How T-Tracks Can Help Take Your Woodworking To The Next Level
For the beginner woodworker, T-Tracks are an invaluable tool for improving your skills. Whether you are using it in conjunction with a tool such as a Miter Saw or simply using it to fasten an object in place, this versatile, easy to use tool will soon be a part of your everyday routine. Read on to learn how they are used, how to install one, and how to select the finest quality products on the market.
What is the function of a T-Track?
There is no one answer to this question, as woodworkers of all levels will find different uses for their T-Tracks. Some people like to affix T-Tracks to their Miter Saw table, putting the tracks on either side of the sawing area to create a safe and secure place to do their work. Some people use T-Tracks in the place of clamps, holding down large pieces of wood so that they can be sanded, polished, etc. T-Tracks also pair perfectly with a Sled Saw, acting as wood stoppers. Additionally, you can pair them with clamps for added stability and security.
It’s been ten years since T-Tracks became a fixture of my setup, and I continue to find uses for them with almost every project. As a furniture maker, I need to know that my products are going to come out perfectly shaped, with the appropriate amount of evenly applied varnish and gloss. T-Tracks have saved me hours and hours of time and helped me to maximize both the quality and efficiency of my work.
In this article, and in my next series of videos, I will be sharing detailed descriptions that will show you exactly how to measure, cut, and attach T-Tracks to whatever area os your workspace you would like.
Essential Things To Include When Ordering T-Tracks
Like with most tools, T-Tracks won’t be of much use entirely on their own. There are a few critical things you’ll need to include in your purchase to make sure you can quickly and easily complete your installation.
- T-TRACK for JIGSAW - Pre-Drilled Screw Holes
- -T-TRACK Anodized Aluminum fits: 5/16-inch and 1/4-inch t-bolts, and 1/4-inch hex-bolts.
- Hold-down Clamps measuring either 5-1/2 x 1-1/8-inch or 3-1/2 x 3/4-inch.
Each of these items is readily available at any reputable hardware dealership. If you’re ever uncertain about which items you need, don’t hesitate to ask an experienced professional. Nothing is more frustrating than returning from the hardware store only to find that you’ve
How To Install Aluminum T-Track Slots
Like with most woodworking techniques, the key to a successful installation is proper preparation. Take careful measurements, and be certain that you know exactly what function you want the tracks to serve - this will help ensure that you install it properly and get the most use out of it.
Start by marking the location where you’d like to make the installation. Then, fasten the appropriate piece of wood to the table. From here, you can use any number of different tools to make the actual incision. Personally, I like to use a routing machine to make the slot. I find it to be the easiest tool to get a perfectly straight line with, but feel free to experiment with whatever tools you have at your disposal.
It is worth noting the differences between aluminum and wood slots. Many people opt to go with wood slots at first, but most eventually graduate to aluminum. This is because while wood is easier to work with, aluminum is generally stronger and will continue to perform at a high level for a longer time. Yes, it’s a bit pricier, but in my view, it is worth it.
Regardless of which method you’ve chosen up to this point, you’ve got the hard part out of the way. All you need to do now is manually insert the track into the slot. If you’ve measured properly and cut nice, symmetrical lines, you should be ready to go!
Using a Miter Saw With Your T-Tracks
As someone who uses his Miter Saw nearly every day, T-Tracks have made a world of difference to me. The installation process is a little bit different, as you will have to put together a combination for best effect. You’ll actually be installing two separate tracks - the first one fills the track’s traditional role, as it is made for a sliding screw. The second track is meant for measuring tape. To make things easy, I just purchase the measuring tape separately and glue it directly onto the table. This way, I know it’s always there waiting for me when I need to get the perfect measurement in a hurry.
Here are some T tracks options for your Ref:
A Super Track is a heavy duty, general purpose T-Track which can be used for a variety of woodworking applications. You can combine this with any standard 1/4 inch fastener, including hex nuts, hex head bolts, or wide oval nuts. The installation process for these is fairly straightforward - all you’ll need to do is drill holes in the appropriate places, drop in the appropriate size hex head bolts, and slide the track in from one end of the work place to another. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
When installing Super Tracks, I highly recommend you fasten your bolts from the bottom. This is going to give you a much more secure finished product with much more resistance to external pressure.
Additional Accessories You Can Use With Your T-Tracks
As we mentioned earlier, clamps are incredibly useful when paired with T-Tracks. Putting a clamp on either end of the T-Track is an easy way to get a perfect measurement without having to worry too much about the execution of the process. I specifically suggest corner clamps. These are perfect for creating clean, 90 degree angle cuts - yet another part of my daily practice.
I also suggest you have a Pocket Ruler handy anytime you are working with your T-Tracks. This is particularly useful for taking measurements six inches or shorter (something I do very frequently in my furniture practice).
Maintenance and Upkeep
When it comes to T-Tracks, dust is your worst enemy. If you’re not careful, dust can accumulate quickly, making it nearly impossible to slide any type of materials in smoothly. For that reason, I recommend you lightly clean your tracks out immediately after every use. Additionally, you should do a thorough deep cleaning every few months (or more frequently depending on how often you use them). After you’ve dusted the tracks off, take a well oiled cloth and use it to manually remove any additional build up. Do this regularly, and you’ll get years of use out of the same materials.
Why Clear Style LLC Is Your Best Option For T-Tracks
While there are several great options out there when it comes to T-Tracks, there is one company that stands head and shoulders above the rest - Clear Style LLC. This American company has been in business for years, during which time they’ve become a favorite for countless woodworking enthusiasts around the world. And it’s for good reason! They design and create all of their own tools and accessories, using only the finest materials available. Best of all, their stated goal is to make woodworking accessible to anybody who is interested and passionate. So, they are dedicated to keeping their prices as low as they possibly can. In fact, their products are often half the price of their competitors, but with no discernible drop off in quality.
One of Clear Style’s most popular items is, of course, their T-Track System. Regardless of what size track you need, you can count on them to provide exactly what you are looking for. Their most popular offering includes 40 pieces measuring 12 inches. This package also includes hold down clamps and additional accessories designed to maximize your efficiency.
Remember how earlier in the article we discussed the pocket ruler? Well, Clear Style also provides my personal favorite option. Considering I use it more than nearly any other item in my arsenal, I have spent years testing out as many options on the market as I can find. I can now confidently say that Clear Style is your best option.
Of course, I understand that everyone has their own level of brand loyalty. But regardless of what companies you usually buy from, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for new options. We’ve included a link to Clear Style’s online shop - do some browsing and I’m confident that you will find an item that helps take your woodworking skills to the next level.
T-Track Questions and Answers
What Is The T-Track Most Commonly Used For?
Simply put, T-Tracks are used to hold, measure, and cut pieces of wood. By keeping everything firmly in place, you minimize your risk of cutting error or injury. Once you start using them regularly, you will find them nearly impossible to work without.
Here you can check some of the common T tracks for your ref:
What Is The Standard Size For T-Tracks?
There is no specific size that could be referred to as the standard, but there are a few that are more common than others. 48 inches or 36 inches are the most frequent ones that you will come across. Of course, not all tools are universal and every work space is different. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to measure and cut the tracks by yourself. This will allow you to create a custom piece that is perfectly suited for your needs.
Which Type Of Wood Table Is Best Suited For a T-Track System
In most cases, MDF Sheets are the best option for building tabletops to host T-Track systems. MDF is the most comfortable material to work with. It allows the router bit to cut through the sheet smoothly. After you’ve made your cut and inserted the tracks, we recommend you oil the MDF board with any type of common wood oil or wax in order to get the best long term result for your cutting table or cut sled.
Another common option is plywood. It isn’t quite as cost effective and in many’s opinions, the quality differential isn’t enough to justify the added cost. But plywood can often stay usable for longer than MDF, so some woodworkers consider it to be a worthy expense.
What Will I Use To Saw Table Legs?
Properly measured table legs are another essential thing to consider when building your workstation. I personally recommend Clear Style’s Furniture Levelers. They are easy to use and can be adjusted to whatever specifications you need. They are the strongest option on the market - so strong, in fact, that they are 100% guaranteed not to fold or break under pressure. They are made of pure solid steel with a thick nylon base. Using these table legs has allowed me to get the most out of my T-Track systems for nearly five years, and I can’t ever envision myself going to a different brand.
As woodworkers, we are always looking for new ways to improve our productivity. After years of struggling to make perfect cuts, I can safely say that T-Tracks make all the difference in the world for me. I personally use them constantly in my furniture practice. Without them, my workload would nearly double and I would always be concerned about making the incorrect cut. With them, I feel confident that every measurement and cut I make will be precise down to the millimeter.
When you’re ready to start utilizing these incredibly versatile tools, check out Clear Style’s industry leading selection. You’ll enjoy using them, but even more so, you will get a deep sense of satisfaction when you realize how much they improve the quality of your work.