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What Is a Track Saw?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A track saw is a type of power tool used for cutting wood. The saw itself functions similarly to a circular saw, as a round blade rotates at a high speed to make the cut. The saw runs on an aluminum track that is laid on the piece to be cut; this track ensures the track saw runs perfectly straight along the length of the wood, and since the blade itself is set so close to the edge of the track, the wood is less likely to splinter when cut.

The track itself is usually very lightweight. It features grip tape or some other gripping material secured to the bottom of the track to ensure the track does not move while the track saw is running along it. This eliminates the need for additional clamps to secure the track in place, though in some applications, the track may still need to be clamped to ensure track saw stability during the cut. The top of the track features a guide slot or rail on which the saw itself will rest. This rail is a low-friction rail that will allow the saw to slide smoothly along the track in a straight line.

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The track saw will feel and sometimes look exactly like a circular saw, with one major difference: the bottom of the saw is designed to work specifically in conjunction with the track, so it will be slotted to work with the low-friction rail on the track. The blade will also be in a different position in relation to the body of the track saw; it is mounted in such a way that it will line up with the edge of the track, ensuring that the cut is made wherever the edge of the track is laid. This allows the woodworker to see where the cut will be before he begins to make the cut itself. This can save time and wasted materials.

Some models of the track saw will feature a dust collection system. This will help keep the expulsion of sawdust into the air to a minimum. Sawdust can be harmful when it makes contact with the eyes, and when it is breathed in, so the sawdust will be collected from the cut and sucked in through a dust collection system. Very often a bag is attached to the dust collection system to hold onto the dust until it is ready to be disposed of.

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