Track Saw vs Circular Saw with Guide?

Discussion in 'Tool Talk' started by Whiffle, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Whiffle

    Whiffle New Member

    I am trying to get more into doing woodwork projects around the house and have realised that trying to do everything with a jigsaw is completely pointless.

    Having done quite a bit of research, I considered going with a regular circular saw and making a wooden guide (for which their are loads of instructional videos on youtube).

    However, I am pretty tempted by track saws too.

    Are track saws worth the considerable extra costs or will a decent circular saw, with a home made jig, do just the same job?
  2. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
    Wayners and Whiffle like this.
  3. Whiffle

    Whiffle New Member

    Thanks KIAB - budgetwise, I could certainly stretch to that.

    What are the major benefits of the track saw?

    I have watched a few videos on them in action but being very much a beginner, as far as woodwork goes, I cannot really appreciate the differences.
  4. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

  5. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Would say go for the track/plunge saw option, not totally dissimilar to a circular saw but as has the track made for the job, gives great accuracy and ease when cutting and setting up. Plunge cutting and can cut close to a wall, say trimming laminate floor in situ as well, etc

    Can make up a home made guide and use circ saw but so easy just setting track on cut line and saw glides along

    Track has grippy rubber strips underneath which generally work well as long as workpiece isn’t covered in dust and often doesn’t need clamping (dependant on track length as well)

    Can buy track clamps which are brilliant, made by Trend, fit majority of tracks

    Keep track relatively dust free and simply brush down every now again so saw glides freely. The occasional spray with silicon spray lube also works wonders (on the track :))

    Take a look at the Titan Track Saw, was less than £100 from SF. complete with 2x700mm tracks. Again, Trend tracks 100% compatible with the Titan and available in longer lengths, or track bars join shorter lengths together

    Will cut well out the box, supplied 40
    Tooth blade is great on sheet materials and general cutting. Fine work, treat yourself to a 70 tooth Freud

    As with most own brand tools, no spares, service, back up available but for the price, great value and 2 year guarantee. Spare brushes for motor easily sourced as generic spares, also get a spare set in box
    KIAB, Whiffle and WillyEckerslike like this.
  6. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    I have found that there is a case for both - depending on your intended use of course.

    For reducing sheet goods - tracksaw hands down. A circular saw on a guide still has the potential to wander
    For ripping thin strips and cross cutting timber sections (studs, joists etc) I prefer a battery circular saw (with an edge guide as required). My Milwaukee 18v has the blade on the left of the handle so I can work accurately to a line I can see cutting right handed.

    Often overlooked sadly is the dust collection facility and I suspect that the tracksaw would win that argument if put to the test. There's no collection on my battery saw unfortunately and I am using it less and less as a result.
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  7. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

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  8. Whiffle

    Whiffle New Member

    Thanks everyone - I am pretty sure I want to go with a track saw, now.

    I have been looking for the Titan, that has been mentioned above, but cannot seem to find it on SF's website at the moment - is there any particular reason for this?
  9. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    It's disappeared, my link for Titan yesteday changed to Erbauer after I posted it, so was my reason to disregard it later.
    Could contact SF to see when Titan is back in stock,maybe a new model is due out.
    Whiffle likes this.
  10. Whiffle

    Whiffle New Member

    Thanks KIAB.

    Trust my luck for their having disappeared on the very day I look for them!

    I will be pretty gutted if they decide to scrap that particular model - I shall contact them, as suggested.
  11. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    The Titan track saw was very popular buy for a lot of peeps,especially for the price.
    Whiffle likes this.
  12. Whiffle

    Whiffle New Member

    I have been looking around on a number of similar forums and they do get raved about.

    Hopefully, SF get some more in - if not, I might have to try ebay or consider going with something considerably more expensive.
  13. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Which Milwaukee 18v circular saw you got.:)
  14. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    I don't have it with me but it's old. It's a nicad one that I run with my Li-ion batteries on a converter that I made. I know that some of the newer ones have dust ports and I might have to dig deep but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it otherwise.
  15. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Just looked at Milwaukee 18v circular saws,very tempting, got a Bosch 18v saw,good saw,but it's awkward to use,as I'm left handed & you get a faceful of sawdust if you don't use vac with it,as dust port is on right side.
  16. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    Could you just stick a bag on the one you've got?
  17. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Tried that,find it awkward,hinderance having to keep emptying it.
    And it sometimes drops off,outlet not really designined for a bag.
  18. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    I do like my Milwaukee kit as you know and the saw is great - nicely balanced and easy to use. The only thing to let me down lately has been a charger which just stopped working - plenty of spares thankfully.
    BillyT likes this.
  19. ajohn

    ajohn Screwfix Select

    The main limitation of a track saw is that it's a plunge saw plus a track. Plunge saws generally when compared with larger circular saw have a reduced depth of cut. Biguns don't seem to be made. There is next to no difference when each type is compared and have the same diameter blade.

    A circular saw usually has a riving knife. That in my view just helps to make free hand straight cuts on saws of this size but not that well, just well enough to stop the blade from binding badly as a free hand cut runs off line.

    A plunge saw on a decent track doesn't wonder at all if the guide in the saw is adjusted correctly. It's also possible to set the size cut off or left by measuring off the track. The rubber strip on mine stuck out too far so the first thing to do is mount the track some how and run the saw along it to trim the rubber. This is Makita, not sure about others. There is also an attempt to keep the cut position the same when the blade angle is altered. Not sure how well it works yet. There have been reports of some cheaper tracks not sitting flat and not linking up well when 2 are joined. The main limitation is how narrow a piece of timber can be to allow the track to be clamped in place. A suitable speed square could be used as a guide for cross cuts. Some use them to set the track and don't use the clamps. just press down to hold in place - needs to be a pretty thick square to use as a guide.

    Whiffle likes this.
  20. Whiffle

    Whiffle New Member

    Bit of an update - Screwfix returned to me, confirming that they are not longer selling the Titan plunge saw.

    A massive shame.

    I did have a look on ebay and there are very few knocking around.

    I think I might have to go for the Ebrauer, after all, unless there are any other brands of a similar price that might be worth considering.
    KIAB likes this.

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