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Thread: Festool Guide Rails - 2 55" with connectors vs 1 116"

  1. #1
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    Oct 2008
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    Festool Guide Rails - 2 55" with connectors vs 1 116"

    Morning all,

    I have a Festool track saw that came with the standard 55" track. I'd like to have a track to cut full length plywood but the price of the single 116" track leaves me with a bit of sticker shock. One option I'm considering to save some $$ is to buy a second 55" track and the track connectors. The question I have to other Festool track owners is if anyone can provide some practical experience of joining the tracks vs the solid 1 piece track. I'm hoping Festool has a better connection system that makes the joined track nice and true but if others find that joining the tracks is difficult to get a solid straight edge, I may spring for the single long track.

    Thanks for your help!
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  2. #2
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    Dec 2005
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    Sticker shock? Festool?

  3. #3
    Forget about a Mickey Mouse solution. Buy the long track. I have 55", 72" and 116" tracks, well worth the outrageous cost.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  4. #4
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    I have connected the 2 rails for years with no downside except to having to plan my rips so that I don't disassemble and then 2 cuts later need to reconnect.
    My experience is that if you are working off a very flat table (rather than stretching between 2 saw horses, for example) the connected rails work great. Flat and full support is essential.

    As an important secondary need for me was to be able to bring my rails to job sites, the 2 rails was the best option. Still I do most of my sheet good cutting in the shop so finally after many years of not having the longer rail I finally bought one and I am very happy to have it. Storage is an issue. You need a long (or tall) wall or shelf to store that long rail. Still, I emphasize that the short rails served me well for many years.

    In retrospect, if I were strictly a shop guy, when I first bought my track saw I would have preferred to have invested in the longer rail than to have bought the shorter rail and the connectors.
    "... for when we become in heart completely poor, we at once are the treasurers & disbursers of enormous riches."
    WQJudge

  5. #5
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    I first tried that -- two 55" joined together -- but gave up and bought the long track. The joiner things don't hold the tracks well enough to survive the banging around when you move the joined track around the shop. You have to lay them out on your sheet of plywood, then carefully check them and maybe realign them before you make a cut. Repeat every time. Too much fussing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    Forget about a Mickey Mouse solution. Buy the long track. I have 55", 72" and 116" tracks, well worth the outrageous cost.
    This...

    I have the Makita but the same applies. I did the 2 55's and connectors for a few years. It's a PITA. You really need three 55" tracks to be remotely efficient at at that point you should have just bought the 118

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    I first tried that -- two 55" joined together -- but gave up and bought the long track. The joiner things don't hold the tracks well enough to survive the banging around when you move the joined track around the shop. You have to lay them out on your sheet of plywood, then carefully check them and maybe realign them before you make a cut. Repeat every time. Too much fussing.
    +1

    I find they don't really line up perfectly, so I bought the bullet and bought a shorter one, and the 110" one. I'm very happy I did.
    You did WHAT???!!!??? Well, that makes you a Moron.
    We at %&^* Healthcare consider that a pre-existing condition.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    You will need a method to index the two 55' rails together. Do not assume that butting up the ends will give you a straight edge. It won't. I use a 6' Starrett machine rule to align my 55" tracks, and the thin side, near the anti chip strip,always seem to have a slight height mis match. Not a big deal, but you need to realize it is there.
    If I needed to make "money" cuts. I would definitely buy one continuous rail, instead of joining two together.
    I believe, someone correct me if I'm wrong, that the Makita track/guide rails, are compatible with Festool bases. If that's correct you would be looking at $199. versus $366 for the same length rail. I've never done it, but I'm fairly certain that others have.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    You will need a method to index the two 55' rails together. Do not assume that butting up the ends will give you a straight edge. It won't. I use a 6' Starrett machine rule to align my 55" tracks, and the thin side, near the anti chip strip,always seem to have a slight height mis match. Not a big deal, but you need to realize it is there.
    If I needed to make "money" cuts. I would definitely buy one continuous rail, instead of joining two together.
    I believe, someone correct me if I'm wrong, that the Makita track/guide rails, are compatible with Festool bases. If that's correct you would be looking at $199. versus $366 for the same length rail. I've never done it, but I'm fairly certain that others have.
    The Makita is 280 and change. A lot of places then want 200 to 300 in shipping on top. Amazon has the best deal with $25 off (of 284) with free shipping

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Murdoch View Post
    I have connected the 2 rails for years with no downside except to having to plan my rips so that I don't disassemble and then 2 cuts later need to reconnect.
    Wow. Quick and overwhelming responses to go for the solid rail. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

    Sam, you raise a point that I had not considered. I can see where I would want to intermingle long and short cuts when breaking down plywood and it would be annoying to join and rejoin. Thanks for that. I think that seals the deal and I'll be picking up the 116" rail.

    Thanks guys!
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Buy the long Makita track. That's what I have used for 1/2 the price of Festool and works great.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by mreza Salav View Post
    Buy the long Makita track. That's what I have used for 1/2 the price of Festool and works great.
    I have the DeWalt say that the long track is the way to go. I was thinking that the Makita would fit the Festool and it looks like this confirms it.

  13. #13
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    Did some work for a shop that made garage doors. He special ordered an 18 footer for trimming the doors. Can’t imagine what he paid
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  14. #14
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    I also bought the longer track. I rarely use it, but when it's the right choice, it's the right choice. I actually want to get a mid-length (~75") track for those times when angled cuts need to be made on "shop work" where just shifting the shorter track will not cut the mustard as it will for "carpentry" purposes.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    I would buy the Makita 118" guide rail for under $300 and call it a day.

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