Construction, renovation, carpentry – none of these areas is complete without a saw. Among them, there are many types and configurations with a narrow field of application. Most useful for carpenters, for example, are track saws. They cost quite a lot and are presented in the catalogs of only large brands since they belong to professional tools. What are the benefits of track saws? How to choose the right model? You will get all the necessary info in this article.
About Track Saws
A distinctive feature of this type of saws is that a cutting blade is located above a sole and is completely covered by a protective casing. All controls are located compactly, so it is convenient to work with such tools. Compared to conventional circular saws, they look a bit bulky but are ideal for carpentry work.
Track Saws Benefits
The main advantage of such tools is a perfectly straight cut. If you have to rip, for example, a long sheet of plywood, you will not find a better tool. Both longitudinal and cross-cut, the edge is smooth, without chips and cracks. There are special marks on a sole that allow you to guide your saw along the marking line accurately. And thanks to the unique design, you can cut almost at any point (not just the edge).
All rail saws have special grooves that allow you to attach a guide to it. This accessory guarantees precise cutting. A cut depth can be adjusted depending on whether you use a saw with or without a guide. Although these saws’ main use is to cut wood, they can also be used for other materials, such as plexiglass.
What to Look for
The range of equipment on the market enables each customer to pick the right tool. There are a few basic parameters that you should look out for when choosing the perfect device.
Blade and cut depth
The diameter and thickness of a blade, as well as the maximum and minimum possible cutting depth, are the main factors that you need to evaluate. Of course, you cannot insert a large blade unless specified by a tool manufacturer. Therefore, choose a saw with a diameter that suits your application.
A quality device should have a function for adjusting a cut depth. So, for example, a blade with a diameter of 8.25 inches can make a cut up to 2.75 inches deep. Depending on the materials you work with, you may need to reduce this figure by half an inch or an inch. The larger the blade diameter, the deeper it can cut.
The overall device power is determined by its engine power and the number of a blade’s revolutions per minute. The higher these indicators, the more efficiently the tool will cope with the work. As a rule, motors from 9 amp and above show good results. However, 12-amp or 13-amp units are the most optimal. The power of the motor determines what speed of the blade it is capable of developing. Saws in the 3000 to 5000 rpm range can cut even hard materials without getting stuck in them. If you work with thinner materials, 2000 rpm may be enough for you.
All models cut at a 90° angle. However, sometimes bevel cuts are needed for certain jobs. You should be able to set the desired angle. Some models offer a fairly wide range of settings (from -1° to 48°). Not every device has such a simple option, but it makes a tool more versatile. In general, the more fine-tuning an appliance has, the more convenient it is to work with it.
Since rail saws can be used with or without a guide, the track length is also essential. If you plan to work with small sheets, you should choose a short track. It will be enough to cut a sheet evenly, and you don’t even have to attach a guide. However, for larger sheets, you will need a much longer tool. Otherwise, you have to reset a track right in the middle of the line.
A big plus of a device will be the presence of an emergency shutdown. It will help you avoid work-related injuries and prolong the life of the product. Also, pay attention to a smooth start. This ensures that a tool runs smoothly (without tugs) during operation.
User comfort is one of the most important factors that greatly influence the result of work. Before buying a track saw, it is recommended to test it somewhere. Remember, the more powerful the device, the heavier it weighs. If an appliance is too large and heavy, you can get tired quickly.