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Straight, True, Inexpensive

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Review by KelvinGrove posted 04-21-2014 12:44 AM 4833 views 2 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Straight, True, Inexpensive No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

One day, when I win the lottery, I will have everything I want in a shop including one of the really nice panel saws like they use in the Big Orange Box. In the mean time, I need a way to cut sheet goods.

I have a couple of requirements on that. First, I don’t want to be wrestling 4X8 sheet through a circular saw. Second, I don’t want to “break things down to a rough size” and finish them on the table saw. Way too much waste in that.

So along comes the TrueTrak from Insight Tools. I picked mine up at the Atlanta Wood Working Show. $249 and no shipping. (Not sure about their shipping policy.) I have had the opportunity to use it a bit and wanted to let everyone else know what I think.

The set up took about an hour. Getting the guide plate attached to my Dewalt saw was not difficult but it was a bit tedious trying to get everything square and get it clamped down and started correctly. Take the time to do it right the first time. The anti-tear-out strip was a pain and I had to take it back off and remount it to get it right. Your saw may be easier.

I have used it both on plywood and MDF. My first thought was that, regardless of manufacture’s claims, the track would slip unless clamped (gently) down. I was wrong. Unless you are really not paying proper attention it stays where you put it.

I did learn that it is best to mark a pencil lead width to the waste side of your cut and then nudge the track up to the line. Trying to cut to the keep side of the line means allowing for the saw kerf which is not always easy to judge.

Ripping the full 8 feet of a sheet was no problem with the two sections of track together. I measured and marked each side of the track joint as well as the ends just to make sure it was true and it was.

I also hauled it down to my green house to cut some odd shaped pieces for a repair project. Once I got all of the measurements scribed onto the sheet it was a quick and accurate finish for some odd shaped triangles for the gable. Can’t do that with a panel saw.

On the down side, the saw does not glide as easily on the track as a saw without the guide plate does on bare wood. With that said, a little car wax did the trick.

If you have won the lottery and want a big sheet saw by all means. But everything else…this is it.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. Don't cry because it's over, smile....because for 7 glorious miles, everyone thought you were the real bus driver!




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KelvinGrove

881 posts in 602 days



25 comments so far

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4343 posts in 1738 days


#1 posted 04-21-2014 10:25 AM

Thank you for the review.

-- Bert

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dhazelton

1218 posts in 986 days


#2 posted 04-21-2014 11:44 AM

Is that spelling correct? All I find when I google that is something for a Harley Davidson.

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KelvinGrove

881 posts in 602 days


#3 posted 04-21-2014 12:41 PM

Right you are D. It should be TrueTrac.

Here is the link. Spelling and dovetails are not my strong points!

http://www.insighttoolworks.com/

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. Don't cry because it's over, smile....because for 7 glorious miles, everyone thought you were the real bus driver!

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15960 posts in 1556 days


#4 posted 04-21-2014 01:15 PM

Thanks for the review. I still just use a straight piece of lumber and a couple of clamps as a saw guide. Maybe I’m missing a lot and might consider taking a look.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View KelvinGrove's profile

KelvinGrove

881 posts in 602 days


#5 posted 04-21-2014 01:35 PM

Charles, for a long time I used a couple of set up blocks I made. I butted a piece of plywood up against a 2X4 and ran the saw along along the 2X4. That left me a plywood block the exact width of the sole plate. I would then lay those down on the mark and clamp them down. Next I put my straight edge against the blocks and clamp it down. Next I removed the spacer and had at it. As long as I didn’t drift away from the straight edge I did OK. That was hard splitting a sheet in two. This device prevents the saw from drifting either direction and is much faster to set up.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. Don't cry because it's over, smile....because for 7 glorious miles, everyone thought you were the real bus driver!

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cutworm

1065 posts in 1483 days


#6 posted 04-22-2014 11:41 AM

Thanks. Nice price. I have been looking at different brands and have a question. In the photo you have how do you secure the track so it won’t slip and not interfere with your cut? Looks like you could use clamps but they would block the saw at some point.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View KelvinGrove's profile

KelvinGrove

881 posts in 602 days


#7 posted 04-22-2014 12:27 PM

There are anti-skid strips on both sides. Once you lay it down you actually have to push pretty hard to get it to slip. I have found that it will slip more easily after a couple of cuts because you end up with sawdust on the workpiece. A quick pass with a brush, or better yet the shop vac, takes care of that. The picture I used is from the manufacturer’s web site. (I had no way to do a selfie while I was sawing.) I do use a couple of spring clamps “just in case”. I put the one on the far end and then after I am an inch or two into the cut drop the trailing one on. When I get to the far end I take that one off.

Also, they make a clamp for this which slides into the track on the the underside of the ends which extend over the edge of the work piece. I may buy a set at some point but have not seen the need yet.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. Don't cry because it's over, smile....because for 7 glorious miles, everyone thought you were the real bus driver!

View jakep_82's profile

jakep_82

47 posts in 996 days


#8 posted 04-22-2014 03:47 PM

This seems really expensive when compared against an entry level track saw. The track saw combo kit from Grizzly which includes the saw, blade, clamps, and 55” of track is only $245. If you want to break down 8’ sheets you can buy another 55” of track for $51. That means you have a real track saw with 110” capacity, a riving knife, and dust collection for only $46 more than this system which requires you to provide your own circular saw.

View lj61673's profile

lj61673

231 posts in 1089 days


#9 posted 04-22-2014 04:21 PM

”This seems really expensive when compared against an entry level track saw. The track saw combo kit from Grizzly which includes the saw, blade, clamps, and 55” of track is only $245. If you want to break down 8’ sheets you can buy another 55” of track for $51. That means you have a real track saw with 110” capacity, a riving knife, and dust collection for only $46 more than this system which requires you to provide your own circular saw.”

This^^

And you get real dust collection, something your old circular saw cannot give you.

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cutworm

1065 posts in 1483 days


#10 posted 04-22-2014 05:42 PM

Anyone know what size blade the Grizzly track saw uses? Is the arbor metric? Might be hard to find blades.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View carver1942's profile

carver1942

90 posts in 394 days


#11 posted 04-23-2014 12:20 AM

Thanks for your take on the TruTrac. I have been using the TrueTrac to cut down 12 sheets of cabinet grade plywood for my kitchen cabinets. I love it. I put it on the back side of the plywood so the blade is coming up on the finished side of the plywood. I’m using 1 side finished plywood. I get no splintering. I will finish size the pieces in the table saw. In actuality if I was careful enough I could probably cut the pieces close enough with the TrueTrac. I use a small battery powered saw to cut down on fatigue. When you put the TrueTrac where you want it, it stays put. For me it is a great time saver. A plus for me also is I can use any circular saw that I want. If the saw dies, and they do, I’m not locked into trying to get the dedicated saw fixed. For me it was money well spent. JMHO
Ed

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cutworm

1065 posts in 1483 days


#12 posted 04-23-2014 12:23 AM

Good point Ed. I’m weighing all the options and deciding what to purchase. I’m a little concerned that the saws use metric blades. Can’t run to HD and pick one up.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View jakep_82's profile

jakep_82

47 posts in 996 days


#13 posted 04-23-2014 04:14 AM

Anyone know what size blade the Grizzly track saw uses? Is the arbor metric? Might be hard to find blades.

They are metric, but not hard to find. It uses the same size blade as every other track saw (160mm with 20mm arbor) which means blades are readily available online, or in any woodworking store. I personally spent $25 on an Oshlun blade when I got my track saw and kept the original blade as a backup.

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roofner

96 posts in 973 days


#14 posted 04-23-2014 04:54 AM

They also have an adapter plate for a router to connect up.

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1065 posts in 1483 days


#15 posted 04-23-2014 12:06 PM

Thanks Jakep. Do you know how well the dust collection works?

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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