Having the right tool can allow you to avoid the pitfalls of wasted time, damaged materials and an unhappy client. Recently, Matthew Fritz shared a story about using the Festool TS 55 plunge saw to precisely and accurately cut panels for the balcony pictured above. Judging by Matthew's online portfolio of work, he has made good use of the TS and has many satisfied clients.
Below is Matthew's account of this challenging balcony installation. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include photos of your work.
When my crew and I were given the job of installing 3/4" MDF core veneered panels that were curved to fit a 10-14 foot high radius balcony, we knew that given the bulky size and heavy weight of the panels, we would have to either be dead-on accurate in our calculations for cutting on the ground level. Otherwise, we would be forced to spend a day taking backbreaking 200-pound panels up and down a lift for repeated trial cuts. The difficulty would be cutting the curved panels to exactly intersect the the two flat planes of the balcony at just the right point. Any cut that left us short would cause us to lose material that was worth thousands of dollars. Not cutting enough off would mean long, hard work of lifting and test fitting the heavy panels repeatedly.
To avoid all these pitfalls, we came up with a plan that depended on the versatility of the TS plunge cut saw. We first installed the center panel in position. Then we measured the approximate length for the curved panel adjacent to the center and added one inch to get within range. Then we lifted the curved panel into place and glued and clamped it next to the adjoining center panel. At that point, we were able to hold the panel away from the balcony several inches and clamp the Festool guide rail vertically where we thought it should be cut to get closer to fitting the work together. We set the TS plunge saw on the bevel needed to get a tight joint. We took a pass and checked to see if we were getting closer to fitting the panel. It needed a few more baby step passes and minor adjustments to the guide rail location, but within minutes, the panel was fitting against the balcony with a laser tight butt joint against the adjacent panels.
We repeated the process for the opposite side panel. The entire curved panel installation procedure took about two hours. Without the Festool TS 55 and guide rail, it surely would have taken a full, painstaking day. The TS plunge cut saw was the only tool that could have given us a perfectly straight beveled edge on a curved panel. Furthermore it was able to be done on the spot on a vertical plane in an awkward position with heavy panel material being temporarily supported until the cut was achieved. With the TS plunge cut saw, we proved we could take on challenging and difficult tasks with ease and precision and efficiency.
Matthew D Fritz
MDFritz Carpentry & Fine Woodwork