Mafell pull-push sawAnother interesting tool in Kurt's shop is the Mafell pull-push saw. It's a portable table saw intended to be used on a jobsite. What is interesting about this saw is how it is used to make crosscuts. The whole saw blade and motor assembly slides forwards and back inside the saw. This function allows the saw to take on tasks typically done with a sliding miter saw.
For making crosscuts, the crosscut fence is attached to the saw in a fixed position. The work piece is then placed on the saw, and then the sawblade is pulled through the workpiece.
The advantage of making crosscuts this way (over other table saws) is that the work piece doesn't have to move. This allows you to support the other end of a long work piece with a sawhorse, if need be.
The advantage over a sliding compound miter saw is that much larger stock can be handled.
For example, if a solid 12x12 cm beam needs to be cut, it could be cut from one side, and then flipped
over and the other side cut. Sliding miter saws just don't have enough opening
to accommodate a solid beam.
The pull-push action is activated by pulling on the depth adjustment knob. A button in the middle of the knob must be pushed to allow the saw to be pulled forward. A spring automatically pulls the saw back to its rear-most position when the knob is let go.
I actually jammed a piece of wood behind the motor to take this shot, as there is no way to lock the saw in a forward position.
This type of table saw, where the blade moves, has a name in german: Unterflurzugkreissaege. If you type this word into google, you will find a selection of similar saws, though all on webpages in German. I don't know if there's a non-branded name for such a saw in English.
Mafell lists a newer version of this saw on the Mafell website. Unfortunately, their tools are on the pricey side (even more so than Festool), and they are not very well represented internationally. The factory is in a small town called Oberndorf, on the edge of the black forest, not far from where Kurt lives. They make a lot of other innovative tools targeted at people working with post and beam construction, but also smaller tools, like the Duo Dowelsystem, which Kurt also showed me. Check out their website for more original woodworking tools.