Fall Colors and Pull-Push Saws
How were your Fall colors this year? I love receiving photos from our Maine location when I need my foliage fix. Here are a couple nice ones from 2017 including a cascade of pumpkins and an unorthodox chain saw from the Fryeburg Fair:
October was busy!
We keep hearing from customers that they have lots of projects and deadlines to meet. It's important to take rest and give thanks during the busiest seasons of life, so perhaps a new tool could be the time-saver that allows your crew to go home a few hours early this time of year?
One such tool that's been getting a lot of buzz lately is Mafell's ERIKA Pull-Push Saw:
What is a Pull-Push Saw?
Probably the most unique product available at Timberwolf Tools! Every other solution we offer takes the tool to the wood, which usually has great advantages over taking the wood to the tool (especially with large timbers). So why the ERIKA - which is all about taking the wood to the tool? Well, some pieces of crown moulding are simply too small to cut with a handheld saw, and sometimes it's much faster to do repeated shelving cuts on a table saw. In the past these cuts were done on miter/chop saws and heavy table saws, but the ERIKA combines these unwieldy options into one efficient and portable package: saving precious time, space and money.
Quick German YouTube Video
As a result, the ERIKA has become the dream tool for our fine woodworking, furniture, and cabinet-making customers. For some time this dream seemed distant because the ERIKA is perhaps the most accessory-focused Mafell tool, making it a complex and expensive purchase. But we have seen a surge in ERIKA interest now that the new Timberwolf Tools website has launched. Every accessory now has its own page so you can quickly find what you need (and what you don't need) and it's easier than ever to request quotes from Marlin Equipment Finance to spread the cost over several years.
Another reason for all the ERIKA interest is perhaps the most comprehensive review we have ever received for a Mafell tool: compiled by Tom Gensmer of Heritage Home Renewals LLC near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tom has used nearly every Mafell and Festool fine woodworking product so he is an excellent resource when comparing manufacturers:
Since I purchased my Erika 70Ec roughly a year ago, it has formed an integral part of my cutting process. Paired with a Mafell handheld saw (KSS 300, KSS 400, or MT55cc), it is the ideal tool for precisely sizing sheet goods as well as millwork and components for cabinetry and furniture.
With a footprint and weight similar to a 12" sliding compound miter saw, the Erika performs the cross cutting function of a miter saw as well as the ripping function of a high-end table saw, saving space in my van, in my work shop, and on my job sites. The integrated legs have a very stable, wide stance, and the clever leveling foot accommodates uneven floors with the tap of your foot. I particularly like the optional wheel kit, which aids in not only moving the saw around my shop, but also allows me to swing the saw left and right for mitering long work pieces, or simply switching between ripping and crosscutting applications in confined spaces. An added benefit of the integrated legs is I don't need to worry about storing a separate folding stand in my van or work shop.
With 2250 watts of power, I have never found the Erika 70 wanting for power, and the stock blades available through Mafell cover all of my general and trim carpentry needs.
One of the prime features of the Erika series is the precisely engineered dovetail profile that wraps around all four sides of the saw. It is to these profiles that the various fences, clamps, table extensions and sliding table attach. While the Erika 70 folds up into a compact package for transport, it easily and quickly expands its capabilities with robust accessories like table extensions that expand the ripping capacity to over 24", and a sliding table that allows for crosscutting materials over 36" wide. All of these accessories install in minutes with a 5mm hex wrench.
At this point in my career I am pretty heavily invested in tools with excellent dust extraction, and the Erika fits right in with the rest of the herd. I particularly enjoy the dust collecting blade guard, which gives me extra incentive to leave it installed as much as possible. When cutting without the guard, the riving knife adjusts with a simple pull or push, without the need to remove a throat plate or release a lever. Engraved markings on the side of the riving knife give you a handy indicator of the depth of cut.
The intuitive, robust fence easily and quickly adjusts from crosscutting to ripping functions. The stock fence extrusion allows for a "euro-style" rip fence that reaches the blade arbor, while longer fences are available that reach the far end of the table and can be locked at both ends, creating a profoundly stable ripping surface. Multiple "T" slots in the fences allow for various stock and aftermarket options such as flip stops, clamps, feather boards, sacrificial fences, and so on.
When crosscutting, the pull-saw nature of the saw allows me to make very accurate, precision cuts without the worry of blade or motor deflection like I have previously experienced on sliding miter saws. Cutting crown moulding "on the flat" is accomplished safely and precisely, particularly on larger crown moldings which could be difficult on traditional miter saws. For smaller crown moulding, the depth of cut still allows for cutting crown in position.
Other features I appreciate are the rack and pinion bevel adjustment, long power cord, and motor that has a pleasing soft start and quickly comes to a halt once cutting is complete. Blade changes are simple and straightforward, allowing me to swap blades in minutes so I can rapidly transition from ripping thick hardwoods to crosscutting sheet goods.
While the Erika is not a small investment, it is one I am happy that I made. Its compact size, ability to quickly add expansion components, accuracy and power have made it the bedrock of my cutting system.
Should I consider the ERIKA 70Ec or ERIKA 85Ec?
Two ERIKA 70Ec saws go out our door for every one ERIKA 85Ec. The larger 85Ec features more cutting height, is more powerful, has a larger table, longer cross-cutting length, and comes standard with the popular MFA Guide Fence and Wheels Kit. So on paper the 85Ec seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, with great power comes great responsibility, and the powerful ERIKA 85Ec is only available in 230V - limiting it to being a shop tool. The ERIKA 70Ec on the other hand is available in convenient 120V power and weighs 5 pounds less, making it the truly portable option. Here is a side-by-side comparison so you can decide which ERIKA is best for your business:
|ERIKA 70Ec||ERIKA 85Ec|
|Voltage:||120 V||230 V|
|Weight:||71 lbs||76 lbs|
|Cutting height:||0 to 2-13/16"||0 to 3-5/16"|
|Cutting height at 45°:||0 to 1-15/16"||0 to 2-5/16"|
|Table top dimensions:||1.7 by 2.6 ft||1.7 by 3 ft|
|Power input:||3.0 hp||3.4 hp|
|Price with MFA Guide & Wheels Kit:||$4,277.70||$4,050.00|
Which accessories do I need?
Over 95% of our ERIKA customers add accessories to their order, but almost every ERIKA order is unique based on the custom accessory needs of the user. We recommend watching YouTube videos by wrightwoodwork in the UK to learn more about particular accessories, and Timberwolf Tools lists accessories for the ERIKA 70Ec and 85Ec on our website in order by popularity. To further clarify the process, we thought it would be helpful to put together a step-by-step ERIKA accessory guide using the diagram below so that you can decide exactly what you need.
Step #1 - Do I need a Sliding Table?
The largest ERIKA accessory is the Sliding Table (#3 used on the LEFT SIDE). This is used when cutting plywood, doors, and large sheet goods that would normally be unwieldy on the ERIKA 70Ec's 1.7 by 2.6 foot tabletop. If you are only cutting small or slender pieces, feel free to skip this accessory and move to the next step.
Step #2 - Do I need a Rip Fence?
If you plan on ripping quickly with the ERIKA, you will probably want the Rip Fence with Micro Adjustment (#15 used on the RIGHT SIDE). This guide allows you to rip precisely and moves up to 10" from the right side of the blade. If you need more than 10 inches, add the Extension & Router Table (#10) and two Supporting Rails (#14) allowing the Rip Fence to move up to 2.9 feet away from the blade. If you would like to make the Rip Fence longer and have a reference point on the far end of the table, add a Fence Extension with Drop Stop (#5), Clamping Piece (#9), and Rip Fence Extension Kit.
Money-saving tips: some users skip the Rip Fence and instead use the Universal Guide Fence that comes standard with the ERIKA 70Ec as a ripping guide. We also have ERIKA users who have built their own Extension & Router Table out of solid wood!
Step #3 - Do I need an MFA Guide?
The popular Multi-Purpose MFA Guide Fence (#2 used on the LEFT SIDE usually) replaces the Universal Guide Fence (#1) that comes standard on the ERIKA 70Ec. The MFA quickly makes perfect 90 degree joints for doors, picture frames, etc. It's an amazing accessory, but many customers find that the standard Universal Fence is perfectly fine for their applications. Both of these guides can attach to any side of the ERIKA tabletop (or the Sliding Table) and are the primary straightedge that you will be pulling into or pushing with.
Step #4 - Do I need a Guide Extension?
Most ERIKA customers add a Fence Guide Extension with Drop Stop (#5) to make their MFA Guide (#2) or Universal Guide (#1) 3.2 feet longer. This makes it easier to cut long pieces of wood such as crown moulding. You can also use these Guide Extensions as a straightedge by themselves on top of the ERIKA table using two Clamping Pieces (#9). There is a less expensive Universal Fence Extension (#4) option, but most ERIKA users prefer the version with the Drop Stop which is helpful for measuring repeated cross-cuts.
Step #6 - Do I need a Telescopic Rod?
For cutting especially long pieces of trim (in addition to Step #4) you can add a Telescopic Rod with Sheet Support (#7) for another 3.1 feet of guidance, and an Adjustable Supporting Leg (#17) to hold up the additional weight. You can continue to extend 3.2 feet increments by adding more Fence Guide Extensions with Drop Stop (#5) and Connecting Pieces (#6). Please note you can skip the Adjustable Supporting Leg by using 35" saw horses or other similar supports.
Step #6 - Do I need a Wheels Kit?
Most ERIKA 70Ec customers add the Extension Kit with Wheels (#19) because they want extra portability in the field or plan on frequently moving the ERIKA around their shop.
Step #7 - Do I need additional blades?
The ERIKA 70Ec comes with a 32-Tooth Blade that is excellent for ripping and cross-cutting. If you need the cleanest cuts for your expensive woods, add a 48-Tooth Fine Cutting Carbide Blade. If you plan on cutting Dibond or aluminum, add a 68-Tooth Laminate-Cutting Carbide Blade.
Step #8 - Do I need dust collection?
If a clean workspace is important to you, the ERIKA has three options for capturing dust. One is the Chip Collecting Cleanbox Starter Set (#21) that attaches to the side of the ERIKA - a nice solution that doesn't require a vacuum. The second option is Mafell's 8.2 foot LW-49 Suction Hose that works perfectly on the upper and under side of the ERIKA provided you have a compatible vacuum (such as the Metabo ASR 35 ACP). The third option is using your existing vacuum hose and an adapter (Mafell makes a 58/35mm Reducing Socket) which will only work on the under part of the ERIKA.
Eight steps is probably enough for now :) There are a few other ERIKA accessories, but these items above are the ones that North Americans prefer. If you would like to pick our brains further, please call us at 1-800-869-4169! George and I would be happy to put together a custom ERIKA quote including shipping to your zip code.
November Holiday Schedule
Timberwolf Tools will be off November 23rd and 24th to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, but we'll have someone here each other day Mon-Fri this month.
As always, thank you for reading another long (and hopefully informative) email. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep this week!
Jeff Powell and the Timberwolf Tools Team
Toll free: 1-800-869-4169