Ripping with a track saw (TS75/55 and such)

Has anybody here ripped lumber with a track saw? Narrow stuff? (Would that be the only reason to hang onto my table saw?)
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Once .... To make a table top, I bought a heavy, wide plank of bubinga that I couldn't muscle into my shop. I rested one end on a saw horse and the other end on the bed of my pickup. First, I used my Festool TS55 on a tract to cut it to length, and then, ripped on side to width. (I left a waney edge on the other side.) It cut okay, but I wouldn't do it as a normal practice. Also, the teeth are crosscut rather than rip.
By the way, I placed a slab of foam insulation under the wood so the protruding saw teeth wouldn't cut into the bed cover of my pickup.
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Whoops! I should have typed "track" rather than "tract". The wood wasn't that large.
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Festool makes a rip blade for their saws. http://www.festoolusa.com/products/plunge-cut-circular-saws/blades/saw-blade-panther-14t-495372.html http://www.festoolusa.com/products/plunge-cut-circular-saws/blades/standard-12tooth-saw-blade-496305.html

I've heard of using the 4x8 sheets of styrofoam as an underlayment when cutting. I have a cutting table with a particleboard top that gets cut while using.
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I tend to go a little finer with my cuts. For ripping with my TS55, I cut with a 25 tooth blade and for crosscutting, I use a 48 tooth blade. However, I'm most often doing this with cabinet grade veneered plywood and not just cutting standard timber where I'd more likely use the blades you posted.

Cutting on foam board tends to reduce dust as well as being easier to manipulate and move around. I have trouble moving partical boards around, so the foam board on top of a cheap door is my preference. Foam board does however, cost more than your simple partical board.
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Just for discussions sake, how thin is "thin"? With my TS55 on a sacrificial flat surface, (with plywood sheathing on the floor perhaps) I can split a 1" wide piece of wood lengthwise as long as the guide is properly supported on both sides and is properly clamped down. Agreed a table saw with featherboards and a push stick would be my preference for such a cut, but then table saws aren't as easily transported to a work site.
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Karl and Co. are probably out on site today, but he and Leon both use the '75. I saw where Karl breaks down the sheet goods before final sizing with his setup. The cuts from that Festool setup were really, really smooth.

I have access to a gorgeous SawStop saw almost anytime I want it, and haven't had a table saw in years.
I know many cannot live without their table saw, and it is certainly an almost indispensable piece of machinery for many operations. But for me, not so much.
When I first learned to build cabinets, it was on site. We didn't take a Powermatic or a big Delta to the job site in the 70s. We cut down our sheet goods using the best quality circular saws guided by 60" and 100" pieces of virgin heavy extruded aluminum mullion we got from the commercial glass guys we worked with at the time. That was our version of a guided saw.
About 15 years ago I got rid of my old table saw thinking I was going to get (through a deal I worked with a friend) an *excellent* Jet model that had been returned to Woodcraft. It fell through, so no table saw for me. But then it made me think, why do I need one?
(I know this may cause of flood of incredulous disbelief from ardent table saw defenders to post away their own personal life changing experiences with their saws - but remember, I am talking about me, not you.)
When I build a cabinet these days, it isn't a houseful like Karl and Leon. It is usually a "two or three off" for a bathroom or utility room. This compliments the way I learned to build them perfectly. When I started out, we built cabinets on site as needed, but a full complement of them was fabricated by a cabinet man in a full shop starting when we were a month away from needing them.
My current cabinet guy can and will make me doors cheap. And I don't have any money in cutters, time in material selection, no do I have to take 3X as long to build them since I don't do it often enough to be efficient with the processes. Also, if I see a flaw I don't like, I don't have to rebuild; he does.
I buy 1X2 S4S maple cut to 3/4"x2" for rails and stiles. I buy prefinished plywood for the drawers, and 1x6 or 1x8 for drawer fronts, and if there is a lot of them, I have the cabinet man do it.
I determined MANY years ago after building all the cabinets in a house a few times (with no small sense of pride) that my time was better off being used somewhere else. I was trained as a woodworker/cabinet maker/trim installer/carpenter, but there higher and best use of my time on a job site, and when things are humming, I am not on one site long. I must say, I do miss the the fun I had building a houseful.
Back on topic.... I think it depends on your building style. If you are comfortable being away from a table saw (many aren't!) you will like the convenience, the free space in the shop, and the ability to take your setup anywhere. The Festool is much more than a guided saw. That thing is a real precision instrument. I had heard about the smooth cuts, and the ease of use, but when you see someone that is completely fluent in the use of this tool (as is Karl - he even made his own mods to the system!) it really drives home how useful this device is as a real tool.
Just my 0.05....
Robert
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And Co. was off sick today, still kinda feeling like crap when the magic brown pill wears off, but any way... when building the Domino/rabbet joint drawers for this job I used the 75 to cut the 1/2 maple plywood sheet up into more managable pieces to cut on the TS for drawer bottoms. I find that my track saw cuts end up being my reference edges when cutting on the TS. My track saw cuts are much smoother and often more square than the factory edge and corners. If the TS is available it is faster to do repeated cuts once the stock is a managable size but the track saw with the parallel guides are quite capable of managing the task.
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Back on topic.... I think it depends on your building style. If you are comfortable being away from a table saw (many aren't!) you will like the convenience, the free space in the shop, and the ability to take your setup anywhere. The Festool is much more than a guided saw. That thing is a real precision instrument. I had heard about the smooth cuts, and the ease of use, but when you see someone that is completely fluent in the use of this tool (as is Karl - he even made his own mods to the system!) it really drives home how useful this device is as a real tool. ******************************** I agree with your reasoning, and are part of the way with you on using guided saws. I still love a table saw for the quickness and ease of cutting the exact size you want, every time.
I made my own track saw of sorts by gluing and screwing a good straight plywood edge, about 3 inches wide, onto a piece of 1/4" hardboard. I make it a little wider than the distance from the edge of the saw shoe to the blade, then trim it with the saw guiding along the ply. Oh, and I have a piece of laminate on the edge of the ply, so it does not wear.
The advantage of having the saw ride along on top of the hardboard is that the material you are cutting does not get marked or scuffed, and you can measure what you want to cut, and put the edge of the hardboard on the measurement, and cut with the knowledge that you got it right.
I also have one set up for a router with a straight bit to cut dados and rabbets, with one side from the ply straight edge set for a 3/4" bit, and the other side set for a 1/2" bit. I also have a double side set up for a 3/8" and a 1/4" bit I keep an 8, 5 and 3 footer of each type around, for ease of handling.
-- Jim in NC
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Pshaw!! I could have written that, even down to the use of guides with routers. Same story. You've been reading my mail..............or maybe I read yours. ;-)
Max
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"Max" wrote
Pshaw!! I could have written that, even down to the use of guides with routers. Same story. You've been reading my mail..............or maybe I read yours. ;-) ************************************************* Funny!
It goes to follow that form follows function. That is why most airplanes look like airplanes.
I've been using that system for many years, before I had a quality table saw. It makes working alone much more manageable, too.
-- Jim in NC
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I have the T-75 and it's a pleasure to use but I'm trying to imagine how I would rip a 2X4 down to a 2" width using the T75. Many years ago, when all I had was a "Skilsaw" I would fasten it to the under side of a half sheet of plywood in order to rip dimension lumber. It was not the most precise nor the most efficient method but it worked for me for a few years. Now I'm able to consistently rip 1/16" thicknesses on my Delta and I wouldn't give that saw up for anything short of death.
Max
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Yes, I have used it in place of a jointer to straighten a board.
For narrow stock you have to realize that the track is relative wide and may be wider than the stock you are ripping. You will need a balance piece of the same thickness to insure that the track does not tilt off the work being cut if that work is narrow.
Clamps are available to absolutely insure that it does not move however the two rubber strips on the bottom of the track do not let the track move during a cutting procedure. It talkes a little getting used to, trusting the track to not move, but it does not move. The only thing you need to be sure of is that the piece you are ripping is wide enough such that at least one of the bottom rubber strips is in contact with the piece being cut.
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On Tue, 1 Mar 2011 08:20:41 -0800 (PST), Robatoy

When trying for the best quality work with hardwood, I will cut my stock oversize, let it "rest" for a day, then cut to final width/length. The theory being that stresses in the wood may release after the initial cut and the wood might shift a bit.
With the second cut I will joint and rip a small amount off relatively long and short pieces. I wouldn't care to do that with a track saw, and although I imagine it can be done, it would be difficult to have the same level of control.
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snipped-for-privacy@remove2reply.hotmail.com says...

That's a good plan. Would have saved me a certain amount of scrap.

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