What Is a T-Slot Track on a Table Saw?

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High-end furniture fittings like sliding doors make people love their homes. A table saw is an important tool when making furniture, especially one with a T-slot track. Question is, exactly what is a T-slot track on a table saw?

What is a T-Slot Track on a Table Saw?

A T-slot, also known as a T-track, is the slot that is created in a table saw. This is because the bolt that slides into the slot looks like an upside-down T. Table saws blades are circular. They are usually mounted under a bench or a table such that the blade projects up through the saw’s slot.

Choosing the Right T-Slot Track

T-slot tracks are available in a variety of lengths. The common measurement is 1 to 2 feet. It is possible to find T-slot tracks up to 12 feet. You can also special-order T-tracks of longer lengths depending on your needs.

Man using a push stick to cut wood on a table saw

The average width is about 1.9cm, and the thickness can be up to 1.2 cm. Some T-slot tracks can accommodate the hex head of an ordinary bolt, while others are built to hold a hex nut.

Some can accept number 6 or bigger screws and are stronger than those that can accommodate number 4 screws. A perfect T-track ought to have a fitting groove that helps to center the bit.

More Tips on Picking the Right T-Slot Track

Some tracks can fit miter slots on contractor table saws. They can either be used with the slot down or up, while some have to be adjusted the other way.

Glue grooves on the sides of T-tracks help provide a mechanical bond that is useful when gluing a T-track into a dado, which is the best way to attach a T-track to a dado. This is especially so where the material under the dado is not strong enough to withstand drilling.

How to Choose the Perfect T-Slot Track for your Needs

To choose the right T-slot track, consider the following:

  • The purpose of the T-track: This will determine what type of screws or bolts we will use and consequently, the type of T-slot track we choose to buy.
  • The material the T-slot track is made of: T-slot tracks could be made of aluminum, welded steel, or extruded aluminum. T-slot made from extruded aluminum is usually the best choice.
  • Your budget: If your budget is small, consider going for an extruded aluminum T-slot track. It reduces fabrication time and it costs less to make a frame and does not need to be painted regularly as it has a clear anodized protective finish.
Man using a table saw to cut wood

How to Make a T-Slot Track

While some people may prefer to buy ready-made T-slot tracks, it is possible to make your own T-slot tracks. There are various materials that you may require: wood for making the track, one nut, and one bolt.

The tools required for the same include an entry-level table saw, good-quality wood glue, and clamps.

Step 1: Choose the Materials

This step involves selecting the materials you are going to use. It is recommended to use hardwood as it will last longer. You will also need a bolt and a nut.

Step 2: Set Blade Depth

Here, you set the depth on the blade. It needs to be slightly deeper than the head of the bolt.

Step 3: Cut Slots

Cut slots. Since the depth was already set, move the piece of wood to the center of the table saw blade. Run the saw through the trunk/wood and turn the wood around at the tip of your cut so that the opposite face gets to be against the fence.

Running the wood through the saw again helps to center the groove on the work piece. Repeat the process for each slot.

Step 4: Join the slots

Join the two slots together using the glue, being careful not to spill any glue into the slots.

Leave it to dry for several hours. Once it is dry, move the clamps from the wood and set the fence so that the blade cuts through the top of most of the slot, leaving a T-shaped slot.

Step 5: Tighten the jigs

Lastly, use a nut to tighten the jigs.

Man demonstrating what is a T-slot track on a table saw

Related Questions

Before we finish, let’s answer a couple of last questions.

What is a T-Track Used For?

T-tracks have a variety of uses around a shop. It is easily attachable to the fence of a drill press, chop saw, or router table, where it provides a secure place for the attachment of feather boards, hold-down as well as stops, when cutting wood. Also, it can be added to fixtures with easily adjustable parts.

Conclusion

T-tracks are an important tool for carpentry. They can be bought ready-made and attached to table saws, or you can easily make one. It is important to take correct measurements when making a T-slot track.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.