Track Saw

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Popular Woodworking track saw review

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  • scoring feature
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Makita SP6000J1

  • 118" Guide Rail 194367-7 SP6000K,SP6000J
  • 55" Guide Rail 194368-5 SP6000K,SP6000J
  • Miter Guide Set 194433-0
  • Router Guide Rail Adaptor Set 194579-2
  • Rip Fence 165447-6
  • Guide Rail Connectors P-45777

Makita Product Page 6-1/2” Plunge Circular Saw, with Stackable Tool Case

Makita Product Page P-45777 Guide Rail Connector

The new P-45777 Guide Rail Connector can be used to connect two guide rails together. For best results, it is recommended to use one 2-pc kit on the bottom of the rail and another 2-pc kit on the top of the rail (The kit includes only one set).

Makita Product Page 194385-5 A Guide Set (2 clamps)

194385-5 A Guide Set (2 clamps) to hold guide rails or material firmly in place.

$404 at amazon prime Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw with Guide Rail


  • 6-1/2" 48T Carbide-Tipped Saw Blade (B-07353)
  • Hex Wrench (783203-8)
  • 55" Guide Rail (194368-5)
  • Stackable Tool Case (00000)

Makita 194385-5 Clamper Set $39.50 at amazon prime

$30.42 at toolbarn

Amazon Review G. Conner

3 years & still great, detailed comparisons to other tracks saws

I’ve been using this for three years now and it still works perfectly. It came out of the box in perfect adjustment and I’ve never had to adjust it for square. It just stays perfect. I’ve used this enough to go through one set of brushes. They cost $8 dollars a pair and are available online or from any local Makita service-center. It’s easy to change brushes and only takes two minutes.

Dust collection is pretty good, but like other track saws, it can be improved by taping the side hole closed. The blade is exposed a bit on the left side too, but other than a finicky accordion-style contraption, I can’t find an easy way to block that opening. Besides, some air must enter the metal guard in order for air to flow through into the hose. So, a piece of tape over the right-side hole is a quick easy improvement to dust collection. Between the left-side opening and the slot for the spinning blade, there is plenty of airflow.

Considering the many projects I got done faster, easier, with less dust and hassle; this thing paid for itself the first summer, MANY times over! (Six fences, three privacy screens, two staircases, numerous doors, abundant outdoor furniture a garage-shop remodel and an old barn rehab!) I can’t count the number of little jobs where it was MUCH more convenient to carry this little tool to the work, instead of taking the work to my table saws.

I get nice straight clean cuts. It has plenty of power for 3/4 plywood or 6/4 solid timber. Hardwoods cut slower, but just as cleanly. All Track-guided saws are great for straight-lining a board; much easier than using a table saw with a special jig. Even homemade guides are better than nothing.

Reliability… No major problems, but two small things: One, the little button on the scoring knob fell off. I found it and epoxied it back into place. Frankly, I do not like the scoring feature of this or the Mafell. The Mafell is precision engineered and it operates perfectly. This one operates well too, but the tolerances are not nearly so fine. But that doesn’t matter. The scoring function moves the blade slightly to the right for the scoring cut, then you make another cut ( at full depth) to finish the cut.

My contention is that this is an unnecessary feature. Whenever I have a crucial cut in difficult plywood ( or melamine) I adjust the depth to a VERY shallow cut (1mm) and score the line BACKWARDS. Then I set the depth to finish the cut FORWARDS as normal. That does a better job than these scoring features and doesn’t leave that tiny lip. So, even though this saw has the same type of feature that the Uber Premium Mafell has, I never use it.

BTW, that reverse scoring cut trick works for ANY circular saw, assuming you use some kind of track, even homemade! I’ve been using that trick since 1978 and it worked just as well with my old worm drive Skillsaw and homemade guides.

One other small issue… Once, I had a very minor kickback which was caused by too much dust under the track. When fine dust accumulates under the track, the gripping pads don’t grip as well. That caused the track to shift slightly just as I caught a knot in soft pine. I learned to keep the track cleaner, and have had no problems since. That is not unique to this Makita. ALL track-saw tracks will slip if they are not clean enough. So, on critical cuts ( like trimming doors) I also use (DeWalt) clamps for insurance.

Occasionally, I’ll get a little burning with this and the Festool 55. That may be caused by me rushing and pushing the saws too hard, and it occurs more often with sugary maple or sappy pine. So long as I go slowly, keep the track-belly clean and use clamps, I get perfect cuts every time. No matter what tool you use, you always must consider the type of wood you are cutting. This phenomenon is more obvious to those of us who grew up with hand-tools, since we learn early to feel differences between wood species.

I’ve used the little Festool saw like this one ( the 55) quite a bit and the larger festool (75) track-saw some too. This cuts just as cleanly as Festool, but it does not have the riving knife. If you work with a lot of thick solid wood, then a riving knife is a good thing since it helps prevent tensions in the wood from grabbing the blade. With manufactured wood products like plywood, OSB or MDF, the riving knife is superfluous.

This saw , the DeWalt and the Festool 55 are small. (6.5 inch, with about 1 & 3/4 depth at 90 degrees) I often like to cut TWO sheets of plywood at once to insure perfectly uniform dimensions on opposing carcass faces. This and all the other small saws will do that; Just remember to use clamps for stability and go a little slower to prevent scorching the wood.

Even the Festool 75 is not really big enough for much timber-framing. You can make initial guide-cuts for cheeks and tenons, but often need to finish the cut with hand-saws, recip-saws and then plane the joints true. To really cut BIG JOINTS in one pass, you need something larger than the festool 75 and MUCH larger than the others. ( like the awsome Mafell portable band-saw!)

I found my Makita depth adjustments to be spot on.

Tips… The accuracy of depth adjustments depends largely on the flatness of your cutting surface. If you use a good flat surface ( like a hollow-core door or other torsion box) you will have accuracy good enough to make tight dados and rabbets. If you cut on crooked 2x4’s on a pair of rickety sawhorses, the saw will follow those hills and valleys somewhat, so depth precision is compromised.

I made my own three-legged sawhorses, ( very stable!) put a light hollow core door on those, and a piece of rigid foam atop the door. That surface is plenty flat! It’s also cheap, lightweight and easy to move. So there’s another useful tip you can use. In forty years or carpentry, I’ve never found any sawhorse better than homemade 3-legged types. I use shims to make the door level and clamps to hold that sucker in place. Try that and you’ll see your depth-of-cut accuracy can rival a table saw for joinery cuts no matter what saw or guide you choose!

Like all these saws, they use metric scales, so you might need to get used to that. The angle-detents are good too; at least the 90 and 45 are. I haven’t had to use the 22.5 degree yet.

I recommend using wax on the base of the saw and the top of the guide-rail. Glides like ice! That’s helpful for ALL track saws and homemade cutting guides too.

Keep the bottom of the track clean so it stays put! Also, I really like DeWalt clamps which fit the Makita track perfectly, adjust faster and fit inside the Makita sys-box neatly. They operate like Irwin quik-clamps, but have the angled “L” to fit the Makita track. The festool and other twist-clamps are a clumsy nuisance. The Festool one-handed quick-clamps are nice, but WAY overpriced. Get the DeWalt clamps if you buy this saw.

While I’m comparing features… Would you like to know the differences between this and the other track-saws? I’ve used almost all of them so if you want some comparison info, here it is.

Except for the Sheppach (which I have not even seen, much less used) and the Bosch track-saw ( which is not available in the USA) I HAVE used all the other big brands: Festool 55 & 75, DeWalt and several Mafell track-saws. They are all good, but I chose this one for my personal use.

Mafell is the best by a large margin, and it should be considering that it is even more expensive than Festool. The Mafell has better dust collection, better tracks, more power, easier & faster blade changes. Mafell has better angle-guides that are so fast and easy to use you’d cry. Mafell’s bevel lock is better too, one-knob instead of two. It still locks at both ends, but a steel rod connects both locks so only one knob is needed. Everything about the Mafell saws is just easier, faster, stronger, more accurate, more robust. The first time you use a Mafell tool, you FEEL, HEAR and SEE the difference.

(ALL of their tools are incredible! For instance, Mafell makes a portable band-saw that cuts faster and cleaner than the Mini-Max and Laguna stationary band-saws. It can cut a perfect-90-degree tenon on an 8 inch beam in less than a minute. It can do decorative corbels in under two minutes. No, I am not exaggerating. You can see proof of this for yourself on YouTube! Pro-timber framers will understand what an incredible statement that is! Yet, it is true. Go search YouTube for “Mafell portable band saw, timber frame.” You can find demos of other Mafell tools too, including their original version of a small track saw like this makita and others.)

Forgetting Mafell for a moment, because it is in another echelon, I’ll focus on these other main brands..

The DeWalt, Festool and this Makita all cut just as cleanly. They all cut better with premium blades. All these saws have electronic speed control and soft start. That makes them sound “funny” to a guy like me who grew up with the instant high-torque of worm-drive skillsaws. You’ll get used to the sound quickly though and soon learn to appreciate the soft-start no matter which saw you get.

One unique feature of the Dewalt track system is that it has TWO usable edges; so DeWalt’s saw can be used in both directions ( left-or-right) AND you don’t have to stop and replace the edge-strip when it gets fubar. You can just flip the track around and keep working. That’s a UNIQUE THING I like most about the DeWalt saw. I also like their track-clamps better than all others.

The ONLY potentially important feature this Makita does not have is the riving knife.

Since I work with engineered lumber or high-quality air-dried lumber, i seldom encounter any internal stresses that cause kickbacks; so I do not need a riving knife.

I also am frugal and gave up professional carpentry twenty-five years ago, so I do not need the most expensive tools, nor do I get to deduct depreciation. So I can’t justify the extra expense for the finest tools. But I love fine tools! If I won the lottery, I’d buy one of everything Mafell makes, except for the sanders. I’d buy all the Festool ROTEX sanders because they are so versatile. Having ONE TOOL that does several different jobs could actually save money and is definitely more convenient. Also their DOMINO machine is unique. Although expensive, the time savings and convenience for those two festool items are probably worth it for all but the most penurious DIY’ers. I offer those thoughts to show my perspective and that I am neither a Festool Fanboy nor a totall cheap-skate. There is a difference between “cheap” and “frugal.” I’m mostly frugal, but seldom cheap.

Other considerations… Festool and Mafell are made in Germany. DeWalt’s saw is made in Taiwan then assembled in Mexico. This Makita is made in Great Britain, or at least mine was.

Conclusions… Therefore, if you are on a budget but still want the benefits of a track-saw and use good wood or plywood, I think this is the saw to get. I got it and have zero regret, but I work almost exclusively with plywood and slowly kiln dried timbers. If you work with wet wood, (like mass-produced, quickly kiln-dried lumber sold at home-centers) you might need one of the other saws with a riving knife.

No matter which saw you choose, get a good blade. The blade that comes with this is pretty good, but not as good as Festool and nowhere near Mafell’s precision blades. Freud diablo blades, Irwin’s new line blades, Bosch blades are all good. For value and performance, I prefer Freud blades. I wish Forrest would start making blades for these little saws! I’d buy one in a heartbeat!

If you plan to do large-scale work like timber framing, then you will need ( at least) the Festool 75, or if you can afford it and just want ‘the best,” get one of the LARGE MAFELL saws. Even the venerable BIG FOOT or Makita beam saw is no match for Mafell’s. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Big Foot, but the first time I used that Mafell on a timber frame building, it was like night and day. The Big Foot is like an American Muscle car. The comparable Mafell saws were like Ferraris.

For DEEP cuts in larger beams and wet wood, the riving knife is essential and the extra depth-of-cut is necessary. I’ve used Mafell’s BIG circ-saws that can cut whole 6-inch beams in one pass. They are powerful monsters, but behave with a polite precision befitting such a premium teutonic tool. Those need 220v to operate anyway, so unless you are a pro timber-framer with a strong generator, you probably don’t need Maffel.

For professional timber framers, there is nothing that competes with Mafell’s power and precision.

Dewalt has the unique double-sided track.

DIY’ers, home-owners and even some pros can get 95% of what the other saws deliver at half the price (or less) with this fine tool. You just pay less.

Based on my experience, I chose this saw for my DIY, home-repair needs. I also got the DeWalt clamps which work great with makita’s tracks.

If I was still young enough to do more timber framing and a whole lot richer richer, I’d get the Mafell.

Festool has the best integrated system approach, and that can make many jobs more convenient, but that also means you’re stuck with their expensive accessories… at least if you believe their marketing hype. I’m glad to see people are making their own MFT table tops and other accessories now. There are numerous blogs and videos about making your own tracks, edge guides, dust collection, etc. So don’t let the exorbitant cost of accessories sway you from getting the brand you like with the features you need.

The DeWalt track saw is also good, but still way overpriced, especially for an Asian / Mexican import.

If you were to buy a standard sidewinder, I think the DW364 and DW384 are the best choices mainly because of their unique and exclusive parallel adjustment feature.

If I got another worm drive, I’d stick with Makita’s Hypoid magnesium model. It does not require frequent oiling like all other worm drives. The magnesium base is better than the bendable steel base. I WISH I still had my old American-made Skilsaw worm-drive, but that was stolen long ago and the new ones suck compared to the old ones. ( I guess that tells you how old I am! When was the last time YOU saw ANY American made circ saw?)

All things considered, I thought this Makita was the best value in a track saw. So far, it has proven itself VERY well and I am still happy with the purchase. Hope all that prattle helps you make the right choice for your needs!

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118” Guide Rail 194367-7 SP6000K,SP6000J