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Thread: Help with my next "apprentice:" Track Saw or SCMS

  1. #1

    Help with my next "apprentice:" Track Saw or SCMS

    This is my first post on the forum but I have been reading it for a while and want to thank you all for providing so much helpful information.

    I am a beginner and I'm still setting up my shop to use hand tools primarily, with power tools mixed in to help with dimensioning lumber. I could use your advice on my next power tool purchase.

    In terms of tools for dimensioning, right now I have a 14" band saw (which I use to rip and resaw), a bench top planer, and a circular saw with a guide rail (not my favorite thing to use), plus a decent complement of bench places (scrub, no. 7, LAJ, No. 4). I am in a 1-car garage and don't have room for a table saw.

    I primarily plan on building furniture using solid hardwoods, with occasional use of sheet goods.

    I recently watched the FWW tour of Vic Tesolin's shop (thus my "apprentice" reference) and saw he uses a track saw/Multi-function table to do cross cuts and other tasks, and also has a 14" band saw and a thickness planer. I was wondering about the benefits/downsides of this setup for hand tool-focused shops.

    I'm torn between a couple of options:

    1. Go the Tesolin route and add a tracksaw (I'd like one with a riving knife, so a Festool or Dewalt) plus a Multifunction-style table (I would probably build this using the Parf guide drilling system). The benefits seem to be cross-cutting, ripping/jointing board edges, breaking down the occasional sheet goods, and dust collection. The table could also double for assembly, so maybe that saves me some space. I know I may very well be missing some downsides.

    2. Buy a miter saw (I've been looking at the Bosch glide due to capacity). Obviously this is a more specialized option, but would it suit my needs just as well, or better?

    Thanks so much for your help. - Dan

  2. #2
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    Howdy Dan and Welcome to the Creek.

    My opinion on this is not based on any use of these.

    My best help might be in asking which of these would allow crosscutting or ripping an 8' piece of sheet goods?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Howdy Dan and Welcome to the Creek.

    My opinion on this is not based on any use of these.

    My best help might be in asking which of these would allow crosscutting or ripping an 8' piece of sheet goods?

    jtk
    Thank you so much, Jim. Cutting sheet goods is definitely the main benefit of the track saw over the miter saw. Even though I don't plan to use sheet goods very often, it might be nice to have in those times when I do, especially if the track saw will also handle cross cuts in solid lumber. A lot of the stuff I've researched on track saws emphasizes sheet goods (understandably) and mentions hardwoods more peripherally, so I want to ensure I'm not missing any important problems or limitations on solid stock.

  4. #4
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    I can’t see much use for the SCMS. I rarely use mine, which I bought long before my emphasis on hand tools.

    If you are cross cutting to dimension lumber a hand saw and saw bench works great.

    Track saws are great for sheet goods.

  5. #5
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    I highly recommend the track saw over the SCMS. The SCMS is very limited and really only does cross cuts. Even then the cross cuts aren't really super accurate from these construction grade saws. I have a SCMS in my shop and it basically just gets used for breaking down lumber and construction type work (framing, decking, etc).

    I have the Festool TS55 and a CT Midi and really love them in my shop. I am in the process of building an outfeed table for the table saw that will second as a large MFT. It will have aluminum extrusions for aprons where I will mount the Dashboard's guide rail brackets for super accurate crosscuts in wide boards and plywood. I have been mostly a hand tool woodworker for the last 10 years but have been getting more and more into machinery. But this is more aimed at being able to build custom cabinetry for our new house. But the TS55 is also great for ripping and crosscuting solid wood as well. The dust collection is also amazing!

  6. #6
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    A stable bandsaw with an auxiliary table can cut an amazing amount of material, down to very narrow sections.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    A stable bandsaw with an auxiliary table can cut an amazing amount of material, down to very narrow sections.
    Thank you, Jim. I've loved my bandsaw, and do use it to cross cut smaller pieces. This board helped me to understand how a bandsaw complements a hand tool shop and that's been a huge help for me.
    Last edited by Dan Grano; 11-28-2020 at 9:32 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shea View Post
    I highly recommend the track saw over the SCMS. The SCMS is very limited and really only does cross cuts. Even then the cross cuts aren't really super accurate from these construction grade saws. I have a SCMS in my shop and it basically just gets used for breaking down lumber and construction type work (framing, decking, etc).

    I have the Festool TS55 and a CT Midi and really love them in my shop. I am in the process of building an outfeed table for the table saw that will second as a large MFT. It will have aluminum extrusions for aprons where I will mount the Dashboard's guide rail brackets for super accurate crosscuts in wide boards and plywood. I have been mostly a hand tool woodworker for the last 10 years but have been getting more and more into machinery. But this is more aimed at being able to build custom cabinetry for our new house. But the TS55 is also great for ripping and crosscuting solid wood as well. The dust collection is also amazing!
    Thanks so much, Tony. Have you found the TS55 powerful enough for hardwoods? I've read some reviews saying it has plenty of power, and others saying it can bog down at times. I won't be cutting anything thicker than 8/4 (and only after milling, so well within the saw's cut depth).

  9. #9
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    I don’t have any power tools. I may get a band saw for big rips and re-sawing at some point. For cross-cuts that you will true up on a shooting board, a handsaw on a saw bench sounds much easier than rigging something up on a bandsaw.

    if I was going to do a bunch of plywood cabinets, I might get a tracksaw, but otherwise I’m not sure what I’d use one for.

  10. #10
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    A couple years ago, I sold my table saw, Miter saw, and Jointer and bought a multi-function table for the track saw. I do not miss the jointer and the miter saw. I very much miss the table saw and will probably buy another.

    Track saws and the MFT were invented for sheet goods.. Trying to supp[ort the track for small piece cuts requires so much fussing that it is generally just to cut with hand powerd saws.

    I am going to suggest that you consider a quality jobsite table saw. For working with hardwoods, a table saw has much more versatility for your needs than either an SCMS or the MFT+Track saw.

  11. #11
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    Moved here from different forum and wanted to bump this to top to bring it to everyone's attention.
    Steve

    “You never know what you got til it's gone!”
    Please don’t let that happen!
    Become a financial Contributor today!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grano View Post
    This is my first post on the forum but I have been reading it for a while and want to thank you all for providing so much helpful information.

    I am a beginner and I'm still setting up my shop to use hand tools primarily, with power tools mixed in to help with dimensioning lumber. I could use your advice on my next power tool purchase.

    In terms of tools for dimensioning, right now I have a 14" band saw (which I use to rip and resaw), a bench top planer, and a circular saw with a guide rail (not my favorite thing to use), plus a decent complement of bench places (scrub, no. 7, LAJ, No. 4). I am in a 1-car garage and don't have room for a table saw.

    I primarily plan on building furniture using solid hardwoods, with occasional use of sheet goods.

    I recently watched the FWW tour of Vic Tesolin's shop (thus my "apprentice" reference) and saw he uses a track saw/Multi-function table to do cross cuts and other tasks, and also has a 14" band saw and a thickness planer. I was wondering about the benefits/downsides of this setup for hand tool-focused shops.

    I'm torn between a couple of options:

    1. Go the Tesolin route and add a tracksaw (I'd like one with a riving knife, so a Festool or Dewalt) plus a Multifunction-style table (I would probably build this using the Parf guide drilling system). The benefits seem to be cross-cutting, ripping/jointing board edges, breaking down the occasional sheet goods, and dust collection. The table could also double for assembly, so maybe that saves me some space. I know I may very well be missing some downsides.

    2. Buy a miter saw (I've been looking at the Bosch glide due to capacity). Obviously this is a more specialized option, but would it suit my needs just as well, or better?

    Thanks so much for your help. - Dan
    Dan, I do like the term, "apprentice" However, to be fair, machines are more than just apprentices. They offer a level of precision in their own right, which is important in certain applications. After about 20 years, I have finally decided to add a power tool and machine section to my website. While I love using handtools, and constantly recommend to powertool-only woodworkers that they are missing out, equally I believe that hand tool users are missing out if they view using power as a sacrilege.

    I know Vic reasonably (he has visited my workshop in Oz a couple of times). He knows his way around machines and power tools, and I believe that the only reason he did not include them in his early workshop, was lack of space. He has a new workshop (third I know of) in a new home, and I believe that he is adding more power tools now.

    I do not have a tracksaw (probably never will) and I do not have a SCMS (definitely never will). However, I have a sliding table saw, and this does all those things. Mine is a short stroke (Hammer K3), with a smaller footprint than the average contractor saw. I'd rather use this for ripping and crosscutting than a bandsaw. Still, not for everyone (and it is expensive when starting out).

    A slider is very safe. All sorts of fixtures may be used for so many tasks. The one below is making repeated narrow rips ...



    The feature that many are not aware of is that the quality of the cut is flawless (since the work moves past the blade, rather than the other way around. This minimises a wandering blade).


    I added a Wixey digital gauge (intended for the tablesaw) for the bandsaw (I have one on the slider, and used left over parts for the bandsaw). I do not know if anyone else has been as crazy as me, but I love this! It makes not just for accurate re-sawing, but it makes it possible to quickly set up a repeatable cut ...



    Link: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Powered...erBandsaw.html

    The other power machine - and the one which I consider indispensable to all woodshops - is a pillar drill press. The drill press is not just for drilling holes, but for shaping wood, sanding, turning, and morticing.

    Lastly, the power machine for hand tool work I would not wish to be without is a bench grinder. I have two 8" half-speed grinders, one for hollow grinding with CBN wheels (80- and 180 grit), and the other with a higher stitched denim wheel for power buffing, and the other side a softer, lightly stitched linen wheel for the Unicorn profile. Power buffing restores an amazing edge to a chisel.



    If you want to save money and limit machines, get one half-speed and have an 180 grit CBN on one side and a white linen wheel on the other.


    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 11-29-2020 at 4:05 AM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Dan, I do like the term, "apprentice" However, to be fair, machines are more than just apprentices. They offer a level of precision in their own right, which is important in certain applications. After about 20 years, I have finally decided to add a power tool and machine section to my website. While I love using handtools, and constantly recommend to powertool-only woodworkers that they are missing out, equally I believe that hand tool users are missing out if they view using power as a sacrilege.
    Thank you so much, Derek. This is how I find myself thinking about hand tools/power tools as I am just starting out. I'm drawn to both, though more to hand tools, and I'm certainly not concerned about fidelity to one approach vs another . The advice that I've read (on this forum and elsewhere) about incorporating power and hand tools that has made sense to me is to think about what's enjoyable and what will create results I'm happy with. So far I have learned that I'd rather not do long rips with a hand saw, and that I don't mind (and actually enjoy) flattening faces and jointing edges with a no. 7. I also have a fairly significant neck injury to work around, and I'm still figuring out the work that will aggravate it. Reading the forums here at SMC, your site, Vic's writing, Jim Tolpin, etc. has accelerated my learning curve to be sure.

    Thank you for the note on the power buffing wheel to restore an edge to a chisel. I have an 8" grinder and I'll look at adding this.

    Your sliding table saw gives me yet another tool to lust after.

    Finally, I appreciate your note on the drill press. Honestly, this should probably be my next power tool when I really think about it. I have an 8" press that I bought a while back to assist with building fly rods (another of my hobbies) but it's too small for what I want to do now. So a better drill press may be my next tool.

    Thanks again! - Dan

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Putnam View Post
    A couple years ago, I sold my table saw, Miter saw, and Jointer and bought a multi-function table for the track saw. I do not miss the jointer and the miter saw. I very much miss the table saw and will probably buy another.

    Track saws and the MFT were invented for sheet goods.. Trying to supp[ort the track for small piece cuts requires so much fussing that it is generally just to cut with hand powerd saws.

    I am going to suggest that you consider a quality jobsite table saw. For working with hardwoods, a table saw has much more versatility for your needs than either an SCMS or the MFT+Track saw.
    Thank you, Curt. This is incredibly helpful, and addresses one of my hesitations with the track saw/MFT approach. Your advice on a good jobsite saw makes a lot of sense, and I find this a very appealing option.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Ellenberger View Post
    I don’t have any power tools. I may get a band saw for big rips and re-sawing at some point. For cross-cuts that you will true up on a shooting board, a handsaw on a saw bench sounds much easier than rigging something up on a bandsaw.
    I felt much the same up to a year ago.

    Under 20" long, up to 2" thick - handsawing is plausible.
    Longer, thicker stock just takes inordinate shop time and wears out arthritic hands.

    A bandsaw liberates time for more interesting tasks.

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