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Track saw, should order one now?

8690 Views 45 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  SouthRider
I've had the Dewalt track saw on my wish list for a while. Several times I've looked to buy one but nobody local stocks them. So each time I've faced the choice of waiting 1-2 weeks or making due with a circular saw and home made track that sort of works. Since I've always had a deadline, I've chosen to make do.
Yesterday and today I'm struggling with the 18v circular saw. I'm also struggling with the decision to order the track saw now so I'll have it next time I need it.

I can get it on Amazon in about a week for about $600 or in 2 days for $660. This is for the saw and two tracks.
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I'm using the 582 and 596 Wide Body Pro Grip Straight Edge Clamps from Peachtree and have been for years. I have an old B&D Corded Commercial circular saw with a thin kerf combination blade and also a DeWalt 18 volt circular saw, again with a thin kerf combination blade that I use with these clamps for breaking down sheets. I made a 1/8" Lexan zero clearance base for both saws and guides that fit the top of these clamps to keep the saws running true. Although I have to place the edge clamp away from the actual cut line by a fixed distance, I'm getting the same results that I would when using a track saw, so I've never purchased one.

I also made a cutting table for use when breaking down sheets outside my shop, but it has come in very handy when working away from the shop too. It's just a frame with banquet table legs. The legs are available from Harbor Freight and Northern. The frame is about 30" wide and 72" long made from 1 X 4 pine. There are five 2 X 4 cross pieces laid flat with the top edge of the frame, one in the center, and two more at each end, where necessary to attach the leg assemblies to their under side. All of the joints in the frame were joined with biscuits and TiteBond III, so there is no metal in the top 1" of the wood.
The only metal are the screws to attach the legs and two wood screws through square pieces of scrap on one side of the table. These screws are centered in the table frame, but offset in the squares of plywood, so they can be turned to be flush with the top surface of the frame, or turned to extend about 1 1/2" above the top surface. To load a full sheet on this table I turn these pieces so they extend above the table and then tip the table over on it's side with these pieces down against the driveway. Then I carry a sheet over to the table and place the bottom edge on these two squares of plywood, leaning the sheet against the table top. Then I reach down and pick up both the table top and the sheet until the table is standing on it's legs with the sheet lying flat on the table. I then turn these squares of plywood until they are flush with the table top and re-position the sheet stock so that the cut point is roughly centered on the table.

When making cuts I set the saw for about 1/4" deeper cut than the thickness of the sheet, position the straight edge for the first cut, and then make the cut. I can cut dead center down a full sheet and neither half of the sheet will fall when the cut completes. I no longer use saw horses for breaking down sheets because of this. The 1/4" kerfs in the table frame are too slight to weaken the table. If I should ever live long enough for the cuts to affect the strength of the wood frame of the table, I'll save the legs and build a new top for it.

After the first cut I can remove the off-cut, re-position the remaining piece, and continue cutting it down, again with no pieces falling to the driveway.
When I'm finished breaking down sheets, I fold the table legs, which fold up into the recess in the bottom of the table, and I store it against the sheet stock in my shop or slide it into my truck to return to the shop.

I've attached some pictures, but they are of my previous table. Two years ago the table became too heavy for me (I'm 75 now) so what you see in the pictures is my prior table with 2 X 4 edges. I scrapped it and made the lighter version, using 1 X 4 pine for the edge pieces and eliminated about 20 lbs of weight.

If you have one of these tables in your shop and need expansion room for a picnic, this cutting table with a full sheet of plywood on it makes a great makeshift expansion table for a larger than expected picnic too. DAMHIKT.



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