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Track saw

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Track saw

Postby MY63 » 18 Mar 2019, 11:08

You may remember I recently broke my compound mitre saw and asked advice re replacement.
I decided to think about it for a little while and consider other options I have read a lot and watched various you tube videos and found a link here to Peter Miilard's series on track saws.
It looks to me like a track saw is somewhere between a table saw and a mitre saw or at least what I would use them for.
In my immediate future I will be cutting up 2440mm x 1220mm sheets of OSB3 for my roof and various sheets of plywood for the shelving etc inside.
My Local B &Q is selling off a Mac Allister for £70
https://www.diy.com/departments/mac-all ... 075_BQ.prd
Which would be worth it just to cut up these large sheets.
There does not seem to be anything in the middle ground price wise they are either around £100 or over £300 .
On the other hand when looking for a band saw I was advised to look for a second hand one and although it is not set up yet I am happy with it.

I worry that as these are portable they may have been abused or stolen so if anyone knows of a gently used good quality track saw please let me know.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Malc2098 » 18 Mar 2019, 12:05

Morning Michael,

I got the Parkside (aldidl) tracksaw for the few times that I use it and I'm very pleased with it's performance for its price which was about the same as you quote. I wished I had it when I was sheathing, clamping a straight edge for my old circular saw was never accurate outside.

Recently, I helped a friend fit a sink into a worktop. The tracksaw did (w)hole the job brilliantly.

I doesn't come out often, but when it it does, it's just the job.

BTW, when you set the bandsaw up, email TuffSaws and let him know what you will be using it for, and he will recommend which blades to have. I've just upgraded all my blades to his, and they are just no comparison, they are that good.
Last edited by Malc2098 on 18 Mar 2019, 12:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Woodster » 18 Mar 2019, 12:06

I’ve heard good things said of Aldi or Lidl track saws, the only negative being the length of the track supplied. I think someone found another, longer track that fitted the saw but I can’t remember the details.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Robert » 18 Mar 2019, 12:17

My recent track saw purchase is here - viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3851

I managed for a long time without one. with a normal hand held circular saw it is quite possible to cut up sheets pretty accurately. You can make up a saw guide or just use the edge of one sheet as it lays on top of the one you want to cut. just offset it by the distance from the edge of the saws baseplate to the blade.
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Re: Track saw

Postby selectortone » 18 Mar 2019, 14:17

I bought a Makita track saw a few years ago after watching several favourable youtube videos. Got it from D&M Tools when they were having a sale. I used it to cut up the 18mm ply boards I used to build the benches in my garage when I was setting up my wood turning mancave. After many, MANY years of faffing about with skilsaws and straightedges (we used to build custom speaker cabs for guitar and PA at one music shop where I worked) it was so much easier and so accurate.

I have a nice big bandsaw and a table saw, but for cutting up large sheets it is the business.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Woodster » 18 Mar 2019, 14:36

A guy at work used a track saw quite a bit and the cord seemed to be a real PITA so I’m guessing the battery saws are really handy?
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Re: Track saw

Postby 9fingers » 18 Mar 2019, 15:13

I think that when it comes to portable power tools, buying used can be risky unless you know the owner and its history.
This contrast with fixed machinery where usually older machines are better built than modern ones.

My only comment about Macalister is that they are badge engineered for B&Q who rarely support them once the model on the shelf changes.
Usually these are made by GMC in the far east and sometimes you might get some spares via them if you are lucky.
The quality is not brilliant but for a circular saw there is not much that a maker has to get right or that you cannot fix. Fit a decent make of blade, make sure the riving knife is the correct size and position and that the blade is parallel to the the base/track.
Take it steady dont overload the motor because you are not likely to be able to buy a new armature. Once you have let the special far eastern brand smoke out. the tool is only fit for the bin.

Caveat emptor

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Re: Track saw

Postby selectortone » 18 Mar 2019, 15:15

Woodster wrote:A guy at work used a track saw quite a bit and the cord seemed to be a real PITA so I’m guessing the battery saws are really handy?


Never had a problem with mine - just threw it over my shoulder. (the cord, not the saw! :mrgreen: )
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Re: Track saw

Postby will1983 » 18 Mar 2019, 15:27

I'm a recent track saw convert, bought the makita corded model, fitted a Freud blade and it's just awesome.
Really accurate, quick to set up and the makita model comes in a systainer 4.

I almost always connect mine to the shop vacuum so the cord doesn't bother me, its always the vacuum hose that gets snagged not the cord.

Don't mess about with the cheap ones, buy a decent one, you'll appreciate it in the future.
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Re: Track saw

Postby MY63 » 18 Mar 2019, 17:11

Malcolm I have my Tuff saw blades ready to be fitted along with a new brush and tensioning screw but I cant get to the saw as the timber for the roof is in the way.

Thanks Robert I read your post the other day when I was reading about track saws. My hands are not very good so I think the track saw will be a great help to me.

Sector one if money was not an issue or I was going to be using it every day then Makita of Festool would be an easy choice.

Woodster I have a battery circular saw but it does not really have enough power for sheet materials.

9fingers Thanks Bob it was your post that got me looking for a used bandsaw I agree portable tools can be hammered on site etc. I am not 100% sure I know what a riving knife is B & Q are also selling off a Sheppach saw that has a retractable riving knife for £80 which it describes as a 3 use saw, circular saw plunge saw and track saw which I thought was odd as I assumed they could all do that.




I don't think I ever cut a compound mitre with my CMS so why buy another when the track saw would do what I need and more
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Re: Track saw

Postby 9fingers » 18 Mar 2019, 17:31

MY63 wrote:9fingers Thanks Bob it was your post that got me looking for a used bandsaw I agree portable tools can be hammered on site etc. I am not 100% sure I know what a riving knife is B & Q are also selling off a Sheppach saw that has a retractable riving knife for £80 which it describes as a 3 use saw, circular saw plunge saw and track saw which I thought was odd as I assumed they could all do that.


A riving knife is on the outfeed side of the blade and stops and tendency for the wood to spring close after the cut and grab the blade. It must be central with respect to the blade, and thicker than the body of the saw blade plate but narrower than the kerf of the saw.
Retractable knife is nice if you are trenching with the saw as distinct from cutting all the way through.

All circular saws will cut, some will follow a track, some not. Some are designed to plunge, others not. All three is very handy and versatile. The Scheppach will be far better supported than the Macalister interms of spares and track. For breaking down 8 x4 sheet you will possibly need a 2.5m piece of track. I doubt that will be included for the £80. Full length tracks are not essential as you can use the edge of another board as a guide but as others have said, once you have used a track saw you won't want to be messing with improvised guides. That said I only have a old bosch track guided saw and a short piece of track but I do have a big table saw for long work.

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Re: Track saw

Postby MY63 » 18 Mar 2019, 20:55

Thanks Bob as ever advice is appreciated as they were clearance offers I decided to go and have a look.
They only had 2 of the Scheppach one looked to be in a distressed state so I bought the other one.
It has two 700mm tracks with joining kit I may look at buying the longer tracks at some point.
Thanks to everyone who contributed.
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Re: Track saw

Postby RogerS » 18 Mar 2019, 22:52

Michael, if I may, you seem to be a little confused about the relative merits/demerits of the various saws ....partly because you thought that a track saw was like a mitre saw.

Others feel free to join in but for my money...it's as follows.

Rule 1 - it depends on what size stuff you are wanting to cut

Rule 2 - are you always cutting things at right-angles.

Rule 1 - 8 x 4 sheet material. Impossible on a bandsaw. Impossible on a mitre saw. Difficult on a table-saw unless (a) you have muscles like Arnold and (b) you have the extension thingy out the side to support the 8 x 4 sheet. For my money, a tracksaw and a sheet of Kingspan (other manufacturers are available) on the floor is the way to go.
Rule 1 (a) If your final sheet sizes are more manageable (after being rough cut on the floor with you tracksaw) then accurately cut them to size with the table saw

Rule 1 - normal timber...ripping down a 4 x 2, for example. For me a table saw with a decent outfeed everytime unless the length is short (say under 1m) in which case a bandsaw will work as well. Yes, you can use a tracksaw but it's not ideal.

Rule 2 - if you want to cut an angle on the end of a piece of timber then a mitre-saw is one of the easiest. A table saw is OK. None of the others cut it although if you're using a tiny piece of timber (say under 250mm) then a bandsaw would work.

Rue 2 (b) - If you want to put an angle on a thin piece of tiber all the way down its length then again it's the table saw for me. You can do it on a bandsaw but you need lots of infeed and outfeed support. Of course, you could use a spindle moulder with a nice long table. ;)
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Re: Track saw

Postby Woodster » 18 Mar 2019, 23:12

MY63 wrote:
Woodster I have a battery circular saw but it does not really have enough power for sheet materials.


Maybe yours isn’t very good? this Battery Makita gets a great review.

https://www.protoolreviews.com/tools/po ... iew/34115/
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Re: Track saw

Postby MY63 » 19 Mar 2019, 00:30

Thanks for your input Roger I did say for what I would use them for. My circumstance are a little different from most as wood work is a secondary function for my work shop and although important it is not the priority.
I don’t have room for a table saw and to be honest I am nervous of them so if I had one I probably would not use it.
Peter Millard used his track saw a bit like a radial arm saw with a fold down track over his MFT and was able to cut across and with a jig was able to do mitres. And for my use I cannot remember the last time I did anything other than a straight cut. And I have never cut a compound mitre.

My little battery circular saw does not have the power to cut 22mm OSB3 others with more powerful motors and larger batteries might do better.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Doug » 19 Mar 2019, 08:03

RogerS wrote:
Rule 1 - normal timber...ripping down a 4 x 2, for example. For me a table saw with a decent outfeed everytime unless the length is short (say under 1m) in which case a bandsaw will work as well. Yes, you can use a tracksaw but it's not ideal.


Why not the track saw Rog I rip a lot with mine?
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Re: Track saw

Postby RogerS » 19 Mar 2019, 08:21

Doug wrote:
RogerS wrote:
Rule 1 - normal timber...ripping down a 4 x 2, for example. For me a table saw with a decent outfeed everytime unless the length is short (say under 1m) in which case a bandsaw will work as well. Yes, you can use a tracksaw but it's not ideal.


Why not the track saw Rog I rip a lot with mine?


I guess it depends on what you have permanently set up and/or the ease of putting down something to cut 'onto' as it were. Seems an awful lot of faff to me, fiddling about getting the track in the right place - especially if it's a long piece of timber. So much easier on a table saw. Set the fence. Turn it on. Push the timber through - all nicely supported, Job done.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Woodster » 19 Mar 2019, 10:32

MY63 wrote:I don’t have room for a table saw and to be honest I am nervous of them so if I had one I probably would not use it.


Interesting. A mate of mine works at a school in the D&T department. For many years they would never have a table saw as the head of department considered them to be dangerous. Instead they used circular/track saw and a large radial arm saw. There is now a new head of department and he’s had a table saw installed and the radial arm saw has been taken apart. Some staff there are not very happy. My mate in particular has had his whole method of preparing timber turned upside down against his wishes and is very unhappy at having to use a table saw. I expect he’ll retire soon rather than use it as he’s over 65 anyway.
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Re: Track saw

Postby RogerS » 19 Mar 2019, 11:04

That's very interesting, Woodster, as I've noticed similar 'attributes' inn myself. Let's face it, there are lots of different machines we can use to achieve the same aim. I often get hung up on using a particular machine and forget that I have a better machine available for the task in hand !
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Re: Track saw

Postby HappyHacker » 19 Mar 2019, 11:18

Used a circular saw running against a piece of wood for some time but often got caught out if the flex got caught or I did not maintain enough pressure against the wood the saw would deviate slightly ruining the cut.

For a project I had which needed some plastic sheets cutting accurately I priced up a decent plastic cutting blade for my circular saw(a budget model) it was approaching £70. My local tool supplier recommended a Festool TS55, this was before there were any competitors available. I bit the bullet and wished I had made the purchase years before. I cannot comment on the others now available as the TS55 has done everything I have needed it to do.

I agree with Roger about the faf of trying to use it for ripping but I have used it for ripping 14 ft long 1" thick oak boards into 3" wide strips and that was much easier than trying to do it on a table saw.

A friend who had a small table saw bought a TS55 having used mine and wished he had bought one instead of the table saw. He did a lot with sheet materials.

So for your task of processing sheet materials go for it. From reading other posts the competitors to Festool appear good but I can say the functionality of the TS55 is excellent.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Doug » 19 Mar 2019, 15:09

RogerS wrote:
Doug wrote:
RogerS wrote:
Rule 1 - normal timber...ripping down a 4 x 2, for example. For me a table saw with a decent outfeed everytime unless the length is short (say under 1m) in which case a bandsaw will work as well. Yes, you can use a tracksaw but it's not ideal.


Why not the track saw Rog I rip a lot with mine?


I guess it depends on what you have permanently set up and/or the ease of putting down something to cut 'onto' as it were. Seems an awful lot of faff to me, fiddling about getting the track in the right place - especially if it's a long piece of timber. So much easier on a table saw. Set the fence. Turn it on. Push the timber through - all nicely supported, Job done.


I just clamp the track to the timber on my pencil marks & make the cut, For one off cuts it’s as quick as the table saw obviously not for multiple cuts but still not really faff
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Re: Track saw

Postby RogerS » 19 Mar 2019, 16:45

Doug wrote:[quote="RogerS"...

I guess it depends on what you have permanently set up and/or the ease of putting down something to cut 'onto' as it were. Seems an awful lot of faff to me, fiddling about getting the track in the right place - especially if it's a long piece of timber. So much easier on a table saw. Set the fence. Turn it on. Push the timber through - all nicely supported, Job done.


I just clamp the track to the timber on my pencil marks & make the cut, For one off cuts it’s as quick as the table saw obviously not for multiple cuts but still not really faff[/quote]

I guess it depends on how much you're set up to do this and/or what you're used to. Out of curiosity, how do you support the timber while you are making the cut? And the offcut ?
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Re: Track saw

Postby selectortone » 19 Mar 2019, 18:27

Doug wrote:I just clamp the track to the timber on my pencil marks & make the cut, For one off cuts it’s as quick as the table saw obviously not for multiple cuts but still not really faff


The underside of my Makita track has some voodoo coating on it that grips plywood without clamping. I bought the clamps because I didn't believe it would work, but it really does, and I haven't needed the clamps at all.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Doug » 19 Mar 2019, 18:35

selectortone wrote:
Doug wrote:I just clamp the track to the timber on my pencil marks & make the cut, For one off cuts it’s as quick as the table saw obviously not for multiple cuts but still not really faff


The underside of my Makita track has some voodoo coating on it that grips plywood without clamping. I bought the clamps because I didn't believe it would work, but it really does, and I haven't needed the clamps at all.


I wouldn’t cut 4x2 without clamping it but plywood doesn’t always need clamping.
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Re: Track saw

Postby Doug » 19 Mar 2019, 18:39

RogerS wrote:
Doug wrote:[quote="RogerS"...

I guess it depends on what you have permanently set up and/or the ease of putting down something to cut 'onto' as it were. Seems an awful lot of faff to me, fiddling about getting the track in the right place - especially if it's a long piece of timber. So much easier on a table saw. Set the fence. Turn it on. Push the timber through - all nicely supported, Job done.


I just clamp the track to the timber on my pencil marks & make the cut, For one off cuts it’s as quick as the table saw obviously not for multiple cuts but still not really faff


I guess it depends on how much you're set up to do this and/or what you're used to. Out of curiosity, how do you support the timber while you are making the cut? And the offcut ?[/quote]

I have two offcuts the width of the bench which I use for supporting anything I’m cutting in the workshop or a pair of trestles if I’m on site.
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