Grizzly Track Saw ‘Master Pack’

PW_Grizzly Track SawI’ve long been a fan of the track saw. For me, there’s no faster, safer or more reliable way to break down sheet goods into sizes I can handle. While I can wrestle a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3⁄4″ plywood onto the cabinet saw if I must, it’s not easy and there’s every possibility I’ll hurt myself – or worse, get a less-than-perfect cut.

With a track saw, you simply set up your work on sawhorses (or on the floor atop a sheet of rigid insulation), align the track to your cut line, set the saw for the angle and depth of cut, then make the cut. It really is that simple.

If you often work with sheet goods, this is a tool that belongs in your shop, and at just $245 for Grizzly’s “Master Pack” (which includes the saw, a 55″ guide rail and accessory pack), there’s no reason to not have one.

After wrestling (sometimes unsuccessfully) with sheet goods on the table saw for a day or two last year, I switched to a Festool TS 55 track saw to cut numerous plywood sheets to size for the bulk of my kitchen cabinets. But I’m done with the 3⁄4″ ply work, so to compare similar materials, I put the Grizzly system to use on 11⁄2″-thick butcher-block countertop material (I used the Festool when I installed my countertops – no way I could lift that heavy glue-up onto the table saw without help).

While there are a number of things I like better about the Festool model, power and performance are not among them. The Grizzly’s 160mm-diameter, 2.2mm-wide, 48-tooth blade had no trouble zipping through the thick material, and it left a clean edge*. The tool has a variable depth of cut at 90° of up to 2-5⁄32″ while riding on the track (the Festool TS-55’s is 2-3⁄4″ of the Festool). At the maximum 45° tilt, the Grizzly cut depth is 1-7⁄16″.

As with all track saws, the rail has

non-slip backing; while the included

clamps are recommended for holding

the rail securely at the cut line, I made

a few cuts without them and experienced

no problems. The weight and

cut ergonomics keep things on track.

This is unquestionably an excellent

tool for the price, but there are two minor

things that are better on the Festool:

You need two hands to change the blade

on the Grizzly (a one-handed operation

with the Festool), and the 112 ” dust-collection

port location makes it diffi cult

to connect a hose with a rigid coupling

and for the hose to clear the work.

But there’s also one major problem:

the plunge-release mechanism. I cannot

reach it as directed with my hand

around the grip – and neither can three

of the four men in my offi ce. It is literally

a stretch for the guys, and I have to

remove my hand from the grip entirely

to disengage the lock. It’s inconvenient,

and makes for a less smooth and comfortable

operation.

Still, for less than half the cost of the

Festool model (and less than the Makita

and DeWalt models we’ve tested), the

Grizzly T25552 Master Pack is certainly

worth considering – particularly for

those with larger hands.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

From the June 2015 issue

Buy it now

pwm0615_250