I’ve been reading about the benefits of track saws vs. traditional circular saws with a straight edge ever since I built my laundry/mud room organizer. When I built the organizer all I had was a Skill saw /w a 40 tooth blade. I cut the plywood into pieces on the garage floor using 2x4s to support work. What I didn’t know at the time was how bad the chipout would be. I didn’t know anything about blades and that the higher number of teeth the cleaner the cut. I tell you it made a mess of the veneer coating on the oak plywood I bought. The veneer split 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch away from the cut. I ended up sanding and painting the project and it came out ok.
Since then I’ve watched a lot of Youtube videos and found that I needed to backup the cut and use a better blade. I recently bought a 7 1/4″ 60-tooth carbide tipped blade for my little skill saw and made a jig yesterday like the one shown here to ensure a clean cut. It basically a home made track saw. It works much better than without it because its a zero clearance cut because the jig supports the cut as the blade cuts the wood.
Track saws are even better than homemade jigs like this one. They use a metal track and specially designed saw that plunges through the workpiece then rides along the track. It also uses the same principles as the homemade jigs do too. They support the cut and has a zero clearance blade edge so it almost completely avoids chip out. They also have a built-in clamping system to which keeps the clamps out of the way. A lot of track saws exist now but only recently have they become more affordable. Two of those are here; Grizzly T25552 & Scheppach CS55. They are both $179.95 (saw only) or as a kit /w tracks for $245 – $265.
I haven’t bought one yet but they sure would make things easier. Here’s a video that shows the benefits.