This is certainly a cheaper alternative than a panel saw. 50 inches is not bad at all, but I'd personally prefer a full 96 inches so that you can rip an entire panel if necessary. The clamp in this kit works well. It does tend to want to bow the panels a bit, so you have to be careful to clamp your panel down well to a working surface. Also, the guide takes some effort to attach the saw. It's not the simplest thing to get it all aligned. The clamp is also not self squaring, so make sure you use a T-square when putting it on. Measure really carefully too on both sides to make sure you get it very well aligned. The track runs smooth enough, so no real worries there, and the clamp holds well once you start cutting. But there is a good deal of effort needed to go into a single cut, so just be aware that set up time with this tool is rather long. A good tip here is to mark a line where you want to cut and measure another for where the edge of the clamp should be and mark all the way down the panel. This will help you to align it.
BORA's 50 inch WTX Clamp Edge and Saw Guide Kit is the second saw guide I own. The other aluminum guide I've been using is by Rockwell. This two piece kit comes with a saw plate that holds the circular saw to the aluminum WTX Clamp guide preventing it from wandering off the cut. It doesn't happen often, but it can ruin a cut and I've done it. The guide itself is more substantial than the other one I own. The Bora WTX guide is one piece of extruded aluminum with channels to hold the special clamps underneath the guide so the plate travels smoothly on the top. This is nice and the unique bottom fasteners grasp the wood panel underneath eliminating hitting into clamps when making the cut as is the case with the Rockwell guide. Its a big plus and saves a lot of time setting up the cut. I tried the saw plate with both my circular saws, a much older Craftsman and a Skilsaw with a newer cast base. Both saws fit and felt secure in the plastic plate. The WTX guide is first rate and the saw plate works on either channel guide I own. Finally, The guide length can be doubled for even longer cuts with an optional aluminum section and locking fasteners to get slightly more than eight feet. For those who don't have a shop table saw this setup is really a necessity for its ease and increased accuracy.
Very solid guide, thick enough to barely flex. The clamp is excellent. The stationary clamp has a handle which pushes the clamps together about an inch. The other clamp moves freely the whole length of the edge, and locks in place with a quick squeeze.
The saw guide really sets this kit apart though. I've used other edges for cutting hardwood and plywood. It can get tricky keeping the blade flush to the edge. With the saw guide, you are locked into your line perfectly. Very nice enhancement on a good tool.
There are two parts to this:
First there is the edge clamp that is used for guiding the circular saw (or jigsaw or router).
Second, there is a saw plate that attaches to your circular saw so that it can ride along the edge clamp.
The edge clamp is slick. It has a very smart clamping action that holds it securely to the the work piece. It easily clamps across the 4’ dimension of a 4x8’ sheet of material. If you wish to cut along the 8’ length you need to add the optional extension that allows for longer lengths.
The edge clamp is made from extruded aluminum and is very rigid, smooth and of course straight. Highly recommended.
I did not have any success with the saw plate, simply because neither of my two circular saws could be clamped onto it. (One is an old Craftsman and the other is a very new Skilsaw Mag 77.) This new product will need to go through some more development steps to enable more saws to be attached to it.
If your saw does not fit, just use the clamp edge as a guide.
I have suggested some improvements to their support team:
- longer clamps
- threaded adjustments to get the saw blade parallel to the saw plate.
- fine guide lines showing when the saw is parallel to the plate.
- ability to set whole inch/cm distances so that the edge clamp can be placed exactly (say) 4” from the desired cut line.
- quick release system
Pros: Durable, Easy to Use, Strong, Good Size & Weight, Light Weight, Long-Lasting
Working with full or half sheets of plywood. melamine, or MDF is no fun. They are large, heavy, and dangerous to take to a table saw unless you have special equipment. I gotten by with a circular saw and another brand of straight edge for a while, but the results were never terrific. A circular saw will wander from the straight edge. I also considered getting a dedicated track saw for breaking down sheet goods, but those are expensive, and I don't work with large sheets quite enough to justify the expense. I then came across this.
First - the straight edge guide. It's awesome! I am going to find a ton of uses for this. It's a lot larger in every dimension than the ones I am using. The clamping mechanism is very easy and secure. I also love the fact it has T-Tracks along the length. Perfect for start and stop blocks when using it with a router for stopped dados and grooves. This gives a lot more uses than simply an edge guide.
The saw guide is nice. It's adjustable to fit different brands of edge guides as well. It's very simple to install your saw to and will work with most saws. I was a little disappointed because it will not work with my Bosch or Skil worm drive saws because of the angle adjustments on the front of the sole. If I really wanted to I could make a sub base for the worm drives, but I have another sidewinder that I barely ever use. It's really easy to remove the base from the saw and put it back on. Initial set up probably takes 5 minutes, after that it's barely a minute. The saw is held securely and doesn't budge during use.
It works as advertised. You can adjust all of the play out of the saw base so it rides the rails securely. Once set, it stays that way.
This did cut dead straight. I didn't have to constantly keep applying pressure to the saw to get to remain on the straight edge. It just glides down the cut.
The only drawbacks to this system over an actual track saw are :
1 - tear out. Use a high quality, high tooth count blade, and if you are working with expensive veneers, tape your cut line. you have no support for the cut on top or underneath. The sole rides slightly above the surface.
2 - Also because the sole rides a little higher, this will limit your max depth of cut a little.
Overall this is an awesome value. If you are using an edge guide to break down sheet goods, try this instead. It's dead simple, repeatable, and the cuts are dead square and straight.
Pros: Durable, Easy to Use, Sturdy, Accurate, Strong, Good Size & Weight, Light Weight, good clamp, t-track, wide surface area, thick edges
I hate giving negative reviews but I have mixed feelings about this two piece set. I absolutely love the 50" clamp saw guide. It's robust and locks on rock-solid. Also, Bora offers a 50" screw-on extension to be able to cut 4' x 8' sheet goods lengthwise. When I have a helper I'll always use my table saw for this but when I'm working alone trying to feed a full sheet into the saw is difficult at best. A couple of years ago I bought a three piece set of clamp-on saw guides, in assorted lengths, from Rockler. This Bora guide is far superior.
The saw plate is a different story. It's plastic and it feels flimsy. When it's adjusted tight enough to the guide, to prevent the saw from wracking, it squeals like raking your nails across a chalkboard. There's no way to tell when the saw is clamped parallel to the guide track underneath. The spring on the rear horseshoe clamp bottoms out before locking the saw plate. The adjustable cut-line indicator won't move far enough to line up with the blade. I think this product is a solution to a non-existent problem. If you measure the distance from the edge of the saw plate to the blade and offset your clamp edge guide on that line simply run your saw against the guide. I've been doing it that way for years and have always gotten perfect cuts.
I suggest you pass on this set and buy the 50" clamp guide only. Put the money you save towards the 50" extension. For some reason I don't understand, Home Depot doesn't sell the extension but a quick internet search for "Bora 542060" will reveal the dealers that stock it.