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Thread: All I Can Say is WOW!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Waterford, PA
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    All I Can Say is WOW!

    As many of you know, I came by a Festool track saw, tracks and accessories this summer for a very reasonable price. Even then, I was hesitant to purchase it. In the end, I did. Just today I wanted to whip up a quick and dirty cabinet in my workshop. Out came the track saw and in no time I had the components cut from various left over pieces of sheet goods. It makes breaking the sheet goods into manageable pieces so quick and easy, that I find myself much more willing contemplate cabinetry when I need to increase storage.

    If your on the fence, buy a track saw. They're great.

  2. #2
    Keep working on convincing me -- because I am vulnerable to such efforts.

    Why is it so much better than my current method of clamping down a straightedge and then running my circular saw along the cut?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Jay, your method certainly does work, but the track on a "true" tracksaw is designed to support the edge of the cut without dealing with the painter's tape method and since you put the edge of the track literally on the cut line, there's no measuring for offset from the blade. This applies not only to the Festool, but also to the Makia, Triton, DeWalt, etc., where they are designed specifically as track saws. That makes it easier to achieve precision on the cuts and they are pretty darn clean cuts, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Jay-I used your method for a long time. As Jim said, it eliminates measuring the offset. When I used a straight edge and circular saw I usually "rough cut" the panels and then ran them thru my table saw to finished dimensions. That means 4 passes/panel. My track saw allows me to cut the panels to finished size and completely eliminate the table saw operation in most cases. I find it much quicker and sometimes get better yields from the sheet goods.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Conway, Arkansas
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    You will never get my Festool tracksaw and rails away from me! To me, they were a real game changer when it came to complicated cuts as well as a much easier way of breaking down sheet goods. Love it!
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  6. #6
    Also, the saw rides on the straight edge, and its amazing how the track never slips on the wood so clamping is rarely necessary. Its just fast and very accurate.

  7. #7
    Don't do a lot of panel work or I'd probably get a track saw but I have a simple trick for the offset issue. I cut a pair of scrap blocks from some MDF (plywood, particle board or solid wood would also work) the exact width of the offset. Temporarily clamp them at each end of the cut on the cut line, push the straight edge against the blocks and clamp it, remove the blocks and make the cut. No measuring required.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Interesting and a timely post. I also picked up a Festoo track saw kit earlier this year at a bargain but was hesitant to purchase it. I gave it considerable use over the summer. Last evening, I loaded up for an out of town trip that will involve sheet goods & other remodeling carpentry. That was the first saw I packed. With that said, it still feels fragile to me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    N.E. Ohio
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    5,652
    Just today I wanted to whip up a quick and dirty cabinet in my workshop. Out came the track saw and in no time I had the components cut from various left over pieces of sheet goods. It makes breaking the sheet goods into manageable pieces so quick and easy, that I find myself much more willing contemplate cabinetry when I need to increase storage.
    The longer you have & use it, the more things you'll find are super easy to do.
    There's another thread going on about cutting stair treads to size. The track saw makes this mindlessly simple.


    Why is it so much better than my current method of clamping down a straightedge and then running my circular saw along the cut?
    That's as crude as using a 2x4 for a fence on your table saw by comparison.
    Track saws - as mentioned - hold the saw captive so they can't shift or wander.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    WV
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    Its still only a coarse method of breakdown at best which if your work allows for that is great. I use a makita track saw with 55" and 118" guide rail regularly to break down solid surface slightly oversize but its no where near accurate enough for day to day use. Handy as heck for sure and the major gain for me is dust collection. That alone would be worth the price of admission (which is nuts high for non-green options).
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Michaels View Post
    Keep working on convincing me -- because I am vulnerable to such efforts.

    Why is it so much better than my current method of clamping down a straightedge and then running my circular saw along the cut?
    For years I used what we used to call a Sawboard, which is a home made straightedge made so the saw runs on a ledge and the edge of the sawboard is exactly the cut line, so no offset. It works just as well as a track saw and will cost you no more than some scrap MDF or other sheet stock.

    HOWEVER, the advantage of the track saw in my mind is the dust collection and the plunge cutting capability so I own one and am glad I do. I broke down a sheet of god forsaken MDF the other day and there was hardly any dust anywhere. Without the dust collection, I and everything else in the shop would have been covered with the special gift of fine powder that mdf gives.

    By the way, I love the stock Makita rail, but being a cheapskate, I made longer ones to supplement, and other than losing about 1/4" of cut capacity, they work just as well. Search here for a thread called "make your own tradk saw tracks" and you'll find the thread and photos.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Cincinnati, OH
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    Are the results good when using rough cut, air dried lumber that may not be completely flat? I am not talking about a big bow or twist in the board but maybe some slight cupping. Thanks
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Michaels View Post
    Keep working on convincing me -- because I am vulnerable to such efforts.

    Why is it so much better than my current method of clamping down a straightedge and then running my circular saw along the cut?

    I also used a straight edge and still do depending on what I am doing.

    GCS-v2 Shop Made 013.jpg . GCS-v2 Shop Made 017.jpg

    The captured path of the track saw allows me to concentrate on feed speed and control. The ZCI feature is also nice. I especially like the Makitas little gizmo that keeps the saw from tipping when making bevel cuts. The Festool has a riving knife though ad that is nice.

    GCS-Cleats (2).jpg
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Utterback View Post
    Are the results good when using rough cut, air dried lumber that may not be completely flat? I am not talking about a big bow or twist in the board but maybe some slight cupping. Thanks
    David
    Absolutely. I purchased my Festool TS 75 for just that reason. I needed to cut a 32" wide, 17' long, piece of Padauk that was just over 2" thick. The slab had a slight cup to it,maybe an 1/8" to 3/16ths across.
    I've also used that saw for material much more cupped than that. I was cutting "true" 2"x8", 1"x12", rough cut pine, this past summer to rebuild a section of my porch. They were just stickered and stacked at the sawmill. I didn't have any issues. Some of the boards were maybe at most a 1/4" cup.
    I was also up on the roof cutting sheathing and installing the rough cut 1x12's to replace some cracked barn board and batten on the house.
    It's not a saw that I use everyday, but it is nice to have.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  15. #15
    I imagine there are very few track saw owners who did not first use the “straightedge” method. I certainly did and it was huge improvement over trying to follow a line freehand.

    I have found several advantages to the track saw that you might use to talk yourself into a purchase — one is that the saw clips into place and cannot bear away from the track or wobble in the slightest, producing a very nicely-controlled cut. Other reasons have been mentioned: cut quality, accuracy, ease of set-up, plunge capability. I imagine safety is also better with anti-kickback pawls, a riving knife and a fully-shrouded blade (on my Dewalt).

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