Festool is known its plunge-cutting track saws so I was surprised when a video of a non-plunging model showed up on my Facebook feed (video below). The HKC 55 is not the company’s first cordless saw or first non-plunging model; a dual-battery plunge saw and 13 3/4-inch beam saw are currently available in Europe. But with its 160mm (6 5/16-inch) blade, this will be the company’s first “normal” size non-plunging model. Scheduled for release in Europe in June 2015, the new saw has a brushless motor and will come with 5.2 Ah 18-volt lithium-ion batteries.
The HKC 55 can be used freehand (like any standard circ saw) or with two different types of guide rail, the FS style rails that many of us use for ripping and the new “Kappshiene” FSK rail, which is optimized for cross-cutting.
The FSK rail attaches to the bottom of the saw and stays there until you decide to take it off. This allows carpenters and woodworkers to plop the saw down and immediately make perfectly straight cuts by sliding it forward on the rail. After each cut a return mechanism pops the rail back to the starting position.
The angle of the cut is set by adjusting a “stop” on the edge of the rail. Set it directly across from the fixed “pin” on the other edge and you get a 90-degree cut. Set it anywhere else and you get a different angle, the scale goes from -60 to + 60 degrees. The FSK is optimized for cross-cutting and will be available with cutting lengths of 250, 420, and 620 millimeters (9 3/4”; 16 1/2”; 24 3/8”).
The design of the rail is very clever, but the idea for it is not completely new. In 2009 I reviewed track saws for JLC and one of the models tested was the Mafell KSS300, a small saw that can be used on a standard rail, a rail that coils for easy storage, and a cross-cutting rail similar to the Kappshiene FSK. Several months later the company introduced a larger saw (KSS400) with a cross-cutting rail that Festool’s appears to have been modeled on.
You can see Festool’s HKC 55 in the promotional video below. The saw is scheduled for release in Europe in June 2015. It is currently unknown if or when the saw will be available in the U.S.