Which straight Edge for breaking up sheet goods

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Forum topic by 12bar posted 09-24-2020 11:49 PM 961 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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57 posts in 1412 days

09-24-2020 11:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: track saws straight edge

I am looking for a straight edge that I can cut up 4×8 inch sheet goods. Being a hobbyist and not a professional woodworker I don’t want to spend $1000 for something like the Festool . Although I would love to have one. So I am looking for a system where I can get a straight cut without it wondering at all.
So far I have been using a self made system where I run my circular saw again a straight edge which has another piece of plywood that is cut to match the kerf of my saw blade. But sometimes I don’t keep the exact pressure on the saw and I find it is not perfectly straight. So I cut everything oversized and then resale it with my table saw.
There has to be a better way when I came across the new Rockler low profile system. So I am wondering if any obe has tried the bee Rockler 52-104 inch system
12 Bar

-- 12 Bar

24 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


6786 posts in 2604 days

#1 posted 09-25-2020 12:08 AM

I can’t help but I’m in the same boat. I have a few circular saws so I’d like to find a system that clamps or screws to the baseplate of a regular saw but had a very good rail system, ideally a few of different lengths.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Walker's profile


405 posts in 1356 days

#2 posted 09-25-2020 12:18 AM

just google “DIY track saw” there are plenty of builds out there that cost a few dollars.

-- ~Walker

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


5803 posts in 1704 days

#3 posted 09-25-2020 01:23 AM

I am a Fe$tool tragic and wouldn’t go past it… However, you didn’t hear this from me, but looking at the Makita tracks, they appear to be a carbon copy of the big daddy at half the price… I am assuming the complimentary Makita tracksaw may not have the same weight in shekels as the Fe$tool…
Not sure but I belive Triton also brag a similar track (and of course the saw).

PS. If you publicise what I just said, I have a 400lb SIL that has some nuckle diusters that need to be tested… and his twin is bigger and more agro.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Loren's profile


10718 posts in 4532 days

#4 posted 09-25-2020 01:36 AM

just google “DIY track saw” there are plenty of builds out there that cost a few dollars.

- Walker

The advantage of those is you have a 1/4” sheet of ply lining up with the cut line exactly. With a straightedge like the Rockler you have to measure an offset, which is never a convenient easy to remember dimension that’s hard to screw up. Check the offset of your saw base plate and ask yourself if you want to do that.

I’m not saying a dyi track saw is right for you, just an option worth looking at. Lee Valley also has a system that looks a lot like the Rockler, and is more money. It may be straighter or more rigid though. I had one of the old $25 aluminum 2 piece straight edges the catalogs used to sell and it wasn’t as straight as one would hope.

View 12bar's profile


57 posts in 1412 days

#5 posted 09-25-2020 01:59 AM

Presently I use the 1/4 plywood type which hen buts up against a 1/2 straight edge. However, as I have said if I don’t keep the exact pressure on the rail I sometimes get a less than straight line of cut.
It my understanding , while I haven’t actually seen it that the Rockler system now has a second piece that will fit your saw or router. The plastic piece screws to the main straight edge so that it can not waver .
I will check out the DIY track saw and the Makita, Triton and Lee Valley.
I have checked out the Kreg track saw system and didn’t think it fit my needs.

-- 12 Bar

View waho6o9's profile


8947 posts in 3461 days

#6 posted 09-25-2020 02:27 AM

To get consistent rips I use a center brace so it cuts the same dimension through out the whole sheet.

I think you have a good system, try a couple of center braces. HTH

View Aj2's profile


3415 posts in 2682 days

#7 posted 09-25-2020 02:29 AM

I use a circular saw and straight edge either a piece of wood freshly jointed or one of my levels. I used to have a porter cable saw boss. It was the best saw for this type of work .
I would like to suggest something if you haven’t tuned your saw. Check the edge of your saw base see if it’s straight also check that the blade is parallel with the edge of your saws base that you have verified is straight.
If it isn’t he blade will try to pull away or towards the straight edge guide.
I don’t use plywood very often so I’m used to checking the saw. I find the time spend worth it.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View BB1's profile


1688 posts in 1732 days

#8 posted 09-25-2020 02:58 AM

I went the inexpensive route and bought this Kreg system. Was great for cutting down plywood for a Murphy bed project and I have used it a lot since then on other projects. Already had the cordless circular saw.

View Robert's profile


4052 posts in 2364 days

#9 posted 09-25-2020 12:03 PM

The best DIY has the plate riding in a track.

@LBD the Mikita & Festool are compatible.

You might take a look at the cheaper tracksaw like Grizzly

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

View ChefHDAN's profile


1772 posts in 3733 days

#10 posted 09-25-2020 12:35 PM

I have an 8’ and a 4’ shop made track that is built so that the edge of the plywood goes on the cutline and the edge of the saw base follows a “fence” on top of the plywood. Have used it for years and after sing the prices have had little to no interest in a track saw as I’m generally either cutting ply for a shop build which has a lower finish quality to me, or I use it to break veneered ply for furniture builds where I always cut slightly oversize and use the TS as you describe to ensure that the ZCI gives me a better finish cut, and the TS is set dead nuts so that I KNOW the cuts are square.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View ibewjon's profile


2081 posts in 3677 days

#11 posted 09-25-2020 01:22 PM

I use a piece of unistrut or any brand strut. Screw it to a piece of plywood, run the saw down it, and you have an exact guide . Maybe $20 investment.

View Axis39's profile


357 posts in 481 days

#12 posted 09-25-2020 02:03 PM

I have a two piece guide I made our of 1/4” MDF for the base, aluminum u-channel for the fence, with some QS oak filler to help keep it stable.

I ran a shallow groove (maybe 3/64”?) down the MDF with my dado blade on the table saw. This helps keep the u-channel straight. I epoxied it into the groove. Then, I cut some oak scrap down to fit inside the channel. I drilled and screwed from underneath, pinching the u-channel in place, and holding the oak tightly.

After everything is assembled, I run the saw down both sides of the U-Channel, trimming the MDF to size and giving me a nice zero clearance cutting edge.

I make sure to set the guide on the workpiece side of any marks and leave the waste side in the ‘fresh air’, as it were.

I ran the channel long on one piece. It overhangs the other piece, and there are two screws that I run from underneath to hold the two pieces tightly together.

It works quite well, but I have seen a little flex. So, i think I am going to go with ChefDAN’s suggestion of a second 8’ pieces for longer rips. This will also save me a few minutes of fiddling in between long and short cuts.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View controlfreak's profile


1296 posts in 485 days

#13 posted 09-25-2020 02:47 PM

I bought the Grizzly track saw combo when on sale and it does what I need it to.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6507 posts in 3377 days

#14 posted 09-25-2020 03:41 PM

To get consistent rips I use a center brace so it cuts the same dimension through out the whole sheet.

I think you have a good system, try a couple of center braces. HTH

- waho6o9

I do that as well when the cut exceeds 4’, and it does really help.

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

View bmerrill's profile


121 posts in 957 days

#15 posted 09-25-2020 04:03 PM

Have the DeWalt track saw and 3 tracks, track extension bars and clamps.
It works well for my uses and leaves a good straight clean edge.
On sheet goods, I just break down with the track saw and the cut to size on the table saw.
The tracks also work well with the DeWalt Router using track saw base.

-- Woodworking, the transformation of nature to culture.

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