I'm beginning to wish I had a track saw..

UncleJoe

Joe
Senior User
Ah the classic track saw debate. Well everyone has the right answer, it is all a matter of your personal perspective. I love mine and I can say without any hesitation that the track saw moved me into another level of quality woodworking. Maybe it was because I was working with the most expensive saw I had ever owned so I took more time and care lining up my cuts or maybe the finish on the cuts was awesome and everything I cute was square and true. What ever the cause and effect, I instantly began making furniture that was far superior to anything I had ever made before.

As for which is better, Makita, Dewalt, Wen or Festool, that is like going on a Nascar forum and asking which is better Ford or Chevy.

And for those on the fence, to me the number one thing is the saw only goes exactly where you tell it to go. No more wandering to the right of the cutline in the middle of the cut as the saw moves away from whatever straight edge you are using. Oh and don't discount the dust collection. I can break down 4 sheets of plywood for cabinets and have less than a dustpan of dust on the floor. Nice.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Been using a shop made (I hate the term "home made," as it means inferior to me) guide and folding saw bench for 20 years. Bench consists of folding banquet table legs, with plywood rails, and 2 X 4's placed flat ways between rails. When top receives wear (saw cuts), replace 2 X 4's. I'm on my fourth or fifth top, along with third set of rails. Use with a DeWalt saw that has adjustment to make blade parallel with edge of base. Got the idea out of FWW, Aug 2000. Built a bunch of "on site built" book cases and shelving units over the years, plus breaking down sheet goods outside the shop.
 

Mark Johnson

Mark
Corporate Member
I know everyone has an opinion, and probably everyone is right for their specific situation. I have a Festool T55 that I got several years ago. When I break down plywood, I slide it right out of the bed of my truck onto some saw horses and use the track saw. This allows me to get the pieces small enough to run through my table saw for final dimensions, and most important means that I don't have to carry sheets of plywood down the hill into the basement. A couple of years ago, I built an entire house of cabinets in my driveway ( I do not recommend that by the way), and the first thing I did on every cherry board was put a clean, smooth edge on one side with the track saw. Almost always the edge was so straight and smooth that no jointer work was required before glue up. I was way easier to get done right than to try to run it through the table saw with no infeed and outfeed tables. If my track saw broke, I would replace it immediately.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Been using a shop made (I hate the term "home made," as it means inferior to me) guide and folding saw bench for 20 years. Bench consists of folding banquet table legs, with plywood rails, and 2 X 4's placed flat ways between rails. When top receives wear (saw cuts), replace 2 X 4's. I'm on my fourth or fifth top, along with third set of rails. Use with a DeWalt saw that has adjustment to make blade parallel with edge of base. Got the idea out of FWW, Aug 2000. Built a bunch of "on site built" book cases and shelving units over the years, plus breaking down sheet goods outside the shop.
Bruce - I'd like to see a few pics of what you are describing, especially the bench - or alternatively will need to find a copy of FWW Aug 2000. I am about to embark on a large built-in shelving unit with base cabs, and am having difficulty envisioning how I will get all this plywood cut up in my small shop. I can manage to cross-cut or rip a 4x8 piece on my TS, but just barely, and it ain't easy to clear the space to do so! (No I don't have clutter in my shop, I will use that some of that stuff someday!)
Not sure a single project justifies a track saw, though I would of course like one. Your DW saw with adjustable plate sounds like a great feature.

Several aspects that I anticipate liking about a track (shop made or commercial)
- the protection of a finished surface (no sliding of circ saw plate over a painted surface; therefore no scratching the surface).
- with zero clearance tracks there is no repeated measuring and checking for offsets - the track line is the edge of the cut
- with some saws at least capturing sawdust may at times be an advantage
 

FrankK

Frank
User
I bought a TrueTrac saw system at a trade show and have used it often. Less expensive than Festool and just as versatile. They have a special table you can make that gets the clamps off the workbench. I have an 8 foot track and a 4 foot. I also have a router bottom that fits the track that cuts dead on dados and flutes. I highly recommend it.
 

Billm0066

Bill
User
Bruce - I'd like to see a few pics of what you are describing, especially the bench - or alternatively will need to find a copy of FWW Aug 2000. I am about to embark on a large built-in shelving unit with base cabs, and am having difficulty envisioning how I will get all this plywood cut up in my small shop. I can manage to cross-cut or rip a 4x8 piece on my TS, but just barely, and it ain't easy to clear the space to do so! (No I don't have clutter in my shop, I will use that some of that stuff someday!)
Not sure a single project justifies a track saw, though I would of course like one. Your DW saw with adjustable plate sounds like a great feature.

Several aspects that I anticipate liking about a track (shop made or commercial)
- the protection of a finished surface (no sliding of circ saw plate over a painted surface; therefore no scratching the surface).
- with zero clearance tracks there is no repeated measuring and checking for offsets - the track line is the edge of the cut
- with some saws at least capturing sawdust may at times be an advantage
try to find a used festool track saw like I did. Festoolownersgroup is good to buy used stuff from. Sell it once you’re done and break even. It’s the best thing about buying used tools. It’s like having money in the bank. Just used mine today and love it. Powertec makes rails that are significantly cheaper than festool and work perfect.
 

Drew

Drew Goodson
User
The price of this “little guy” has me intrigued:

 

Herdfan2005

Jason
Senior User
The price of this “little guy” has me intrigued:

I had this one, then sold it. it was just OK, a little scary at times. I just bought a Wen TrackSaw and Powertec track set, waiting for Amazon delivery. I am building anew miter saw station and will be using it to break down sheetgoods on the floor.
 

build4fun

Brian
User
Very happy with my Festool Track saw. I really like how the dust collection is integrated with their tools. Price is always quite a shock though.
 

Sourwould

Taylor
Senior User
try to find a used festool track saw like I did. Festoolownersgroup is good to buy used stuff from. Sell it once you’re done and break even. It’s the best thing about buying used tools. It’s like having money in the bank. Just used mine today and love it. Powertec makes rails that are significantly cheaper than festool and work perfect.
+1

I paid about 300 for mine. Ive used the makita and find it more prone to kickback. I could probably sell me saw for more than I paid for it.

Festool has the best options on tracks and the quality control is better than other manufacturers. I would get festool tracks even if I had a different saw. There's also a wider variety of 160mm blades than 165 with a 20 mm arbor, unless you start ordering blades in from Japan.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
try to find a used festool track saw like I did. Festoolownersgroup is good to buy used stuff from. Sell it once you’re done and break even. It’s the best thing about buying used tools. It’s like having money in the bank. Just used mine today and love it. Powertec makes rails that are significantly cheaper than festool and work perfect.
Billm0066 THANK YOU - GREAT suggestion on the Powertec rails!
I take it you have a Festool saw and are using the Powertec rails, Right?
Have you used Festool rails and can you compare both rails?
 

Herdfan2005

Jason
Senior User
Billm0066 THANK YOU - GREAT suggestion on the Powertec rails!
I take it you have a Festool saw and are using the Powertec rails, Right?
Have you used Festool rails and can you compare both rails?
i just got a set of Powertec rails for a Wen tracksaw, they seem to be very high quality
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
Made my own form a pc of plywood, hardwood straight edge, dedicated to my de walt cordless, ripped down, 2 marks clamp it rip it.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
A good circular saw and a strait edge is all you need. I have a track saw set up but rarely use it. But then I can cut a strait line from here to Virginia.:cool: I break down plywood on the table saw most of the time but I'm still a youngster and I like pain. ;) In my professional opinion the 100 dollar Makita is the best saw out there. They cut smooth and strait and last many years with everyday abuse. Any circular saw with a base shoe that is square to the blade will cut strait. If you need a guide any strait piece of wood and 2 clamps will do the trick. A 60 tooth CMT blade will do all the fine cutting you need without chipout. you just need to get the speed correct. too fast you get chipout too slow you get burning. practice makes perfect. YMMV.
 

Billm0066

Bill
User
Billm0066 THANK YOU - GREAT suggestion on the Powertec rails!
I take it you have a Festool saw and are using the Powertec rails, Right?
Have you used Festool rails and can you compare both rails?
Some people swear the splinter guard is better on festool. I have no issues with powertec at all. Festool rails are grossly overpriced. I had one festool track but sold it. I didn’t think it was much better. Yes I have the festool track saw. Great saw and amazing dust collection.

here’s a benefit of a track saw. I can take a sheet of plywood and throw it on the ground on top of foam board. Lay the rails on it no clamps and cut a perfect straight line. I have a bulged disc in my back so manhandling sheet goods is not good for me. It’s quicker, better dust collection, and so much easier to use. It’s one of those tools I hated spending the money on, but always think it’s worth it when I use it. When I don’t need it anymore I will sell it for what I paid for it (bought used)
 
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23tony

Tony
User
Made my own form a pc of plywood, hardwood straight edge, dedicated to my de walt cordless, ripped down, 2 marks clamp it rip it.
Same here, works great. No idea what a track saw takes to set up, but with mine I just mark a couple points, clamp it down, and cut.

Only problem is that it's 8' long, which is a pain when cutting width-wise. Planning to make a 4' one for those cases pretty soon.
 

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