Nice mail lady - Track Saw

Jim DeLaney

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Austintown, Ohio
Sweet!
Now get yourself a sheet of 2" rigid foam insulation to put under the plywood you're cutting and you'll be in business!

I have the Festool version (about five years old) and really like it. The new Makita is supposed to be even better.

I drag the ply off the truck and right onto some sawhorses with the foam on them and cut it right there in the driveway. Really convenient.
 

Rennie Heuer

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Constantine, MI
I've been drooling over the Festool for years but never had a job that could justify it. Still don't I guess, since the comparable set up from Festool was easily more than $200 more. I did my research, this saw consistently came in a VERY (about equal) close second in testing from a half dozen or more sources.
 

Darren Wright

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Kansas City, Missouri
Sweet! Congratulations!

I'll probably get the Makita when I replace the Wen I have now, but love using the Wen. I used to rough cut plywood, then clean/straighten things up on the table saw. For most projects the track saw does well enough I don't even run things on the TS anymore.
 
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6,801
Location
North West Indiana
Good job Rennie!! Nice saw. I just bought Rocklers aluminum guide for a project I am working on for the art teacher. Cutting 2 sheets of plywood into 3"X3" squares. Really thought it might be what pushed me over the edge to buy a track saw. Makita seems to have done their homework and made a great product. Be interested in hearing your thoughts on it after you use it a while. 🤞
 

Ryan Mooney

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The Gorge Area, Oregon
Sweet! You'll definitely find this a whole lot easier on the back moving plywood around!

Now get yourself a sheet of 2" rigid foam insulation to put under the plywood you're cutting and you'll be in business!
I've taken a slightly different approach (that I think? I might have stolen from Mr Bradley). Basically I use two 2x4's on edge with some notches cut in them and then just set the saw very slightly below the plywood depth and cut right on that. It looks a LOT like the random picture I found on the internet below.. except I leave the cross pieces a smidge high and consider them long term sacrificial (they .

1580146102164.png
 

glenn bradley

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9,720
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SoCal
I run the same rig after repeatedly seeing it rated the lowest priced and second best performer in reviews. I have been shopless these many months and it has been my "tablesaw". I am very happy with it. I did buy a second rail connector as the single connector allowed more play than I was after.
 

Charles Lent

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307
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Central North Carolina
I haven't yet convinced myself that I need a track saw, because I bought a long and short straight edge clamps from www.ptreeusa.com before there was much being said about track saws. Because of my knee replacements, I also got away from bending over and working at ground level using a piece of foam as a backer or placing it on saw horses. I built a cutting table.

My cutting table is just a roughly 30 X 70" frame made from 1 X 4 pine boards with a 2 X 4 laid flat and flush with the top surface of the frame across the center. Two more pieces of 2 X 4 are across the frame at each end in a similar manor to allow attaching the banquet table legs that I purchased from Northern. The entire frame was assembled with biscuits and Titebond type II glue, so there is no metal at all in the table except for the short screws that attach the banquet table legs. When not in use, the legs fold up into the recess of the bottom of the table, so the table is easily carried and placed against my sheet stock when not in use. Some years back, when it became very difficult for me to load a sheet of material on this cutting table, I added two 3 1/2" squares of plywood to one long side of the table using one screw placed off center in each of the squares, but centered in the 1/4 side of the table. I can rotate these squares so they extend above the table or rotate them so they are flush with the top of the table. For loading a sheet onto the table, I turn these pieces so they extend above the table and then lay the table over on it's side with these pieces down against my driveway. I them place the sheet against the table with the bottom edge of it sitting on these pieces of plywood. I then reach down and pick up both the table and the sheet until the table is again on it's feet, with the sheet laying on top of it. I then turn these plywood pieces so they no longer extend above the table and then slide the sheet around until the first cut line is roughly down the center of the table.

I then use one of my straight edge clamps and my DeWalt 18 volt circular saw to break up the sheet, setting the blade depth for about 1/4" deeper cut than the thickness of the sheet stock being cut. I recently made a saddle shoe for the bottom of my saw that fits these straight edge clamps, so my saw slides down the straight edge clamp much like a track saw. It holds the blade 1/4" from the edge guide, so it's easy to position the guide 1/4" away from the cut line. When breaking the sheet up I can complete a cut and neither the good piece or off cut fall, so there is no damage like often occurs when using saw horses. After I have removed the keeper piece, I then re-position the remainder so the next cut is again roughly down the center of the remaining sheet, and repeat the process. If my cutting table ever gets so many kerf lines in it that I think it's getting weak or too unsightly, I'll just make a new top and transfer the legs to it, but I doubt this will happen in my remaining years.

I also made a sheet stock carrier from some scraps of 3/4" cabinet Birch and the wheels and axle stubs from an old rotary lawn mower. You can buy these new, but this mower was headed for the scrap yard anyway. I made the center gap 1" wide, so the carrier would easily fit any thickness of stock up to 1". I sometimes have sheets of 1" Baltic Birch, and use it for these too. In use, I drop the sheet into the slot with this carrier roughly centered under the bottom edge of the sheet for an approximate balance, or I can place it under one end and carry the other end of the sheet. This is my second version of this carrier. I made it taller and with hand holes, so I could carry and position it easier. Since the donor lawn mower was a high wheel version, I used the larger two rear wheels of the mower for this carrier, and found that it goes over rougher terrain and over the threshold of my shop door easier too. If the wind isn't blowing a full 4 X 8 sheet of 3/4 cabinet birch will even stand on edge in it while I take the pictures. A Gorilla Gripper is pictured on the top of the sheet, but I've found that as I age and become more bionic (metal knees and heart surgeries) I'm finding that I
do better carrying sheet stock using a Stanley sheet carrier like this one. https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-93-301-14-Inch-Yellow-Handle/dp/B00004UDN8 . It's considerably cheaper too at just under $10.

Charley
 

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fred hargis

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Messages
775
Location
Wapakoneta, OH
Looking good. Quite some years ago, before the competitors were introduced I bought a Festool. To be honest, I bought it for sheet stock, but it gets more use straight edging rough sawn lumber than it does on sheet stock....but it's great for both.
 

Rennie Heuer

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9,753
Location
Constantine, MI
I haven't yet convinced myself that I need a track saw, because I bought a long and short straight edge clamps from www.ptreeusa.com before there was much being said about track saws. Because of my knee replacements, I also got away from bending over and working at ground level using a piece of foam as a backer or placing it on saw horses. I built a cutting table.

My cutting table is just a roughly 30 X 70" frame made from 1 X 4 pine boards with a 2 X 4 laid flat and flush with the top surface of the frame across the center. Two more pieces of 2 X 4 are across the frame at each end in a similar manor to allow attaching the banquet table legs that I purchased from Northern. The entire frame was assembled with biscuits and Titebond type II glue, so there is no metal at all in the table except for the short screws that attach the banquet table legs. When not in use, the legs fold up into the recess of the bottom of the table, so the table is easily carried and placed against my sheet stock when not in use. Some years back, when it became very difficult for me to load a sheet of material on this cutting table, I added two 3 1/2" squares of plywood to one long side of the table using one screw placed off center in each of the squares, but centered in the 1/4 side of the table. I can rotate these squares so they extend above the table or rotate them so they are flush with the top of the table. For loading a sheet onto the table, I turn these pieces so they extend above the table and then lay the table over on it's side with these pieces down against my driveway. I them place the sheet against the table with the bottom edge of it sitting on these pieces of plywood. I then reach down and pick up both the table and the sheet until the table is again on it's feet, with the sheet laying on top of it. I then turn these plywood pieces so they no longer extend above the table and then slide the sheet around until the first cut line is roughly down the center of the table.

I then use one of my straight edge clamps and my DeWalt 18 volt circular saw to break up the sheet, setting the blade depth for about 1/4" deeper cut than the thickness of the sheet stock being cut. I recently made a saddle shoe for the bottom of my saw that fits these straight edge clamps, so my saw slides down the straight edge clamp much like a track saw. It holds the blade 1/4" from the edge guide, so it's easy to position the guide 1/4" away from the cut line. When breaking the sheet up I can complete a cut and neither the good piece or off cut fall, so there is no damage like often occurs when using saw horses. After I have removed the keeper piece, I then re-position the remainder so the next cut is again roughly down the center of the remaining sheet, and repeat the process. If my cutting table ever gets so many kerf lines in it that I think it's getting weak or too unsightly, I'll just make a new top and transfer the legs to it, but I doubt this will happen in my remaining years.

I also made a sheet stock carrier from some scraps of 3/4" cabinet Birch and the wheels and axle stubs from an old rotary lawn mower. You can buy these new, but this mower was headed for the scrap yard anyway. I made the center gap 1" wide, so the carrier would easily fit any thickness of stock up to 1". I sometimes have sheets of 1" Baltic Birch, and use it for these too. In use, I drop the sheet into the slot with this carrier roughly centered under the bottom edge of the sheet for an approximate balance, or I can place it under one end and carry the other end of the sheet. This is my second version of this carrier. I made it taller and with hand holes, so I could carry and position it easier. Since the donor lawn mower was a high wheel version, I used the larger two rear wheels of the mower for this carrier, and found that it goes over rougher terrain and over the threshold of my shop door easier too. If the wind isn't blowing a full 4 X 8 sheet of 3/4 cabinet birch will even stand on edge in it while I take the pictures. A Gorilla Gripper is pictured on the top of the sheet, but I've found that as I age and become more bionic (metal knees and heart surgeries) I'm finding that I
do better carrying sheet stock using a Stanley sheet carrier like this one. https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-93-301-14-Inch-Yellow-Handle/dp/B00004UDN8 . It's considerably cheaper too at just under $10.

Charley
Wow, some really good advice. Thanks.
 

Charles Lent

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307
Location
Central North Carolina
Thanks everyone.

I neglected to include a few more uses that I've made of my cutting table.

When doing a lot of trim work, I attached a square of plywood to the center of my cutting table, large enough to hold my miter saw. This gave me a fairly large area around and behind the miter saw to place trim pieces to be cut as well as areas to hold multiple cut pieces. The cutting table was perfect for this job. It kept the stock clean and off the ground as well as providing a large working surface.

I have now begun taking my cutting table with me when going to help others, instead of taking saw horses, which almost never get used anymore, except for occasional scaffold support. The table has raised eyebrows a few times, but also spawned a few copies of it. Last Spring I took it to help my grand daughter build gate/doors for an old 4 stall horse barn that she is re-purposing for raising goats. Her step dad didn't seem to care for the cutting table at first, but then began to like it as he watched us using it. They have broken ground for a new house on the property, and the foundation will be going in as soon as our rainy season ends. My grand daughter (now 21) has worked in my wood shop with me since she was 7 and has learned to use most of the tools, so for these gates I provided the tools and then supervised, giving her the experience of actually building them. I did hold the other end of things a few times, but I let her do all of the actual work. She really enjoyed doing it. By the end of the day, both she and her step dad were admiring how handy the cutting table was, and I think they will be building one as the new house project begins.

When unplanned guests arrived at a family picnic a few years back, I brought out the cutting table, threw a full sheet of 3/4 cabinet birch ply on top, and added a table cloth. It provided more than enough additional space for them, and a huge area to hold additional platters and bowls of food down the middle of it.

I may someday buy a track saw, but my cutting table, my heavy duty straight edge clamps, and my circular saw have been doing almost everything that a track saw could do, and then a few things that a track saw can't do for me. For anyone with a track saw, a cutting table like this would make the system complete. I'll probably buy a track saw some day, but just haven't felt the need for one, at least not yet.

Charley
 

Rennie Heuer

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Constantine, MI
I purchased the track saw primarily for breaking down plywood as I have two jobs coming into the shop that together will require breaking down no less than 10 sheets. I have a straight edge and two circular saws but....

The straight edge is a cheapy that is really hard to have any faith in. One of my circ saws is the 18v Ryobi (OK for rough carpentry cuts) which, regardless of blade leaves a horribly splintered edge on plywood. The other circ saw is a Craftsman that my grandmother bought for me when I built a small deck for her behind her house... in 1969. :thud:It has seen better days. It was past time for an upgrade.
 

Darren Wright

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Kansas City, Missouri
The other circ saw is a Craftsman that my grandmother bought for me when I built a small deck for her behind her house... in 1969. :thud:It has seen better days. It was past time for an upgrade.
:D

Dear ole dad brought me one of his old skill saws this past summer. It's an all metal case, handle too, but he had taped up the handle with electrical tape. I had asked if it was to insulate from the cold, but he said no, it shocked him a couple of times. :doh:

I don't think I'll be using it...ever. ;) :D
 
Messages
6,801
Location
North West Indiana
My dad had a metal circular saw in a metal box, front lifted up with the lid on piano hinges. Box was bright orange with black lettering. Could cut in the barn fine, step outside and BAM, it would shock the, well, it would shock you! Dad didn't believe me, he did it, it shocked him, that was the last time I saw that saw and box!
 
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