Grizzly Track Saw Observations...

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  • Grizzly Track Saw Observations...

    I had the opportunity to purchase a grizzly track saw, the accessory kit, and two sections of 55" track "used" for $200. If purchased directly from Grizzly the "master pack" (which includes the accessory pack) would cost about $316 (plus tax).

    Allow me to qualify my comments so you can take them for what it's worth. I have never seen a festool anything in person, let alone had the opportunity to use one. I've not seen the dewalt or Makita versions of the track saw either. Also I am an amatuer hobbyist. My experience is limited. These comments will hardly qualify it as a professional review, nor is it comparitive.



    I had read many reviews and comments about this product, and had decided I was probably going to spring for the $316+ to acquire it. When I found it for $200, I couldn't resist the deal. "Used" is a very generous term here. It was virtually brand new as the original purchaser was bitten by the green bug before ever using it. (He indicated he had plugged it in and turned it on to make sure it would work). The rubber splinter guard had not been trimmed off the track yet. So I'm happy with the "deal."

    Having read the reviews of this, the first thing I did was take off the stock blade and replace it with the Oshlun 48T FesPro blade from amzon.com.

    The dust port did not have a real tight fit with my shop vac hose. There was a lot of play. Other had said to use a hose clamp or duct tape to tape it to the port. To me this seemed to be a bit inconvenient. I simply took a roll of electrical tape and went around the dust port about three times building up a 'gasket' of sorts and the shop vac hose fit snugly to it.

    The depth stop. Previous reviews and comments on the internets had indicated the depth stop was a pain in the rear to adjust. I did not find that to be the case. Once the nut was loosened, the depth stop moved freely. There was no need to sand the edges.

    The Spring tension. One of the biggest "complaints" I had seen was the strength of the spring which resists the plunging motion. I see this as a minor issue. Yes it is pretty stiff (though I have nothing for comparison). I may cut an inch or so off the spring in the future to remedy this.

    Blade changing. I can see where this could be labeled as a hassle. However, by sticking an allen wrench in the screw for the riving kinve, it makes the blade change fairly easy. It would be nice if there were some "locking mechanism" for the plunging depth to make this a bit easier, but it certainly isn't a major hassle.

    Noise: It is quieter than my old craftsman circular saw. This is not saying much as that circular saw was louder than a jet engine. Probably not as quiet as the festool I've seen on video.

    Wobble on the track: I've seen where this is an issue. The accessory pack includes a little "doo dad" which attaches to the saw plate. It goes over the end of track on the outside and keeps the saw flat on the track. There is a minor inconvenience of starting the saw at the end of the track, so it catches on the lip of the outer edge of the rail. The doo dad will slide in and out if you want to losen the knob each time. I found it easier to just slide it over the end. Doo dad is the technical name in the manual.

    Depth guage. It does not account for the 3/16" depth for the track, so you do have to add that to the depth stop to get an accurate depth to cut completely through.

    Using it:

    I have only used this on MDF, so I cannot comment on tearout or splintering. When I go to use this on ply, I will update.

    Cutting: It cut through MDF like butter. In straight lines. So it did what it was supposed to do.

    Dust Colleciton: MDF is messy, dusty and nasty. The dust collection was what I would term outstanding (particularly when compared to a time where I neglected to hook up the vac and started a cut without it!). There was very little dust left on the workpiece when done.

    Ease of setup- Joining track sections: There is a single bar with 4 set screws. These go on the under side of the track. The bar fits fairly snugly in the slot. It was quite easy to join and align the tracks together. There is a slot for another bar which could help with this, and I may purchase one later.

    Ease of setup- aligning the track for cuts: Much like the videos I've seen for the festool stuf, once you trim the splinter guard, you simply line the edge of the splinter guard to your mark. I did find it easier to align things on longer cuts if one end was clamped down or the saw was weighing the track down on the other end.

    Included clamps: The accessory pack includes two "f" clamps. While not of the higest quality, they do an OK job. You wouldn't want to use this to lock something tightly to the table as they tend to slip when overtightened, but it just needs to be snug. The combination of the rubber strips on the bottom of the track and a little tension from the clamps keeps things aligned.

    Smoothness of travel: Before I ever used it, I put some johnson's paste wax on the tracks to reduce any friction. Very smooth.

    Other thoughts:

    I suppose if I ever had the opportunity to use a festool TS55 (or other named brands), I would instantly see the difference between the two systems. But $1,015 vs. $200 is enough to keep my tool drool at bay for quite some time.

    Having a 26" or 30" track section would have some merrit. 55" of track on a 24" wide piece of material is a bit of overkill. I suppose I could purchase another 55" section and cut it in two smaller lengths of 30" and perhaps an 18" section.

    I have seen elsewhere, where people would take a track saw over a table saw. I say not a chance. The table saw serves a valuable function in my shop that will not be replaced by a track saw.

    Overall value to me: Worth Every penny at $200, and would have been worth every penny at $315+! For sheet goods or anything that I can't imagine using the "old" method of a straight edge clamped to a board and using the base of a circular saw to try and stay true. That method never worked well for me, as I always made mistakes. In fact, it kept me from trying anything like the Ulimate tool stand build or making cabinets (which is on my list of proects for my garage). This kept my mistakes to a minimum (did make one, where I had a brain cramp on track setup).

    For a hobbyist who doesn't have unlimited funds to spend on high end tools, I think the Grizzly track saw is a solid purchase. If you are a pro who depends on your tools to make money, it may not be enough, but that is for someone else to judge.

    • Bratelygt
      #14
      Bratelygt commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Neal - I am looking to pull the trigger on one of the lower cost track saws, very helpful!

      Brad

    • capncarl
      #15
      capncarl commented
      Editing a comment
      Just got my Oct Woodworkers Journal, there is I decent comparison of the track saws there so you can tune up your thoughts on these saws.

    • kaydee
      #16
      kaydee commented
      Editing a comment
      I purchased a brand new Makita track saw two years ago for $250 with a 55" track. It is a dream machine

      - It cuts very smoothly
      - Dust collection is easy
      - Has a very nice canister for storage
      - The blade is really awesome
      - Easy to handle, unlike circular saws
      - It is lot less noisy than my Milwaukee circular saw
      - Glides very smoothly on the track

      It is one of the best purchases I made and for cutting sheets, you can't beat it. I made a another track (8' long) using an aluminum track and some plywood to cut long sheets. It is very easy to trim door bottoms with this tool.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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