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First of all, there’s something to be said about the name of this thing. I’ve been having some fun with what you can call it: Makita sp6000 j1 track saw, my personal favorite. The reason I’m pleased by that last one is that it sounds like a machine made for woodworking professionals who want to impregnate their workmates.
I dub thee “Incest Saw”!
The first things you notice when you pick up this bad boy are the weight of the machine (16 pounds) and how sturdy it feels despite its lightweight While holding it between your legs, you notice how balanced it is. It feels like an extension of yourself, and it makes easy work out of ripping longboards down the middle or making cross cuts with almost no effort at all.
What’s most important to me when using this thing is that my arm isn’t getting too tired because I’m holding something heavy in one hand while trying to make tight cuts (I hate making mistakes). This saw is extremely forgiving in that respect, but there are some flaws…
Check out the video review to see what I mean about this thing not having any dust collection capabilities whatsoever. You’ll also get a good laugh at how much I suck at estimating measurements (and our custom paint job). The next issue with this track saw is that if you’re trying to cut a board that’s slightly bowed, the hole saw will bow along with it (no pun intended).
It’s not too terrible, but it does make it difficult to follow a straight line. I’ve also noticed that when cutting out dovetails for drawer construction, the whole saw bobs up and down as well! This thing may be stable in every other sense of the word (even with heavy material), but wobbliness makes me nervous.
Another flaw I noticed is having to readjust the track several times after making very small cuts. If you don’t center your board on the track each time before starting your fence again, chances are the next cut won be straight even though you made a perfect cut previously. It’s not a huge deal but I think it could be improved upon. The lack of dust collection and the bobbing is annoying, but those can be remedied with aftermarket accessories or engineering. It’s also not the saw’s fault that I’m bad at estimating measurements (my estimation skills are fine, thank you very much).
I think this thing is great for someone who wants to save money doing projects themselves instead of hiring a carpenter. However this machine isn’t going to do everything you want it to do, so if you’re just starting out as a carpenter (or even an amateur woodworker), and you don’t know how much these things cost, my best suggestion would be:
Don’t buy this one.
If you’re like me and the price tag doesn’t scare you, then save up some more money (400 bucks can be a lot if you don’t have any) and get yourself something better. Hell, you could even save up enough for two-track saws, one to rip with, and another to crosscut with. It’s all good! If want to learn how to make your own tenons or dados (or perhaps dovetail joints?) check out my post on how I do it. There are many ways to skin a cat that doesn’t include expensive tools if you know what I mean.
Oh, crap that was bad…
All in all, I think this is a great machine especially considering its price. It can do a lot of things pretty well but don’t expect it to be the only saw you’ll need for all your projects (this is coming from an amateur).