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Track saw

875 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  KelleyCrafts
Ok all you power tool users, tell me what is the best track saw for me. I have a summer of sheet goods ahead of me, so must be able to cut 8'. I prefer the power of corded. Price is least important, accuracy is highest.

Thanks in advance.
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I like cutting 3 sheets of plywood at a time so I use the Festool 75. It's accurate enough for my needs.
The Mafell is top dog in my book, I haven't used the one above, but cutting sheet goods all summer and you
have an open check book I'd look into the Mafell.
They have other models and folks say they're more powerful than the Festool offerings.
Best of luck on your decision.
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I have both Festool and Dewalt and I know they are dead on accurate and top performers. Where do you live, I'm looking to sell the Dewalt. It's like new and barely used. Comes with the long and short tracks CANNOT ship because of tracks.

You need to take time and set them up properly initially. They should be parallel to the track when new but you will need to adjust the tension so they slide on the track but there is no slop. Only when you are 100% sure the saw is aligned and adjusted do you cut the rubber guide strip. This is not only your splinter guard but it's your cutting guide! This is where you line up your saw on the mark where you want to cut. If you change blades you need to re-align your saw to this strip unless the bladed is the exact same brand and tooth pattern. You can grab a circular saw out of the case and pretty much go straight to cutting, but with track saws you need to understand how everything works because there is a method to the madness and that's what make them so accurate, precise, and provides such a smooth splinter-free cut.

Two other things - you need good dust collection. Without good dust collection you will likely get a build-up of debris inside the blade guard that can bog the saw down and deflect the blade. You will also get debris under the track and it will slide around. You also need to support the piece you are cutting from end to end. If you have even a slight bow in the middle or end you will get a curved cut and the track will be moving around on you.
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Festool/Makita have the most available accessories. Bosch/Mafell may have the better system if you just confine it to saw and tracks. With the Festool you can get rail squares, crosscut guides and more.

Festool has a little anti-splinter guard that's useful for cutting melamine while the other saws, as I understand, use a level that moves the saw over a fraction of a millimeter to make a first shallow cut to reduce chip out on melamine.

I use a Festool HK55 instead of the normal plunge saw. The HK lacks some features and has worse dust collection but it allows me to start a cut with the saw at a fixed depth instead of plunging first. Take a look at that one too.
I own the Dewalt. Only reason is that it was #2 on the list, and nobody has (or had back then, anyway) any Festool saws in stock… Oh, save one places hat had the battery version (except they had no batteries to go with it). We needed one ASAP.

We did, however, buy the Festool track (and I'm glad I did). The Dewalt track is a different width. The idea of having two sides (i.e. you could keep on for bevel cuts, maybe?) is appealing. But, I am not sure other brand saws will work on it, like they many do no the Festool.

One downfall is the cut depth gauge. You have to add a little, by eye, to make the proper depth cut. I think the Festool depth adjuster lock mechanism seems more suer friendly as well. I also know I would appreciate the zero clearance eon the off-cut side that the Festool has.

I recently replaced the original Dewalt blade wiht a Freud. I love the Freud. It cuts better than the Dewalt ever did, and leaves a much cleaner cut.

The Dewalt is a nice saw, and I honestly have nor egrets in the purchase. It has changed my life, literally. It has sped up our production, and it has increased our accuracy. It has made cutting large sheet goods an absolute pleasure. It also means I waste less, by being able to make inaccurate cut before every actually getting the wood into the shop.

Also, I got the corded one… I am a cabinet maker and the jobsites ALWAYS have power. So, not only at the shop, but on the jobsite, the Dewalt gets used almost every day. My only other powered handheld saw these days is the Dewalt 7 1/4" Wormdrive Style (or whatever they call the monster). But, it has barely come out since buying the track sa. Our new jobsite Dewalt table saw hasn't made it back into the truck in a while, either, come to think of it.

I think if you go battery, whatever system(s) you';ve already bought into might influence the decision. Corded, I guess that doesn't matter.

I've read, and seen, a lot of good press on the Makita, the Festool, the Dewalt and the Maefel (sp?). Not sure I've seen much else that got good reviews. but, I may have missed some other manufacturers. Mine was far from an extensive of a search!

I know I will purchase a Festool track saw some day. But, It will not be any time soon. I do truly like my Dewalt!
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I researched them all and went with the Festool. Dust collection was the the deciding factor.

If you're going that route, invest in a top end HEPA dust extractor.
I'm a cheap a$$. Made my ownTrac saw. Embedded T track in a length of 1/2" BB. Attached a mating insert to my Skill 77 worm drive. Works great.
I'm going with the Makita corded tool. Research has shown it to have better dust control and since I will have a hose connected, the power cord will not be a major issue.

I will add I've ruled out a low-cost track saw system that seems to get positives on YouTube with a couple of presenters, but they also say they receive the tools at no-cost. That is not the major reason, though: I watched a friend spend a number of hours trying to get this low-cost tool set up to cut square and to line up the 2 piece track into a straight line. I will not mention the maker's name on a public forum, though if I read of anyone considering one, I might send a PM.
I just cant see joining two tracks with any hope of getting a dead on straight track. I think you will need a long one with with a short one or go without.
I just cant see joining two tracks with any hope of getting a dead on straight track. I think you will need a long one with with a short one or go without.

- controlfreak
There's a product for that made by the Betterly company. Still, it's an extra $100 or so. Bosch/Mafell has a superior design for joining tracks straight.
I just cant see joining two tracks with any hope of getting a dead on straight track. I think you will need a long one with with a short one or go without.

- controlfreak
I'm not concerned, as I have a complete machine & tool making shop in my manufacturing plant. I can tweak the edge joints quite readily and confirm matching straightness on my 8' Starrett straight edge (don't ask the price of that!).
I just cant see joining two tracks with any hope of getting a dead on straight track. I think you will need a long one with with a short one or go without.

- controlfreak
You can do it very accurately. I did a review of the Betterley StraightLine Connector here.

Also, Festool has released their auto-aligning connector bars. However, given their cost, and the fact that you need two for each connection, I'm happy I got the Betterley.
I know you're talking about plywood but there's life after sheet goods with these things as well.

I use an MFT table for most of my cuts. I don't however work with plywood much, I use it for hardwoods. I have the TS75 but I am seriously considering getting the 55 or the Mafell equivalent so I have a lighter saw to push. I would still keep the TS 75 to straight edge 8/4 rough lumber unless I feel the Mafell could get through it then I would potentially sell it.
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