Which T Track to buy/use - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 11-23-2019, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Which T Track to buy/use

Hi All, I'm new here so if this is the wrong forum please LMK. I figured the question had more to do with my RAS than anything else.


I want to put a T track in the table in front of my RAS so that I can easily attach feather boards or rollers to hold wood feeding through when I'm using the shaper/moulder attachment, safety first and all... I want the wood held firmly in place.


I went to the local tool supermarket today and there were two options. A Rockler kit at about $70(Cdn) that included a bunch of extra "starter" hardware and then there was just a normal piece of T track for $23.


Is the Rockler T track that much better?


Will I have trouble with compatibility if I buy the regular 1/2" T track?


I'm a bit confused.. what have you got installed in your shop?


JayArr
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-23-2019, 08:19 PM
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I might catch flack here... t track is t track. You can even just route it in some plywood and call it day imo. They make t track bits for not too much money.

For all my extrusion uses, I always use 8020 products. Great service, great products, good price. readily available on amazon via prime.
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-24-2019, 05:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob493 View Post
I might catch flack here... t track is t track. You can even just route it in some plywood and call it day imo. They make t track bits for not too much money.

For all my extrusion uses, I always use 8020 products. Great service, great products, good price. readily available on amazon via prime.
Agree, T Track is T Track.



On Rockler, basic T Track is $8.95. You can add various accessories and pay more.


George




George

Last edited by GeorgeC; 11-24-2019 at 05:52 AM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-24-2019, 09:21 AM
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T track that you can commonly buy from woodworking suppliers in the United States come in two sizes, 1/4 inch or 5/16 inch. I think the Rockler is 5/16.

The reason I mention it is because I made the mistake of having t track in two sizes which makes carry bolts and nuts and knobs in two sizes a necessity. Iím always digging for the right parts.

If you already have t track on anything else in your workshop you might want to standardize on one size.
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-24-2019, 10:55 AM
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Thanks, @JayArr and @TerryQ! I am learning from this thread. I know a little about Rockler's T-track, because it is the closest woodworking store to me, and I have used their stuff.

I do not fully understand TerryQ's comment about the Rockler T-track. He might be referring to the height of the slot inside T-tracks, which can differ, or he might be referring to the thread sizes of the T-Slot bolts and accessories that Rockler sells. I will address both, because I have encountered them both.

T-Track Dimensions

As far as I know, all T-tracks are 3/4 inch wide with a 3/8 inch wide slot inside. T-track internal slot heights can vary, and this may be what TerryQ was referring to. I ran into it when a bolt or nut that fit in one T-track did not fit in another. That can affect the depth of the dado that you cut when you install the T-track, too.

Until this thread, I had not grasped the subtleties of T-track design, shapes, and sizes. I did a web search to learn more, and recommend this article that explains it far better than I can:

https://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/t-track/

T-Slot Bolt, Knob, and Accessory Thread Sizes

TerryQ could be referring to the thread sizes of Rockler's T-slot bolts and the matching knobs and accessories that go with them? It is important to note that they all fit in the same T-track (probably any T-track). The T-bolts (which have an oval head) come in two thread sizes: 1/4 - 20 and 5/16 - 18. It doesn't matter much which one you use. Thinking about it now, maybe the 5/16 ones are considered stronger or "heavy duty." The essential point is that the bolt and the knob (or whatever) must match. Most of mine come from bags of mixed parts, so I have both the 1/4 and the 5/16 stuff, darn it, and Terry is right that it is annoying when you accidentally get a mismatched set. Keeping them sorted by thread size helps.

(Hint: If you go into the store, they will be grouped together by size: 1/4-20, 5/16-18, and a third group to avoid: "3/8-16".)

Note:
You don't need fancy T-bolts and knobs and stuff for everything. Depending on the jig or project, ordinary nuts and bolts and washers work fine, but be sure that they fit in your T-slots first. I can say that Rockler's T-bolts are easier to align and slide into T-slots compared with regular hex bolts, but that is an extravagant luxury, not a necessity. Just make sure your hex bolts and nuts fit your T-slots due to the internal height issue mentioned above.

Hint:
In case it isn't obvious, if you plan to install nuts in the T-slots, then you must be sure the corresponding bolt is the correct length. Too short, and it won't reach or get enough threads into the nut. Too long, and it will dent or cause the nut to bend the T-track itself.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 11-24-2019 at 10:59 AM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-24-2019, 12:29 PM
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If you are using aluminium track I would use the proper bolts with the elongated head rather than T-nuts, as was mentioned, it is very easy to distort the track with a bolt that is too long. BTDT

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #7 of 15 Old 11-24-2019, 03:36 PM
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So I braved the cold and headed out to my workshop to take a pole.

The 5/16 inch hardware that fits Rockler t-tracks will NOT fit in t-tracks designed to hold 1/4 inch hardware, the tracks arenít wide enough.

Besides the Rocker t-track, I have a Rockler fence on a router table that also uses 5/16. I also have a t-track for Kreg pocket hole clamping that uses 5/16 inch hardware.

All my other t-tracks use 1/4 inch hardware. That includes two different tracks from Woodpecker, the Kreg fence for my miter saw, and 3 different Incra fences and hold down t-tracks.
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-25-2019, 11:09 AM
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Being a tightwad, I chose this T-Track in the 48" length. Then I cut my own lengths of it for my DIY router table. I've been quite happy with it, but about all I do with it is mount my feather boards.
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-25-2019, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all, good information. Like Wayneh I just want to be able to mount featherboards.


The Rockler track seems to be shaped differently to hold both theire proprietary hardware as well as a common bolt. It's confusing but there are not only two sizes of threads - 1/4 and 5/16 - but there are two sizes of 'heads' that go into the T track and that's what I was wondering about. Terry has now confirmed my suspicion that if I buy regular T track the oval heads from a Rockler part won't fit.


OK, - with TerryQs response in hand I've downloaded the datasheet from Rockler and it shows that the profile of their track has the top opening at 3/8" so both 1/4" and 5/16" threaded bolts will fit. In the middle of the Rockler T-Track is a groove 9/16" wide, I assume that's for the proprietary Rockler T bolts. In the bottom channel of the Rockler T-Track is a 7/16" groove.



If my reasoning is correct generic T-bolts for generic T-Tracks will have an oval head around 7/16" and Rockler T-bolts will have a width a little less than 9/16". Can anyone with both of these confirm that?


I may be splitting hairs here, ordering the regular T-Track wouldn't mean I can't use Rockler accessories, I would just have to replace the T-bolt to something that fits generic track OR take the Rockler T-bolt over to the bench grinder and shave 1/32" off each side.


FYI - I've also found that Powertec makes T-Track the same as Rockler, you need to make sure you get model 71158.


JayArr

Last edited by JayArr; 11-25-2019 at 03:29 PM.
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-26-2019, 12:30 AM
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There are TONS of aftermarket options available for all kinds of t track. Some proprietary solutions exist, but I find them overpriced and perform exactly the same as any.

Amazon has tons of stuff.
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-27-2019, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Well this all became a mute point since Rockler just put their two foot sections of T-track on sale half price.



Only on the two foot sections but for featherboards that's OK I bought four of them at $8.99 ea and can place them in two rows on the RAS table so that I can hold molding being shaped or large stock being ripped down.


Thanks all, it's been a great education.
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post #12 of 15 Old 11-27-2019, 06:47 AM
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I've bought Orange Aluminum t-track off of Amazon and Ebay. Last time I just bought a case of 4' lengths.



https://www.orangealuminum.com/t-tra...g-systems.html

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post #13 of 15 Old 11-28-2019, 08:47 PM
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Rockler & Orange seem to be identical and the most compatible format. This matters because they allow you to use common bolts, which are the cheapest and most common option.

As you’ve found, Orange are normally one of the least expensive, but Rockler is a steal when on sale.

With the RAS, be sure to use brass screws + construction adhesive to mount them, just in case you touch it with the blade. On my RAS, I put my feather board on a piece of 1/4” - 3/8” plywood that’s most of the width of the table and then it can be clamped in place outside of the path of the workpiece. You can do the same thing with a batten that’s gets clamped along each edge of the table.

My preferred kickback solution is to use Board Buddies 1-direction wheels. These get mounted to a thickened/built up rip fence and hold the workpiece both down AND tight against the fence.
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-30-2019, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Scurvy,



Good advice on the brass screws and construction adhesive. I bought four, two foot lengths, of the Rockler T-Track and have a three foot RAS table so I should be able to cut to length and put two rows embedded in the table, the front row will allow the featherboards to hold up close to the fence for shaping/moulding trim pieces, I plan to make moulding out of 1/2" by 3" rough stock. The rear row will allow the feather boards to hold larger stock (6"-12") in place when ripping it down, I will buy the poplar in 3" x 12" x 10 foot slabs rip it down myself and then run the moulder shaper head to finish it.



My purpose isn't to prevent kickback it's pressure against the fence. I've got the proper guard with a splitter and a really nice thin kerf Freud blade with the proper -5 degree hook and haven't had any problems with kickback since. When I used regular table saw blades the RAS would try to kick back but not since I bought the correct blade. I'll take a look at the board buddies you suggest.


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post #15 of 15 Old 12-01-2019, 02:04 AM
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For everything you ever wanted to know about the RAS and more, the folks over at the DeWalt RAS Forum are the absolute tops. Many of the members, myself included, have the RAS, and not the tablesaw, as the centerpiece tool in their shops.

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-01-2019 at 07:40 AM. Reason: forum link removed
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