DEWALT TrackSaw – Model DWS520K
Over the last 6 months I’ve been testing DEWALT’s DWS520K TrackSaw (the corded version). For those of you not familiar with the TrackSaw I like to describe it as a multi-purpose saw that has the precision of a table saw, the flexibility of a circular saw and the abilities of a panel saw.
For me there are a couple of reasons that the DEWALT TrackSaw was appealing. One of the biggest reasons for me is the fact that my workshop is located on the 2nd floor of my garage. The TrackSaw allows me to cut sheet goods down to more manageable sizes to bring up to the shop. Sure I could do that with a circular saw but not nearly as precise or neat. Lastly the TrackSaw also allows me to make cuts inside finished homes without making a huge mess. Tasks like under-cutting doors and cutting panels out of cabinets are a piece of cake with the TrackSaw.
DEWALT TrackSaw Features and Specifications
- Zero clearance track saw cutting system delivers precise, straight, splinter-free cuts
- For use with track saw dual-edged tracks for perfectly straight cuts in both directions
- On-track cut depth: 2-1/8 (54mm) at 90 degree , 1-5/8-inch (41mm) at 45 degree ; depth scale accurately indicates exact depth of cut accounting for track thickness
- 12A, 1300W motor effortlessly powers through hard woods up to 2-1/8-inch thick
- Continuous Anti-Kickback mechanism and riving knife prevent kickback when engaged; Low profile blade guard allows saw to be used in confined spaces
- Blade: 6-1/2” 44T ATB
- Dust Management: Universal 1-1/4” Port
- Tool Weight with Blade: 12 lbs
Testing the DEWALT TrackSaw
Several years ago the folks at Festool came out with Plunge Cut Circular Saws and they quickly became all the rage. So when DEWALT came out with their TrackSaw I was really excited to see how it stacked up and better yet how well it performed. Over the last six months I’ve used my TrackSaw for numerous projects including cutting lots of sheet goods while building my new workshop (without moving my tablesaw into the space to save room).
I’ve been extremely pleased with both it’s performance and functionality. The TrackSaw allows me to cut down sheet goods with tablesaw precision and the flexibility of my regular circular saw.
The heart and sole of the TrackSaw is the track guide system that easily clamps to your work piece. As you can see in the photo above the track has a slot located on the bottom which allows the specially designed clamps to lock into it. You slide the clamp along the bottom of the clamp until it reaches the workpiece then clamp it in place tightly. The clamping system works wonderfully and I wouldn’t change a thing!
You can get the track in 3 different sizes including: 46″, 59″ or 102″. You can also connect multiple tracks together with an optional track connector.
The next feature of the TrackSaw that really completes the “WOW” for me is the way the blade plunges down from the housing and makes incredibly smooth cuts. As you can see in the photo above the blade drops down out of the housing and cuts tight to a rubber edge that’s attached to the track. When you first use the track you actually cut the rubber guide so that it’s perfectly aligned with the blade.
If you let the saw come up to full speed before beginning the plunge it has plenty of power to cut into thick material without bogging down.
One major difference between the TrackSaw and a normal circular saw is the direction of blade rotation. If you look closely at the photo you’ll see the teeth are running in the opposite direction than a normal saw. Also, behind the blade is a spring loaded riving knife that helps prevent kickback. Ultimately this rotation and riving knife setup makes the TrackSaw closely emulate what a tablesaw does.
The dust collection system on the TrackSaw is really great. The saw comes with a universal 1-1/4″ dust port which you can swivel around 360 degrees to get the house out of the way. When connected to a standard shopvac the TrackSaw is almost completely dust free. DEWALT claims 90% dust extraction but I felt it was even better than that.
Undercutting / Cutting Close To Obstructions
One of the unique features about the track saws is the ability to get the blade close to another surface. Whether you’re undercutting a door or cutting flooring near a wall the TrackSaw can get you close. I was able to get the blade to cut within 5/8″ of an adjacent surface.
The face of the blade guard/housing is faced with some no mar surfaces to allow you to run the saw against delicate surfaces like flooring.
The TrackSaw can even cut bevels up to 47 degrees. I tested the bevel feature on several sheets of plywood and the cuts were just as smooth. I felt as though I needed to slow down my cuts a bit as the saw is quite a bit louder when cutting a bevel at 45 degrees. If I had a minor suggestion it would be having the bevel cut angle guide updated a bit so that it feels/looks more precise and easy to use.
Depth of Cut
The TrackSaw has depth of cut adjustment that allows you to set the depth of cut to a precise depth. This is a crucial feature for saws like this if you want to cut on top of another work surface. As I mentioned above one minor comment would be updating the depth of cut with some more precise guides. The guide works but it feels as though it could be fine tuned.
The DEWALT TrackSaw is a great tool! I can’t tell you how often I use it and how pleased I am with the accuracy and flexibility this saw gives me. My table saw has probably been feeling a bit neglected as I’m not using it as often now! If you need a saw for precisely cutting down sheet goods or precisely cutting out panels on cabinets or other detailed work then I highly recommend the DEWALT TrackSaw.
The folks at DEWALT have also made the track system easier to maintain. You can buy replacement parts for the anti-splinter strip, glide strip and friction strips.
There are many options available including a cordless version and many accessories. You can buy the TrackSaw Kit with 59-Inch and 102-Inch Track for $549.99 which is a good value when you consider how versatile this tool is.