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Sliding Table Saw versus Festool Track Saw

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Forum topic by RobMeier posted 06-27-2019 02:58 AM 544 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RobMeier

8 posts in 1838 days


06-27-2019 02:58 AM

Greetings,

I have a Delta Unisaw that I’ve owned for over 30 years. I do woodworking as a hobby and I have dedicated one port of a 3-car garage. I want to upgrade my ability to cut sheets of plywood while keeping my equipment footprint small. I’ve ruled out a panel cutting saw because it takes up too much room. I’ve ruled out adding a crosscut sled to my tablesaw because of the bad reviews I’ve seen where they fall out of square constantly(My table saw is on a mobile base). So I’ve come to 3 conclusions: purchase a smaller sliding table saw or purchase a track saw that can cut 8ft pieces of plywood. A Festool 75 with rails, clamps etc comes to roughly $1000.00. For a sliding tablesaw I’m looking at a Minimax SC3 for about 2500.00. I’ve almost bought a used Hammer multifunction c331 tablesaw/joint/planer/shaper for 3800.00 but someone beat me to it. The minimax although small is still big for my shop. I wondering if someone out there was faced with the same decision at some time? A tracksaw, a multfunction unit or a sliding table saw?


28 replies so far

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

528 posts in 601 days


#1 posted 06-27-2019 03:19 AM

Why would a panel saw take up too much room? Mine only comes 2 ft out from wall. Probably could get it closer if needed. You could be creative with space behind it.

I absolutely love being able to rip 8ft lengths with ease. Whatever you upgrade to, this would be a must for me.

For me the higher end track saws are too close in price to the alternatives to consider. I paid about 2000$ for my vertical(sawtrax). I think they are about 2500 now.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3116 posts in 996 days


#2 posted 06-27-2019 04:26 AM

Rob are you having problems ripping full sheets? Generally ripping close to size works best for a first step, then a lot of times you can cross the panels on the TS where they are easier to handle. The key to that is “close to size” at least I always wait until I need the piece cut to exact then I will do that on a TS.

For the rips in half a “panel saw” can very easily lay flat on 2 sawhorses, or heck on the ground on a piece of thick foam board. To do that all you really need is a circular saw you are comfortable with, and a cutting shoe. It’s as accurate as a track saw, just takes a moment longer to square, and you will get the best results using clamps to make sure it doesn’t move, throwing off your cut. I like the foam board as it works like the rubber strips on a track saw, and the bottom of the piece you are cutting should be your top (show side) on the foam you will see clean cuts.

Bob Lang tells you everything you need to know about how to do it.

Prior to track saws this is how all of us did it, many still do. But if 1000 bux for a sometimes tools, turns you off, it isn’t the only way. Plus this can be as accurate, maybe just a step or two behind at the time trials.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Bob5103's profile

Bob5103

138 posts in 1256 days


#3 posted 06-27-2019 10:17 AM

As I get older I struggle with ply, so I have a couple of solutions in my shop. If I have multiple sheets to rip, I use my track saw on saw horses supported by a 2” foam board. But if I only have one sheet to deal with and for cross cuts under 32” in length, I installed a sliding table on my table saw. I made a couple of in-feed tables to support longer pieces. The sliding table from Grizzly is “universal” and should work on your saw. The in-feed tables attach to the front rail. Using these provide a great deal of control when working with ply. Here is the sliding table I use. https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-Sliding-Table-Attachment/T10223 The sliding table is great for crosscuts on longer boards.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5595 posts in 2915 days


#4 posted 06-27-2019 10:44 AM

I can’t offer an opinion on the slider since I’ve neer used one. But I have a track saw I bought mostly for sheet stock and I’ve found it gets used just as much to straight edge rough sawn lumber. That said, I’d go with the 55 over the 75 and be sure to get the long track (106 or whatever it is). After 10 years not even once did I say ” I wish I had bought the 75”.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4052 posts in 2411 days


#5 posted 06-27-2019 10:50 AM

As I get older, handling sheet goods has become difficult. I cannot safely get them on my cabinet saw. I bought the Festool TS55 and have been very happy with it. It is one of my most useful tools.

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

442 posts in 1107 days


#6 posted 06-27-2019 12:43 PM

another vote for the track saw – the 55 if strictly for sheet goods, the 75 if you do any work with thicker live edge slabs too

how often do you work with sheet goods? my distributor will do one cut for free which make them so much more manageable

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

278 posts in 953 days


#7 posted 06-27-2019 12:44 PM

I owned the large Excalibur sliding table attachment for a number of years and recently got a Makita tracksaw. Between the 2 I would go with the tracksaw every time. Way less space taken up, faster to setup odd angles, and I can take it to a jobsite if need arises. I also don’t ram my hip into the sliding table rail because I am a clutz anymore.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1399 posts in 1238 days


#8 posted 06-27-2019 12:55 PM

I don’t know anything about commercial crosscut sleds but the one I built for my table saw stayed dead accurate for the 15 years between when I bought the saw and when i upgraded it. As far as I know, the buyer is still using that sled today. There is nothing to drift out of adjustment.

I use a Makita track saw to crosscut full sheets of plywood. Like many others, I use sawhorses and a sheet of foam insulation to support the material. That is much, much easier than trying to use a table saw for crosscutting. The quality of the cut is as good as what I get from my table saw. It is good enough for a final cut on furniture projects.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8680 posts in 2999 days


#9 posted 06-27-2019 01:04 PM

A track saw and a table saw is the perfect combo for an efficient shop.

A Festool Panther rip saw blade works well for ripping hardwood lumber and the stock blade
for sheet goods.

The 75 works best with the longer rail for sheet goods.
Festool 491501 FS 3000 118” Guide Rail

Best of luck.

View Firewood's profile

Firewood

850 posts in 2056 days


#10 posted 06-27-2019 01:10 PM

Having a basement shop and no easy way to get full sheet goods down there, I opted for the Makita track saw. The cut quality is phenomenal leaving no need to make a clean up cut at the tablesaw. Like Fred, I also use it to straighten the edge of rough cut lumber. No regrets on choosing the Makita over the Festool.

BTW – I use Makita track with Festool connectors and DeWalt clamps and Rockler’s Dust Right Universal Small Port Hose Kit. It all works great together.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

View Robert's profile

Robert

3441 posts in 1903 days


#11 posted 06-27-2019 01:46 PM

I resisted buying a track saw for years and got by using a home made guide and circ saw.

Last year I sprung for a bonafide tracksaw and it has been a total game changer for me— and my back!!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8680 posts in 2999 days


#12 posted 06-27-2019 01:53 PM

NEWXSH08PT
18V X2 LXT® Lithium‑Ion (36V) Brushless Cordless 7‑1/4” Circular Saw Kit with Guide Rail Compatible Base (5.0Ah)

https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/XSH08PT

Makita’s new cordless circular saw looks like a viable option as well.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

528 posts in 601 days


#13 posted 06-27-2019 02:13 PM

Rob, I guess the question I would ask is how much are you going to use it?

If it’s just a couple times a month, the track saw route would suffice. From what people say, dust collection is good and cut is good as well.

But if you really want to bust up panel after panel, there is zero comparison between the track saw and a panel saw. For twice the money, it’s 4x as efficient.

I have a cabinet that uses exactly one sheet of plywood. 9 parts. All parts are cut in 7 minutes without the sheet leaving the saw.

View tmasondarnell's profile

tmasondarnell

113 posts in 2212 days


#14 posted 06-27-2019 02:49 PM

I do not have a slider, so I can speak to it vs a track saw.

I do have a track saw which I use to break up sheet goods. I have some foam board that I put on the floor of the shop and rip away.

View RobMeier's profile

RobMeier

8 posts in 1838 days


#15 posted 06-27-2019 03:22 PM



Why would a panel saw take up too much room? Mine only comes 2 ft out from wall. Probably could get it closer if needed. You could be creative with space behind it.

I absolutely love being able to rip 8ft lengths with ease. Whatever you upgrade to, this would be a must for me.

For me the higher end track saws are too close in price to the alternatives to consider. I paid about 2000$ for my vertical(sawtrax). I think they are about 2500 now.

- CWWoodworking


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