Cheap track saw

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Project by Bearpaw posted 09-01-2017 04:53 AM 4516 views 14 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I cannot believe that I am doing two post in one week. Too much time on my hands.

I have made a number of edge guides for my skill saw and have lusted after one of the fancy track saw sets. My eyes are bigger than my billfold. So I looked around and found people making them from scraps. Now I am a scrap person, so here is my version.

I have an old skill saw , so it is now my track saw. Some people used flat aluminum bar stock, but I did not have any. The big box stores only carry 1/8” thick and I wanted my glide to be thicker – 1/4”. I did have some old plastic counter top material. This is the thick white material you see on food serving lines. A food equipment company is your best source or Rockler for precut ones. I like milling my own. I get a better fit in the track groove. The material works very well in a thickness planer, joiner and a table saw.

I ripped a piece of 3/4” plywood about 8” wide for the track part. Use a good grade of plywood. I placed the saw on the plywood strip to located the dado for the plastic strip to slide in. I used a 3/4” router bit for the dado set at 5/16” deep. Make sure that you position the skill saw so you will have material to cut off that will be your reference edge.

After machining the plastic to a snug smooth sliding fit in the groove I put double face tape on it. This helps hold the material to the saw. I drilled 1/8” diameter holes for a #6-32 flat head bolt on each end of the saw base. All the parts are made. That was easy.

I bought a new 60 tooth, carbide tip blade for the saw. I used my digital angle tool to make sure that the saw was set at 90 degrees. If you do not own one of these tools – go buy one. Cheap and accurate.

The last thing to do is to cut your reference edge. I set my saw depth for 7/8” past the track guide board. I messed up on my first attempt to make the track, but there was enough good area for me to cut a length 4’-6” long and then I made one 8’ long. I took a short section of the scrap of the first track to make a base for the saw to set in. You will have to put another piece of plywood under that to protect the saw blade.

I am thinking about cutting a “t” slot on the underside of the track to use a “t” bolt and knob with a hold down clamps to attach the track to what I will be cutting. I would like to know what you think of that idea.

Well, there is my version. Now back to the shop.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

9 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3542 days

#1 posted 09-01-2017 01:36 PM

This is very creative and resourceful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View fivecodys's profile


1603 posts in 2311 days

#2 posted 09-01-2017 03:17 PM

I like it. I too do not have a budget big enough for the high end track saws.
I added this to my favorites.
Thanks for sharing!

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View Bernard58's profile


107 posts in 1519 days

#3 posted 09-01-2017 08:50 PM

Creative, simple, cheap and efficient. What more should it be? I have the exact same Skil saw lying around somewhere, and never use it. I was thinking of buying a track saw but also found the cost too high. Think I will convert my old Skil saw as well. Thanks for sharing!

-- Bernard Delaey, Belgium -

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6061 posts in 3084 days

#4 posted 09-02-2017 01:56 AM

Cool idea, what you thought I did not have enough stuff to make in this lifetime???? ROFL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Don Broussard's profile (online now)

Don Broussard

3872 posts in 2927 days

#5 posted 09-02-2017 03:26 AM

Good thinking, Bearpaw. I have a UHMW cutting board just waiting for something to do, and I found at least one use.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Jacksdad's profile


244 posts in 1099 days

#6 posted 09-02-2017 03:30 AM

I liked the one I made but I like yours better

View Bearpaw's profile


264 posts in 4395 days

#7 posted 09-02-2017 03:37 AM

Jacksdad, I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View a1Jim's profile


118007 posts in 4252 days

#8 posted 09-02-2017 03:38 AM

Looks like a low cost winner.


View Grumpy's profile


26140 posts in 4526 days

#9 posted 09-02-2017 10:40 PM

Bearpaw , great jig and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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