Would you like to build your own track saw, and you don’t know the process? I will provide a step-by-step guide on how you can make a DIY track saw for straight, accurate cuts in any of your woodworking projects.
Before the emergence of track saws, people used regular circular saws for the free-hand cutting of sheet goods and lumber. However, in 1980, Festool company released the first track saw marking the beginning of this essential tool’s journey.
Track saws are easy and affordable to make, and the good thing is that the DIY track saw still cuts fast, giving you accurate sheets of plywood for any woodworking project you might have.
Tools You Need to Make a Track Saw
For you to build your own track saw for smooth, accurate cuts, you need the following tools:
- Tape measure
- Combination square
- Circular saw
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Your Own Track Saw
1. Getting Started
Place the saw on the plywood, and mark a line across the saw base on the far end from the blade. Note: Your plywood should be of high quality, meaning it’s flatter and has a premium feel.
Using a tape measure, measure the line from the plywood’s edge to the recently made mark. Then, apply the exact measurement on the whole plywood distance.
Use a straight object such as aluminum tubing and make a straight line. Then, trace the first line from the end and move your aluminum tubing.
Measure the router bit to the router base’s end. Remember, this is the interval you need to place your aluminum tubing from (the first line you drew). In my case, I’m using an 8-feet section. Place a piece of wood in the middle of the tubing to endure flexing.
2. Routing the First Track
Let the router take about 1/8-inch on every pass. Then, repeat this process multiple times to attain the bar’s depth you want to use for the track.
Look at the appropriate location on your saw to mark the second track, and then move that to the plywood.
3. Marking the Second Track
For you to route the second track, you need aluminum tubing or any other straight object just like we did to make the first track.
4. Routing the Second Track
Allow the two bars to move in the track freely. In case there is any constraint, you can use sandpaper to smoothen the track. You can also add some wax to aid in friction.
5. Adding the Bars
Drill and tap a hole to go through the bar and the saw base. It’s essential to note that the bar should have a minimum thickness of 1/8-inch. Then ensure the hole is deep enough for the screw head.
Now you can add the second track. Ensure the gaps between the tracks are the same to prevent saw slides from having tension. Then cut off the track at the saw base’s end.
6. Cutting off the Track
The next thing to do is to cut the track from the plywood. Then, attach a piece of wood to the end of the saw track to help to line up the track on the work surface.
You need to glue and screw this piece of wood to ensure it is in place. You also need to cut all the overhangs.
Now you are done with the track, and you need to experiment to see its functionality.
7. Making the First Cut
Fasten the track along and make the first pass-through. Now you can see that you can confidently cut straight and accurate wood strips of any width and length.
When making your track saw, the crucial part is to ensure that the running bars perfectly align when you attach them with your saw so that they can slide smoothly as soon as it is placed into the track.
Benefits of Building your Own Track Saw
Making your own track saw has the following benefits:
- It’s Simple
As you have seen, the process of making your track saw is straightforward for both DIYers and professionals. You just need to compose yourself, gather the required tools, and follow all the steps, as explained above.
- It’s Cost-Effective
Buying a new track saw is quite expensive; hence you need to dig deep into your pocket. But, on the other hand, building your track saw is economical since you only need a few tools, which you will acquire from your nearest hardware at a pocket-friendly price.
- It’s Lightweight
The plywood used to make the track saw is relatively lightweight, which allows you to move your track saw from one job site to another.
It doesn’t matter the length of the sheet you want to cut. The tracks’ ends are the dead square, and you can lock them together for super-accurate, super-long, and super-straight cuts.
- It’s Ideal for Tight Spaces
A track saw occupies a small space compared to other saw types. It perfectly fits in limited spaces and still makes significant cuts.
Building your own track saw is a fantastic activity, and it will help you save money and still get the same accurate, straight, and precise cuts.
I hope this comprehensive guide on how to make a DIY track saw has helped you, and very soon, you will build your own track saw.
All the best as you implement this detailed step-by-step guide.
- Can I use track saw without the track?
It would be difficult for you to use a track saw without the tracks. This is because the plunge mechanism present in track saws makes it challenging for you to use it with the tracks.
- Can I turn my circular saw into a track saw?
Yes, you can turn almost any circular saw into a track saw. It’s also cheaper compared to buying a complete track saw. All you need is to follow the detailed step-by-step guide I have provided above!
- Do you need to clamp a track saw?
No, you don’t need to clamp a track saw. This is because track saws have sticky rubber strips located on the bottom of the track, ensuring that the saw doesn’t slip.