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Makita track saw help

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Forum topic by Fugazni posted 03-10-2021 03:47 AM 651 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Fugazni

9 posts in 112 days


03-10-2021 03:47 AM

Hi all. I picked up the cordless Makita track saw recently since I couldn’t stand ripping sheet goods with my loud, dust-storming, garbage of a circular saw and don’t enjoy trying to wrestle them onto my table saw, even after they’re partially rough cut. I really want to be in love with it since everything I’ve read or heard makes it seem like the perfectly elegant solution to my problem. I’ve also invested A LOT to try to take any of the remaining frustration out of it and make it every bit the solution it can be, getting TSO’s GRS-16 and 2 55” tracks with the hardware to join them together.

But… so far it’s been nothing but a source of frustration. 20” cuts can be out of square by more than 1/16”. I get a 1/16” notch at the very end of every board I cut. The splinter guard had all kinds of different widths up and down the track. I thought maybe I hadn’t tightened the wiggles out enough, so after tightening it up and ensuring ALL the side-to-side play had been taken out, I replaced the rubber zero-clearance splinter guard on a nearly brand new track hoping for a fresh start.

I put it in scoring mode and ran it most of the way down the track, keeping enough on the front and back so that it wasn’t running off the track at any point. Then I used that reference to make a cut on a piece of MDF, only to have another 1/16” disappear from the splinter guard, meaning my cut was also short by about 1/16” and the piece ruined. Then I made another cut, and MORE of the rubber disappeared. I am being very careful not to put any kind of lateral pressure on the saw that would it to skew at all.

Am I broken? Or just broke?


20 replies so far

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Fugazni

9 posts in 112 days


#1 posted 03-10-2021 03:50 AM

I should also mention that I bought a clamp with it as well, and both of my cuts after setting the zero clearance were well clamped and there was no movement in the track.

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Loren

11192 posts in 4729 days


#2 posted 03-10-2021 03:55 AM

It’s possible the arbor is bent or out of alignment, causing the blade to heel. You can check for this by measuring exactly from the blade plate to the track groove, for and aft.

I’ve read about these sorts of problems with the saws before.

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Fugazni

9 posts in 112 days


#3 posted 03-10-2021 04:51 AM


It s possible the arbor is bent or out of alignment, causing the blade to heel. You can check for this by measuring exactly from the blade plate to the track groove, for and aft.

I ve read about these sorts of problems with the saws before.

- Loren

Thanks for the reply. Sorry but could you explain a little more what you mean?

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Loren

11192 posts in 4729 days


#4 posted 03-10-2021 04:57 AM

Heeling is a form of blade misalignment. In your saw it would be a manufacturing defect.

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Fugazni

9 posts in 112 days


#5 posted 03-10-2021 05:10 AM


Heeling is a form of blade misalignment. In your saw it would be a manufacturing defect.

- Loren

Got it. By blade plate you mean the front and back of the blade before the teeth? And not sure which track groove you’re suggesting measuring it against.

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LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1901 days


#6 posted 03-10-2021 10:34 AM

Probably a silly question, but was your saw new or a “bargain buy”?

Not that I may be of any help, however, an out of square I can picture, but what do you mean by an 1/16” notch at the very end of every board?

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

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Loren

11192 posts in 4729 days


#7 posted 03-10-2021 04:59 PM

well, you could measure from the opposite edge of the saw plate. The track groove in which the bump on the track mates is your alignment feature though. Words fail. In terms of the blade plate you have the right idea. Search google for table saw blade heeling and you’ll find some results that discuss the issue. However, with most miter saws and track saws heeling cannot be adjusted out, in fact I’ve never heard of a saw that allowed adjustment of this.

Search this forum too as I am pretty sure another person recently had this problem with the same saw.

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Jared_S

461 posts in 1040 days


#8 posted 03-10-2021 05:25 PM

Pics of the splinter guard and wood showing the issues would go a long way.

Are you sure you are keeping the saw fully on the track?

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northwoodsman

549 posts in 4827 days


#9 posted 03-10-2021 06:58 PM

Let’s go back to the basics and start with the initial setup and splinter guard trimming. Did you place the new track on top of a piece of wood or thick styrofoam that is longer than the track and make a shallow cut the FULL length of the track? The saw should have been plunged down before it came in contact with the splinter guard (or at the beginning edge) with the depth set 1/4” or so below the splinter guard. This will register the splinter guard to your glade and give you a nice clean straight edge. Once that is done you can now use the splinter guard to register all cut against the cut lines/marks that you have placed on the materials that you are cutting. If you skipped this step you will never get your cut to align. This was not trimmed to the proper width out of the box! They have know idea what saw or blade you are using the track for. Get this working before you add any other gadgets like squares and miter guides.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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Jared_S

461 posts in 1040 days


#10 posted 03-10-2021 11:40 PM



Let s go back to the basics and start with the initial setup and splinter guard trimming. Did you place the new track on top of a piece of wood or thick styrofoam that is longer than the track and make a shallow cut the FULL length of the track? The saw should have been plunged down before it came in contact with the splinter guard (or at the beginning edge) with the depth set 1/4” or so below the splinter guard. This will register the splinter guard to your glade and give you a nice clean straight edge. Once that is done you can now use the splinter guard to register all cut against the cut lines/marks that you have placed on the materials that you are cutting. If you skipped this step you will never get your cut to align. This was not trimmed to the proper width out of the box! They have know idea what saw or blade you are using the track for. Get this working before you add any other gadgets like squares and miter guides.

- northwoodsman

You can’t plunge the saw before the saw comes in contact with the splinter guard, and you can’t cut the full length of the track with only one track.

Based on the position of the cam guides on the saw there will be at a minimum 1.5” of uncut splinter guard on both ends of the track at full depth of the saw.

If you limit the travel to the baseplate never being off the track its 3.25” uncut at the start and 2.5 at the end.

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northwoodsman

549 posts in 4827 days


#11 posted 03-11-2021 01:40 AM

Jared_S, I understand what you are saying. I have a Dewalt and it’s barely possible. After screwing my first strip up I decided to carefully read the instructions for the second attempt. Perhaps start as close to the leading edge as possible and carefully trim the leading and trailing edge very carefully with a razor blade once the majority of the strip is cut. The key is having the splinter guard supported by a flat backerboard. Another trick is to use a Sharpie and put a mark on the track itself where you know that the blade has cut away the correct amount of the rubber strip, both beginning and end. Always line up your marks between these two points. In other words don’t line up the first 3.25” at the beginning of the strip, or the last 2.5” at the end with your measurement marks.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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Davevand

268 posts in 1917 days


#12 posted 03-11-2021 04:01 PM

Sounds like the saw is out of alignment. I had to tune my Makita up this year, it was giving me a poor quality cut, the blade was slightly out of parallel with the track.

View gtrgeo's profile

gtrgeo

159 posts in 1511 days


#13 posted 03-12-2021 07:26 PM

I posted a while back about issues I was having with mine and was able to resolve them. The saw can be aligned but Makita is very stingy with the information I was able to get one of the customer service techs to send me the info from the service manual. I will share if requested.

When I first started using mine I was disappointed in that the cuts were not straight. What I quickly learned was the material you are cutting must be fully supported and flat. Any bowing of the track can result in a curved cut. Also, if you are cutting thick hardwoods you will want a different blade. The stock blade on the cordless saw is very thin. This is great for saving battery power but the blade can flex when cutting thicker hardwoods.

That said, I have used the stock blade for through cuts in 2” oak and Maple understanding it would likely not be square. The stock blade has worked well enough and provided square cuts in 3/4” plywood and MDF. I have also been able to get good results cutting long miters in plywood.

As far as aligning joined tracks, I have found turning the track upside down and presssing the raised ridge the saw rides on against the edge of a factory cut edge of a sheet of plywood has given me good alignment. This method leaves both joiner bars exposed to be tightened while the tracks stay in alignment.

I have contemplated purchasing one of the TSO squares but have found using a 12” plastic speed square against the edge of the plywood and back of the track to be suitable for my current needs. Maybe in the future I will splurge for one.

George

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SMP

3968 posts in 986 days


#14 posted 03-12-2021 07:34 PM

Reading reviews online I saw one guy that got a pretty bent track. Maybe check that your track is perfectly flat/straight? Check against a long level?

View Fugazni's profile

Fugazni

9 posts in 112 days


#15 posted 03-13-2021 01:41 AM

Great ideas, thank you. Definitely going to use your method for joining tracks. Unfortunately it’s been a busy week and I haven’t had any time to tinker with the saw. Service manual information would be very helpful.

When you say material you’re cutting needs to be fully supported, do you mean the entire length of the track should be supported if the track is longer than the workpiece? I have 2 55” tracks and am often using one of them to make much shorter cuts due to having a dado stack for my current project setup in my table saw and not wanting to risk throwing it off (and a touch of laziness). The rest of the track is left hanging off the ends of the workpiece.


I posted a while back about issues I was having with mine and was able to resolve them. The saw can be aligned but Makita is very stingy with the information I was able to get one of the customer service techs to send me the info from the service manual. I will share if requested.

When I first started using mine I was disappointed in that the cuts were not straight. What I quickly learned was the material you are cutting must be fully supported and flat. Any bowing of the track can result in a curved cut. Also, if you are cutting thick hardwoods you will want a different blade. The stock blade on the cordless saw is very thin. This is great for saving battery power but the blade can flex when cutting thicker hardwoods.

That said, I have used the stock blade for through cuts in 2” oak and Maple understanding it would likely not be square. The stock blade has worked well enough and provided square cuts in 3/4” plywood and MDF. I have also been able to get good results cutting long miters in plywood.

As far as aligning joined tracks, I have found turning the track upside down and presssing the raised ridge the saw rides on against the edge of a factory cut edge of a sheet of plywood has given me good alignment. This method leaves both joiner bars exposed to be tightened while the tracks stay in alignment.

I have contemplated purchasing one of the TSO squares but have found using a 12” plastic speed square against the edge of the plywood and back of the track to be suitable for my current needs. Maybe in the future I will splurge for one.

George

- gtrgeo


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