Bosch GKT 55 GCE plunge saw VS festool TS55

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I have be looking at getting a plunge saw and ive narrowed it down to the bosch gkt55 or the festool ts55. I've had a couple of plays with the festool and it is smooth but expensive. Is there anybody out there that can give me any info on their experience of the bosch compared to the festool, and whats the deal with the guide rail sizing? 800,1100,1600,2100 and 3100. The sizes seem to be odd, a sheet of ply 1220 x 2440 so two rails would have to be connected for the length of a board ie 1600+800 and for the width of the board one rail is to short or ones to long? Most of my tools are now bosch and I have and love the L-boxx system so the gkt has an attraction that the festool cant match.
Would be greatful for your help and comments
sean
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Have used the festool extensivley, cutting trespa cladding with no problems.  It comes with a 1400mm rail, and even 2 of these together was a pain when cutting in a confined space. I cant understand why bosch haven't went with a 1200 or even a 1250 guide would be perfect for cutting stock sheets.  Though, I imagine if you are only 40mm short the saw will still be on the guide as reach the end of your cut anyways.  I should admit here, I more often than not just use the one rail and move it, rather than mess about with a guide thats too long, so the 1600 would more than likely be ideal for me.

I'm pretty sure the bosch reps do demos at the service centres if theres one near you, could be worth a visit.
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Hi Sean,

I had the same dilemma, but went for the Bosch as I’ve got a few L boxxs now and the price. As soon as I'd paid my money, I started thinking that maybe I should have paid extra and gone for the Festool! The plunge saw is very good, very similar to the Mafell plunge saw (who I think designed the Bosch one?) has some identical parts. Only had it a week, but been using it quite a bit during that time for kitchen fitting and cabinet making. Very pleased with it so far.

The blade is very smooth and cuts through laminates with amazing precision and without any chips at all. Used the bevel feature to do -1 degree cuts for tight laminate joints and it works really well. Not done any 45 degree cuts yet as I use my mitre saw for plinths/cornice etc.Used to use a table saw or jigsaw for cutting plinths to height, but this is so accurate and saves so much time, think I can leave the table saw in the lock up now. Actually I can't think what I'll use the table saw for now.

I got mine from DM tools as they had a deal on 2 x 1.6 rails with a connector and the tool. It's easy to connect the rails together and they stay true and straight, although handling a 3.2 metre rail onto the work piece is another matter. The connector comes with a screwdriver/allen key that can connect the rails and change the blade, so I store it in the saw instead of the allen key that it came with. Only used the joined rails a couple of times for ripping 8ft lengths and without clamps, as the rails grip really well and individually they work very well indeed. Again, the rails and connector are identical to the Mafell ones, so looks like they were designed by them, although the bosch ones are cheaper, they just need to get a bag as an accessory now!

The L boxx is a bit massive for the size of the saw, but I don't think it'll fit in the next size down, but I've ended up putting my drill, charger, batteries and jigsaw in the same box with a few blades and bits in a container and there is still room in the box! With the Lboxx that the drill came in stored on top it's the perfect height for sitting, which is handy on site if you have no where and don't want to use the floor.

The dust extraction is really good too. It’s got a little drop down see through guide that marks the start of the cut and also adds a little extra for dust extraction, the only other thing I’d like to see is some way of seeing the start of the blade when it’s not fully plunged, if that makes sense?

Overall very happy, certainly not regretting buying the bosch instead of the festool. It does what I want it to do, early days I know, but barring any major reliability issues, I just want to see how sharp that blade stays and for how long. So far a real time saver and pleasure to use.

All the best,

Paul

p.s. the saw was made in Germany which is what you expect, but just looking at my 18v drill which is made is Malaysia, when did that start? Had to swap the drill as it developed ‘strange’ noises, but got that from Screwfix, so they swapped it there and then.

p.p.s Sorry if the post is a bit epic.

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Many thanks for the help. I think i will go for the bosch, the fact that the guide rails are joined easily is a major plus. I've used the festool rails and had to join them using the two bars that they provide, for a tool that costs so much and is ment to be top of line, i thought that they could do better than grub screws and bars. I guess that the size of the bosch rails are something that you have to get used to? I will invest in the 800mm rail to go with a 1600mm  so that stock sheets are easier to rip down without a massive over hang, also its ideal for work tops.
Astors there is a smaller L-boxx that is 253 in height that might fit the saw a bit better.
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I don't think you'll regret it. I have to say though that Bosch aren't doing themselves any favours by not having a video showing the features of the saw. What's going on BOB? Why not knock together a video? Instead when you search for vids you get that overdubbed German bloke showing you 1:30 secs of circular saws! Sure you're missing out on sales as people are not sure whether to buy the tool because of lack of information/demonstration.
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I have one of Bosch saws as well and quite happy with it so far, there is always something that can be improved though as with any other tool there exists. (Yes, like smaller box, etc...)
Bosch is better than Festool, mainly because it uses better rail system, but if you were to buy best there is you could go with Mafell, hands down. It really is worth that extra £100 more.
With Bosch bear in mind it cuts 51mm deep max off the rail (Probably same as Festool or others) and you do not get any accesories in box.
Must admit 1600 rails are spot on to work on 4' sheet as its nice to have little more overhang so the saw sits on guide properly for full acuracy. Also working with 3m sheet material is a breeze. Could always get shorter rail for small stuff if needed.
Very easy and quick to join and separate rails with just a coin, always 100% straight.
One  thing it could do with now is prescoring function (for those extra fine cuts, you know...)

My older thread:
www.bosch-pt.co.uk/professional/community/board/13/topic/2476/1/BOSCH+GKT55CE+Plunge+Saw.html

Guide rail video:
www.youtube.com/watch

Bosch own video:
www.bosch-professional.com/gb/en/ocs/tools/104655/27298/hand-held-circular-saws/gkt-55-gce/

Good luck

This post was edited by Bob Community Team on 31.01.2012, 21:41 o’clock
Reason: Extra info

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Hi guys

In regards to the video. We have one in the pipeline. Infact it will be on our You tube channel early next week. I'll put a link up once it has been uploaded. 

We will be rolling out a number of wood working videos with the help of Adam Holtham so you will be able to see these tools in action in a number of real life applications.

Kind regards

The Bob Team
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Sounds good Bob, will you be explaining why the guide rails come in bosch specific sizes?
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Well actually yes it will! :)  

The video will show all the different guide rail lengths we offer and the different combinations. We will show how simple it is to assemble the new guide rail.  Thesystem has a number of different length sections which allows many combinations. This allows you to replicate standard rail lengths from manufacturers such as Festool and Mafell. Infact due to this 'mix and match' system we can offer a greater range.

Kind regards

The Bob team
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Hi bob, where can I find those new videos?