Track Saw Advice

I've used a circular saw with a Kreg track. Husky tools has a track too:


The kreg one is meh. Haven't tried the husky track, but it is cheaper than spending 300-800 on a track saw.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Haven't seen it mentioned here, so I will add that there are cheaper options than Makita or Fe$tool. I bought a Wen saw, and have commented on it here at NCWW; I have been pleased with it overall. It's not perfect, but has sufficed for the jobs I bought it for.

Post is found here - I haven't re-read it to see if my comments are still accurate:
https://ncwoodworker.net/forums/index.php?threads/wen-track-saw-initial-user-comments.71982/

I will note a task that was best done with the tracksaw: I needed an initial straight edge on S2S lumber on including an 11'+ piece. That would not have worked on my Table saw in my small shop! I will also note that using the tracksaw on narrow pieces (<5"?) gets more difficult.

I am not promoting this as the best track saw out there - but it is a great VALUE (function per $ spent). I can live with the imperfections and enjoy the added capabilities it provides, with a much lower investment.
 
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JimD

Jim
Senior User
Early this year I got our church an Evolution track saw using gift cards somebody else provided. It is another inexpensive option - with some quirks. It uses a Festool style track and comes with 3 or 4 very short pieces. It has a 15 amp motor and can use regular, less expensive, 7.25 inch blades (but the cut location is different than if you use a track saw blade). The guard, however, is like a circular saw. It is not a plunge cut saw. With a 60 tooth Freud 7.25 inch blade it gives very clean cuts. I've been thinking about giving one to my son and son-in-law for Christmas. It's kind of a "normal" circular saw with the added feature of a dado in the base so it can ride a track. It also comes with a blade that is supposed to cut metal (we haven't tried it). I got the saw, a couple Wen 50 inch tracks, and a couple Powertec clamps for $250. I don't like the Powertec clamps much, however, the DeWalt are far better and I think the 55 inch Powertec tracks are a better idea (100 inches is a bit short for cutting up sheet goods).
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
I think it comes down to carpentry vs cabinetry. I knock sheets to size with a cordless saw and strip of MDF. Good enough for carpentry. Not good enough to replace my TS yet. Makita ( leading candidate) or Festool? I need some demo. Not a fan or proprietary blades especially when I can see no evidence other than making more money for nothing.

Yes, WEN is a champ at cheap tools. Best of class, but recognize it is the bottom class.
 

HITCH-

Hitch
User
I would imagine that you could get a used table saw for less than a new track saw. That would be my preference due to all the additional capabilites that a table saw has.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I would not call track saw blades proprietary. There are saws which take a 160mm diameter blade and saws that take a 165mm blade but I think they all have a 20mm arbor hole. I can put 160 or 165 on my DeWalt but I loose a little depth of cut with the 160. Freud, CMT and other normal carbide blade providers have track saw blades. I have used Oldham and DeWalt blades and just ordered some Milwaukee blades. Wen offers one too and it is quite inexpensive. Typically they cost more than a 7.25 inch circular saw blade but they are much less than a table saw blade of comparable quality (but they don't last as long as the table saw blade either).

I agree it's an accuracy difference that makes a track saw different. I broke down sheet goods for decades with a circular saw and a shoot board but I tried to avoid making finish cuts - because accuracy was hard to achieve. I routinely make finish cuts with my track saw because making them accurately is much easier. If I only need 1/8th inch accuracy either is fine. If I need 1/32 or better accuracy, that is only the track saw for me.
 
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Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Development Director
Hank
Corporate Member
I think it comes down to carpentry vs cabinetry. I knock sheets to size with a cordless saw and strip of MDF. Good enough for carpentry. Not good enough to replace my TS yet. Makita ( leading candidate) or Festool? I need some demo. Not a fan or proprietary blades especially when I can see no evidence other than making more money for nothing.

Yes, WEN is a champ at cheap tools. Best of class, but recognize it is the bottom class.
Scott, These are the comments that make me cringe - "Not good enough to replace my TS yet", then you go on to say you need a Makita or Festool demo.
Get the Demo, or better yet visit a shop and use one, you will see why People hold Festool in high regard. Now the problem is, they "invented it" (not completely true... but they were one of the first to market with it, and now there are a lot of copyists... probably good enough or as good as Festool, what are you paying for? You are paying for someone to be a leader and develop product we want and some products we didn't even know we wanted (Domino...)

Finally, you comment on the Wen saw stating "...recognize it is the bottom class." shortly after someone posted how happy they are with their purchase... Again, have you used one... maybe it suits EXACTLY what the person expected it to for the job(s) for which he purchased it...
 

Martin Roper

Martin
Senior User
I have become a Festool convert. I don't have much yet, but I add a piece here and there.

I have the Makita corded track saw and really like it. If I could change two things about it they would be the power cord and the depth stop.

The power cord is way too short on the Makita and almost invariably needs an extension cord. This wasn't a big deal when I used a shop vac for dust extraction. It became a problem when I replaced my shop vac with a proper dust extractor that has an auto-on switch. Now I need an extension cord between the saw and the extractor. Festools use the Plug-It cord which is the same length as my DE hose. You can even clip the cord to the hose to minimize entanglements. There are outfits that make clips for Festool or other hoses.

1661385533048.png


Because all Festool products share the same Plug-It cord, you can simply leave one clipped to the hose and plug your sanders, domino or whatever on there. If you're not using a Festool, simply leave the cord on the hose and plug your tool directly into the DE.

The depth stop on the Makita is a plastic twist knob that is a little awkward to adjust accurately.

1661384057628.png


On the Festool TS 55, depth adjustment is stupid easy. Simply squeeze the green thingy, slide it to the desired depth on the scale, and release. Done.

1661384879017.png


If my Makita gives out I'll get a TS 55.
 

Stuart Kent

Stuart
Senior User
we have Makita at the Furniture School, their professional grade drills are among the best on the market and because they have making tools for industry for decades, their product line includes many tools that other brands don't - all with the same battery - and according to our Makita rep, they aren't stopping the 18v line. I would choose them again and again.
 

jgt1942

jgt
User
A follow-up to my previous post. I did order a T55 recon unit. Originally I goofed and thought it was the new T55. Obviously, this was a huge disappointment for me. Festool was kind enough to send me a shipping label and a full refund.

I've used the Mikita a bit more and feel more comfortable with it but still, if I could get the new T55 at a better price (LOL) I'd prefer it. Of course, this is a personal thing so far the Mikita has been great.
 

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