No sliders or CNCs for me! Well, the reality is that I would dearly like to have either or both of those machines. The other reality is that I'm looking to do a limited amount of work to supplement my retirement income.
My next project is a fairly complex kitchen with face frame cabinets, and I want to improve on the abilities of my 52" UniSaw. I want to add an Excalibur slider to my saw for this and other one off projects ahead of me. My first thought is to get the smaller of the two sizes that Excalibur offers (the #50-SLT40P) which will cut 49" if the cross cut fence is at the rear of the table. The SLT40P is a new model, so there may not be much experience with it.
Is the Excalibur stuff any good? What are your thoughts about the small vs. the larger sized units? Are there other options I should consider?
From contributor P:
I have had a larger size for many years. Works great. It will cut a panel square across 48 inches. Also works well to cut on an angle. Well worth the money.
However, when I was using a Unisaw to make plywood boxes for face frame cabinets, I would have loved to have an Excalibur.
I'm a 57 year old, 30+ year cabinetmaker who has no concept of retirement. Face frame cabinetry is my specialty. I work alone and have been very happy stacking my cabinet plywood needs on a work station and then easily and accurately cross cutting and ripping my way down the stack with the TS55. I don't miss handling each 3/4" sheet onto the table saw. Once my parts are in manageable sizes, I don't hesitate to take the sides or the shelves, for example, to the table saw for the final rips. I do repetitive cross cuts at my compound miter Makita table. All these cuts can be done with the TS55 and accessories, but I use it to augment my stationary tools and ease the heavy lifting. The TS55 is a very accurate and user friendly tool that has changed the way I work without compromise. I would not be making this recommendation if you were growing your business, running a full time shop with a crew – but as it sounds like you are scaling down, the Festool TS55 is probably worth a look.
Regarding the Festool TS55 track saw, I hadn't mentioned it in my original post, but I already have a track saw system. A few years back I bought a Eurekazone track saw system. Although I would probably buy the Festool today if I didn't already have the Eurekazone, I plan to use it the same way that contributor M suggests. First, break down the sheet with the track saw for easier handling, and then cross cut smaller pieces on the Excalibur. It's not too likely that I will need to cross cut anything greater than 28 inches, but if I do, I can still move the fence on the Excalibur to get up to a 49" cross cut, or I can use the track saw.
Hopefully I will have a kitchen project to show off in the gallery section, one day soon!
One thing you can do, however, is mount it farther forward than its normal position. This will allow for a much deeper cut. I think I can get roughly 37" on mine now, though I did put it on a bigger saw. The disadvantage is the sled rails are in your way whenever you want to step to the left. For me it was worth it, as I often need to cut things up to 30", but it is kind of a pain until you get used to it being there.
For 90 degree cuts, I find that having the fence in the rear position is faster/easier. With a pivot at the rear outboard corner the rip/crosscut changeover takes seconds. A laminate top is also highly recommended.