Panel Cutting - Track saw vs Panel Saw?

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Forum topic by reggiek posted 06-17-2009 09:38 PM 16080 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2240 posts in 3542 days

06-17-2009 09:38 PM

I am currently evaluating tools to cut panels down to size. Panel saws are mostly expensive….there are good plans for making one – but are they worth the time? I have seen the Dewalt track saw (does anyone have one? whats your call on it?) being advertised and also a similar saw from Festool (very expensive – more so then even the panel saws I’ve priced).

A good ol circular or worm type saw does the trick…but are extremely hard to get a straight line this way…even with templates clamped to guide the saw.

Anyone have some input?

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

12 replies so far

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3598 days

#1 posted 06-17-2009 09:53 PM

Welcome to LumberJock’s !!! I personally do not have either (Panel or track saw). But I have seen some remarks about some track saw’s on here. Every one I have read have nothing but good things to say about them. One member (His name escapes me at the moment) said he does not even use a Table saw any more since he started using a track saw.

I am personally thinking of getting me a Dewalt track saw myself….they look like a pretty good set up.

-- Don S.E. OK

View KevinM02's profile


5 posts in 3690 days

#2 posted 06-17-2009 10:13 PM

As a vendor for all three manufacturers of the track saws on the market (Makita has one coming out in the near future) they are all excellent machines. I have used both the Festool and the Dewalt, and given the choice I would get the Festool. The Festool has a better track (less flex and better material), a variety of track lengths, and tracks can be connected and still maintain accuracy. The Dewalt is by no means a bad machine, but at $499 for the Dewalt and $500 for the Festool, I personally would spend the extra dollar and get the Festool. But I think you would be pleased with either machine.

View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 4148 days

#3 posted 06-17-2009 10:48 PM

Well since you asked…...........

I had a SawTrax. It was very good at breaking down large sheets of plywood. And for the most part was accurate. The down sides for me were space, it uses a large footprint. And one you broke down the sheet of plywood, it still needed to be recut to get a smooth, chip free edge. Suffice to say I sold it.
I did some research and ended up with the Festool and the t55 saw. It cuts great, gives me a smooth, chip free edge and I go from cutting down the sheet to finished cut in no time. Yes, it does require some place to lay the plywood sheet on, and some folks have used folding saw horses with good success. I bought a 4×8 sheet of the pink styrofoam insulation. When i need to cut down sheets, I lay the styro sheet on the work bench, throw the sheet of plywood on it and cut away. When done, i stow the styro sheet under the workbench.
One additional benefit that convinced me to but the Festool, is that with the zero clearence strip i get no chip out and can use it for batch cutting veneer. Works super.
I have seen the T55 and rails used on ebay.


View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 3628 days

#4 posted 06-18-2009 06:43 AM

I also have the Festool and love it.The finish cut is absolutely splinter free and set up is so easy.I have 2 of the 52”(?) rails with connectors to make the 8’ rips.

View James's profile


162 posts in 3552 days

#5 posted 06-18-2009 06:50 AM

just build jourself an outfeed table along with a wing extension, wayyyyy cheaper.. use it as a workbench & assembly area when not cutting, put it all on locking wheels to move against wall when not working.. just my cheap view ;)

-- James, Bluffton, IN

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3542 days

#6 posted 06-18-2009 06:58 AM

Yep….I broke down and got the Festool….After evaluating the model 75 and th 55, I opted for the smaller and lighter 55. The shop was out of the 55” rails that come with it…so he gave me a 75”. They also have a promotion going on that gets you an assortment of blades and free clamps. I am hoping to try it out this week when I have to cut some bottoms for a set of bins I am making. Also, I have some sideing to cut for a lawn tool storage room I put together.

I also got some extension clips and a 32” rail to make the tool able to rip 8’ panels.

This is the first Festool I have bought….I have heard alot about their innovation…but have found them kind of pricey…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View patron's profile


13643 posts in 3613 days

#7 posted 06-18-2009 07:11 AM

kevin you convinced me to go with the festool !

for 1dollar how could i miss ?

thanks guys ,

good post .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View a1Jim's profile


117474 posts in 3849 days

#8 posted 06-18-2009 07:43 AM

Even though I don’t own either tool I feel that most woodworkers would do better to spend there money on a table saw if the don’t have one or a jointer or routers or a band saw etc. Even though both these systems cut panels fairly well (from what reviews say)You can’t make 10 or more sleds to do any number of operations on, or use a dado blade on them like you can on a table saw. I feel they might work well if your building cabinets on site which most people don’t do any more or some other operation that requires a lot of ripping on site. The only other purpose I can see to have these systems is if you can not physically lift and move sheet goods through a table saw an then still you will have a problem just moving the 60-80llb sheet goods any way.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 3628 days

#9 posted 06-18-2009 09:07 AM

Congrats reggiek,You are going to love that saw

View cowdog80's profile


32 posts in 3418 days

#10 posted 10-19-2009 09:41 PM

I never was the world’s biggest track saw fan until I got a dewalt track saw


View Old's profile


14 posts in 3427 days

#11 posted 10-19-2009 10:33 PM

I don’t have either, but found this online that might help???

View gerrym526's profile


275 posts in 4080 days

#12 posted 10-21-2009 12:28 AM

I have to agree with Barry.
Have been cutting cabinet grade ply panels for years with good results, using an inexpensive guide and a $60 Black and Decker lightweight circular saw-equipped with an expensive blade ($30).
If you position your cutting guide off one of the factory finished edges, your cuts will be on line.
If this doesn’t work for you, just cut the panels 1/4” wider, and rip to width with the factory edge against your table saw fence.

-- Gerry

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