Do I want a track saw or do I need a track saw?

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Forum topic by BentheViking posted 03-30-2014 02:16 AM 7698 views 0 times favorited 57 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1782 posts in 2800 days

03-30-2014 02:16 AM

I have a bit of money from my birthday and am thinking of what I want to get. The only thing I have a need/want for right now is a track saw (pretty much the only one I could afford is the grizzly). I know I could hold on to my cash for something in the future, but I am trying to figure how useful it would be for me.

Right now I have a a jobsite table saw so breaking down sheetgoods and larger work isnt too easy. I realized that I might have an immediate need the other day when I was trying to back bevel a door (I heard an electric planer could be used for this, would that be more useful for other things???)

Most of my work right now is more along the home refurbishing realm as opposed to woodworking.

Also can anyone tell me if you can do a bevel on a track saw or if it just cuts a 90?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

57 replies so far

View retfr8flyr's profile


386 posts in 1904 days

#1 posted 03-30-2014 02:51 AM

You can bevel just fine with a track saw. It will work about anyplace as a regular circular saw but it’s real worth is in breaking down sheet goods. I have the Makita and it does a very good job, I am very happy with it.

-- Earl

View felkadelic's profile


218 posts in 2776 days

#2 posted 03-30-2014 02:52 AM

I have the Festool TS55 and LOVE it. If you ever do any flooring work it’s nice because it cuts very close to a wall. And yes, it bevels

View realcowtown_eric's profile


617 posts in 2173 days

#3 posted 03-30-2014 03:25 AM

A lot of saws bevel right at the sawplate.

I’d be concerned that with the thickness of a track saw guide, methinks you might be be chewing up the track, making it potentially useless . Better check that

For bevels, buy a sheet of 3/4 shop grade birch (35$) tack on a strip of 3/8” ply real straight and set yer saw at desired bevel and cut off the overage. Cheap, or if from scrap, free.

Voila…a guide strip that you can actually set on the line you want to cut without any fuss, and i also functions as a “zero clearance” TS plate…ie little or no tear out. (but I use high tooth count blades in my skill saws-mostly used for finishing work.)

With the added thickness, most of my skill saws are 8 1/4” just for the added depth capability for thicker material.

If it’s shorter stuff you gotta cut, I use 5’ lengths of baltic birch, You can pick up 1/4” “protection plates” for free from yer local wholesaler so if the gods are willing, and your needs aren’t great, you could cobble up the whole scenario for almost free..

who has about a dozen saw low cost precision saw guids hanging around the shop..

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2329 days

#4 posted 03-30-2014 03:39 AM

Ok, I feel stupid but I’ve got to ask: What is a track saw? I did a quick Google search and all I came up with was ads.

View retfr8flyr's profile


386 posts in 1904 days

#5 posted 03-30-2014 03:46 AM

It’s a plunge type of circular saw that has a base plate designed to slide along in a track. You lay the track on the plywood and it allows you to cut a perfectly straight line. It gives precision cuts for cutting down plywood and other sheet goods much more safely then trying to do it on the table saw.

-- Earl

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1801 days

#6 posted 03-30-2014 03:46 AM

For free straight edges I use granite cut offs from one of three local granite companies local to me in chicago. They are a bit heavy (15 ish pounds for the 6’ section I use ) but FREE and very straight.

If you already have a reliable circular saw contact your local granite counter company and see if they have any free cut offs. 3 companies locally to me have their cutoffs on pallets in the back of their warehouses that they list on craigslist for free so they don’t have to pay the throw them away.


View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2812 days

#7 posted 03-30-2014 03:52 AM

How about a Mafell PSS 3100e?
Let the saw do the walking. LOL

View felkadelic's profile


218 posts in 2776 days

#8 posted 03-30-2014 04:03 AM

Regarding Eric’s concern about bevel cuts chewing up the guide rail: The Festool (and I presume others) have a replaceable plastic splinter guide that adheres to the edge of the rail, exactly to prevent from cutting into the rail itself.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2800 days

#9 posted 03-30-2014 12:42 PM

The only saw I’ve used before is the Festool which was great. It had that plastic edge that was how you line up to the cut lines. I worry that if you bevel the blade will you cut the plastic edge so that every time you set the blade to a bevel you’d have to replace that piece. Doesn’t seem like a great idea I’d obviously call them first, but I don’t see a replacement edge available on the Grizzly site. Would the festool one work?

What else have people found track saws useful for besides cutting sheet goods and doors. As I am a home owner not a professional I am really wondering about its long term utility for me.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Fish22's profile


83 posts in 3349 days

#10 posted 03-30-2014 12:53 PM

I can only speak to the Festool, when you set the bevel in the saw, it rotates/tilts around the splinter guard so you still have the splinter guard to align your cut. As for other uses, a lot of people use it for cutting drywall. The biggest thing is space saving in my opinion, you don’t need infeed or outfeed like a table saw.

-- Bryan, South River, NJ

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 2125 days

#11 posted 03-30-2014 01:19 PM

I 2nd Cowtown eric, i make them for routers as well, they’re cheap and highly accurate as long as the “Guide” piece is straight.

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3284 days

#12 posted 03-30-2014 01:43 PM

For years I have been suing a simple $28.00 Skill Saw bought at Walmart and a simple plywood edge guide.
They have been working just fine for me.
The other side of my guide is for my router with a 1/2 bit.
I have three such guides of different length for different use.
I do not see the need for a track saw.

-- Bert

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2812 days

#13 posted 03-30-2014 01:47 PM

Anywhere one can securely set a track a straight and or compound angle can be made.

One can build a cabinet with adjustable shelves quickly and accurately
after one becomes accustomed with Festools’ system. for further knowledge check it out.

View kdc68's profile


2692 posts in 2512 days

#14 posted 03-30-2014 02:00 PM

I seen this article a few years ago in Popular Mechanics. I made these jigs and have used them ever since to break down sheet goods. I cut the sheet goods to a manageable size and slightly oversized, then use the table saw to cut to final dimensions. Works well and easy to make

Edit…forgot to mention before…. the “good” side faces down when cutting with a circular saw and use a sharp 40 tooth or more circular saw blade to minimize splintering of the veneer on your plywood sheet goods

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2860 days

#15 posted 03-30-2014 02:15 PM

I use the set up kdc68 showed. I have made several of these. I keep two in the shop, an 8’er and a 4’er. Never even considered a track saw. I have gone right from this devise to the build they are that accurate.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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