Author Topic: Track Saw or Table Saw  (Read 21416 times)

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Offline madlee

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Track Saw or Table Saw
« on: April 21, 2013, 10:16 PM »
Okay, I'm new to the forum and to woodworking. I've been doing a remodel on my house and quickly learned that doing things right takes the proper tools and my collection is lacking.  I've been going back and forth over where to start to build out my arsenal and while it would be nice to say that money is no object, it isn't true. I've want to do more woodworking beyond base and crown and start building some cabinets and furniture. My old man says I've got to have a table saw (a Delta, Powermatic, or Jet) and that a track saw would limit me. The guys at Woodcraft say the same thing. I thought I'd put it to the owners group and see if a few of you were willing to give your honest opinion. Could I do as well with a track saw and a miter saw as I would with a cabinet saw?

I do have a little Hitachi contractor saw and to be honest, the thing scares the heck out of me.  It's unstable and the cuts usually burn the wood because it's rocking when feeding material through it and the table and fence are just awful.  For a little saw, it's actually quite cumbersome to use.  Between that and my only other experience with another table saw (a little delta cheapo from the depot) I'm not fond of table saws.  I find them a bit intimidating and maybe it would be different on a high quality cabinet saw but I'm not sure I want to spend three grand to find out. 

Anyway, if you have some time, I'd appreciate anyone who has the experience to share.  Maybe I'm on the wrong track, but it seems to me that a track saw, a good miter saw, and a router would cost about the same as a cabinet saw and allow for a larger variety of projects. 

What are your thoughts?

Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2013, 10:23 PM »
 [welcome]

I'll be the first odd man out and say that track saws are nice for many things, but I wouldn't be without a tablesaw. Speed, repeatability, dado's. I'll stick with a tablesaw.

Mike- proud owner of 7,... make that 8, tablesaws.
"The only lessons I've learned worth remembering, were when things weren't going well"

"Who is John Galt?"

Online SRSemenza

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2013, 10:34 PM »
Hi madlee,

Welcome to the FOG!  [smile]

Here is a recent thread  that may be helpful to you. http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-tools-accessories/ts-5575-or-ts/ One of the posts in that thread has links to several others.

If you go with the track saw one thing that makes it possible to do many operations more easily is to have a large cutting table to do the cutting on. That makes it easy to position and lay out set ups to handle narrow rip cuts, and others that will be needed to do  a full range of woodworking.  A frequently suggested combination is a track saw and a small table saw.  But I can  you tell from personal experience that just about any cut can be done with the track saw and the right set up. However there are also many cuts that are faster and easier on a table saw. I depends on how you want to work, what you are comfortable with, and if you want to  figure out some ways to make  certain cuts with the track saw. I think that just saying that one is more limited than the other is  over simplifying the choice.


Seth

Seth R. Semenza
 
S. R. Semenza Woodworking


Festool Service 800-554-8741

Offline Jaybolishes

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 10:47 PM »
As far as speed goes, a table saw is just hard to beat in certain situations. But a cabinet saw isn't portable, the track saw is.  If I were you I'd look at the dewalt rack and pinion table saw.  It's not as powerful as a cabinet saw, but it's portable and powerful enough to get the job done.  For cutting down sheet goods in a confined space you can't beat the tack saw.  But if you are ripping a lot of 1x8's or 1x4s, you really want a table saw.  I love using my track saw when I need to rip something like a 1x4 and I need to make an angled cut along the board.  Doing this freehand on a tablesaw with precision is almost impossible.

I think you should just get both, because both accel in their own ways, and you will figure out which one best fits which need.  I know this may not be the answer you are looking for, but it sure makes things easier to just have both.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 10:50 PM by Jaybolishes »

Offline Steve-CO

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2013, 10:54 PM »
As a non-pro, having both is ideal.  I wouldn't want to begin feeding sheets of plywood through my table saw and I'm not clever enough to do repeatable rip cuts with my track saw.  Something like this might serve you well for rip cuts and dados without breaking the bank. 

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 11:07 PM »
I do manage quite well with just a track saw, a jig saw, and some non-powered  hand saws when working on-site.  I feel that there is really nothing that I can not do with those saws (with the exception of re-sawing, but for that you should use a bandsaw). 

But, I really like the cabinet table saw that is located in my woodworking shed and would never give it up.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 05:15 PM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline madlee

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 11:07 PM »
You guys are awesome.  Tons useful tips and advice already in the first replies.  I really appreciate it.  I can definitely see the benefit of a table saw for fast repeatable cuts.  I think that I would probably find lots of uses for both.  My guess is as soon as I move away from using S4S lumber from the depot I'll need a table saw, probably a planer and jointer too.  

I can see where the track saw would make light work out of sheet goods.  That's probably one of the most intimidating cuts for me; even after ripping a piece of plywood down to a half of sheet or smaller with a circular saw, I dread having to put it through the table saw.  That and the cut that Jaybolishes describes with cutting an angel down a 1x4.  Tried to do that with a table saw this weekend and neither the table saw or myself enjoyed it. I'm sure a lot of it is rookie mistakes and I'll learn or lose a finger trying.  

Online SRSemenza

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2013, 11:17 PM »
You guys are awesome.  Tons useful tips and advice already in the first replies.  I really appreciate it.  I can definitely see the benefit of a table saw for fast repeatable cuts.  I think that I would probably find lots of uses for both.  My guess is as soon as I move away from using S4S lumber from the depot I'll need a table saw, probably a planer and jointer too.  

I can see where the track saw would make light work out of sheet goods.  That's probably one of the most intimidating cuts for me; even after ripping a piece of plywood down to a half of sheet or smaller with a circular saw, I dread having to put it through the table saw.  That and the cut that Jaybolishes describes with cutting an angel down a 1x4.  Tried to do that with a table saw this weekend and neither the table saw or myself enjoyed it. I'm sure a lot of it is rookie mistakes and I'll learn or lose a finger trying.  


Well, lets try to avoid that  [eek]



Seth
Seth R. Semenza
 
S. R. Semenza Woodworking


Festool Service 800-554-8741

Offline ccarrolladams

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2013, 11:31 PM »
What it comes down to is just the projects you will build and the space you have in your shop.

My suggestion is that when space is limited, find room for a portable 4x8' cutting work surface and use it to break down sheet material with a track saw. Then buy a smaller table saw for other kinds of parts. A table saw only soaks up space when you must allow enough room to saw 4x8' sheets in both the rip and cross cut mode.

To rip a 4x8; sheet on a table saw you need 8' in and out feed, plus room to stand or 20' minimum. To cross cut a 4x8' sheet you need a bit over 4' to the right side of the blade and 8+' on the left side. Unless you have a helper, you will need some roller stands to support the sheet when cross cutting. To do those tasks with a cutting table and a track saw all you need is a 4x8' space with room to walk around the table.

There is nothing sadder than to have more expensive and marvelous fixed machines crammed into far too little space to use them effectively.

Offline deepcreek

  • Posts: 241
Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 11:34 PM »
A tip on keeping your fingers - Use the bladeguard on your table saw.  Others may tell you that they're a PITA or somehow make things more dangerous but your fingers will thank you at the end of the day.  Get Kelly Mehler's table saw book and learn about safe techniques and helpful jigs.
Joe Adams
Deep Creek Woodwerks
Houston, Texas

Offline Samo

  • Posts: 292
Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2013, 12:12 AM »
Sawstop   [eek]

Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2013, 07:09 AM »
I'd love a sawstop, but they don't make it in 14" or 16" yet! 3 phase would be nice also.

Mike

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Offline Woodmatt

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 08:30 AM »
As others have said go for both if you can.
For 20 years odd I have had a small table saw and really struggled with cutting full sheets.After a lot of deliberation I recently got a TS55 to go with my track guide,what a revelation,it is probably the best £300 I have spent on tools in a long time almost to the point where initial sheet cuts have become a pleasure rather than a complete pain.But I would never give up my table saw (just need the Incra fence now for accurate repeatable cuts).
If you are not living on the edge you are taking up to much space.

Online pugilato

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 08:45 AM »
My favorite tool is the TS55... that said, I would not trade my table saw (Bosch 4109). A table saw that can do what the TS55 is way more expensive than the Festool. Until I was able to afford the TS55, I made a jig with 1/4" ply that allowed me to place it on the line and cut with a circular saw. It worked well enough, but the cuts were not as clean, and made the mess you can expect from a circular saw.

My suggestion is to have both.

Offline Wonderwino

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 09:50 AM »
I have both, but there are lots of things the TS55 or TS75 can do, that cannot be done, or are very difficult to do safely on a table saw, especially if working alone.  I use my Festool TS saw for almost everything, save repetitive cuts on the table saw with a sled.  My 5hp Jet cabinet saw sits idle more often than not since I started using the track saw several years ago.  There is no way to do long rips on a table saw without a long outfeed table or talented help.

The CMS router table can do lots of things like dadoes that the table saw can do.  I think it is much safer with the sliding table on the CMS than with a miter gauge on the table saw.  Now if Festool would just release the TS75 module for the CMS, I would seriously consider dumping the table saw.  If I were to buy a new table saw, it would either be a Hammer with a sliding table or a Sawstop cabinet saw.  Neither of these are portable.
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Offline Mavrik

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2013, 04:46 PM »
If one were to go for a small table saw to complement the Festool TS55 and MFT1080, what would you go for?
TS55, MFT 1080, PS300, EHL 65, Domino, OF 1010, CTL 22, RO 125, BS75

Online Birdhunter

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2013, 06:35 PM »
It's just my opinion, but a small table saw is a total waste of money. You don't get the flexibility of a track saw and you don't get the accuracy of a solid table saw.

The Sawstop Professional is a great tool and the Industrial model is incredible. Sawstop not only provides the instant stop, no cut feature, but also provides awesome quality.  The more I use my Industrial Sawstop, the more I'm impressed with its features and quality. If Festool made a full size table saw, it would look like a Sawstop.

Offline GPowers

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2013, 06:37 PM »
Track saw for breaking down sheet goods and Table saw for ripping down dimensional lumber.  [wink]
Greg Powers
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Offline jacko9

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2013, 06:45 PM »
Track saw for breaking down sheet goods and Table saw for ripping down dimensional lumber.  [wink]

I agree, this question keeps coming up in different forums but it's as simple as GPowers says [smile]

Offline skids

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2013, 07:02 PM »
Track saw for breaking down sheet goods and Table saw for ripping down dimensional lumber.  [wink]

Exactly! [thumbs up]
The Almighty Kapex 120, ETS 150/3, DTS 400, CTMidi,, Sys-1 Box (2), Sys-STF D125, Sys-Vari, Compact Cleaning Set, 1900 Rail, TS55r, CXS, OF-1010, MFT-Mini, MFT/3

Online pugilato

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2013, 07:14 PM »
+1 on that

Offline Michael Garrett

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2013, 08:27 PM »
It's just my opinion, but a small table saw is a total waste of money. You don't get the flexibility of a track saw and you don't get the accuracy of a solid table saw.

The Sawstop Professional is a great tool and the Industrial model is incredible. Sawstop not only provides the instant stop, no cut feature, but also provides awesome quality.  The more I use my Industrial Sawstop, the more I'm impressed with its features and quality. If Festool made a full size table saw, it would look like a Sawstop.


Some people don't have space for a full size table saw.
CT 26 HEPA, MFT/3, TS 75 EQ, OF 1400 EQ,  DF 500 SET, CXS SET, CENTROTEC INSTALLER SET 98-PC, TRADESMAN/INSTALLER CLEANING SET, DOMINO ASSORTMENT SYSTEM, LR 32 HOLE DRILLING SET, GUIDE RAIL ACCESSORY KIT, GUIDE RAIL FS 1400/2  (2), GUIDE RAIL FS 1900/2  (2), GUIDE RAIL FS 1400/2 LR 32  (1), Veritas MFT Clamping Kit,  Imperial & Metric Zorbo Forstner Bit Sets, RO 90, ETS 150/3, PSB 420 EBQ w/Accessory Kit, WCR-1000, PARALLEL GUIDE SET, CT 26 BOOM ARM SET, Veritas® Drilling Kit, MFK 700 EQ Router Set

Offline jacko9

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2013, 08:34 PM »
It's just my opinion, but a small table saw is a total waste of money. You don't get the flexibility of a track saw and you don't get the accuracy of a solid table saw.

The Sawstop Professional is a great tool and the Industrial model is incredible. Sawstop not only provides the instant stop, no cut feature, but also provides awesome quality.  The more I use my Industrial Sawstop, the more I'm impressed with its features and quality. If Festool made a full size table saw, it would look like a Sawstop.


Some people don't have space for a full size table saw.

If you have a track saw for sheet goods, a cabinet table saw is not that large of a footprint size wise.  If your going to get into woodworking like cabinet making or furniture making you need to have some space for a shop.  I remember when some folks thought a "Shop Smith" would do everything by itself [wink]

Jack

Offline skids

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2013, 08:52 PM »
It's just my opinion, but a small table saw is a total waste of money. You don't get the flexibility of a track saw and you don't get the accuracy of a solid table saw.

The Sawstop Professional is a great tool and the Industrial model is incredible. Sawstop not only provides the instant stop, no cut feature, but also provides awesome quality.  The more I use my Industrial Sawstop, the more I'm impressed with its features and quality. If Festool made a full size table saw, it would look like a Sawstop.


Some people don't have space for a full size table saw.



If you have a track saw for sheet goods, a cabinet table saw is not that large of a footprint size wise.  If your going to get into woodworking like cabinet making or furniture making you need to have some space for a shop.  I remember when some folks thought a "Shop Smith" would do everything by itself [wink]

Jack

I have a fold up table saw, Bosch 4100..I threw a Forrest blade on it and a ZCI, taped up a few holes here and there and put my CT on it. I get excellent results from that saw. It's far from a cabinet saw, and far from the footprint and expense of a cabinet saw, and I can't for the life of me imagine how a cabinet saw at three times the price will give me that much better results.

I have limited space, and fold up equipment that can travel has always been important. As I delve into more built ins and cabinet type work, we'll see if that was a bad idea. So far, Festool has served those needs with aplomb accuracy.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 08:55 PM by skids »
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Offline Michael Garrett

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2013, 08:59 PM »
That's what I was saying.  A small contractor type saw would do just fine for the small stuff.
CT 26 HEPA, MFT/3, TS 75 EQ, OF 1400 EQ,  DF 500 SET, CXS SET, CENTROTEC INSTALLER SET 98-PC, TRADESMAN/INSTALLER CLEANING SET, DOMINO ASSORTMENT SYSTEM, LR 32 HOLE DRILLING SET, GUIDE RAIL ACCESSORY KIT, GUIDE RAIL FS 1400/2  (2), GUIDE RAIL FS 1900/2  (2), GUIDE RAIL FS 1400/2 LR 32  (1), Veritas MFT Clamping Kit,  Imperial & Metric Zorbo Forstner Bit Sets, RO 90, ETS 150/3, PSB 420 EBQ w/Accessory Kit, WCR-1000, PARALLEL GUIDE SET, CT 26 BOOM ARM SET, Veritas® Drilling Kit, MFK 700 EQ Router Set

Offline Samo

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2013, 10:55 PM »
If Sawstop ( Or Festool ) made a truly portable Table Saw, with dust collection and a well designed riving knife/guard assembly, I'd be all over it at three times the price of the current POS offerings.   [cool]
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 11:32 PM by Samo »

Offline ScotF

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2013, 02:56 AM »
Track saw for breaking down sheet goods and Table saw for ripping down dimensional lumber.  [wink]

I would add straight line ripping to the track saw list of tasks.

Scot

Offline Kev

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2013, 05:52 AM »
My acquisition sequence if I did it all again would be track saw, MFT/3, KAPEX, Bandsaw, table saw.

But as some have said - it's projects driven, but also heart inspired.

Sometimes you should just get the thing you think will make you happy !

Welcome to the FOG ... how appropriate that is [wink]

Online Birdhunter

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2013, 07:46 AM »
I'd be cautious about using a small table saw. If the fence doesn't stay parallel to the blade or if the table flexes in the middle of a cut, binding and kick-back is a real possibility. Low power saws can bog down in the middle of a cut and create a safety issue.

My table saw for 25 years was a Delta Unisaw on rollers. Not a big footprint. There are really good Unisaws (older models are far better than the new models) on the used US market for less than $500.

My gut reaction is if, for whatever reason, you can't buy a good table saw, then don't buy any table saw.

Offline skids

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Re: Track Saw or Table Saw
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2013, 08:23 AM »
I'd be cautious about using a small table saw. If the fence doesn't stay parallel to the blade or if the table flexes in the middle of a cut, binding and kick-back is a real possibility. Low power saws can bog down in the middle of a cut and create a safety issue.

My table saw for 25 years was a Delta Unisaw on rollers. Not a big footprint. There are really good Unisaws (older models are far better than the new models) on the used US market for less than $500.

My gut reaction is if, for whatever reason, you can't buy a good table saw, then don't buy any table saw.


I agree with this, but also feel differently to some extent..It's always nice to have the better tool..But I have a close friend who's a finish carpenter, million $ + custom homes only. His skills are about the best I have seen for finish work. You need ZERO caulk when he puts something together. He uses a crappy, and I mean crappy (and old) jobsite saw, with a crappy fence, crappy power. It makes me laugh when he pulls it out, and when I use it and go back to my Bosch, it feels like a cabinet saw. Regardless, his results are impecable.

I think for someone, like me whos skill ranking in carpentry overall is advanced amateur, this is great advice. Although I believe building skills is more important than building a tool collection, it's very much about the tool for me as well- Festool has made it easier for me to learn, and improve skills to some extent, and have a boatload of fun. But...For those who have skills, in the field all the time and know how to manipulate the material they work with because they can do it in their sleep it becomes much less about the quality and tolerances of the tool. It's just second nature, and more about whatever gets it done to get paid. At least the contractors I know in my region tend to think this way. Not all, but alot. 

If a cabinet saw were an option I might spring for one in a large shop, but I feel like I do pretty darn well with Festool and my gravity-rise TS. And I know few remodler-types who own large Table Saws in their home shops. I really think this argument for one or the other resonates more with folks who primarily make Funiture and Cabinets.

So in the case of the OP posted, I vote small table saw.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 08:36 AM by skids »
The Almighty Kapex 120, ETS 150/3, DTS 400, CTMidi,, Sys-1 Box (2), Sys-STF D125, Sys-Vari, Compact Cleaning Set, 1900 Rail, TS55r, CXS, OF-1010, MFT-Mini, MFT/3