said I was supposed to do"
    That last part was funny. I do understand the part about the extension cord, but I think the tech guy should have been more specific, because making a blanket statement as he did, is idiotic. I have wondered if this saw ever worked properly to begin with myself. I have heard folks getting the ts75, but that's because the 55 would bog down on 8 quarter Rock Maple or something. This thing bogs on everything - except 3/8" plywood.
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

  4. #4
    The 48t blade it comes with is not a blade made for ripping solid stock, it's a ply sand cross cut blade.

  5. #5
    Sorry about your experience. It sure does sound like BS. Was the wood burning? That would also tell you you're using the wrong blade. I've build a lot of cabinets with just a circ saw and homemade guide with 0 problems so I've never bought a track saw for the exact reason it will spend 90% of its life on a shelf. Too expensive a tool for that IMO.

    My 2 worth I have no problem buying the best tools for a job but for the life of me I can't think of anything so special about a tool that I would spend $6-800 for a router or $1500 for a miter saw.

    The only Festool tool I would buy is a Domino. I prefer to spend my money on nice lumber.

  6. #6
    Not defending Festool, I own none and that won't likely ever change. But you do need the correct blade for what you are attempting. Reading the following or a similar guide will likely be helpful to your future projects.

    http://www.rockler.com/skill-builder.../saw-blade-101

  7. #7
    You need the right blade for the job. Lots of reviews have stated the TS55 is not as powerful as the competing track saws (Makita/Dewalt/etc), but it is more refined in other areas. I have one, and I do feel it slow down trying to rip thicker stock.

    Also, ripping pine can be a problem as it usually has a lot of stress and can pinch the blade.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy Warner View Post
    The 48t blade it comes with is not a blade made for ripping solid stock, it's a ply sand cross cut blade.
    Well, I hear you, but I only use one blade on my other circ saw, and it isn't a rip blade either. It's also very dull after all the use it has had, but it sliced right through the Poplar. You have certain expectations when you buy "the best" tools.
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

  9. #9
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    Pinch the blade? It has a riving knife on it to prevent that. I have both Festool circular saws. Both work great. One is just bigger and heavier. I think the poster got a lemon.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    Sorry about your experience. It sure does sound like BS. Was the wood burning? That would also tell you you're using the wrong blade. I've build a lot of cabinets with just a circ saw and homemade guide with 0 problems so I've never bought a track saw for the exact reason it will spend 90% of its life on a shelf. Too expensive a tool for that IMO.

    My 2 worth I have no problem buying the best tools for a job but for the life of me I can't think of anything so special about a tool that I would spend $6-800 for a router or $1500 for a miter saw.

    The only Festool tool I would buy is a Domino. I prefer to spend my money on nice lumber.
    No, the wood did not burn, to answer your question. I'm going to have to agree with you on not buying stuff that sits on the shelf. I must admit though, that I'm sort of a tool enthusiast, and if money allows(which it did at that time), I like knowing that everything on my shelf is on the 'top shelf' - just a thing with me. I've replaced all of my tools with high end stuff. Well, my drill press and edge sander are made by JET, and they are OK. Definitely higher quality than a lot of stuff, but they aren't super high end.
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie May View Post
    Pinch the blade? It has a riving knife on it to prevent that. I have both Festool circular saws. Both work great. One is just bigger and heavier. I think the poster got a lemon.
    I'm going to have to start subscribing to this theory. I would say that it is "nice" to have different blades for different jobs, but with high end equipment, that shouldn't be necessary. I needed to rip an inch off this table top, so that comes down to 14' of 7/8" Poplar. I just honestly believe that is not asking very much of a $600 saw with what was basically a brand new blade. I realize tooth count comes in handy, but this was a quick task and should have been done in 2 minutes. On my PM2000 I use one blade for 90% of my cuts. It's a 50 tooth combo atb from Carbide Processors. That saw will rip 8 quarter maple without even breaking a sweat. One day, if I get into more building, I will likely buy a dedicated rip blade which I'm sure would be even more impressive.
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

  12. #12
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    Guess we will just have to see what comes back to me from their work shop. Before I sell this saw, how can I determine if it is in fact a lemon? I don't want to pass a known problem on to a fellow unsuspecting woodworker. For those of you with this saw, what can I do to test if the performance I'm getting is what I should be getting?
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Dowell View Post
    Well, I hear you, but I only use one blade on my other circ saw, and it isn't a rip blade either. It's also very dull after all the use it has had, but it sliced right through the Poplar. You have certain expectations when you buy "the best" tools.
    Ok, but it's 48t on a 6" blade. I use the universal blade for ripping with mine most of the time, sometimes the 12t. No issues in anything up to its limits. I have a 9 year old ts55 and and 4 year old ts55r. I am not ripping lumber on my 9hp TS with a 100t blade, I prefer the right blade for the task at hand.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy Warner View Post
    Ok, but it's 48t on a 6" blade. I use the universal blade for ripping with mine most of the time, sometimes the 12t. No issues in anything up to its limits. I have a 9 year old ts55 and and 4 year old ts55r. I am not ripping lumber on my 9hp TS with a 100t blade, I prefer the right blade for the task at hand.
    I see your frustration, but I'm with Darcy on this. I don't have your particular saw, but I do have the Makita version. It can "seem" under powered like it's bogging down if I defy physics and try to rip hardwood with the supplied 48T finishing blade. That's why I sprang for the Freud 28T and 14T. I predict if you get an appropriate blade and try the same ripping job, it will seem like your saw is 3x more powerful.

    Try this - see what would happen if you try to rip the same old growth 7/8" poplar at your PM2000 with an 80 or 96 tooth finishing blade. The experiment would simulate exactly what you were doing with the track saw.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 09-28-2017 at 3:34 PM.

  15. #15
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    I just now realized that you said you use the Universal blade, not the one that came with the saw. So you are talking about a 28 tooth. My comment below is deprecated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy Warner View Post
    I use the universal blade for ripping with mine most of the time, sometimes the 12t. No issues in anything up to its limits. I have a 9 year old ts55
    This, I think further solidifies the possibility of my TS55 being a lemon.
    Last edited by Mike Dowell; 09-28-2017 at 1:53 PM.
    --

    Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.

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