two dollar track saw

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Forum topic by Paul posted 09-18-2011 03:19 PM 8324 views 3 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Paul's profile


224 posts in 3415 days

09-18-2011 03:19 PM

I put some thought into buying a track saw but I just don’t like tools around that aren’t used often, especially a 700 dollar tool. My other issue is that the big companies have created a whole new tool rather than offering the attachments to make their circular saws do what the track saw does. Think about it…... the circular saw makes the cut but to make the cut perfectly straight they want you to buy a whole new saw rather than offer a plate attachment to go onto you circular saw which would then mate to a track. Also, why are they charging 2-3 hundred dollars for a track 5’ long?
I don’t see my self spending that much money for a specific use saw. I believe there are many people of the same opinion in here.

Someone asked me to build them two self standing coat closets which were pretty tall. I had Big box make the long rip cuts which also helped me transport the panels home,. But the cuts were off in measurements and in square. I spent some time correcting them which forced me to look for an alternative to the track saw.

I got a simple U track from Big box and routed it into a piece of wood I had in the garage. I epoxied it in.
then I cut a piece of hard wood to use as a rail. I screwed that to the saw with counter sinks. Then I put the saw in the track and cut off a clean edge on the track board. Now my cut line is clean and clear.
I tried to T the track board but I find that measuring and marking and then sliding my track board’s clean edge right on to the marks is very accurate. I clamp the track board and off I go with a perfect cut.

If you make this make the track board a little wider than you circular saw so that it will not hit your clamps while passing them.( I didn’t do but will on the second one I make) I used particle board but I think a piece of MDF would be better because even though it’s cut clean, to the touch it has that particle board feel. MDF would be a nicer feel and easier to sight to the cut marks.
Here are some photos.

4 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 09-18-2011 03:37 PM

I think you have found a very practical and economical way to get the benefit of a track saw for occasional use. I congratulate you for your resourcefulness.

Since I own, and really like, my Festool plunge/track saw, let me comment that it is more than just a track saw. I’ve used it a lot on a recent project and I have really come to appreciate its plunge capabilities and its precise depth control. I will also opine that I get table saw quality cuts. The splinter guard and riving knife both contribute to the quality of the cut resistance to any binding.

I had to do some on-site woodworking and my table saw is not portable. The Festool plunge saw can virtually give me on-site table saw capabilities for about 95% of the things I would do with a table saw. There was only one time that I drove home to make a cut on my table saw (needed to rip an odd shaped thin piece).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3124 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 04:00 PM

For the same reasons, I like your resourcefulness. If you wanted to add plunge(and zero clearance), you could hinge the saw to a board and screw the rail to the board. All kinds of ideas here. Glad this one worked for you. And thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4901 posts in 3924 days

#3 posted 09-18-2011 06:59 PM

Made mine too. Simple edege guide with a base cut with the saw. I have to keep the saw pressed to the edge guide, but the $4.00 cost keeps me on “track”. How’s that for a pun.


View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3014 days

#4 posted 09-19-2011 06:46 AM

I don’t use much plywood anymore, but when I do I use a guide Like Bill White’s. I got pretty close to cabinet grade cuts with my Milwaukee circ. saw and a 24 carbide tooth blade. My zero clearence attachment is a piece of 1/4” masonite taped to the base plate. Cost—nothing. Finish carpenters (and sweedes and Danes) might find something like the Festool handy on site on high-end jobs. Plus they can write off the cost (do it right and they can take the whole thing as a one-time write-off), but for ocassional in shop use, I don’t see the need or justification. As to the high price of the parts—It’s called profit.

Paul, your solution is a bit more elaborate than mine or Bill’s, but it is brilliant. If I were doing a lot of plywood work now, I would build that in a heartbeat. I may yet. Thanks for sharing.

Which brings up one more thing. If I were buying a circ saw now, I’d go for a worm drive. They look as if they feel more balanced. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Bill, As a pun, that was OK. Still, you’d best stick with woodworking.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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