Track Saw Cutting Table

July 4, 2012 Comments Off on Track Saw Cutting Table

File this one under: stop trying to complicate things. My stupendously awesome birthday present last year from Judy was a Festool track saw and vacuum. I don’t have a table saw in my shop (and at the time no bandsaw either). I did all my sheet goods and long rip cuts on the back patio with an old Skil circular saw. It worked, but it was a pain to haul everything in and out. I made a few cuts in the basement and it created an awful swirl of dust that lingered over everything for hours. (I knew this would happen, of course, but I did it anyway – like the kid who sticks his tongue on the flag pole in A Christmas Story).

The dust collection on the track saw is so good I can safely use it in my basement. One thing with a track saw, though, is that you need a sacrificial layer of something under the material being cut. True Festoolians—I don’t think that word is in Webster’s dictionary yet—drop over $500 for the MFT, a tricked-out portable table with a sacrificial mdf top. And at the other end of the spectrum, some folks simply throw some rigid foam insulation on the floor and go to town. Others make their own version of a MFT to save a few bucks, and that sounded like a good idea to me. I came up with all sorts of designs; most of them were needlessly complex. I wanted to have something I could throw on top of my work table, but be light enough so it could be easily hefted onto the table and be stored easily. I worked up all sorts of combinations of plywood, rigid insulation, and mdf.

I was going through all these designs in my head and on paper all the while staring at my work table. That would be the work table that already has a sacrificial top on it. When I first built the work table I grabbed a cheap piece of soundboard from a salvage place in town for a few bucks. I cut it to size and threw it on the table, where it’s been ever since. One side is getting rather ugly so I’ve been meaning to turn it over. It makes a decent work surface, but it makes a great sacrificial layer for a track saw. Flip the top over to the ugly side, throw your wood on the table and make the cut (being careful to set the cutting depth just deeper than the wood), and flip it back over when you’re done. It feels nice to actually remove something from the To Build list.

I’m a novice when it comes to Festools. To see what Festoolians do with these fine tools each day, check out the Festool Owners Group.


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