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Makita Track Saw - excellent product at a good price

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Review by philba posted 12-08-2014 08:49 PM 6451 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Makita Track Saw - excellent product at a good price No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had the SP6000 for about a month now and used it a number of times. Mostly, I’ve broken down 3/4” and 18 mm plywood but also done finer work including most of the final cuts for several Baltic Birch shop cabinets. Yesterday I cut 1/2” off the bottom of a painted door. More on this in a bit…

Overall, I really like the SP6000. It works as advertised. Plunging action is smooth, cutting with stock blade is surprisingly clean and dust collection is pretty good (almost all goes out the port). The track lock is positive and the saw rides very smoothly on the track. Setting the depth is quite easy though they really should have an imperial scale as well as metric.

The cut quality to date has been flawless. Even with less than stellar HD plywood, there was no tearout or chipping. What really got me excited was when I used it to cut the bottom half inch off an interior door. The door was painted with an enamel that, from experience, chips very easily. I laid the door down on a 1/4” sacrificial strip of plywood and put the track on top. I set the blade to cut about 1/8” deeper than the thickness of the door. The saw cut smoothly (I had visions of a hot knife through butter as it cut – it was almost effortless) and there was not a single chip on either side. I had expected to have to do a little bevel sanding to clean it up but it was so good, I didn’t bother. Even the offcut was flawless. I am totally sold on this saw. A major bonus is that it cost less than $400.

Also, I use DeWalt track saw clamps with this. I highly recommend them as they are super easy to use. Slide into the track, ratchet slightly tight, tweak track into final place, cinch down the clamps and cut.

I would definitely buy another SP6000 if mine disappeared tomorrow.




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philba

96 posts in 1543 days



20 comments so far

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Tedstor

1678 posts in 2804 days


#1 posted 12-08-2014 09:20 PM

Nice review. I’ve been promising myself one of these saws for a couple years now. I’m chasing a promotion at work and will pull the trigger on the Makita as a ”’pat on the back’ to myself if/when I get the nod. Glad to hear you’re enjoying your track saw.

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philba

96 posts in 1543 days


#2 posted 12-08-2014 09:30 PM

Thanks, Tedstor. Good luck with that promo. You won’t regret the purchase.

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kajunkraft

159 posts in 2381 days


#3 posted 12-09-2014 01:26 AM

I also use the Makita track saw quite a bit. I also really like it. The price was attractive compared to other major names. I use the scoring cut and am a little disappointed that the rubber pull piece wants to come off when disengaging it. Otherwise it has been great. The whole concept of using the track saw was a little hard to swallow. I used to use any old board clamped on as a guide. Then progressed to the long clamps (don’t know exactly what you call them). Anyway, they each take about the same amount of time to set up, except the track saw clamps right on your cut line. And control of the track saw is absolute. So, well worth it and I agree that the Makita is very likely the best buy of the bunch. It’s a lot more than just an expensive circular saw!

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dday

165 posts in 1600 days


#4 posted 12-09-2014 05:19 PM

I guess I’m kind of like kajun was. I can’t see paying the money for a system like this, when it’s so easy to make a track that fits your particular saw that you already have and will clamp right on the cut line. I’ll spend the money I save on more wood for more projects. I’m glad that you enjoy yours though. Hope it serves you well for years to come.

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philba

96 posts in 1543 days


#5 posted 12-09-2014 06:14 PM

I’ve used a circular saw with a masonite “zero clearance” template and, frankly, it just doesn’t compare with the quality of cut and accuracy of the track saw. I’m glad you are happy with your way but I really appreciate being able to do finish cuts with the Mak. No more breaking down sheets and then running them through the table saw for the final trim. Makes the process of building go much faster and, with fewer steps, less chance of mistakes.

In general, some people say “not worth it” at every advance in technology. For the reductio ad absurdum point, there are furniture makers in Morocco that use only carving knives to make amazingly nice tables and chairs. I, too, cast a pretty critical eye on “new fangled” gizmos but track saws are an advance that makes a difference.

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Tedstor

1678 posts in 2804 days


#6 posted 12-09-2014 06:42 PM

Agree with Philba^
I have a homemade “track” for my circular saw. Its great for rough work, but comes up short when it comes to real precision. And my circular saw, regardless of blade, doesn’t leave a very smooth edge. Dust collection is another benefit of the track saw.
$400 is a lot of cash, but I have some built-in bookcases and a few other shelving projects in my future. I only have a contractor table saw, so cutting large panels is a challenge that I think would be MUCH easier with a bonafide track saw. That said, I think the $400 would be well-spent in my case. For someone that doesn’t need that level of precision, or doesn’t think they’d use the saw enough to justify the price….its probably not a very wise purchase.

View LJackson's profile

LJackson

295 posts in 1765 days


#7 posted 12-10-2014 10:22 PM

I’m not one of those who poo poos every new technology. I actually like new technology. But, I want to fully understand the benefit. You can say it is more accurate than a circular saw with a guide jig, but why? The concept of the jig, in my mind should be able to give cuts as accurate as the track saw. Is it because the track saw’s stock blade is better? Is it because the track saw’s blade is more parallel to whatever part of the saw rides along the track than a circular saw’s blade is to it’s base? Is it because the track saw doesn’t twist in the track but the circular saw potentially could if you don’t carefully hold it against the fence?

Answers to these questions would help us to either make a better jig, or justify the track saw. For me, this is a hobby. A hobby of making stuff. If I can make stuff to make it easier for me to make stuff, I’d rather do that than fork over the cash.

At least it’s not a festool.

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philba

96 posts in 1543 days


#8 posted 12-10-2014 11:43 PM

In theory, you should be able to get a clean, accurate cut with a circular saw and a shop made zero clearance jig. However, in practice, I’ve never been able to get a really top quality cut with such a jig. It assumes that both the guide and the zero clearance pad are perfectly straight and relies on you pressing the circular saw against the guide during the entire operation. For me that was an issue when cutting a full sheet of plywood (having to move while cutting, dealing with the power cord all the while maintaining constant pressure against the guide jig). I got close but not that good and wound up having to trim on the table saw. With the track saw, I just had to make sure it kept moving. Probably the biggest place where track saws excel is in the way they lock into the track to make for a perfect cut every time. Also, I never got close to the quality of cut the track saw has. The track saw’s depth can be set which allows laying the sheet goods down on a table or the floor with a thin sacrificial pad (some use foam, I use 1/4 plywood) and you can plunge the saw which allows starting cuts in the middle of a sheet. Many circular saws support depth of cut but the several I’ve owned were just not that well built.

You mention the blade – you can get better blades for circular saws, My last one had a pretty nice freud plywood blade in it but I still got lots of tearout. There are things you can do to reduce tearout (like tape and such).

So, you can make a circular saw work though the track saw just works better. Is it worth the extra cost? For me it is. Others may conclude differently.

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LJackson

295 posts in 1765 days


#9 posted 12-11-2014 03:23 PM

Someone here did a clever thing and mounted a bit of T-track to the metal base of their circular saw, and then built a track with a groove to match. I wonder if that would improve the cut on large sheet goods.

My other thought on how to make a straight track is to use some 80/20 extruded aluminum.

View Matt's profile

Matt

30 posts in 2137 days


#10 posted 02-10-2015 08:43 PM

I’m on the verge of buying a track saw, leaning towards Makita.

I’ve heard that the Makita is compatible with the Festool accesories. Does anyone have any experience with that, or know for sure?

-- Matt, Pennsylvania

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Matt

30 posts in 2137 days


#11 posted 02-10-2015 08:43 PM

I’m on the verge of buying a track saw, leaning towards Makita.

I’ve heard that the Makita is compatible with the Festool accesories. Does anyone have any experience with that, or know for sure?

-- Matt, Pennsylvania

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b67mack

60 posts in 1591 days


#12 posted 02-10-2015 09:15 PM

Did you find that the lack of the Riving Knife created any drama?

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philba

96 posts in 1543 days


#13 posted 02-10-2015 11:45 PM

@matt, the Festool, Dewalt and Makita have some cross compatibility but it isn’t 100%. I know there’s a review that talks about that issue though a quick search didn’t jog my memory. I believe the Makita track is compatible with the Festool 55. The dewalt clamps work with festool and makita (and are the best TS clamps, hands down).

@b67mack, I get the benefit of a riving knife on a table saw but don’t quite see it on a track saw because of the track. I suppose it’s possible to muscle the saw off of the cut line but isn’t the point of the track to pretty much keep the saw going straight? I’ve had the SP6000 for 2 months now and haven’t seen a problem.

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b67mack

60 posts in 1591 days


#14 posted 02-11-2015 12:03 AM

I was cutting along a guide board with my saw and the knerf closed up rather suddenly

a knife such as on those other contraptions would have saved some of the drama

maybe

It depends

Ill get back to you

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Matt

30 posts in 2137 days


#15 posted 02-12-2015 02:09 PM

Will Makita, or one of the other brands work with the MFT/3?

-- Matt, Pennsylvania

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