Popular Woodworking 2005-04 № 147, страница 60

Popular Woodworking 2005-04 № 147, страница 60

Rubber strip reduces tear-out

A groove in the base of Festool's plunge-cut circular saw fits over a corresponding rib in the guide for straight, wobble-free cuts. Guide rails also work with other tools. A thin strip of rubber along the edge of the guide rail acts just like a zero-clearance table saw insert, holding down wood fibers to elim inate chipping. Soft rubber strips on the base of the guide rail help to hold the rail in place without clamps. The strips are replaceable.

That, at least, had been my experience until I was introduced to Festool, a German manufacturer that has turned that concept on its head. Festool sells the same kinds of portable power tools as other manufacturers - sanders, routers, circular and jigsaws and drills. The difference is in how they're designed - not as unrelated, one-purpose tools but as a system

built around common accessories. The premise is simple: Why manhandle large pieces of stock when you can move the tools instead?

The Heart of the System: Accurate Guide Rails

The keys to the system are alloy guide rails and related accessories that can be used with Festool's circular saws and routers. Available

in lengths from about 32" to 197", the lightweight guides are made with a lengthwise raised rib that fits into a groove on the bottom of the saw and router guide. Play between the guide and tool can be adjusted to provide free travel without any lateral play, so making straight cuts exactly where you want them is a breeze.

The guide rails have two other

important features. The first is a narrow strip of hard rubber along the edge of the rail where the blade of the circular saw travels. It serves the same purpose as a zero-clearance table saw insert, eliminating splinters on thin veneer faces by holding down wood fibers as the blade passes by. The narrow rubber strip comes slightly oversized and is trimmed to its working width by the saw blade. That guarantees the saw will make a cut exactly where this strip is aligned on the workpiece.

Rails also have strips of a softer rubber-like material on the bottom surface that grip the work surface, even without clamps. That means cutting or routing a piece of plywood is as simple as marking the work, lining up the rail and pushing the tool through the cut. Unless it's inadvertently shoved out of position, and that takes some doing, the guide rail will stay put. (Festool does sells clamps whose low-profile heads slide into the ends of the rail in case you think you'll need them.) An accessory kit, the FS-SYS/2, works with the guide rails for making precise angled cuts.

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Accessory angle guide

An accessory kit attached to a guide rail makes it possible to set accurate angled cuts for your circular saw or router.

Festool's multi-function tables are sturdy, collapsible work stations for cutting and sanding. An adjustable guide rail works with a circular saw or a router, and accessory clamps bolt in pre-drilled holes in the MDF top.

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Popular Woodworking April 2005

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