If your thinking about buying a tracks saw, there are some things to look at before you purchase it. Ask yourself do you really need one? What are you you going to use it for? Will you get plenty of use from it? What can a track saw do?
some of the questions that get answered are why are track so expensive. What does this circular saw excel at and what it doesn’t. Why it can’t effectively replace other saws in your work shop.
Track Saw Attraction
What makes the track saw so attractive? It guarantees long straight cuts. There’s no need to clamp the tracks down before you begin to saw. The coating on the bottom of the track along with its weight will hold the track where it needs to be.
The track saw also has the capability of plunging into material with great depth control and precision. This feature comes in handy if a hole needs cutting in the middle of a wood project. An example would be new kitchen counters tops which don’t come with a square hole for the sink. You have to cut that yourself and what better tool to use for that task?
Some woodworkers have the workshop in the basement of their home and it’s difficult and back breaking to get full sheet goods down there to the work area. With the track saw you can cut down sheet goods for easier transport to the shop.
There’s also a safety factor to mention. Cutting down sheet goods on a table saw can be somewhat hazardous if you try to do it yourself. The track eliminates those hazards. Not only can you take the saw to sheet goods, the track saw also comes with a shroud so you’re not exposed to any moving parts.
Is A Track Saw Worth The Money?
A track saw is worth the money because of several reasons. The track saw can cut down large paneling that would be somewhat unsafe to do on a table saw by yourself. It’s a great investment if you do a lot of work that involves paneling and plywood.
You can also purchase more track to get longer cuts if needed. The track system is easy to put together and take apart when you need to store the saw or move it from one place to another.
Another benefit of having a track saw is most if not all have a dust port built into the saw. This feature definitely cuts down on all the dust especially if you’re working inside all of the time.
One thing to mention, the track saw does come either battery operated or power operated. I suggest getting the power operated because the battery operated track saw doesn’t have the suction for dust removal that the power operated one does.
The track saw really shines if you need to cut long angles down the edge of a piece of plywood or other sheet metal. As long as you have enough track you can cut any length or angle.
It also comes in handy if you need to true up the ends of wide panels that have been glued up to. The track saw is very portable when it’s just easier to take the tool to the project instead of taking the project to the tool. Saw horses are all that’s required when using the track saw.
Track Saw vs Miter Saw
There’s a few huge differences between a track saw and a miter saw. Most would say you can’t compare the two to each other. As with any hand or power tool, each tool has a specific job.
The main job of the track saw is to cut down sheet goods to manable size pieces. Though the track saw can cut long angles and bevels, it won’t effectively replace the miter saw. It would be very awkward to cut baseboard, chair railing and crown moulding with a track saw due to the narrowness of the material being cut.
The miter saw will always be better at giving precision miter cuts. If you have many cuts that are the same angle then the miter saw will also beat out the track saw in both efficiency and speed.
The track saw also can’t cut compound miters like a compound miter saw can.
Track Saw vs Circular Saw
The circular saw and the track saw do look physically similar. They both can cut down sheet goods with ease.
The way they differ is the track that comes with the track saw will ensure that your cut is precise and smoother. You can get a pretty straight cut with a circular saw but the track saw makes it that much straighter. The cut from the track saw is a lot cleaner than that of a circular saw.
Both types of saws can either rip or cross cut. They can also cut long angles but the cut depth of the track saw is limited compared to the circular saw. In most instances the maximum cut depth of a track saw is only two inches. This is determined by the diameter of the blade that you can put on the saw.
The cut depth should be a buying point, make sure that the track saw that you buy will cut every type of sheet goods you use.
In short, even though both saws are similar the biggest takeaway is the track saw will give you a smoother and more precise cut than the circular saw.
Can You Use A Track Saw Without The Track?
In most cases you can use a track saw without the track. However that defeats the purpose of it all together. If you want to use a track saw without the track, you might as well just buy a circular saw and save yourself a lot of money in the process.
If smooth straight cuts are something that you need, then the track saw is a good investment.
Like a table saw, the circular saw is a work horse of power saws. You can cut almost any thickness of wood. The circular saw is pretty portable and can be set up just about anywhere.
Can A Track Saw Cut Bevels?
This is one area where the track saw shines. Using this power tool makes cutting bevels extremely easy especially if the bevel is long. Cabinet makers get a lot of enjoyment from this power saw.
Once you measure where you want to cut it’s just a matter of laying the track on the marks, setting the degree of the bevel cut on the track saw and cut. It’ll be straight and square every time. Unless you didn’t measure correctly of course.
The old way of cutting long bevels was to use something as a straight edge for a guide as you’re cutting with the circular saw.
Track Saws: Why Are They Expensive?
The biggest reason why track saws are expensive basically comes down to one thing. The manufacturer doesn’t want to just sell you the circular saw. They want to sell that track along with it.
You may already have a circular saw and think that it’s just not worth buying another one just to get the track at that price. The good news is there are some manufacturers of track saws that have an adapter that you can use with the circular saw that you already have.