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Thread: Wider Table Saw or Track Saw

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    419
    I have a bit more garage space than what you are working with. I have a fairly nice table saw setup with good support for 8' on the in feed and outfeed side of the blade. If I'm cutting 1/2" or thinner plywood, I'll do it on my table saw, but when it comes to 3/4" ply or MDF, out comes the pink foam insulation sheet and my track saw and all the initial cutting happens on my garage floor with the track saw.

    I have the Festool TS55 with two 55" rails that I join for an 8' rip. I bought the Festool many years ago when it was the only game in town.

    I also have a TSO Products Parallel Edge Guide for 90 degree crosscuts, work great.




  2. #17
    To all that made comments about Oahu, here's a taste: right now at 0912 it's 78 degrees and sunny, no clouds in the sky. Winds are 5 mph out of the north-northwest.

  3. #18
    I also have a small shop so I don't have a large rip capacity on my table saw. I bought a Makita track saw when i built my kitchen cabinets and I don't know how I got along for so many years without it. The stairway into my shop area is very old and very steep and I cannot fit a standard sheet of plywood down it so I break down sheet goods in the yard on saw horses. Yesterday I was cutting some OSB for a floor repair job I am doing and as too lazy to go get the track saw and it took me twice as long to get the cuts marked out and cut without it.

  4. #19
    I used to use a Ryobi BT3100 with extension rails and a mobile base. It gave me 60 inches or more of rip capacity. But my current shop is a little smaller so I took off the extension rails and later bought sawstop. But before the SawStop PCS I got a DeWalt track saw with 106 and 59 inch rails. Later I added the 40 inch one. My SawStop has 36 inch rip capacity.I much prefer the combination of a smaller table saw and track saw versus a really wide rip capacity table saw. The PCS is definitely nicer than the 3100 but that is not the point of this discussion. It is just hard to move a sheet, particularly of 3/4, sheet goods through a table saw, especially in a small shop. In a large enough shop with infeed and outfeed support and with a way to move the goods to the saw, then it would be different. But in my small shop, it is just MUCH preferable to cut the sheet goods either on my accessory table with a sheet of foam under it or even on the trailer it came home in. Moving a 11 lb saw is just easier than moving a 75 lb sheet that is also large. Circular saws can work well for making roughing cuts to break down sheet goods allowing you to more easily use the table saw for final cuts. But track saws are very capable of finish cuts. They are very accurate and the cut quality is comparable to the table saw. I also use my track saw to edge joint long boards. My jointer is a small INCA and will not straighten the edge of a board longer than about 4 feet. I am even thinking of making a 10 foot dining table using my track saw to cut glue up ready edges on 10 foot boards.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Posts
    160
    I vote for better table saw. I’ve seen a few nice saws for sale on various Oahu classifieds recently. But, then again, I’ve never used a track saw. I made a guide for my circular saw.

    what I can say is don’t upgrade a job site saw with another job site saw. I upgraded from the same saw you have to an old Rockwell contractor saw and it’s 100x better. I got the bigger saw used for $100 on Hilo CL, far more scarce than Oahu CL.

    Also, don’t let the saw dust get or sit on your Toyota, I move my Toyota down the street when I’m gonna make more than a couple cuts. Especially the plywood dust, it kinda caked on if you let it sit.

    nice to see a fellow Hawai’i person on here

  6. #21
    If the choice is a new job site saw or a track saw; I would go with the track saw. I have a 52" saw stop, and would not trade that for a track saw. But I also would not cross cut 4'x8' sheets on it given the choice of using a track saw. I now have a track saw and a large table saw, but before I had the track saw I got acceptable results with a circular saw and guide. For me, the benefit of the track saw is that it holds the saw in place in both in and out, so you are less likely to slip off your line and ruin the off cut. If you get one with good dust collection that is also a huge deal.

  7. #22
    Thanks very much everyone. And I leave my Yota in the garage when sawing but move my table saw, mobile workbench, router table out in the yard and work out there. Was going to route some dove tails this weekend but looks like a storm's brewing for us so maybe just hand cut some dovetails. Maybe when I'm in Hilo I'll look you up. May have to go out to Pohakuloa Training Area in a few months.

  8. #23
    I have a Sawstop PCS 52" and the TS 55 Festool saw, which I got shortly after they came out. I have the space for the in/outfeed tables for the SS, but due to the way I use the overall space cannot see dedicating the acreage, and that is what it takes, to safely handle them on the table saw. I have been very pleased with the TS55 on all manner of sheet goods. I think for you, given your space restrictions getting a larger table saw still limits you as you need to be moving it around and still need to handle the sheet. On occasion I will cut up a sheet and then rip it on the SS. The mobility and accuracy afforded by the track saw has been a real benefit for me.

  9. #24
    What's a Yota?

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    What's a Yota?
    A Toyota truck, hawaiian style meaning probably lifted suspension with big huge wheels. Maybe KC lights.
    It's the only way to roll, brah.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 11-17-2019 at 1:03 PM.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Posts
    4
    Another Ryobi BT3100 user here, mine’s still in use though I am currently shopping cabinet saws as an eventual replacement. I have a good 50” or more rip capacity with this saw on a mobile base that I made for it, but I too prefer to rough-cut to manageable sizes first (I use my circular saw with a straightedge clamped in place). I recently upgraded from a 4-ft level (or occasionally a “pretty straight” 1x10) to a Bora clamping straightedge and so far it’s working well but it means cutting most every dimension 3 times (rough cut, then cut off the rough cut with the factory edge against the fence, then finally cut off the factory edge).

    I’m currently building cabinets for my kitchen (2 more to assemble) and I would not want to go much larger than the roughly 24” by 36” piece that was the largest part of my largest cabinet on this saw. Definitely want a nice outfeed table on the next one.

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dwight View Post
    I used to use a Ryobi BT3100 with extension rails and a mobile base. It gave me 60 inches or more of rip capacity. But my current shop is a little smaller so I took off the extension rails and later bought sawstop. But before the SawStop PCS I got a DeWalt track saw with 106 and 59 inch rails. Later I added the 40 inch one. My SawStop has 36 inch rip capacity.I much prefer the combination of a smaller table saw and track saw versus a really wide rip capacity table saw. The PCS is definitely nicer than the 3100 but that is not the point of this discussion. It is just hard to move a sheet, particularly of 3/4, sheet goods through a table saw, especially in a small shop. In a large enough shop with infeed and outfeed support and with a way to move the goods to the saw, then it would be different. But in my small shop, it is just MUCH preferable to cut the sheet goods either on my accessory table with a sheet of foam under it or even on the trailer it came home in. Moving a 11 lb saw is just easier than moving a 75 lb sheet that is also large. Circular saws can work well for making roughing cuts to break down sheet goods allowing you to more easily use the table saw for final cuts. But track saws are very capable of finish cuts. They are very accurate and the cut quality is comparable to the table saw. I also use my track saw to edge joint long boards. My jointer is a small INCA and will not straighten the edge of a board longer than about 4 feet. I am even thinking of making a 10 foot dining table using my track saw to cut glue up ready edges on 10 foot boards.
    I went through the same journey: BT3100 and now have a SawStop PCS with 36" fence (with a Delta contractor's saw for several years between those two saws). As much as I love the PCS, even with adequate infeed and outfeed support getting a 4x8 sheet up there and maneuvered safely and accurately through the table saw is a challenge. And, of course, on a jobsite saw like the OP was discussing it would be even more difficult to safely and accurately cut sheet goods.

    A few months ago I finally bought a Makita tracksaw for breaking down sheet goods. That saw was a game changer for me: fast, accurate and a clean cut. I didn't know what I was missing before I got that tool! Yeah, I have to clear enough space to lay the pink foam on the floor (or set it outside if weather permits), but that's less work for me than setting up the infeed and outfeed support for the table saw.

    I realize the OP has already chosen his direction, so I'm posting only for future readers. I've benefitted tremendously from old posts so I hope mine and the others here may help someone in the future.

    Thanks,

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Peck; 11-19-2019 at 12:12 PM.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,535
    If you go with a circular saw and straight edge or a track saw, I built a cutting table many years ago that makes breaking down sheet stock a pleasure. My shop is small, and although I have a Unisaw with a 52" Unifence, there just isn't enough room in the shop to conveniently handle full sheets and try to cut them on my table saw. I break down the sheets into manageable sizes outside the shop on this cutting table. It lets me do all of the cutting at workbench height and neither the sheet or the off cut fall as the cut is near completion, like frequently happens when using saw horses.

    The table is just a 1 X 4 frame roughly 24" X 70" with 2X4 cross pieces laid flat and flush with the top edges of the 1 X 4 frame. One is across the center with two more at each end where needed to attach the banquet table metal legs that I bought from Harbor Freight. Northern also sells these legs. All joints in the frame and cross pieces were joined with biscuits and glue, so there is no metal at all in the table, except for the short screws into the bottom side of the 2 X 4 pieces to attach the banquet table legs.

    In use, this table sets up easily. I make most of my cuts with my circular saw with the blade set to cut about 1/4" below the stock being cut. The kerfs in the table don't affect the table's strength, and if I ever get so many in it that it becomes a problem, I'll just make a new top and transfer the legs to it. I make all of my cuts with the sheet positioned so that the cut is roughly down or across the center of the table. When I complete the cut both of the pieces remain on the table, and neither falls or breaks as the cut is nearing completion. I can then remove the off cut and re-position the remaining piece for the next cut. I have 50" and 102" clamp guides that I use with my circular saw, and have been doing it this way since long before track saws became available, so never felt the need to upgrade.

    Now, in my advanced years at 77, I can no longer carry full sheets of 3/4 thick material, so I built the wheeled carrier in the photos. It's made from two re-purposed lawn mower wheels and axle stubs, and a few scraps of plywood. The center gap is 1" wide, so it will fit most any sheet stock that I should want to move. I can place it under one end of the sheet and then lift and steer it from the other, or place it under roughly the center of the sheet as shown for balanced movement. To make it easier for me to get full sheets onto the table I have added two scraps of plywood to one long side of the table, with a single screw through each positioned off center, into the table frame. When turned down, these pieces are below the top surface of the table. When turned 180 degrees they extend above the top surface of the table. To load a sheet onto the table, I turn these so they extend above the table, and then tip the table over so this edge of the table is down against my driveway. I then lean the sheet of material against the table surface with the bottom edge of the sheet sitting on these turned up pieces. Then I can reach down and under the center of the sheet stock and lift both the sheet and the table at the same time until the table is again standing on it's legs with the sheet laying on top of it. I then turn these scraps of plywood 180 degrees so they are below the top surface of the table, and then position the sheet to make the first cut.

    When my cutting is complete, I fold the table legs, which recess into the lower half of the 1 X 4 frame and the folded table stores on it's edge against my sheet stock in my shop. I still have a few saw horses left, but mostly use them for scaffolding support or to make a temporary work table from a piece of sheet stock. I built my first cutting table almost 20 years ago, but remade it about 15 years ago to make it lighter. The original table was completely built from 2 X 4 stock. The new table uses 1 X 4 for the table edge frame, but still uses 2 X 4 for the cross pieces. This reduced the table weight considerably, making it much easier for my aging body to move it around. I much prefer to use this table for breaking down sheet stock, but have also temporarily attached a piece of plywood to it so I can place my miter saw on it. The rest of the table makes a good place to stage the work for cutting, and there is no need to work at ground level or even to pick up cut pieces from the ground.

    Charley
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Charles Lent; 11-20-2019 at 11:34 AM.

  14. #29
    Here is some blasphemy: I've had very good results asking Home Depot to rip my plywood. Their panel saw is excellent. If I ask for 17 inches, they are off no more than 1/64. And easier to handle the pieces.

    If I were cutting plywood every day, I'd definitely get a panel saw.

  15. #30
    Yeah, I saw that panel saw and if I had the space I would consider getting one.

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