As with most power tools you usually get what you pay for. While every now and then,
you might find a simple and inexpensive solution, rarely will you find a quality
built tool at a discount price. How many times have you had to buy another tool,
because you bought cheap instead of buying right? Let's face it… a quality tool,
built with quality materials will cost you more than you might want to pay initially.
But, the good news is that the difference in what you paid up front should end up
saving you more money in the long-run.
Good design, tight tolerances, use of quality materials, and uncompromising attention
to detail result in a tool that you can enjoy for many years. Saws
should use top quality motor bearings to support the shaft and extend the useful
service life of the tool. All moving parts should operate smoothly and should be
adjusted easily. Tight tolerances and a smooth plunging action are good indicators
of the quality of the tool.
When used with a quality guide rail, track saws are hard to beat for straight cuts.
The guide strip on the edge of the rail acts as a zero clearance surface, and can
be used to place the saw blade exactly on the cut line. Being able to maintain an
accurate cut line is important regardless of the bevel angle of the saw. A good
plunge cut track saw will use a pivoting mechanism to ensure that the cut line stays exactly on the
edge of the guide rail regardless of the saw's bevel angle setting.
The rails should be strong, light, and easy to adjust, and should come in a wide
assortment of lengths with the ability to connect two or more to create custom lengths.
Thin anti-slip bottom strips, and an easy way to clamp the rail down for added safety
should be high priorities, as this will improve the cutting results significantly.
Base plate adjustments should be easy to adjust, so that there is zero-play in the
system, and tool-less adjustment knobs will make set-up easier.
When working with expensive materials like cabinet grade veneered plywood or MDF,
it is important to have cuts that leave splinter-free edges without burn marks to
eliminate re-work or to minimize the amount of time spent cleaning up the cut line.
Good results depend on a number of factors like tool design, choice of blade, saw
blade speed, and material support. A high quality track saw and rail system will
give consistent splinter-free cuts year after year.
Here are a few features that will help ensure high quality cuts. Look for easy tool-free
saw to guide rail adjustments that ensure zero-play between the two. For the best
quality cuts, use a system that has splinter guards on both sides of the blade (one
on the rail, and one on the saw.) MMC electronics and a variable speed setting will
ensure that a consistent and correct blade speed is used for the material being
cut. A blade to base adjustment gives you the ability to adjust the blades position
relative to the base, and riving knife.