Tracksaw versus circular saw and guide


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On 8/13/2020 at 4:44 PM, elrodk said:

Track saw or circular saw, get a good blade. I use Frued ultimate plywood blade but I'm sure the other manufacturers have something similar. The blade is where the rubber meets the road. Don't skimp here to avoid tearout and chipping. 

Do you have any recs? For my table saw I got a Diablo made by Freud, but is there an ideal teeth count for ply?

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Track saw or circular saw, get a good blade. I use Frued ultimate plywood blade but I'm sure the other manufacturers have something similar. The blade is where the rubber meets the road. Don't skimp h

Track saw arrived from the UK - rails should be here by Tuesday! I went into a bit more detail here Thanks for the help, everyone!

The bottom pic is indeed the current gee-dub woodworking area .  The garage is jammed, the sheds are jammed, come-on concrete.  Thank goodness we only get between 5 and 20 inches of rain all year; 5 b

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3 hours ago, Naomi said:

Do you have any recs? For my table saw I got a Diablo made by Freud, but is there an ideal teeth count for ply?

Diablo is kind of a lower end line that Freud has & I stay away from them except for rough work. Their industrial line are very good & priced right, so have a look there.

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4 hours ago, Naomi said:

Do you have any recs? For my table saw I got a Diablo made by Freud, but is there an ideal teeth count for ply?

Here is a web page I found that offers a lot of explanation about circular saw blades.  It was helpful to me.

http://circularsawblade.net/

The site is pretty extensive, so maybe TMI.  What I do want to point out, however, is that it is unlikely that Makita is supplying the saw with a junk blade.  Likely it is quite serviceable for your task, it's certainly worth trying some test cuts before popping off to buy an upgrade.  

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14 hours ago, Mark J said:

Here is a web page I found that offers a lot of explanation about circular saw blades.  It was helpful to me.

http://circularsawblade.net/

The site is pretty extensive, so maybe TMI.  What I do want to point out, however, is that it is unlikely that Makita is supplying the saw with a junk blade.  Likely it is quite serviceable for your task, it's certainly worth trying some test cuts before popping off to buy an upgrade.  

Mark, great resource - thank you!
That is a great point you make. Also given the scoring option the Makita saw has, you're probably doubly right.

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@Naomi, when you get the saw running I'd be interested to hear how the scoring feature works.

Are you going to cut your sheet goods on top of a board of foam insulation, or do you have a bench with a sacrificial top?

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If I read the specs correctly, Makita provides a 48 tooth blade that looks to be similar to a combination blade. They describe it as good for ripping plywood. This should be a good all around blade but may not be ideal for cross grain cuts on ply. If you get chipout when cross cutting, Makita has this one available. Just going by the specs it should be excellent for plywood. ATB, 60 tooth would be good for any cuts in ply.  

https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/A-99982

Another thing is some brands of plywood chip and splinter worse than others. I prefer a dedicated plywood blade and use a combo blade for most cuts in hardwood. I also have a ripping blade for ripping thicker hardwood. I'm speaking about my table saw blades. I have the stock blade on my Festool tracksaw and it has done fine so far.

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5 hours ago, Mark J said:

@Naomi, when you get the saw running I'd be interested to hear how the scoring feature works.

Are you going to cut your sheet goods on top of a board of foam insulation, or do you have a bench with a sacrificial top?

I am trying to find the foam stuff - sending my husband out for it some time this week. I don't know if there is a word for it since we build here with concrete and no insulation (and terrible aluminium windows!). But I hope he finds because i think it will pinch the blade less and my chances for that are higher since my arms aren't so long and I will have to kneel on the board as i go.

I will definitely report back about the scoring feature - i think it's unique to Makita and as such, definitely an excellent selling point!

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3 hours ago, elrodk said:

If I read the specs correctly, Makita provides a 48 tooth blade that looks to be similar to a combination blade. They describe it as good for ripping plywood. This should be a good all around blade but may not be ideal for cross grain cuts on ply. If you get chipout when cross cutting, Makita has this one available. Just going by the specs it should be excellent for plywood. ATB, 60 tooth would be good for any cuts in ply.  

https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/A-99982

Another thing is some brands of plywood chip and splinter worse than others. I prefer a dedicated plywood blade and use a combo blade for most cuts in hardwood. I also have a ripping blade for ripping thicker hardwood. I'm speaking about my table saw blades. I have the stock blade on my Festool tracksaw and it has done fine so far.

Oh this is so helpful - thank you so much! I will also experiment with the scoring feature and see how that does.

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11 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

I believe @Chet and @..Kev both made use of the otherwise wasted space on the back of a garage door panel. Simple wooden brackets attach to the panel and allow the track sections to slip in from above.

Mine are on the wall, Chet's are on his door..  I did a video for them..

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Hi, everyone! Here is an update and a question. So far, I absolutely love this saw - it feels so much safer than a circ saw, and it seems to me very quality. I have ripped down a sheet of 12 mm ply (3/8") and made some boxes for children's toy storage. I am not happy with them (or rather, myself). As you can see, the handle slots are wonky - I don't have a drill press, but even if I did, it would not help, because my boxes are not square. The first cuts I made, I was breaking in the zero clearance edge of the track - I attached the two tracks, started from a bit down the track, and finished before the end of the second track. Then I turned them around and completed the cut. But I am still not sure the tracks have the same zero clearance line. Moreover, when attached, they are only fastened on the bottom and not the top (the Bosch tracks look like they go together better, to be fair). I also experimented a bit with trying to cut the length of the ply with one track (and won't be doing that again). Perhaps that is why my boxes are a few mm off. But all the same, I am not sure I am getting square cuts even with the track saw. These are meant to be idiot-proof, and I am feeling like an idiot. I have watched countless YouTube videos, but haven't seen much on troubleshooting for track saws. Does anyone have any tips on square cuts with the track saw?

Boxes.jpeg

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On 8/31/2020 at 12:23 AM, Mark J said:

@Naomi, when you get the saw running I'd be interested to hear how the scoring feature works.

Are you going to cut your sheet goods on top of a board of foam insulation, or do you have a bench with a sacrificial top?

The scoring feature is incredible. I did a few experiments - my blade is so new I don't really see a difference, but I think it's what sets the Makita apart. My husband managed to obtain some foam insulation, which is hard to come by here, where most homes are made of solid concrete (awful). I am getting a bit annoyed with cutting on my hands and knees - might switch to cutting on a piece of OSB I found.

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8 hours ago, Chestnut said:

If you can make some simple saw horses you can get off the ground easily. There are other options, a centipede table comes to mind that would hold the foam and the ply to make things easier.

Do you think that is impacting my accuracy? The main reason I opted for the cutting on the ground, and, to be honest, the actual track saw, is so i can just get on with my cuts and not have to rely on my husband to help me move the ply. Since we're always on lockdown, we're generally together so it's not an issue at the moment, but the workflow would probably be impacted. At the moment I am so frustrated I don't care where I cut- as long as it's square, which seems to be the main issue right now.:wacko:

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@Naomi, I'm not sure I'm following the question.  What's out of square?  The boxes you made, or the cuts you're getting from your track saw?  If the latter do you mean that your two tracks are not colinear?  Or that the cuts are not perpendicular to the edge of the plywood sheet?  Maybe I'm missing something.

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1 hour ago, Mark J said:

@Naomi, I'm not sure I'm following the question.  What's out of square?  The boxes you made, or the cuts you're getting from your track saw?  If the latter do you mean that your two tracks are not colinear?  Or that the cuts are not perpendicular to the edge of the plywood sheet?  Maybe I'm missing something.

Hey, Mark. No, you are right to have me clarify. There is a lot going on. I noticed my cuts are not 90 degrees. So my boxes had no chance of being square. Now, there could be a few reasons - i could just somehow be off by a mm and then the error gets bigger with the length of the board. I did some experimenting and playing around (using a finish cut to calibrate the zero clearance edge, and ripping with one track at a time, rather than connecting). That could also be it. I guess I will have to try again and see.

The other issue is my track. And there are a few issues. I will start with the simplest:
1) The connection itself kind of sucks - it doesn't feel secure because the connection is only on one edge of the guide and not, say, in the centre. So you can wobble the tracks apart from the top because the bottoms only are secured.

2) Next issue is the zero clearance - i thought i did a good job making sure there was no play with the saw on the track, but i think the pieces of rubber might have different thicknesses. I will try to take a photo soon.

I thought this was simple - make two marks, line up the tracks, and go. But I am not getting those perfect results. Any guidance is appreciated!

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If i want to make square cuts I don't rely on aligning the track with the marks. To get the cut perfectly square I'll take a square and hold it to the edge of the ply and the edge of the track and make sure it's square. There are also track attachments that you can buy that will ensure square cuts.

I wish i had a picture to make that more clear but i can't find one.

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+1 to the above.  And it is worth mentioning that not all carpenter's squares are trully 90*.  You usually have to spend a little money to get something you can use as a reference 90*, but how much accuracy you should buy depends on what you're doing (framing a house vs. framing a picture).

Likewise on aligning the two track sections, if there is play in the junction it would be good to have a reference straight edge (a meter or so in length) to check your set up.  If once fastened the junction is too loose to hold your set up then you'll have to evaluate whether your particular tracks are defective or poorly designed.  If the latter you may be able to "re-engineer" the junction.  As a last resort you can spend more money :( and buy a longer track so that you don't need to join two smaller sections.  

I'm not sure how differences in thickness of the rubber zero clearance strip would factor in, but if that is the case a call to Makita might get some help--probably not a bad idea anyway.

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