1. Visiting from the US? Why not try DIYnot.US instead? Click here to continue to DIYnot.US.
    Dismiss Notice

Mitre, table and track saws

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by OldKettle, 27 Apr 2019.

  1. OldKettle

    OldKettle

    Joined:
    17 Jul 2017
    Messages:
    250
    Thanks Received:
    5
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi,
    I am trying to research saws for a number of projects that I want to do. At the moment the only power saws I have at cheap jigsaw and circular saw (and I also have a router). I appreciate that the right tool depends upon the job at hand, so I'm trying to focus on specific projects that I have in mind, for the foreseeable future, which are:

    - Build basic coffee table
    - Build some basic desks
    - Build basic shelving
    - Lay laminate flooring
    - Install kitchen
    - Replace some floorboards

    I've been looking at table saws, sliding mitres and track saws.

    My conclusion so far is that, if I only buy one tool, it will need to be a table saw to enable wider cuts and angled cuts, but I wonder whether I should spend more on a table saw, or buy a cheaper table saw plus a cheaper sliding mitre. I realise that a table saw, might not be able to cut mitres very accurately, but I'm not sure how important that is for the basic work I have listed. The other option being a track saw plus a mitre.

    I'd like to spend up to £600-700 in total.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

    Joined:
    22 Jul 2016
    Messages:
    2,531
    Thanks Received:
    366
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    A track saw will do angled cuts. In many instances it will do what a table saw will do

    A sliding mitre saw enables frames to be made reasonably accurately and setting a stop means that you can mass produce many identical bits
     
  3. rsgaz

    rsgaz

    Joined:
    28 Jul 2014
    Messages:
    1,574
    Thanks Received:
    433
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    But, you'd make a sled for mitre cuts. So they can be extremely accurate, as long as you make the sled accurately!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2011
    Messages:
    3,416
    Thanks Received:
    664
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    epending on the precise method of construction these require a track saw only (see notes below about track saws), assuming that you want to work with sheet materials in the first instance
    Jigsaw only, as the cuts will generally be hidden beneath skirting or scotia moulding
    Mitre saw, but only if you insist on having cornice mouldings, otherwise you can do without one. Jigsaw is very handy for cut-outs, scribes to walls and the like. Plunge/rail saw nice to have for worktop cut-outs (e.g. hob and sink) as well as end cuts on worktops, etc but hardly essential. A 1/2in plunge router (1500w and over) with a mason's mitre jig is absolutely essential if doing mason's mitre joints and can be handy for cleaning-up end cuts (if b=needs be this can be hired for the weekend)
    Generally a basic circular saw will do this, together with a square for the crosscuts (recommend an American-style speed square). A decent sharp hand plane is probably a must to adjust the edges of your cuts

    TBH domestic-size table saws are only any use or mitres on short (i.e sub-750mm) pieces - try putting a mitre on the end of a 3 metre length of cornice moulding and you'll be in serious difficulty because you can't support the materials in the cut (so, dangerous). Similarly, and unlike a chop saw, they are pretty useless for crosscutting anything over about a metre in length again because of the material support issue. This makes them useless for cutting floor boards to length and downright dangerous for breaking-down full size sheets (8 x 4ft) of MDF/MFC/plywood. In fact, for breaking down 8 x 4 sheets do you have a workspace big enough to allow you to run a full sheet over a saw? (minimum of about 19 to 20 feet long x 12 feet wide and clear of all obstructions). Table saws have their uses, but the original name for these devices indicates their true forte - they were called rip saws and excel at ripping down narrower materials unless you go for a much bigger saw and/or make some serious modifications (such as permanent 1.5 metre or wider side extensions and at least a 1.5 metre run off table). For someone of limited experience and knowledge, such as yourself, working with sheet materials a plunge saw, rails, a pair of trestles and a cheap working bench (such as an old door or some 3 x 2 CLS lengths topped with 18mm chipboard) will be far safer, cleaner and much more productive than a table saw. If you don't mind me saying, I think that your conclusion is a slightly flawed as you seem to have missed some of the fundamental issues about the scale of the materials you intend to work with. I feel that your lack of experience in handling these materials has allowed you to make some overly optimistic guesses at how you can actually work

    BTW a basic track can be put together for use with even a budget portable rip saw to break-down sheet materials using only 6mm MDF or plywood and 2 x 1in PAR softwood. It won't be a plunge saw, but it will be cheap and reasonably accurate

    As a working joiner (still, only just), doing mainly interior fit-out work (therefore analagous to what you want to do), when I go to site I always take a portable rip saw, a jigsaw and a power planer (although I can and do happily work with a hand jack plane instead - do you have a reasonable hand plane?) together with trestles, cramps, etc. For many jobs, such as the ones you describe, I'll also take along a mitre saw (SCMS), but whilst it speeds things up it isn't an absolute must. The plunge/rail saw comes with me when I know I'll be doing many multiples of sheet materials cuts, such as boxing-in, building carcasses, etc - but there are other (albeit slower) ways of breaking down sheet stock (such as a batten and two clamps, home-made straight edge) which work just as well, so long as you aren't pushed for time. My rip/table saw (a deWalt DW745) doesn't come with me that often (in fact it was about the last major addition to my working kit), but what does come with me all the time nowadays is a decent class-M vacuum cleaner (or at home I used to use my old Dyson DC02 vacuum which I fitted with a pre-filter cyclone and home-made drop box) . Because wood dust will harm your lungs

    Given your requirements I think I'd probably want to get something like a Parkside (Lidl) tracksaw first (£80 or so?), plus a couple of Makita/Festool tracks and joiners (c. £120), together with a vacuum cleaner (allow £30 for a s/hand one plus £30 for the cyclone and a home-made drop box). A couple of home-made timber trestles, some 3 x 2 CLS supports and a piece of 18mm chipboard to act as a cutting table will cost maybe £40. That makes £300, give or take. After that I'd go for a decent block plane (£60) and sharpening kit (£40) before thinking about a mitre saw with a table saw possibly some considerable way in the future
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2019
  5. Notch7

    Notch7

    Joined:
    15 Sep 2017
    Messages:
    12,519
    Thanks Received:
    992
    Location:
    Sussex
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    unfortunately those machines all have different primary functions, albeit with some overlap.

    table saw -for rip cuts

    mitre saw -cross cuts including 90 deg, 45 deg compound cuts

    track saw - accurate cutting of sheet material.

    You could get a decent mitre saw + track saw for your budget, which would cover many of the tasks you want to do.

    A table saw is probably the least useful and most bulky, although it does give you the ability to rip timber sections. Bear in mind lots of timber preparation, esp hardwoods require a planer thicknesser and saw, which together can do the initial preparation.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. OldKettle

    OldKettle

    Joined:
    17 Jul 2017
    Messages:
    250
    Thanks Received:
    5
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Thank you for all of the advice, much appreciated.

    I am certainly veering towards a track saw now.

    My concern with the track vs table was always the repeatability of cuts to sheets, which seems to rely upon accurate measurement with the track saw, but some combination of fence/jig/sled on the table saw.

    EDIT: I'm also finding a lot of bad reviews of cheaper saws (including the ParkSide). I wonder if something like this might be a decent one. I'd rather buy once, if possible.

    https://www.axminster.co.uk/makita-...-1-4m-rails-and-connector-ax656310?sel=701428
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2019
  7. wgt52

    wgt52

    Joined:
    25 Apr 2016
    Messages:
    485
    Thanks Received:
    94
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I'll suggest you look at the Aldi tracksaw rather the Parkside one. Tis a renamed big name make. Only thing missing is the track clamps so you do need to make sure you use it on a firm surface so nothing slips.
     
  8. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2011
    Messages:
    3,416
    Thanks Received:
    664
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Yes, it's a Scheppach, but becaue it isn't a Scheppach designed or manufactured item (they buy it in) it's equally just another rebadged Chinese tool sold under various other names, e.g. in the USA it's a Grizzly amongst other things.

    My main complaint about it is that Scheppach et al have gone with a guide rail which is just slightly wider than the rails used by Festool/Hilti/Makita/Titan/Triton (these are all compatible with each other - I know because I use a mix of Hilti, Festool and Makita rails), etc. So with an Aldi Workzone you are stuck with the Scheppach rails if you ever want to extend your rails to, say, 2800mm, so that you can rip-down a full 8 x 4 ft sheet (2440mm long, but the saw requires an overhang at each end of the cut). And the Scheppach 1400mm rails are more expensive than equivalent Makitas, for example. Search YouTube for a guy called Peter Millard and you'll find some very pertinent comments about this in one of his videos on low-cost track saws (and in particular the Aldi Workzone and Titan saws)
     
  9. wgt52

    wgt52

    Joined:
    25 Apr 2016
    Messages:
    485
    Thanks Received:
    94
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks J&K for the suggested search. Found it very interesting and has given me 'food for thought'.

    Certainly didn't know that many companies use similar or indentical tracks whilst Scheppach/Aldi are different. Agree that extra tracks are expensive. Do think that a 1400mm track is very useful. I've had a second joiner made up and that has improved the rigidity of the tracks.
    I bought a the Sheppach tool on impulse in B&Q as it was on offer and I could an extra discount so was even cheaper. Bought principally for trimming doors and occasional cutting of sheet materials.
    After the following the link to PM's channel it is likely to get more use
    Do wish they would include track clamps in the set - I'd like to be able to clamp the tracks down as I guess don't the feeling the track will slip when applying pressure to 'Plunge' the saw. (I was brought up on tools that didn't plunge and quite frankly I just don't feel comfortable or safe using them without the guides/jigs and workpeices secured.)
     
  10. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2011
    Messages:
    3,416
    Thanks Received:
    664
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    If all you intend to do is DIY work, then the Scheepach/Aldi saw will be fine. If you want/need longer rails or intend to upgrade in the future it's a bit of a dead end TBH as you get locked-in to ther rails on systems like these.

    Good!

    By all means secure the workpiece - good idea - but in about 20 years of using this type of saw I've rarely needed a clamp for the rails, really
     
  11. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

    Joined:
    22 Jul 2016
    Messages:
    2,531
    Thanks Received:
    366
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    My Aldi plungesaw cost £60 with 1.4m of track.
    I am lucky in that I have access to a full wood workshop at work if I wanted to, but diy has to have a limit.
     
Loading...

Share This Page