One of the most interesting things about track saws is the versatility and ease of use they offer.
A table saw is a great tool. It can perform a wide variety of tasks extremely well, offers plenty of upgrade and attachment possibilities, and is generally the benchmark tool that others are measured against when a project calls for cutting wood.
As is true of any tool there are also downsides -- track saws are not the magic solution to all of your cutting problems, but here are a few points that show how a track saw is a great companion, and in some cases a feasible replacement or alternative, for a stationary table saw:
- Using a table saw is inherently dangerous because the blade is spinning towards the in-feed side of the table, which is where you're standing. While this pushes the work piece down upon the table and facilitates the cutting action, it also creates a hazard if the fence you're using to guide the wood isn't set correctly or if the board is twisted or lifted while feeding into the blade.
- Here are a few of the ways using a track saw differs from a table saw:
- With a TrueTrac Saw Guide there normally is no fence. Since the 'drop' piece is not being constrained in any fashion, this helps to prevent kickback because there is less chance of binding.
- Your hands are placed on the handle(s) of the saw while you propel it down the track - Which means they're protected by the manufacturer installed guards and kept away from the blade. Not only that, but it's the track that controls where the saw actually goes, rather than your arm or wrist. This means there's much less chance of the blade twisting relative to the wood and binding.
- You're standing to the side of the cut, rather than in-line with the blade itself - So in the off chance there's a particularly tough knot in the wood and it binds on the blade and flies out, you're not standing directly in its path playing unintentional goalie.
Large Work Pieces
Most of us like making things out of wood. It's enjoyable to share the finished product and it's usually pretty fun.
Something that isn't fun? Wrestling a 4ft x 8ft sheet of 3/4 plywood on a table saw by yourself.
- One huge downside to a table saw comes when you're trying to handle large work pieces. You can buy in-feed tables, out-feed tables, leg extenders, anti-kick back accessories, and a whole slew of items designed to help handle and control the work piece as it goes through the saw. The fact that all of those accessories exist shows that it's a common problem that people have tried to fix.
- With a TrueTrac saw guide system you're moving the saw across the wood rather than the wood across the saw. Wouldn't you agree it's a lot easier to push a circular saw across a track, compared to even simply moving a full sheet of 3/4 ply?
- If you need to do longer pieces, lets say a 12ft rough sawn board or a 2x12, the TrueTrac saw system is modular. With the dovetail connectors you can quickly and easily expand your cut length and maintain control over the cut on long boards.
- Another downside to table saws is the space requirements to use them with those above mentioned large pieces. If you are trying to rip a board 8 feet long, you have to have around 20 feet of linear space to do so -- Space for you to stand, the in-feed board length, the width of your table, out-feed space, and room for someone or yourself on the other side to catch.
- That space requirement is one of the reasons your table saw gets pointed at the garage or shop door, wouldn't you agree?
- On top of that, as much as we love our volunteer (conscripted) help, they always manage to add a unique level of chaos to a long cut.
- If you're in a limited work-space setting, either a garage, basement, small apartment, or back yard shed - The TrueTrac system is designed for portability and ease of storage. Rather than having a 110 inch long piece of aluminum you have to deal with, our system breaks down into manageable sizes that can easily be hung flat against a wall or on pegboard by drilling a hole in one of the flats.
- Combine a TrueTrac Universal Track Saw Kit with one of our Contractor Tables, and your work station that's capable of handling those large 4ft x 8ft sheets can just as easily be hung on the same wall!
Track Saw 101: