Because they have several advantages over conventional circular saws, track saws are becoming more used in workshops. They can quicken the pace of work and are accurate and simple to use. Overall, these type of saws are handy and adaptable instruments that are becoming more and more popular with both DIYers and professionals.
I will examine this type of saw in further detail in this introductory article ,so that you can fully understand this type of saw and appreciate the advantages of using it in your workshop.
- What Is A Track Saw?
- What Are The Parts Of a Track Saw?
- What Is a Track Saw Used For?
- What Are the Hazards When Using a Track Saw?
- What Should You Never Do with a Track Saw?
- What Is the Difference Between a Circular Saw and a Track Saw?
- Pros and Cons of Track Saws
- What to Look for Buying a Track Saw?
- How to Use a Track Saw?
What Is A Track Saw?
A track saw (also called plunge saw) is a specialized power tool that is used for making precise , straight cuts in wood and other materials. It consists of a circular saw blade mounted on a guide rail, which provides a stable base for the saw and guides it along the cut line.
The guide rail (or track) is typically made of aluminum or other lightweight material, and has a smooth surface to prevent the saw from binding or catching as it moves along the cut. Some plunge saws are designed for use with a single , fixed track, while others can be used with interchangeable tracks of different lengths that can be connected to each other with a rail connector.
These saws are often used for making long, straight cuts in sheet goods, such as plywood or MDF, as well as for cutting tenons, dovetails, and other joints.
What Are The Parts Of a Track Saw?
The most important parts of a circular track saw are the track kit, the saw blade, the motor, and the handle or grip. The track provides a stable and accurate guide for the saw blade, allowing users to make precise cuts.
The saw blade is the cutting element of the tool. its size and type will determine the kinds of materials it can cut and the quality of the cuts it produces. The motor is the source of power for the saw , and it drives the saw blade to rotate at high speeds.
The handle (or grip) is the part of the saw that the user holds onto , and it should be comfortable and easy to grip to allow for accurate control of the tool.
In the picture below, You can find the most important parts of this type of saw.
What Is a Track Saw Used For?
A plunge cut track saw is a specialized power instrument designed to cut wood and other materials with accuracy and straightness. My Festool TS55 track saw is mostly used by me to cut through thick sheets of plywood. With a table saw, this work would be difficult and potentially dangerous. However, it is incredibly simple to complete with this type of saw.
The saws’ ability to make a plunge action at a predetermined depth and at the desired location makes them convenient. This saw can be used to create niches in kitchen countertops or walls , or lots of other cuts in the middle of surfaces.
What Are the Hazards When Using a Track Saw?
As with any other power tool, there are potential hazards associated when using a plunge saw. One of the main hazards is the risk of kickback. this will occur when the saw blade gets stuck in the material and is forced back toward the user. This can cause the tool to be thrown out of the user’s control, potentially causing injuries , and damaging your workpiece.
To prevent kickback, it is important to use this type of saw properly, following the manufacturer’s instructions and using appropriate safety gear, such as ear and eye protection. Other potential hazards when using this saw include cuts or lacerations from the saw blade, and electrical shock if the tool is used improperly.
I previously authored the post 12 Track Saw Safety Tips You Have to Know to help you work safely with this saw. Before using this saw, I suggest that you read this article. You can operate more safely by following the advice in the data piece, and your project’s quality will also increase.
What Should You Never Do with a Track Saw?
There are lots of things you should never do with a plunge saw to avoid accidents and injuries. some main things you should never do with this saw include:
Never cut small parts of wood. Cutting small parts increases the risk of the part slipping and pinching the saw blade. This can cause a kickback. There is also a high risk of the track tipping over on the part, which could injure you and damage the workpiece. To cut smaller parts , I always use my table saw and crosscut sled. I think that is the safest alternative.
Never use a damaged or defective track saw or guide rail. If your saw is damaged or not working properly, please ,do not use it. Instead, have it repaired or replaced by a qualified technician.
Never use a track saw without proper safety gear. Always wear hear protection, eye protection, and other appropriate safety gear when using this type of saw.
Never use this saw without a stable, level work surface. Before you make a cut, make sure the track is placed on a flat , stable surface that can support the weight of the saw and the material being cut.
Never use a track saw without reading and following the manufacturer’s instructions . Read the manual carefully and follow all the instructions and safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.
Never use a track saw without properly securing the material being cut. Clamp the material in place, or use other methods to hold it securely before making a cut.
Never use a track saw without properly aligning the track with the cut line. I always double check whether the track is aligned with the marked cutting line before turning on the saw.
Never use a track saw without properly supporting the material that you are about to cut. Make sure the material is supported on both sides of the marked line, so the blade will not be pinched between the two parts in case the cut off falls down. To support the wood i’m cutting, I always use insulation material.
What Is the Difference Between a Circular Saw and a Track Saw?
The manner in which they are steered while cutting is the primary distinction between a circular saw and a plunge circular saw. A circular saw is a portable power instrument that may move freely in all directions and must be manually guided along the cut line.
A track saw, on the other hand , is mounted on a rigid track, which gives the saw blade a steady and precise guide. This makes it simple for the user to make accurate, straight cuts. Additionally, these saws are frequently equipped with features like dust collecting and blade brakes that enhance safety and convenience.
Track saws are typically designed to be more accurate and simple to use than circular saws. Circular saws are more specialized and may be used for a larger variety of jobs, whereas track saws are a specialty tool best suited for producing precise cuts.
These are only a few of the primary distinctions between track saws and circular saws. In my essay Track Saw Vs Circular Saw, How Do They Differ?, I go into much more detail. A Simple Guide.
Pros and Cons of Track Saws
As you may have already read in this article, this type of saw is a specialized power tool used for producing accurate , straight cuts in wood and other materials. Compared to conventional circular saws, plunge saws have a number of benefits, including increased accuracy, use, safety, adaptability, and convenience.
The costs of the equipment and the requirement for extra attachments, like as tracks of various lengths , are two potential disadvantages of utilizing this type of saw. In order to help you decide if this instrument is appropriate for you , we will go through the advantages and disadvantages in greater detail in this part.
Pros of Track Saws
There are several advantages to using a track saw over a traditional circular saw. Some of the main pros of this type of saw include:
- Accuracy: Because this saw is mounted on a stable and accurate guide track, it allows users to make precise, straight cuts with ease. This is particularly useful for cutting sheet goods, such as plywood or MDF, into smaller pieces or for making long, straight cuts in larger boards.
- Ease of use: Track saws are often easier to use than circular saws, as the track provides a stable base for the saw and helps guide it along the cut line. This can make it easier for beginners to use the tool, and it can also reduce fatigue for experienced users who are making long or repetitive cuts.
- Easy and fast to change saw blade. Check out the step by step instructions in my article How to Change the Blade on a Festool Ts55 (Quick & Easy Guide)
- Safety: Track saws are often safer to use than circular saws, as the track helps to prevent the saw from binding or kicking back. Some saws also have additional safety features, such as blade brakes that stop the saw blade quickly when the user releases the trigger.
- Versatility: In woodworking, carpentry, and other crafts, plunge track saws are a flexible equipment that may be utilized for a wide range of cutting jobs. They can be employed to cut intricate shapes or patterns in addition to making straight cuts.
- Convenience: Track saws are often more portable and easier to store than larger power tools, such as table saws. This makes them a convenient choice for users who need to make cuts on the go or who have limited space in their workshop.
Cons of Track Saws
Although these types of saws offer many advantages over traditional circular saws, there are also some potential drawbacks to using this tool. Some main cons of this saw include:
- Cost: Track saws can be more expensive than circular saws, especially if you need to purchase additional accessories, like tracks of different lengths.
- Limited cutting depth: Most track saws are designed for making shallow cuts, and may not be suitable for cutting thicker materials or for making deep cuts.
- Tracks can be awkward to use: The tracks used with these saws can be awkward to handle and maneuver, particularly if you need to make cuts at an angle or in tight spaces.
- Additional accessories may be required: In order to use a track saw effectively, you may need to purchase additional accessories, such as tracks of different lengths or connector pieces to join multiple tracks together.
- Limited compatibility: Since not all track saws are compatible with the same tracks, you might not be able to use the same tracks that you use with your circular saw with your track saw.
Overall, while plunge saws offer many benefits, they also have some potential drawbacks that you should consider before purchasing one. For more information, I suggest you should read my article, Is A Track Saw Worth It? (The Truth)
What to Look for Buying a Track Saw?
There are a number of crucial variables to take into account when purchasing this type of saw, in order to select the ideal instrument for your requirements. When purchasing a plunge saw, the following are some of the most crucial features to consider next to a decent carrying case:
Motor power: The motor is the source of power for the track saw, and it drives the saw blade to rotate at high speeds. When buying, Look for a saw with a motor that is powerful enough to cut through the materials you will be working with.
Track length: It is important to choose a tracksaw track with a length that is adjusted to your project’s needs. I myself have two lengths of tracks in my workshop: 1400 mm and 2700 mm. this allows me to cut a sheet of plywood in both length and width.
Ease of use: These saws are often easier to use than circular saws, but some models may be more user-friendly than others. Consider the features of the tool, such as the design of the handle or grip, and read reviews from other users to get an idea of how easy the tool is to use. Also, think about using a cordless tracksaw kit, in some cases, this can be a benefit.
Price: plunge cut saws can be more expensive than circular saws, so consider your budget and choose a tool that is within your price range. It is also important to consider the long-term cost of ownership, including the cost of replacement blades and other accessories.
Safety features: A track saw is just lake a table saw a dangerous tool. When buying, check the safety features the manufacturer offers, like a riving knife, or safety starting button.
I recommend reading my in-depth article here for more ideas on what to look for when purchasing the best track saw for your needs.
How to Use a Track Saw?
Using this type of saw is pretty straight forward. To use a track saw, follow these steps:
- Set up the track: Place the track on a flat, stable surface, and position it along the cut line.
- Install the saw blade: Install the saw blade that matches the material you want to cut in the saw , making sure it is tightened securely, so it won’t come loose while cutting. Always double-check if you are using the correct blade size before you start making a cut!
- Connect the saw to a power source: Plug the saw into an appropriate power outlet, or connect it to a portable power source if you are using a cordless track saw.
- Adjust the saw blade depth: Depending on the thickness of the material being cut , you may need to adjust the depth of the saw blade to prevent it from cutting too deeply. For specific instructions on how to adjust the depth of your track, consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Put on safety gear: Before using the saw, make sure you are wearing appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection.
- Turn on the saw and dust collection: Hold the saw securely with both hands, and turn it on. Guide the saw along the track, keeping the saw blade aligned with the cut line.
- Make the cut: As the saw blade rotates, it will cut through the material, following the track and the cut line. Keep the saw moving at a steady pace, and let the track guide the saw along the cut line.
- Turn off the saw: When you have finished making the cut, turn off the saw and disconnect it from its power source.
- Clean up: Clean up any sawdust or debris that was generated during the cutting process, and store the saw and track safely until you are ready to use them again.
Do you want to know if a track saw should be clamped? If this is the case, please see: “Do You Need to Clamp a Track Saw? a Clear Guide”.
In that article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about clamping a plunge cut saw in this informative article, including why it’s important, what types of clamps to use, and how to clamp the saw securely. So, if you want to learn more about clamping a track saw, read on. It’s jam-packed with tips to help you get the most out of your plunge saw.
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