Festool stuff #13: Makita rail / track adaptor - with zero clearance.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 12-18-2020 11:00 PM 2661 reads 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Rail square acrylics DIY - can be made for any rail Part 13 of Festool stuff series Part 14: Engineers vice mount plate, for the MFT3 table. »

Makita rail / track adaptor
with zero clearance.

Makita DSS501 LXT 18 V with Festool or Makita rails, but this idea can be used for any table saw, if you want to put it on all types of rails.
I simply love this little Makita 18V saw,it’s such a joy to work with.
But once in a while, I would have loved it was a rail saw, or at least that there existed a proper rail adaptor for it, so I decided to make one.

I’m completely aware I made another rail adaptor, but I was not really happy with it… I wanted it to be zero clearance, to avoid tear out, so it would function as well as the 220V Festool saw and I also wanted it to be more durable, so one more try MaFe.

So here we have the adaptor and zero clearance.
The zero clearance only takes 3mm of the saws cutting depth.

Let’s build it.
3Mm plywood.

IKEA cutting board, can be any brand.

Cut to fit the rail, exactly, otherwise cut a new.
Absolutely snug is a must.

A saw, some 3mm plywood for zero clearnace and a runner made from cutting board.
Almost there…

Some kind of connection must be thought out.
So let’s throw in a piece of 15mm high grade plywood.

Marking the rail T. tracks position.

And how deep they are.

To not waste too much, a test version is made first.
This will be handy later.

First the T-tracks are cut out and checked.

Check exactly where the runner goes, this is crusial.

Slowly work your way out.

I made a tiny mistake on the left, so happy it was a test piece.
Also you can see the end is a wee too tall, so it rests on the rail.
So a few adjustments.

But this will work, I’m happy with the concept.

I decided that the saw blade must start cutting 100mm from the edge of the rail, this will be easy when marking.

Still too high on the left.
Perhaps it will need some reinforcement, but let’s see.

Lowering the high spot.

Yeps we are there.

This will work fine.

Transfer markings to the big base piece.

Use the test piece as a sawblade deepness setter.

T-track rabbets cut and fits perfect.

Setting deepness for the low rabbet.

Using a sled makes I quite easy, all you need is an extreme focus.

Closing in.

We are there and I also cut an extra cut, to make the edge a wee springy.

Micro adjusting the width, for a super snug fit

Perfect fit, I’m a really happy monkey.

Base, runner and zero clearance.

Cleaning up the runner, as it was an old used IKEA cutting board.

Marking the edge of the rail onto the base.

So the 100mm from saw blade, can be found.

Just make a mark

Have to be the inside of the blade.

Now the table saws base, can be marked onto the wood.

Marking on both sides.

Marked up.

Diving in with a plunge saw.

Cleaning out with a jig saw.

Grrrrr, I were not all awake, so I cut too long with the plunge saw.
Nothing that can’t be fixed and the zero plate will keep in all together.
Always look on the bright sides of life.

And with a wee rabbet at the end for the lifting arm rivet, the saw fit’s perfectly in.
Now we can almost taste the result!

Cut the zero clearance base to size and attached it to the base plate, with glue and brat nails.

An adaptor takes form.

The adaptor is placed, so the saw can be powered up and the blade can be lowered into and through the zero clearance plate.

Be careful to hold the saw straight, not pushing to any side.

We are through.

Next up is to find a way to secure the saw into the adaptor.
I was spending a wee time figuring this out, as I wanted it to be a fast operation, since I know, we tend to not use tools that are too time consuming.
So in one end just a fixed hold.
Here a small piece of hardwood will be fine.

Cut a rabbet, that were a little lower, than the hight of the saws metal base.

Then shaped the hardwood, to fit snug and rounding the end.
Made one for each side and glued them in place.

Let’s stay in the glue.
Adding a layer of 15 minutes epoxy in the rabbet for the runner.

Nice and smooth.

Added the runner and put pressure, while it were drying.

Now we can get back to securing the saw to the adaptor.
In this end, I wanted a clamping tight solution.
Ash will be the material, a left over from my workshop floor again.
And notice I fixed my cutting mistakes, by gluing in a wee wedge into the saw kerf.

Something to push down here…

Well this might work.

Two cuts on the table saw and we have a L profile.

Drum roll…


A couple of wing nuts, will make it quick and easy, to take the saw in and out.
So marking up, for long holes, so the bolts can move freely inside.

Routing the long holes, using a push block to keep the hold straight.

With my wonderful new router table, that has already become a favourite in the workshop.

The long holes are transferred with a pencil, so the position of the bolts can be found.

I didn’t want to get too close to the edge, so hope this will be fine.

First I predrilled with a two mm drill bit from the top, then making room for the bolt heads with a Forstner bit on the underside.

Drilling with 5mm drill bit.

Here you can also see the fixed hardwood holds, they were cut down to the hight of the jig, after the glue had time to dry.
Also please notice my fine new hold downs, these will get a blog post soon, smiles.

The 6mm bolts are now screwed in from the underside.

Well let’s screw this up!
Or together I mean.

Perfect fit.
Free of the edge and the bolts are exactly long enough.

Adaptor is made, let’s grab the circular saw.

Back end are tilted in, to grab the hardwood holds.

Front end lowered.

Once in place the front hold can be set in action.

Just put it down on the table saw base.

And tighten the wing nuts.

Now we have a base that are completely attached to the saw.

Let’s find a track.


Finishing touches the edges are rounded on the router table.

The edges of the adaptor also, so it will all be nice to the touch.

Even the runner got a wee rounding over, so it will be easy to put it into the rail.

Base edges rounded.

The same with all the inside edges.

I kind of like these little holds.

New adaptor can now replace the old one.
Job done, smiles.

Time to do some straight zero clearance sawing.

Link to video of the adaptor in use:

Hope it can be to some inspiration, or straight zero clearance cuts.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

5 comments so far

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1628 posts in 5015 days

#1 posted 12-19-2020 01:07 AM

Nicely detailed build Mads. Something I think we all could use in our shop.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10237 posts in 2032 days

#2 posted 12-19-2020 03:38 AM

Very nice build! Almost makes me want to buy some track…

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View lew's profile


13532 posts in 5205 days

#3 posted 12-19-2020 02:15 PM

Well done, my friend!

Loved the video, too!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Doug's profile


1304 posts in 4211 days

#4 posted 12-20-2020 07:04 PM

That’s really cool. I have plans to buy a cordless saw similar to yours. I will keep your design in mind. Thanks for sharing.

-- Doug

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4539 days

#5 posted 12-26-2020 12:58 AM

Hi there,
Tim, I think both in the shop and on the road. It can be easily made and adapted to any track. Thanks.
Dave, Smiles, wonder if you got it for Christmas, laugh. Thank you.
lew, It was a joy to make that video, as my daughter were the photographer and we had a great time, did it in first run. Thank you my friend.
Doug, I can highly recommend the saw, I have used it a lot, had no idea a cordless saw and router were such a bonus, the router has suddenly become a favourite tool and I used to hate them. Thank you for the comment.
Best of my thoughts to all of you,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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