Track Saws and Accessories

Advice on the choices in the track saw category. November 15, 2011

Have any of you been using those new track saws from Festool, Dewalt, or Makita? I'm a one man outfit and it seems like one of these would be a good investment. I've read some online reviews, but I wanted to get more professional opinions. I know the Festool model has router attachments but I can't find any info on the other brands.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor P:
The Festool is a great saw for breaking down sheet materials if you haven't got a panel saw. Would recommend it over the other two as they're all pretty close in price and the build quality of Festool is much nicer.

There's also the portable panel saw system from Mafell. For a non-stationary machine, the cut quality is incomparable.

From contributor D:
I bought my first Festool saw in 01, and another in 05. I can't imagine not having one for onsite work and installs. Never use it in the shop, but it's worth every penny.

From contributor S:
I have the Dewalt. Great saw. Used mostly away from the shop. Dewalt can be purchased discount while Festool can't. Buy the 8 ft track. My only regret was I just bought the two short lengths and have to connect them when I need the 8 ft capacity.

From contributor J:
We have the Dewalt and the Festool. Festool is far better (blade and cut).

From contributor M:
I bought the Makita when it came out. It has quite a bit of use on it. Still works good but it is getting a little louder.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the feedback. Has anyone ever used the router attachments? I think that's an option on the Festool. Looks like it would be useful as an on site jointer.

From contributor J:
We have most all of their tools and multiple saws, routers and sanders. You can wear out a sander but it will take some effort.

From contributor D:
If you buy one, make sure you get the 8' rail also. It comes with a 55 rail. We also have a 32 and 66. They all come in handy. The Festool sanders are great onsite when hooked to their vac. Almost dustless. If you get a vac, don't get the mini - it's only good for sander dust, not wood chips from saw or router.

From contributor K:
We have the Festool larger circular saw (TS75 I think) with a 55" and 118" track. When we need them they are indispensable, though not the equivalent of a stationary saw in cut quality. They mostly are used on installations. The larger saw is well worth it if you are hanging exterior doors (2 1/4" thick). The Festool line is generally well engineered as a system, and the dust collection is effective, great for working on site. We have their midsize router (OS1400?) with a guide rail adapter, and that is not so nifty, as it relies on a short shim under the router baseplate to level it with the track and is a bit tippy as a result. We probably will fabricate a workaround when we get in a situation that calls for it, but for now the router/rail combo doesn't seem popular. I don't think that setup would get you much closer to a finished surface than the tracksaw and a belt sander or hand plane. The router on its own is excellent, though the initial price was offputting.

From contributor R:
I have the Festool with the 8ft and the 55 inch rails. Have had it for about 6 years now and it has served me very well. I use it for all kinds of jobs, from cutting tapers to sizing sheet stock. I have used it to fit doors to "odd" openings and for squaring the ends of large wooden countertops.

I never bothered with the router attachment or their routers, simply because I have a rather decent sized router collection already. But whenever I need to use a router on a straight line, I use the track by attaching it backwards to the work piece and running my router along its edge. I use the DeWalt DW621 which has the flat sided base and it works excellent. Well worth the investment.

From contributor H:
I have the saw and tracks and dust collector. I also bought the folding table with the MDF top and adjustable miter track. It's set up in the shop and it is faster to cut a large 45 degree cut then it is to add the miter attachment to my slider. On installs, especially closets, it really shines. Any angle cut takes seconds and it is safe and accurate. Like all these pricey tools, when you need them they are priceless.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the responses. Seems we've reached a consensus. I guess I know now that a track saw is gonna be my next acquisition.