Woodwork Tools Blog

Mar

18

Woodworking Tools Companies Fight it Out with their Tracksaws

I’ve been reading up on the recently released DeWalt tracksaw system, and by all accounts it sounds like an excellent product.
 
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the track saw system, it is a woodwork tool system which basically removes the need to clamp a scrap piece of (hopefully straight) timber on top of your workpiece, to be used as a guide for your circular saw, and ensures that you get clean, accurate cuts time and time again.
 
This description is clearly over-simplified, and certainly doesn’t do justice to the efficiency and accuracy that these woodworking tools provide.
 
The basic track saw system consists of a plunge circular saw, and a track on which the saw runs. By running on the precision machined track, it is possible to ensure perfectly straight cuts, time and again. Add to this a zero clearance track (where you line up the track is EXACTLY where the cut is made – even for bevel cuts!) and anti-splinter edges, and you might be starting to see how this tool could benefit you!
 
If you are shopping for woodworking tools, and you are in the market for a new table or panel saw, it may be worth taking a look at the track saw as a viable alternative. The track saw systems offer accurate, splinter-free cuts, have the capacity of a panel saw, and are very well suited to the contractor or hobbyist as they are extremely portable.
 
The tracksaw concept is not new – Festool has had a tracksaw system available for many years now, with little or no competition – until now….
 
Recently both DeWalt and Makita have entered the tracksaw market, and look set to challenge the dominance Festool has enjoyed in this market for so long, with competitively priced products that offer superb features.
 
Makita has produced a quality woodwork tool with almost identical features to the Festool product, but it is the DeWalt system that really jumps out at me as having the potential to become a real player in the market. The DeWalt system has pretty much all of the capabilities of the other manufacturers, and also a few additional features which I feel will give it a real headstart:
  • The saw will operate on it’s competitors tracks – you can buy a DeWalt saw, and use it on a Festool track – you can’t do that with a Festool saw
  • The DeWalt saw is reversible – you can run the saw on either side of the track, again, this is not possible on the other manufacturer’s saws
  • DeWalt has added additional anti-kickback features – there is a device on the DeWalt saw that actually prevents the saw from travelling backward when it is engaged.
  • Cordless alternative – whilst cordless saws are not my cup of tea, the option of buying a cordless saw will appeal to certain sectors in the market.
You can check out the saws by following the links below:
DEWALT DWS520CK 6-1/2-Inch 12-AMP TrackSaw Kit with 59-Inch and 102-Inch Track
Festool 561174 TS 55 EQ 6-1/4Inch Circular Saw
Makita SP6000K1 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw with Guide Rail
 
Whether either the Makita or DeWalt versions of the track saw seriously challenge the Festool remains to be seen, but at this stage, I would think that Festool are certain to be having another look at their product to see if they can add any features which may help them to maintain their dominant market share.
If you are interested in the concept of a track saw, but are put off by the price, especially if you already own a good circular saw, then it may be worth checking out the EZ Smart Guide System. This system offers many of the same benefits of a tracksaw system, but works with any right bladed circular saw – meaning that you save money by not having to buy a specialized saw in addition to the track.

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