I’m wondering if anyone has bought a track saw from eurekazone.com? I see dewalt and festool has similar items but they got some nifty extras I’ve never seen before. I’m just wondering which route i should go. Thanks for the advice ahead of time.
Of the 14 things you could use it for, it did only one really well... crosscut. I could go on and list the other cpabilities, but since I own 5 of the them I'll just leave it to you to trust me. I love the 12" Craftsman I have setup for 90 degree cross cuts.
A track saw is also touted as being able to rip, crosscut and make many cuts like no other machine. I owned the finest Festool TS75 and all the track and tables money could buy for about a year, and never used it one time because there were other better ways to make the cuts I needed with my other saws. I sold it all for slightly less than what I paid to a young remodeling contractor who needed the portability. Unless you are moving the saw about to various sites and doing "onsite" cabinetry and shelving, a track saw is not a "better" idea than a table saw.
There is a variation which is used in cabinet saws and at the Home Depot stores to break down sheet goods like plywood into smaller pieces for transport or assembly. It's called a "panel saw" and they come in 2 types, the difference is how you can rip the plywood down the length. The high end saws have a overhead bearing assembly that carries the vertical arm, a 2 axis saw. The cheaper saws have only a vertical bearing assembly for cross cutting and you have to push the entire sheet horizontally for ripping. For this reason they are not as accurate as a 2 axis. I built my own 2 axis panel saw and it turned out quite well. See My Photos.
Finally, a sliding fence table saw is what some shops consider the ultimate table saw and cost between $8,000 and $20,000. Most home shops don't have the need or the budget for these, but wouldn't turn one down either. Instead we end up building surrounds on our small table saws OR bolting several together, as I have done. IT ain't quite the same as a full blown slider, but it fills the bill in other ways. With several saw motors, blade changes are seldom needed, and table size is never an issue, but the unit does take a lot of floor space.
Don't get caught up in all the "show business" around a different sawing concept which may disappoint in the end. Table saws have been they way they are for several hundred years, because they work just fine. :|
I have quite a few of EurekaZone's products. It started many years ago when I struggled to cut plywood. My small Skill table saw was a nightmare to use. Handling a full sheet of plywood on a friend's larger table saw wasn't much better. When I tried to use a circular saw I had no skill at keeping the cut straight. Then I came upon the EurekaZone track saw. I ordered two tracks and an EZ-Ready Hitachi saw (with the base pre-installed). The results were amazing. Complete control, easy to place, and very clean cuts. I was sold. Something to note ... the slot in which the connectors slide has a dovetail shape, so when you tighten the connectors they are self-aligning. They do a great job when connecting tracks together for longer runs. The thin track (everyone but EurekaZone) users seem to purchase a 4+ foot track and another 8+ foot track for longer cuts - I assume because the tracks don't connect well. Seems odd to me.
I should say that I am very much an ameteur woodworker. Most of my work to date has been on home maintenance, and finishing the inside of our horse barn (loft, stalls, tack room, ...). I plan to do more fine woodworking in the future (empty nest).
I bought their EZ Square and a shorter track, and used that to cut a bazillion cuts across sheets of plywood needed for bat houses that my son was making as an Eagle Scout project. The EZ Square made it ... well ... so easy.
Since then I've purchased:
--The Super Smart Router Kit (SSRK), which does exactly what the videos show. I used their video to mount a Bosch plunge router base on it (the video happened to have used the same router I'd purchased for it). I'm still learning how to make the most of it. So far nothing fancy yet. I purchased a small Bosch router table too, but I read more and more stories of injuries with those. I'm not abandoning it yet, but I hope I can learn to use the SSRK in its place. BTW, I recently read an article on-line about someone who got their fingers mangled using a Bosch Colt - because the recommended usage puts fingers right next to the bit. I also have a Colt and am now thinking about mounting it on its own SSRK base for lighter work.
--The Universal Edge Guide (UEG), which is used to rip lengths of plywood in very repeatable widths - the thing really works! I had to replace the original saw base with a modern version of the base that works with the UEG, and found the process pretty simple. I had purchased the repeaters, but honestly I think the UEG is a better easier approach. Oh, one thing I noticed about the Hitachi saw is that on-track it just barely does not cut through a 2x4 (the 1.5 inch depth). I had to cut the remainder with a knife. That depth of cut is something to watch when selecting a saw. Off the rail (with the UEG) this is not an issue.
--Somewhat recently I had the luxury of purchasing a gently used EZ-One Woodworking Center (through an add on EurekaZone's forum) that came with the Makita saw - which takes care of my 1.5" depth of cut issue. Now my Hitachi saw is dedicated to use with the UEG. I wish I'd purchased one sooner. So much easier and faster than using the tracks, though I still use the tracks, depending upon what my needs are. At first I wondered if I'd wasted my money on the tracks, but like I said, I still use them (makes cutting off the ends of deck boards and stacked 2x stall walls very easy and accurate! (I bought a length of "connector extrusion" to be able to attach the end of the track to a flat wood wall). It takes some out-of-the-box thinking to make the most of the products, but not nearly so many jigs (table saws seem to need LOTS of jigs).
--Almost forgot ... I also bought the clamp kit that allows me to use the tracks to rip very narrow rips. With the EZ-One this will only be needed for long rips - longer than I can do on the EZ-One. I haven't needed to use it yet, but its pretty straight forward and a must have for ripping really narrow wood - without a table saw.
I've made the choice NOT to buy a new table saw - or continue using my old Skil table saw - because of the safety issues with them. I'll use a sliding compound miter saw to do crosscuts - although the EZ-One can do that easily. Many woodworkers will probably scoff at my concern about table saw dangers, but people keep popping up on woodworking forums with mangled fingers and serious sounding kickback injuries. So I've made my choice.
Watch the videos on youtube. I think they show the features pretty well. I wish they'd have made videos covering how their tools are used for cabinet making and similar activities - from beginning to end - if you get my meaning. If you have any questions feel free to post them on EurekaZone's forum at http://tracksawforum.com/ Some really brilliant experienced people there who are happy to help. Heck, you probably can even call EurekaZone and talk to Dino - the founder - himself. It's a small company based in Florida - not a giant corporation manufacturing in China.
By the way, EurekaZone products seem to get ripped on most forums, so not sure if that will follow my post. Maybe I'm an idiot for liking them, but for what it's worth I'm just a very happy user of the products and think I'm getting my money's worth.
I have a Festool tracksaw and love it. Its main use is cutting up sheet goods. When I am building cabinets, it makes quick work of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood. I have a full shop of floor model tools and just about everything else. It's like any other specialty tool, if you have a use for it, fine. If you don't, don't buy it.
I woke up this morning thinking about my earlier post and realizing that I hadn't talked about the weaknesses in the EurekaZone products - at least the ones I know of.
Tracks - Hmmm, I guess people feel that the dust collection for the EZ-Ready saw can't be as good as the Festool or other fully hooded saws. That makes sense, but hasn't been an issue for me. As I get older I do think about dust collection more. The EZ track users usually clamp down the tracks rather than relying on friction - not sure if that is an negative. They just don't want to take a chance of movement. To me it makes sense.
Many people - including users - say that the biggest weakness of the track system is when making bevel cuts - with the blade angled along the length of the guide. The issue is that on a circular saw, when you tilt the blade for a bevel cut the location where the blade touches the wood moves toward the track edge. To deal with that the EZ track actually has two raised ridges along the length of the track. One is for 90 degree cuts, and the other sets the track over for bevel cuts. Most users remove the anti-chip edge (ACE) before making the bevel cuts and they say that because of the angle the bevel cuts are actually fairly clean without the ACE. I myself have not had to do bevel cuts on my tracks, so I have no first-hand experience on that.
On the tracksaw.com forum there are people who have said that the "springiness" of the ACE makes it inaccurate while placing the track to the desired cut line, but I simply have not found that issue. Some have said that with one side's ACE cut (by the saw blade) and the other side's ACE not cut that the rail sits slightly angled, but again, I've just don't see the issue. It may be that I've not yet done cabinet-making which demands PERFECT cuts. It would seem easy enough to cut both sides' ACEs to fix this.
Bevel cuts on the EZ-One work the very same way. The EZ-One is designed such that during the cut you actually make a shallow cut through the top of the sliding cross rails - it doesn't harm them or the blade (its aluminum). But when you do the bevel cuts it will make a bigger cut groove in the rails. It appears that many EZ-One users make all 90 degree cuts on the right side of the rail (while standing on the fence end) and make all the bevel cuts on the left side of the rail. Again, they usually remove the ACE when bevel cutting. Oh, and some have found that there is a risk of actually cutting one of the small arms that is part of the bridge system - there is a pair on each end of the rail. The solution seems to be to move the bridge-rail connectors so the rail sits a bit farther to the right. Again, I've not needed to do that yet, but it looks pretty simple. Dino has posted that he has been developing a second generation EZ-One that removes many of these bevel cut issues, but it's not been released yet. He seems pretty devoted to helping his tool owners to upgrade their equipment, so I don't feel like I'll be left in the dust with an old tool. It seems reasonable that I'd have to pay a bit if I choose to do the upgrade - whatever it turns out to be - only fair.
When you change out circular saw blades you should replace the track anti-chip edges and the saw base insert (<$10 each). This is to customize the anti-chip zero clearance to each blade. I've not replaced a blade yet. I've only cut the edge on one side of my tracks.
Universal Edge Guide - The biggest issue people have is that the measurement scale on the UEG arms can be slightly off calibration. Dino says that they've developed and will be coming out with a modified base-arm connector that will solve this issue for users. Right now it's easy enough and safer to just measure the distances directly. Some people want some kind of system to ensure that the two arm distances from the blade are always the same - that the blade is always exactly parallel to the orange guide tube, but I think that would be a very complex mechanism and would drive the price way up. I'm OK with making two measurements.
I had worried about the UEG veering off a bit during the cut, but there is a "fin" in the bottom of the saw base that helps prevent the wander and helps prevents kickback, so the veering has not been an issue for me.
EZ Smart Miter Square - This is the more recent version of my EZ Smart Square. It allows you to set it to angles. Users on the forum have commented that between uses it can go out of square. I'm not sure why, it seems to be a pretty robust design. I can't comment, my older Square stays true between uses.
If you get the EZ-One Woodworking Center (yes, a big investment, but a very nice tool!!), then you really don't need additional rails or the Miter Square, unless you'll want to do very long rips - then you'll need a long set of tracks, and extra set of EZ Smart clamps (the kind you use with the rail) and the EZ Smart clamp upgrade kit that allows you to clamp the track right to the edge of the cut - to clamp the rail to, for example, the side of an 8 foot 2x4.
By the way, the EZ-One Woodworking Center is kind of funny when it ships. It is basically a pile of extrusions with a few screws/bolts and the four corner pieces and two bridge ends. It looks too simple - made me laugh a bit, but it assembles into a great tool.
Super Smart Router Kit - I think this is the tool that I find hardest to think out-of-the-box with. It's more my brain than a fault of the tool. One of its slick features is that you can pretty easily cut a custom width dado using a piece of the dado-width material as a template - while using a straight router bit that is smaller than the dado cut width (necessary because plywood is never exactly 1/2" or 3/4", or .... This is done using the limit stops. You set one stop to cut along one edge, and then adjust the other stop in a particular way to make the exact correct dado width. I'll try to attach a PDF I made as a reminder for me when I do that. It'll show what I mean.
I honestly can't think of any real negatives for he SSRK. It's a pretty straight forward tool.
Repeaters - These are an older tool that have pretty much been replaced by the UEG. They are a bit balky and awkward to use. Some people say that there is flex in the system, but I don't see it. The flipping end pieces look flimsy, but they are actually pretty solid in use.
Smart Table - I didn't mention in the last post that I also have an EZ Smart table. It is basically a 2'x4' sheet of 3/4" plywood on which there are rotating and sliding 1x4's that act as sacrificial cut surfaces while still having room to place rail clamps. It looks awkward but works really well. You can build your own with, but a homemade version likely won't have the sliding feature, so it will be bigger. Many other folks just use a sheet of rigid foam - the kind you put in basement walls and such - as a sacrificial cut surface. This table is no longer offered. They recently sold a "multi-function table" or something like that which was similar, but right now their website doesn't list those. I think they were using the post-hurricane rebuilding time to roll out some new products and It think they are in a bit of transition. Remember, they are a small business.
Speaking of which, some people worry that such a small business will go belly-up and leave them with no support. But I honestly don't worry about that. If EurekaZone went out of business tomorrow it simply wouldn't affect me now that I have the tools I want. The only real impact is not being able to buy replacement ACEs and base inserts for when I replace saw blades. I've actually been thinking about pre-buying a little stock of those as insurance, but in the 8 or so years I've had the rails I'm yet to replace blades, so I don't think I need a very big insurance policy (if you get my metaphor). I'd probably be smart to do so.
By the way, this stuff is TOUGH. Its beefy extruded aluminum - the tracks are like an I-beam (rumor is Dino used a pair to load is Fiat into a trailer), while the other makers' tacks are a single layer. The plastic they use is high density poly-something (UHMW or something like that - can't remember the exact name). It isn't the kind of plastic that might crack over time. It is solid stuff. It all will outlive you most likely, though if you accidentally cut through it - you can - but then again it won't explode your cutting tools either. My original tracks - 8 or so years old - look like they did the day I bought them (stored in my midwest garage). I've thought about applying some Johnson's paste wax, but have yet to do it.
My suggestion would be to start with a 64" rail system (with ACE, the base, and two clamps) and a Universal Edge Guide, and see how it goes. Buy an EZ-Ready saw if you want them to install the base - it.s pretty easy to calculate their fee for installation - I think last time I looked it was about $50. If you want to be able to do an 8' cut, then add a 48" or 56" rail and the two connectors. I'm not a fan of the 56" rail, since I think you'll want a bigger "launch pad" to place the saw before the cut.
If you need to do dados and rabbets, then get the Super Smart Routing Kit (on BIG sale right now 25% off), your own router (I like my Bosch 1617 - EZ tends to sell the Hitachi) and a straight router bit smaller than your dado/rabbet width. Make sure you get the extra set of Y-limit stops.
I honestly think having a good 10" miter saw in addition to the EZ tools makes sense. Get a sliding version if you'll need to cut wide stock.
Sorry for the length here. I type very fast, so I can go on. I used to compete with my twin sister during our high school typing class. Join the tracksawforum.com forum and ask questions of you have more. I've told you about all I know. Happy woodworking!!!
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