Track Saw vs. Tablesaw

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Forum topic by PittsburghTim posted 01-25-2014 01:09 PM 1932 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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232 posts in 2593 days

01-25-2014 01:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: festool tablesaw

I’ve been thinking about the space that my tablesaw consumes (not just the saw, but the space needed in front of it) and have been toying with the idea of selling it and replacing it’s functionality with a Festool TS75. As background, I have a USA-made Delta contractor’s saw with a 30” Beismeyer fence. I use it mostly for ripping boards to width and occasioanly for crosscuts. I have a Freud stacked dado set that I have used once in 15 years as I prefer to make dados with a router table. I’ve been doing a lot more with hand tools lately but, I want to keep some powered method of ripping available.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, especially from those with a track saw.



-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

11 replies so far

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3240 days

#1 posted 01-25-2014 01:20 PM

I highly recommend a tracksaw for anyone in a small shop. Not sure I’d get rid of the tablesaw altogether though. It depends on the type of work you do, if you are breaking down sheets it’s invaluable, it makes fitting stuff like kitchens and wardrobes so much easier. I’ve done cuts on someone’s driveway that I wouldn’t be able to do on the ts.
If you are going to use it primarily with solid timber, get a blade with a lower tooth count than the one that comes with it.

View jonah's profile


2006 posts in 3569 days

#2 posted 01-25-2014 01:35 PM

The only thing that’s any difficulty with a track saw is ripping very narrow pieces. Ripping a half inch off a one inch board, for example, requires another board of the same thickness as the piece being cut for the track to rest on. It works, but requires more setup.

Track saws excel at ripping wider boards, breaking down sheet goods and crosscutting. I would question whether you really need the larger size TS75 versus the TS55 (and competitors). I’ve honestly never cut anything with my track saw where I’d need that extra depth.

For a small shop, try keeping the table saw on a mobile base and sliding it into a corner or against a wall when you’re not using it. Either that or create a plywood top to put on top of the cast iron so it can double as an assembly table.

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Fred Hargis

5308 posts in 2764 days

#3 posted 01-25-2014 01:41 PM

The only Festool I’ll ever own is my tracksaw, and I consider it a real winner. I personally do not consider it a replacement for the TS, however. For ripping, sheet goods work, etc. it can’t be beat. But try doing tenons, dado’s, grooves (OK, that one may be possible) and you need something else. True enough, there are other tools that do them, but few are as handy as the TS. That said, you do only a few things with your TS, and it may work very well for you. You might want to consider some of the attachments, like a set of parallel track guides and so on. Good luck with your decision.

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

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 2746 days

#4 posted 01-25-2014 02:14 PM

Tim, I agree with the previous posts. Although I went cheep and bought the dewalt track saw I do find it rather useful for more than breaking down sheet goods. However I still find myself going to the tablesaw for the things it does best. All wood saws cut wood but they have their own strengths and weakness.
I think that you would be happy with the tracksaw but quickly find cause to regret giving up the tablesaw.

Look to the projects you have done and intend to do and ask yourself if you would have sufficient work arounds if you did not have use of the tablesaw.

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1291 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 01-25-2014 02:19 PM

My TS55 is capable of most anything, breaking down sheet goods, straight-edge for rough lumber, etc.
I made a fitted top for the table saw and it became an assembly table.
A sheet of foam insulation (easy to store overhead) placed on the “assembly table” provides ample support when using the TS55.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

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893 posts in 2946 days

#6 posted 01-25-2014 03:00 PM

Your nuts.

Have both but Never get rid of your table saw. If you build an out feed table, you can use it like a workbench for cutting full 4×8 panels with your track saw.

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261 posts in 1891 days

#7 posted 01-25-2014 03:23 PM

This thread is worth reading on the subject:

I posted several example of things much easier or only practical on a table saw, like both the thin rips I make for these hardwood register grills I make, and the sled work that makes the dados for them too (see also making cove, simple raised panels, stock removal before routing, etc.):


View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3918 days

#8 posted 01-25-2014 04:05 PM

It depends on the style of work you do and the speed you
want to do it at.

Track saws are a delight to use most of the time and for
some cuts they are not.

You can certainly get by with a track saw and a band saw.
Tenons, narrow strips and small parts can be cut on the
band saw and saw marks removed with hand planes.

If you get away from working with sheet goods, I think
you’ll find the table saw a convenience but not a necessity
to getting work done in a reasonably efficient way.

View PittsburghTim's profile


232 posts in 2593 days

#9 posted 01-25-2014 04:32 PM

Thanks for the feedback. My thought was that I would pick up a track saw and if I find that I still want it, I can keep it. Over time, I can decide how much I use it. I like the larger saw as I have been building some tables with larger slabs and I could use the extra depth when trimming them to length.

-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

View knotscott's profile


8209 posts in 3646 days

#10 posted 01-25-2014 05:13 PM

It’s addition to how well a good TS does it’s basic functions, I like to use the wide cast iron surface as a reference surface.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 2712 days

#11 posted 01-25-2014 06:39 PM

I tried going the track saw only route and for the most part it was okay, however, it was mainly the inability to do repeated narrow cuts (anything narrower than the width of the rail, really), that made me decide it wasn’t for me. I even made a setup with an Incra positioner with MFT/3 to try to be able to reliably make those thin cuts, but it was just too much setup. There were also so many moving pieces that it became difficult to get repeatable cuts within 0.05 or so.

Despite it not working out as a table saw replacement for me, I so fell in love with the track saw for breaking down sheet goods that I decided to keep it anyway and ended up with table saw + track saw. I also use it to make tapered rip cuts too. So much easier than to have to set up some sort of jig on the table saw.

I believe it’s definitely possible to make do without the table saw, but how much sacrifice is too much is definitely a very individual decision. I know several people that have gone TS55+MFT and are quite happy. It just wasn’t for me. Try it out to see if you like it before you get rid of the table saw.

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