In my work as a finish carpenter and custom woodworker, I value tools that provide precision and help me operate more efficiently. That’s why I’m such a big track saw fan, which I use on a daily basis on my jobs. With the ability to produce clean, crisp, and accurate cuts in any location, this tool really excels, but efficiency suffers when it comes time to make repetitive or angle cuts. These cuts are easy to make on a miter saw when you’re working with narrower stock but not with a track saw when you’re cutting very wide stock or large sheet goods.
For many years, I used a TSO GRS-16 guide rail square (tsoproducts.com), an aftermarket accessory that works with Festool, Makita, and Triton track-saw guide rails, to make 90- or 45-degree crosscuts with a track saw. But with Festool’s new FS-WA angle stop, now I can make angled crosscuts up to 60 degrees in either direction, and with its specified detents, the stop can be quickly and accurately set to the most commonly used angles. Admittedly, it’s not all that often that I find myself cutting sheet goods at an angle other than 90 degrees, but with this newfound ability, new ideas have come to mind, and I recently found myself using the angle guide’s “common angles” when cutting plywood to skin over a textured ceiling for an applied architectural detail.
Attaching an FS-WA angle stop to a Festool guide rail entails sliding it onto the rail’s top and bottom groove, with no modifications to either the saw or to the guide rail. This angle stop can be placed anywhere along the guide rail, then locked into position with a quick clamping lever, allowing you to adjust it according to the width of the stock and the length of the guide rail. Once the angle stop has been secured to the guide rail and the guide rail placed on the material, you will notice a small foot on the side of the angle stop. This prevents the angle stop from falling off of the material and acts as a clamping surface, if necessary.
The FS-WA can also accept a clamp inside the T-slot underneath, though in the months I’ve been using the stop, I haven’t taken advantage of this feature. I’ve found that the nonskid strips on the guide rails have sufficient holding power, while the wide surface area of the angle stop provides additional stability. But if you do need more holding power or are trying to reference the assembly off of a large radius, there are a pair of black positioning bolts attached to the top of the angle stop that can be slid up and out and repositioned anywhere along the bottom of the stop’s T-track. And if you’re using any of Festool’s MFT tables, these positioning bolts fit snugly into the 20mm holes on the MFT top.
The angle stop works with Festool’s new FS-WA-VL guide extension to add repeatability to the mix. This accessory extends the angle stop up to 1,160mm (roughly 45 1/2 inches), turning it into a parallel edge guide that allows you to easily make repeatable, accurate cuts. The guide extension has a scale and an adjustable stop and connects to the angle stop with Festool FSV/2 connectors using the self-aligning T-slots on the angle stop. This guide-rail connector is secured with eight 5mm bolts (four on each side) and is laser engraved to ensure that the connectors are in the correct order.
The FS-WA angle stop is available from Festool for $175. The stop is also available as part of the SYS3 M 137 FS/2-Set—along with two screw clamps, a guide-rail deflector, a limit stop, two of the new FSV-2 guide-rail connectors, and the new style SYS3 M137 Systainer—for $300. The FS-WA-VL guide extension for the angle stop costs $90. festoolusa.com
Photos by Tommie Mullaney.