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Do I need two tracks for my track saw?

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Forum topic by DelawareTim posted 11-21-2017 07:02 PM 402 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DelawareTim

2 posts in 25 days


11-21-2017 07:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: track saw

After years of dithering, I’m planning to buy a Makita track saw. I borrowed a friend’s Festool a couple years ago to build my kitchen cabinets, and it was great, but I can’t justify their price. The Makita saw and 55” track is $409 at HD, and I have a 10% off coupon, so I’m OK with the price. What I’m not OK with is buying another 55” track and connectors for a total of $123, when I keep reading reviews about the poor quality of the extrusions, the two track don’t fit together well, etc. I’ll use it mostly for building cabinetry.

So, my question: when I need to rip an 8’ sheet of plywood, I’ll mark a straight line. Can I cut the first 4’, and then move the 55” track to cut the second 4’, making sure by plunging the blade with the power off that I’m still lined up with the kerf?

Does anyone use this technique successfully?

Thanks, Tim

-- Tim


10 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

7530 posts in 1988 days


#1 posted 11-21-2017 07:08 PM

You can use a single track, but it likely won’t be a straight line. What you can do is cut the part you need ~1/4” or so oversized, and then trim it to final dimension on a table saw with a fence.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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Loren

9632 posts in 3486 days


#2 posted 11-21-2017 07:10 PM

Yeah, that can work but don’t expect every
cut to be perfect. You may get a saw marks
here and there and you’ll lose the security
of having both ends of a rail clamped to the
work.

Whether the results will be acceptable depends
on the tolerances you’re working to.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2331 days


#3 posted 11-21-2017 09:15 PM

That method didn’t work very well for me…...

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Carloz

979 posts in 430 days


#4 posted 11-21-2017 09:18 PM



You can use a single track, but it likely won t be a straight line. What you can do is cut the part you need ~1/4” or so oversized, and then trim it to final dimension on a table saw with a fence.

- jmartel


Why would he need a $400 track saw then? Any cheap saw will do it. I personally use a $50 4.5” saw from Rockwell.

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sawdustdad

335 posts in 723 days


#5 posted 11-22-2017 12:36 AM

The few times you need to cut wider than 48 inches, I think I’d use a straight board as a guide. It’s not as good as the track on preventing tear out, nor does it set up on your cut line, but it’s still an option for those occasional needs. My long rip guide is a piece of 1/2 inch ply with a factory edge. I don’t use it very often, as I usually break down 4×8 sheets on my TS. Except maybe, 3/4 MDF, which I can barely move much less throw up on the TS.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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01ntrain

210 posts in 908 days


#6 posted 11-22-2017 12:50 AM

As a pretty frequent track-saw user, I would have to say that I use my shorter of the two more often…..I have the Dewalt. In a pinch, I have done the method that you’ve described above(very carefully) and it worked OK for me. But, I would have to say that having the second, longer track is worth it.

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onobed

4 posts in 735 days


#7 posted 11-22-2017 06:35 PM

i have experience with all three:
1. Use a short length of track and move it – never get a perfectly straight cut, but you can get close if you are careful – couple the track with a jointed 8’ 2×4.
2. Combined two tracks using the Makita P-45777 Guide Rail Connector For SP6000 Track Saw, 1-Pack.
- it was better than the first method, but still not perfect.
3. After this, I had the money, I returned the makita and bought a Festool and used their 8’+ track. World of difference. Perfectly straight. Saved considerable time.

You could also get this:
Betterley SLC23 StraightLine Connector

View jar944's profile

jar944

113 posts in 1276 days


#8 posted 11-24-2017 01:20 PM

If you ever plan on cutting over 48” (and want the accuracy of a track saw) get 2 tracks. Honestly though the 118” and a 55” are the way to go.

Joining and unjoining the 55s gets old fast.

Also you can’t “kerf joint” boards longer than your total track length.

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tealetm

87 posts in 696 days


#9 posted 11-24-2017 01:37 PM

Interesting timing on this post- I an pondering the exact same thing so thank you.

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