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Thread: Track saws

  1. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Kingsville, Ontario
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Track saws

    I've had a Makita for about a half dozen years now, bought before they were available in the US, and love it, I think it's one of the best tool purchases I've ever made. With a slab of rigid foam insulation or a sheet of sacrificial ply, you can set the depth of cut to within a fraction on a mm, this makes an excellent job site tool. I've resized cabinets, cut down doors and cut hardwood flooring for wood and tile inlays, l've even used it to miter 12 inch baseboard. The one thing you should NOT do though is USE IT LIKE SKILLSAW, take it from a long time user, the way the blade and saw pivots down makes it very susceptible to kick back when used without the track. I paid a lot more for mine when I purchased it, something like $700 cdn. but worth every penny, I swear it paid for itself ten times over.

  2. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Track saws

    i'm looking into a track saw now and curious to know if anyone can list any functional or specific quality differences in the three easily available brands;
    in my mind being Festool, Makita, or the Dewalt saw

    the prices are close but when you add in the cost of the eight foot track (sort of necessary for sheet materials) the Festool is clearly the heftiest...
    any thoughts on what might set one apart from the other ???
    FESTOOL: $1000 (usually tax free)
    MAKITA: $745 (including 8% tax)
    DEWALT: $640 (including tax but often out of stock)

  3. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    seattle
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    15,028

    Default Re: Track saws

    I'm very happy with the Makita that I bought when I started this thread. I ordered it from Amazon for $405, I see Home Depot has it for the same price. This includes a 54" track but you can buy a second track and join them. There was some feature that I didn't like about the DeWalt, but I can't remember what it was. But there are several comparative reviews on line.

  4. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Nashville
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    121

    Default Re: Track saws

    coelcanth,

    I own the Festool TS75 for about 5 years now. It's the most powerful of the bunch with the deepest cuts, so it covers plywood and thicker hardwoods up to just shy of 3". I have all the shorter rails from the 32", 42" 55" and 75" and just use connectors and a straight edge to make the extensions linear when needing longer rails. No complaints at all over the years. The tool has been a work horse. While I do not build full time, I build all sorts of projects for clients regularly, cabinets, tables, etc.

    The Makita and Festool track saws can run on either branded rails, cross compatible, but the Dewalt is on its own.

    The Makita is the 2nd most powerful of the saws behind the TS75. Festool's TS55 is then behind the Makita. Not sure about where the Dewalt stands.

    The Festools do have riving knives that are spring loaded. For sheet goods not a big deal but for hardwood, it's added safety keeping the kerf open with the drop down riving knife. My understanding is that the Makita does not have one. Can't speak of the Dewalt.

    Personally I think you'll get 99% of what you need with the Makita saw along with a few rails and connectors. No real need to get the longer rails unless you are cutting full sheets every single day. Many users complain it is a challenge to get a long rail that is actually straight without a bow of a 1/32" to 1/16" regardless of Makita rails or Festool. Transporting them is a pain and storing too.

    The Makita is about $408 saw and one rail from CPO. Get an extra rail for $70, some connectors and clamps for another $60 or so. Not bad at all for about $540.
    - John

  5. #40
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kingsville, Ontario
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Track saws

    I've only ever owned a 54 inch track and have never had a problem ripping 8 foot lengths, just move the track, thats not to say an 8 footer would not come in handy, I'd do two 54's and the connectors. After a bunch of years I purchased the clamps and than cussed myself out for not buying them sooner, they are very useful. The Makita weighs less although any tool weighs less compared to its Festool equivalent. I really don't think you could go wrong with any of the three mentioned.

  6. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    seattle
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    Default Re: Track saws

    I agree on the Makita clamps. Well worth the price.

  7. #42
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    seattle
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    Default Re: Track saws

    I just took another look at some of the reviews. There are a couple of popular reviews that say the Makita is more expensive because you have to buy the track separately. That is NOT true. Mine was $405 including the 54" track.

  8. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
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    1,032

    Default Re: Track saws

    I think of all of them the Festool blades are the best quality. Theyre not cheap but they are very true and theres a LOT of carbide on the teeth so they can be filed a bunch of times.

  9. #44
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Nashville
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    121

    Default Re: Track saws

    Tenryu blades are excellent and less cost than the Festool blades.
    - John

  10. #45
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Track saws

    thanks for the advice..
    i had thought two 55" tracks was a flimsy way to get a long edge but I will reconsider..
    it certainly saves a lot of expense and transporting the short package would be nice too

  11. #46
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Hinckley, Ohio
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: Track saws

    I have a Festool TS55 with two 55" tracks that I join together with their connectors for 8ft cuts. I love the saw and for breaking down sheet goods it's perfect for me, and honestly easier than trying to run thru 8ft pieces of plywood on my table saw. I can say that at some point I will buy the full length track because I have found that sometimes the joined sections are not perfectly straight. I do have an 8ft straight edge to check things but it would be a lot easier to just grab the longer section and use it. That being said it's a big expense and I have watched eBay for years looking for a deal on one and they are always close to the retail price, but one day.
    "Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up. by Henry David Thoreau

  12. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    52,063

    Default Re: Track saws

    Quote Originally Posted by coelcanth View Post
    i'm looking into a track saw now and curious to know if anyone can list any functional or specific quality differences in the three easily available brands;
    in my mind being Festool, Makita, or the Dewalt saw

    the prices are close but when you add in the cost of the eight foot track (sort of necessary for sheet materials) the Festool is clearly the heftiest...
    any thoughts on what might set one apart from the other ???
    FESTOOL: $1000 (usually tax free)
    MAKITA: $745 (including 8% tax)
    DEWALT: $640 (including tax but often out of stock)
    Taunton press has just published their annual tool guide. The 2018 edition reviews tracksaws. There's a lot of detail, if you're interested. If it's still not enough, an email to them will but you in touch with the reviewer.

    Their conclusion, btw, was that the Festool TS 55 REQ is still the benchmark, but that the Makita SP600J - for 2/3 - the money - is mighty close.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  13. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Dorset, UK
    Posts
    969

    Default Re: Track saws

    I love my Festool tracksaw but it was a substantial investment. Anyone in Europe looking for a cheap tracksaw...Aldi have them in this week with two 70 cm guide rails/ 55 depth of cut @ 79.99 for the package. Online or in store.


    https://www.aldi.co.uk/workzone-trac...87060236365900


    Apparently it's a reboxed Scheppach PL55 which is normally twice the price.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 12-18-2018 at 04:20 PM.

  14. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Waterbury Center, Vermont
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Track saws

    I cut all my plywood on the table saw like others here. When I need to make a finish cut with a circular saw I make a flush cut straight edge. A piece of 1/4 ply about 12 wide and a piece of 1/2 ply for a straight edge about 3 wide. Glue and nail them flush at one edge, run the saw along the straight edge and you cut the 1/4 ply at the line of cut for your circular saw.

  15. #50
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    Jan 2003
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    New Zealand's Far North
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    8,220

    Default Re: Track saws

    I've never used one. Can they cut either side of the line, or only the left?
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  16. #51
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Portland, Maine
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    17,114

    Default Re: Track saws

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    I've never used one. Can they cut either side of the line, or only the left?
    What line? They cut flush with the edge of the track.

  17. #52
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Dorset, UK
    Posts
    969

    Default Re: Track saws

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    I've never used one. Can they cut either side of the line, or only the left?
    They only go one way up the track if that makes sense: the track is asyymetrical with a cutting line on one side. Its a replaceable plastic strip which when cut for the first time then holds down the timber edge for a clean cut. The tolerance's in the track are controlled by a pair of adjusters on the saw bottom so its not loose or too stiff. It's micro accurate - you'll be thinking about which side of the pencil line to cut. If you always want to be running the blade 'out of the grain' and your at an edge, then you might need the track supported on another piece of plywood to the side. On the Festool standard blade, it seems to leave a splinter free cut in either direction, I think in the main due to the plastic trim strip pushing the surface down. Considering there is nothing straight or flat on the boat, it's surprising how much one seems to get used. I work from large boards as well as plywood panels. Its alot easier working alone in confined space to have a machine that ruins along the timber than pushing timber through a workpiece. You have to have a bit for starting and finishing after a cut, so I use two tracks screwed together for long cuts and cut down onto a sacrificial piece of birch ply, working on the ground. In a fire, I'd grab that Festool tracksaw, my Veritas plane and try to pull the thicknesser out before anything else.

    I had a 3" piece of Sitka spruce I had to cut up for spars. It was to long/ thick/ heavy to push through my bandsaw alone and I don't have space for a table saw. I managed to make a cut from either side to get a piece off. This is abusing it, as there is a real risk of kickback like that, but it did work and with a firm grip didn't kick back. They are not held in the track, just slide along it. This is the limit of its usability - for most small boat stuff though - its all thin enough.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 12-21-2018 at 05:17 AM.

  18. #53
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    Jan 2003
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    New Zealand's Far North
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    8,220

    Default Re: Track saws

    Thanks Edward, a good explanation.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  19. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    landlocked in Mt. Solon, VA
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    197

    Default Re: Track saws

    Do not -- repeat, do not! -- try the late 1940s Shopsmith technique illustrated here. It boggles the mind to think that anyone even dreamed of this method:
    http://shopsmithusergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/manuals/magna_pubs/Magna_ShopSmith_Shop_Notes_No_1_and_No_2.pdf


    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

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