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Thread: Convince me I need a track saw part 2.

  1. #1

    Convince me I need a track saw part 2.

    I was at Menards a couple of days ago and looked at their track saw. It was $199. The track came in 4 pieces and got to 110 inches long. Although I have my doubts about that brands accuracy, I can see how it can be used for many different applications.

    The other things I have considered is: I have always had a work shop. Not necessarily big, but I never had to share it with a car, where I had to move machines around just to use them. I can see where the track saw can easily come into play in that kind of situation. Although it requires some sort of support, but then every thing requires some sort of support.

    I did read all the posts and I tried to keep an open mind. Braking down sheet goods, getting a straight line rip, and getting two edges on a large surface square to each other, was the hardest task for me. It took a lot of thought and trial and error to get where I am now.

    Having the table with the pins and holes addresses the problem of perpendicularity, if the holes are accurately located and that would need to be purchased. Now after 50 years of woodworking, I now have the room for a Excalibur sliding table and a Delta contractor saw to address the problem. But one would be amassed as to how useful two table saws are. I could write about and point my finger at how expensive the table with the holes is but I would also have 4 fingers pointing back at me.

    I am going to repost a picture of me just having completed cutting sheet goods and if you click twice and blow up the picture you will find the white piece of plastic the saw is mounted on and rides in a track. If one is cutting along the 8 foot line my track can flex out away from me depending on where I am in relation to the cut. The track saw, with the wider track addresses that problem. The real eye opener is I have and use a 20 year old version of a track saw.

    So with all that the people on this forum posted about the track saw, I took a different mind set when I looked at the track saw. The quality of the saw I looked at other than deciding I wouldn't buy that brand, didn't inter into the evaluation of it's uses. I now believe is a useful addition to the tool list.

    Although I do not believe it will replace the table saw, as some have predicted, the pendulum always swings the other way, I do believe it has a place in the shop. I do not plan on buying one because I do not wish to relearn a different way of doing things. The fast, reliable, repeatable results I get are hard to argue with. And so thanks to the ones on this forum for taking to time to post, I have come 180 degrees from thinking track saws are just an expense fad to actually believing the have a place in the shop.

    And here I have been using its' predecessor for twenty years. And so thank you again.

    DSC03056.JPG

    .
    Tom

  2. #2
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    Tom, I think the good thing for you that's come out of your "convince me" thread is you can now see the possibilities. While you don't feel compelled "now", if you do get into a situation down the road where it becomes the right tool for the job, you'll feel more comfortable with the idea. THere are always so many preconceived notions out there about a lot of things including specific tools and a forum like SMC can help level the field. Thanks for asking the question...I think many folks have benefited from it.
    --

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

  3. #3
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    I am a woman who owns a track saw.

    Convinced now?
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

  4. #4
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    Seems like you really want convincing NoT to buy a track saw.

    I now have the room for a Excalibur sliding table and a Delta contractor saw to address the problem.
    Dont see how that makes for a better alternative to a TS. It’s gonna set you back $2000-$5000 and take up lots of floor space every time you’re not using it. Plus it only makes crosscutting 4x8 sheets easier. Since it doesn’t have the capacity to rip 8’ - you’re still going to have to manhandle a full sheet if you want to rip. Placing you back in the same boat you’re in now for all practical purposes.

    There’s also a cleanliness component that has been touched on much (or at all ). The tracksaw + vacuum will make less mess than an Excalibur/Tablesaw/Dust collector unless you have an extremely optimized setup. The vacuum is arguably more versatile in a small shop.
    Last edited by Dave Sabo; 07-11-2021 at 7:23 PM.

  5. #5
    Julie, if you are a woman who owns a track saw then you don't need to be convinced. Congratulations on having a track saw. I truly hope woodworking brings you as much enjoyment as it has me and thank you for the smiling face.

    To Dave, I do not understand this statement. (Don't see how that makes for a better alternative to a TS.) in my opinion it doesn't. (Since it doesn’t have the capacity to rip 8’) O but it does I have a 52 inch Biesmeyer fence on the saw and it also has its own dust collector. But I prefer to use my Saw Stop that just replaced the General saw pictured to do my ripping.

    (
    The tracksaw + vacuum will make less mess than an Excalibur/Tablesaw/Dust collector unless you have an extremely optimized setup.) The Saw Stop and the jointer share the same dust collector, no blast gates, as well jointer and my Mini max S45 18 inch band saw via a blast gate. The Grizzly 17 band saw has its own collector. The two planners as well as the 24 inch drum sander share a dust collector. And the RAS also has its own dust collector, as well as my two shapers with their own. I didn't mention my router tables because they are or can be switched to shop vacs. And for the money for a quite shop vac I can buy 2 or 3 dust collectors. And I also own a broom and dust pan. My dust collectors are in the basement, do I need to go down and take pictures?

    Obviously, you didn't read the other two posts. One where I thought it was a waist of money. and a detriment to beginners. One where I was open to be convinced and this one where I think it is maybe a good thing to have. I also stated that (
    And here I have been using its' predecessor for twenty years. And so thank you again.)

    So when you can build something like this with a track saw including dove tails I will consider taking another look. All the dove tail are through dove tail including all of the drawers. Did I mention all the laminates and the legs 4x4s of solid one piece wood, no glue.

    DSC03405.JPGDSC03406.JPG DSC03408.JPG DSC03846.JPG DSC03847.JPG

    I am sorry the the track saw is not the replacement for the table saw, but if you think so, go for it. There is more to wood working than dust collection. And as I stated before I do not plan on buying one unless something happens to my antique predecessor to the track saw. But I think the track saw has its place and if I were just starting out, I think one would saved me a lot of head aches, and bad cuts. If I were just starting out it would still be table saw, planer. drill press, jointer and in fifth spot is something to brake down plywood.



    Tom

  6. #6
    If you click on the first picture twice you can also see two planers and the drum sander.
    Tom

  7. #7
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    I first got a tracksaw when my shop was in our basement. It was less than a 1-car garage in size. I used a much cruder track setup than yours with a regular circular saw. I went to the tracksaw primarily for dust collection, the circular saw was terrible and not really designed for good dust collection. All the dust was hard to keep out of the finished area in the basement and was driving us crazy.

    The things I liked over my original setup was:
    1. Not having to keep the saw pushed against the fence on my old jig
    2. zero clearance on BOTH sides of the cut
    3. I really liked the depth stop
    4. I prefer the plunge action instead of having to start the cut so far off the workpiece.
    5. Much better dust collection
    6. Clamping - my old clamps were always in the way. The track doesn't "need" clamps, but there is a way to clamp it under the track like your current setup does.

    In my current shop, I have plenty of infeed/outfeed around the tablesaw so the tracksaw doesn't benefit me for breaking down sheet goods. I can unload from the truck onto a cart and take it to the infeed of the tablesaw, line it up and push it through. It would be more work to wrestle a track, chord, and vacuum for sheetgoods. I use the tablesaw for pretty much anything it works for. I use the tracksaw for straight lining, odd crosscuts that I don't want to do on the tablesaw, large angles crosscuts, cutting on assemblies, etc.

    These are my experiences and I see you have already addressed some of them but just wanted to share in case something here is applicable.

  8. #8
    Thank you Micheal,
    For me, that was the best response to date. Clear, concise and full of useful information.

  9. #9
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    You can make track for your skil saw with a piece of ply wood that has a 1x2 attached and cut the side to the right with your circular saw to make straight edge to provide an edge for your saw to ride on. Clamp it to the piece being ripped,
    let the saw ride against the ripped edge and cut away.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    You can make track for your skil saw with a piece of ply wood that has a 1x2 attached and cut the side to the right with your circular saw to make straight edge to provide an edge for your saw to ride on. Clamp it to the piece being ripped,
    let the saw ride against the ripped edge and cut away.
    The OP already has something similar to that...
    --

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

  11. #11
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    Tom I really like your bench. Which vise has ended up being your favorite ? I still have not built a real woodworking bench but have always liked the look of the Scandinavian style benches like Tage Frid designed . I see you have that style tail vise and shoulder vise on the one side and then a wagon vise and the flush leg style vise on the near side. Curious if you use all vises for certain things or have developed favorites ?

  12. #12
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    Tom, nowhere in your first post of either thread did you mention a tracksaw replacing a tablesaw. Nor, am I advocating that.

    You hinted space wasn't abundant in your shop - so why would you want a large accessory like an excalibur sliding table that goes unused most of the time ? To crosscut med. to large pieces ? Um.... Ok.

    For the cost of just that accessory you could have a good tracksaw and track(s) that would preform the same function as well as allow for rip cuts. All without schlepping the sheet multiple times and adding all the accoutrements / jigs you currently use and store. Those that allow you to square/straighten the factory edge of sheets. Add a hundred dollar squaring accessory to the the rails and you can make cabinet carcasses quickly, all day long; without moving the heavy sheet(s) around the shop. This, when not used the majority of the time, is easy to store out of the way.

    Unsless you have a 4" port on your tablesaw shroud , you won't even begin to approach the collection capability of the track saw. And the tracksaw doesn't require an expensive , quiet dust extractor. None of your multiple dust collectors are quiet and you probably wear hearing protection when using any tool connected to it either. So a quiet shop vac is not, but not necessaryfor the application. The collection isn't the be all end all for either way, but it clearly seems to be on your mind given all the suction power you have now. I bet a few fealls round here would love to know where they can get their hands on a 2+ h.p. dust collector for $350 - $1000.

    I also stated that (
    And here I have been using its' predecessor for twenty years. And so thank you again.)
    I'm afraid this isn't entirely accurate. You may have been using your rube goldbberg setup for twenty years, but Festoinvented the tracksaw as we know it over 40 years ago. That was the predecessor to the current crop of choices and your accessory. But, you're welcome nontheless.

    You clearly aren't averse to having multiples of the same tools,, so I don't really see why all the resistance to a track saw on your part. You seemingly can afford the space and money having one would take. You're penchant for not wanting to learn a new way, I understand. Makes you seem a bit of a curmudgeon though. What I can or can't build with a tracksaw really has no bearing on the conversation. Your cabinetry can easily be produced with a tracksaw and not a tablesaw. But I am curious how you made the large through dovetails of the vises on your tablesaw. Must have one serious collection of jigs for that.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie Moriarty View Post
    I am a woman who owns a track saw.

    Convinced now?

    Awesome Julie!

    IMHO a track saw is a lot like some other "common" tools that really only have two modes of operation. If they don't work accurately they are more hassle than they are worth. My point being that it would be easy to find fault with the tool if it is of poor quality. I use a straight edge to get my two pieces of track aligned. Aligning 4 pieces just reeks of possibilities for compounded errors. Paneling a room . . . no problem. Building a China Hutch . .. not so much.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  14. #14
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    Having the table with the pins and holes addresses the problem of perpendicularity, if the holes are accurately located and that would need to be purchased
    Festool sells a premade MFT table for $750 to $900 - depending on what other goodies you want to add to it.
    You can fabricate one yourself by getting a template kit and boring 20mm holes in some MDF.
    (google "Ron Paulk table"- there's a ton of good ones based on his design)(or)

    Check it out at this link. You can buy lans to make on & also pick up the UJK Parf system to bore the 20mm holes to exacting specification.
    https://tsoproducts.com/

    I ran across this a couple months ago when I was researching parallel guides for the track saw.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  15. #15
    I'm not sure the purpose of this thread.
    Round 2 to argue the case that someone needs something that they are already convinced they don't need?

    Anyway, one convenient use I find for a track saw is when working on a large table top. Let's say the table consists of multiple boards and has been glued up in two halves, or any number of sections. Even if the boards where the two sections meet were jointed at the outset, they never mate properly after glue up due to minor deforming during clamping.
    The pieces are now too large and unwieldy to run over the jointer. A simple solution? Lay the two halves down on a sacrificial sheet, clamp everything down, and run the track saw kerf down the joint line. The joint will be perfect because even minor errors are canceled out.
    Are there other ways to do this? You bet, but I can't think of any that are as convenient as grabbing the track saw.

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