The track saw is one of the most popular tools used by woodworkers; it is often called a plunge saw, or plunge-cut saw. It is a type of circular saw that works by sliding on a guide rail to cut material. It cuts through the material at a pre-determined depth to reduce the splintering and tear-out. It accurately cuts through various types of wood and produces smooth finished edges. You can describe the track saw as a circular saw attached to a precision metal track. It can cut through sheet materials, lumber and trim doors and floors.
There is no doubt that using the track saw can be a little challenging, but you can get the hang of it by following the simple steps that will be provided in this article. The track saw is mainly used to cut in woodwork projects to cut up large boards into smaller rectangular pieces. It can produce angular cuts, crosscuts and long rip cuts.
Also, see What is a Track Saw Used For?
How to Use a Track Saw
Track saws are used to cut wood like lumber, plywood, trim and melamine. Using it to cut other materials like ceramic or steel can damage the saw or increase the risk of accidents.
Choose the appropriate blade
The first thing to do when working with a track saw is to select the proper cutting blade to be used with it. Choosing the right cutting blade depends on the type of wood being used on. You can use a blade with 14 teeth for your regular projects, but when working with plywood or melamine, the best blade is the one with 48 teeth.
Start your track saw
To start the track saw, you need to use the plunge release and the power trigger. The plunge release pulls the blade out of the tool’s housing while the trigger activates the motor. First, pull the plunge release, press the trigger and then release the plunge. The reason for this is to be ready to cut your wood immediately the track saw is turned on.
Adjust the blade speed
One of the things to avoid when using the track saw is cutting at the wrong speed. Using the wrong speed will damage the material and cause kickbacks which may cause accidents. Your blade must be cutting at the right speed to provide cleaner cuts and save time. When you pull the trigger, make sure the blade is at the ideal speed for the material before cutting.
Adjust the cutting depth
The cutting depth determines how deep the blade cuts into the material. When cutting, it is important that your cuts are not too deep to affect the accuracy of the blade. Manufacturers advice against using the track saw to cut wood less than 1/8 inches deep. This is to reduce the risk of accidents and blade damage.
How to Change Track Saw Blade
There are a lot of great track saw models on the market produced by different companies. These models work the same way and may have slight differences. All track saws, irrespective of their brand have a straightforward blade change system. To change the blade, use the plunge to pull out the blade and then remove the arbor bolt. Once that is done, you should be able to remove the old blade and fix a new blade. Tighten the arbor bolt after installing the new blade, and your track saw is ready.
Advantages of a Track Saw
Compared to other portable saws, the track saw has some advantages that make it the preferred choice for some. The benefits of using a track saw to cut your wood is listed below
- Track saw can be used with a guide rail. The guide rail improves the cutting ability of the saw by allowing it to make straights and smooth cuts along the wood.
- A track saw is much easier to use than it looks. Unlike other track saws, you don’t need to guide the blade along the wood to cut, all you have to do is place the track on the marked spot and cut.
- It is a portable tool when compared to the panel saw or table saw. It can be moved around with ease and stored easily.
- One of the biggest advantages of using a track saw is that it produces smooth and precise cuts. It cuts wood more precisely than regular saws and is easier to operate.
- Track saws can be used to cut large pieces of wood into smaller pieces. It can make angular or cross cuts on thick wood and cut at the exact speed needed for each material.
- The track saw has features that allow you to adjust the cutting depth and speed.
- Most track saws come with a dust bag making leaving your work dust-free.
Disadvantages of a Track Saw
- The wooden material you are working on must be flat enough to support the metal track and track saw.
- If you are working with thin sheets, you would need to support the wood.
- The metal track used with the track saw is long making in inconvenient to work in tight spaces.
- A track saw is more expensive than circular saws, and they don’t come with a riving knife.
Track Saw Safety Tips
Here are a few tips to keep you safe when using the track saw
- It is safer to stand at the side when using the track saw, this is to avoid kickbacks. Balance your feet while standing to maintain full control of the saw.
- Wear protection such as safety goggles, gloves, dust mask and ear protection when using the track saw to protect you from dust and splinters.
- Inspect the blade before cutting, check to make sure it is sharp and the arbor bolt is tightened.
- Inspect the surface of the wood for nails or screws.
- To have full control of the tool, use both hands when cutting. You have to hold down the wood when cutting to make sure it is stable.
A track saw is a powerful tool used to cut large pieces of wood. It is primarily used by professionals and cuts up wood with incredible accuracy. There are many models of the track saw, but they all have the same mode of operation. If you need to cut large pieces of wood into smaller pieces, then the track saw is best for the job.