What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw? The Best Tips for Safe Cuts

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw? Every woodworker should ask themselves this key question before executing any cuts.

Getting the correct setting can significantly affect the quality of the output and prevent any unfortunate accidents from occurring in the workshop. It is paramount for someone beginning in the field or having extensive experience to be conscious of the importance of this topic, and to be knowledgeable on how to configure it accurately.

The answer to the question “What depth should I set my track saw?” depends on the thickness of the material you’re cutting. As a general rule, you should set the saw blade depth to the thickness of the material plus a maximum of 5 mm. This helps prevent amputation in case your limbs accidentally touch the blade. Various elements can affect the depth setting, including the type of cut and bevel angle.

If you want to ensure that your track saw cuts are accurate and safe, setting the right depth is one of the crucial steps you need to take.

In this article, I’ve covered everything you need to know about track saw cutting depth, So read on and learn all about it!

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Why Setting the Right Depth is Important

When working with a track saw, there are a lot of mistakes you can make. It is imperative to have the proper depth when using a track saw to attain exact cuts and stay safe. Whether the material being cut is hardwood, plywood or MDF, knowing how to properly set the depth of the blade is key for a successful project result.

Understanding Track Saw Depth

What is Track Saw Depth?

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw - What is Track Saw Depth

The plunge saw depth of cut denotes the extent of the blade that stretches beneath the base of the saw, commonly known as the plunge cut saw cutting depth. This parameter decides how profound the saw can penetrate through the material.

How Depth Affects Your Cuts

The depth of your track saw directly affects the quality of your cuts. If the depth is too shallow, you may end up with incomplete cuts or a rough finish with tear out. More tips on how to reduce track saw tear out can be fount here.

Conversely, if the track saw depth is too deep, you may damage your material or even cause kickback. It’s essential to set the depth correctly to achieve clean, smooth cuts that meet your project requirements.

Factors that Influence Depth Setting

When setting the depth of your track saw, it is critical to consider the type of material you will be cutting, the blade size and angle of the cut in order to adjust the depth accordingly and fulfill your cutting requirements.

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What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw?

It is essential to choose the perfect depth for your track saw if you want a successful cut and a safe result. Fortunately, there is an easy rule you can follow to determine the ideal track saw depth for your task.

Determining the Correct Depth

To pinpoint the exact depth your track saw should be set to, measure the thickness of whatever material you are cutting, then adjust the blade accordingly.

When cutting, the ideal depth should not exceed five millimeters more than the material’s thickness to keep yourself safe. This basic principle is essential because it prevents your blade from extending into an area where you could risk contact with it.
You might be interested in these articles too:
Cutting Thick Materials with a Track Saw: 5 Tips for Perfect Results
5 Best Tips For Cutting Thin Materials With A Track Saw

Safety First

Prior to altering the depth of your track saw, it is essential to exercise due caution. Beforehand, switch off the power and ensure the blade is pulled back.

Additionally, remember to don safety equipment like eye and ear protection as well as gloves in order to evade injuries.

Adjusting the Depth of Your Saw

Once you’ve measured the thickness of your material and taken the necessary safety precautions, it’s time to adjust the depth of your track saw. Locate the depth adjustment knob or lever on your saw and loosen it to make adjustments.

Using your measurements as a guide, adjust the depth of your saw by sliding the blade up or down until it matches the thickness of your material plus a maximum of 5mm. Once you’ve made the adjustment, tighten the depth adjustment knob or lever to secure the blade in place.

Testing Your Cut

Prior to concluding your cutting operation, it is essential to evaluate the depth level of your saw on some scrap material. Doing this will guarantee the depth setting is accurate and avert any issues or dangerous situations.

By following these simple steps, you can determine the correct depth for your track saw and achieve precise and safe cuts for your woodworking projects.

Also read my article 7 Expert Tips for Using a Track Saw in Awkward Positions

Steps for Setting Your Track Saw Depth

Setting the depth of your track saw correctly is crucial for getting accurate cuts and safe cuts. Follow these steps to ensure you set your saw to the correct depth:

Pro Tip

In the pictures below, I will demonstrate these steps with my Festool TS 55 track saw, the best track saw I have ever had. If you are interested in a review of this tool, please check out my article Festool TS 55 Track Saw Review. My Honest Thoughts.

1. Safety precautions before adjusting Track Saw depth

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw - Safety precautions

Before making any adjustments to your saw, ensure that it is unplugged or the battery is removed if it’s a cordless track saw.

This will prevent any accidental start-ups while you’re making adjustments. Be certain to obtain all the necessary safety equipment, including goggles and earplugs.

2. Measuring the material thickness

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw - Measuring the material thickness

Use a caliper, measuring tape, or any other woodworking measuring tool, to take precise measurements of the material at the exact point of contact with the blade.

3. Adjusting the depth of your Track saw

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw - Adjusting the depth of your saw

Once you’ve gauged the thickness of the material, adjust your saw’s depth accordingly. It should be equal to the material’s thickness plus a maximum of 5 mm, as previously mentioned.

To alter the saw’s depth, loosen the depth stop lever or knob and raise or lower the blade until it is at the desired measurement.

4. Testing your cut

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw - 4. Testing your cut

Before you begin your cut, test the saw’s depth by running a trial cut on a piece of the same material. Verify that the blade passes through without burning, splitting, or chipped edges. If it doesn’t move easily, alter the saw’s depth and try again until you achieve a flawless result.

By utilizing these steps, you can guarantee that the depth of your track saw is accurately and safely set.

Adjusting Depth for Different Cuts

The versatility of a track saw is one of its major advantages, as it can be utilized for various types of cuts when the right blade is used.

Nevertheless, different depths are needed for distinct types of cuts, so it’s important to know how to adjust the depth settings accordingly.

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw for Crosscutting vs. Ripping Cuts

When using a track saw to make crosscuts, adjust the depth setting so that it’s equal to the thickness of your material plus up to 5 mm; this prevents the blade from cutting too deeply and potentially damaging your table or causing harm.

For optimal sawing performance, make sure to adjust the blade depth slightly lower than the material’s thickness, which should be about one-third of its total dimensions. Doing so should help to reduce jams as you’re cutting.

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw for Beveled Cuts

To achieve beveled cuts, it is necessary to modify the depth of the blade according to the deepest part of the angled edge.

As an example, if there is a board with a 45-degree bevel that measures two inches in thickness, the blade must be adjusted to 2 1/2 inches for successful results.

Setting the right depth of your track saw is one thing. For more tips on how to make perfect cuts, check out my article How To Fine-Tune A Track Saw For The Perfect Cut (6 Helpful Tips)

Troubleshooting Depth-Related Issues

When working with a track saw, you may encounter various depth-related issues. Below are some of the most common issues and tips on how to avoid and fix them:

Depth is too shallow or deep: If your track saw is cutting too shallow or too deep, the first thing you need to check is the depth adjustment. Ensure that you have adjusted the depth correctly based on the material thickness.

If the issue persists, inspect the blade for any damages or wear that may affect the depth. Replace the blade if necessary.

Rough or uneven cuts: Roughness or unevenness in cuts can be the result of several causes such as a dull blade, the wrong depth selection, or careless handling of the saw. Be certain your blade is sharp and in top condition.

Additionally, check that you have chosen the correct depth for the material being cut. Lastly, handle the saw with care and make sure to keep it flat and steady on the workpiece during cutting.

Blade binding: If you notice the saw blade is binding during cutting, it’s important to stop the machine and take a look. Make sure that the blade is firmly installed and securely bolted down.

Additionally, check if the track is firmly attached to the surface of your project and adjust the depth of cut as needed.

Burn marks on the wood: Burn marks on the lumber can be produced by a blunt blade, mishandling of the saw, or intense heat generated during cutting. To evade scorch marks, confirm that your blade is sharp and in excellent condition.

Likewise, manage the saw with alertness and circumvent applying too much force during cutting. Lastly, utilize a slower speed setting if your track saw has this variable speed feature to diminish heat build-up. Check out my article How to Choose the Right Track Saw RPM (A Quick Guide)to learn how to set the right speed based on the material you want to cut.

By following these troubleshooting tips, you can avoid common depth-related issues and ensure that your track saw is working properly.

Safety Tips When Using a Track Saw

As with any power tool, safety should always be your top priority when using a track saw. Here, I will go over the most important tips, but I recommend you to go to my article 12 Track Saw Safety Tips You Have to Know for more safety tips and in depth information. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

Choosing the Right Safety Gear

Utilizing the right protective equipment can drastically reduce your chance of injury while using a track saw. Always remember to put on:

Eye protection: Safety glasses or goggles can protect your eyes from flying debris and dust.

Hearing protection: Exposure to loud noises from the saw’s motor can cause hearing damage. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs can protect your hearing.

Dust mask: Track saws generate a lot of dust, and breathing it in can cause respiratory problems. Wear a dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs.

Common Safety Hazards When Using a Track Saw

Track saws often pose some potential dangers, including:

Blade kickback: If the blade binds in the material or encounters a nail, it can kick back towards the user. To avoid kickback, make sure the saw blade is sharp and free from debris. Always grip the saw firmly and keep both hands on the handle.

Electrocution: Track saws are powered by electricity, and exposed wires or faulty wiring can cause electrocution. Always inspect the saw’s power cord and extension cords for damage or wear before use. Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) if using the saw outdoors or in damp conditions.

Cuts: Due to the sharpness of blades on track saws, they can cause severe harm. Therefore, always keep your hands and any other body parts far from the blade while in operation.

How to Avoid Accidents

To avoid accidents while using a track saw:

  • Become acquainted with the saw’s safety features and peruse the user guide carefully.
  • Ensure the saw is properly maintained, its blade is honed and free from any blockages.
  • Never operate the saw if you’re tired, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or distracted.
  • Use track clamps or other methods to secure the material and guide rail before cutting to prevent it from moving or shifting. See more in my article Do You Need to Clamp a Track Saw Guide Rail? a Clear Guide. In there you will learn how to set up a track saw properly
  • Always turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop moving before making any adjustments.
  • Do not attempt to cut materials that are too thick or hard for the saw’s capacity.

Pro Tip

If you wish to ensure the utmost safety for your work space, constructing a first aid kit is a wise decision. To be fully equipped in unexpected scenarios, what items should you have and how can you guarantee that everything is close by? My article “How to make a workshop First Aid Kit – N°1 guide | FREE CHECKLIST” has got you covered.In this piece, I will give you a detailed guide on assembling a well-supplied medical kit that can address any workshop injury. From basic supplies like bandages and gauze to more specialized items like eyewash and burn gel, My free checklist will ensure that you have everything you need to keep yourself and others safe.

What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw – Conclusion

In summary, making sure to set the correct depth when using a track saw is of the utmost importance for getting precise results. It’s essential to take safety precautions and wear protective gear to safeguard yourself while functioning your track saw.

Through following these steps, you’ll easily be able to adjust the material depth and fix your machine for distinct types of cuts. Resolving issues concerning depth can be fairly time consuming.

However, with these tips guiding you on how to stop them as well as how to resolve them, you’ll be quickly able to make the right alterations and resume cutting without delay.

However, one issue that I haven’t covered in this article is the problem of sawdust. Sawdust can create a messy and unhealthy workspace, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Check out my article “Track Saw Dust Control: 7 Tips and Tricks for a Cleaner Workshop” on my website for more information on how to keep your workshop clean and dust-free next to the well known dust collection. Happy woodworking!

Frequently Asked Questions

How deep do track saws cut?

A track saw can cut up to approximately 2 1/8 inches (55 mm) deep, depending on the saw, blade, material, and power of the tool.

What is the max depth of cut Makita track saw?

The Makita plunge saw is able to cut up to 2 1/8 inches (55mm) deep when the correct blade is utilized. However, the precise depth of cut varies depending on the model and blade used.

What is the depth of cut on a Dewalt track saw?

The Dewalt track saw can cut up to a depth of around 2 1/8 inches (55mm), depending on the blade being used and the specific model of the saw.

What is the depth of cut on a Festool plunge saw?

The track saw cutting depth on a Festool plunge saw can vary depending on the model and blade size. For example, the TS 55 REQ can cut up to 2 1/8 inches (54 mm) deep at 90 degrees, while the Festool track saw depth adjustment of the TS 75 EQ can go to 2 3/4 inches (70 mm) deep at 90 degrees.

How do I know if my saw blade needs replacing?

You can check if your saw blade needs replacing if you notice a decrease in cutting efficiency, increased burning or smoking, or if the blade is visibly worn or damaged. It’s recommended to replace blades after a certain amount of use or after sharpening a certain number of times.

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