‍Cutting On Your Bench Top, Or Not‍

Dash-Board's innovative track saw cutting techniques preserve your precision workbench top. Cut on replaceable strips or off the edge for clean, accurate cuts without surface damage.
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June 17, 2024
Old wooden table with cut marks

Now, whose idea was this?

The popular notion is that a multifunction workbench top is something to be carved up like so many julienned green beans, then discarded.

Photo credit: Festool Owners Group

At Dash-Board, we have a different idea.

Here, our bench tops are considered precision instruments, equal partners with the custom frames they sit on, and the idea is to avoid destroying them. 

With that in mind, we’ve developed a double-edged approach to cutting with a track saw that preserves the bench top by (A) locating the saw kerf on a replaceable, plastic strip, and (B) arranging the guide rail so it’s actually off the edge of the table and the blade only cuts air + the workpiece.

A. Cutting On The Strip

Our replaceable cut strip is set in a recess on the Dash-Board’s top with double-sided tape.

The setup process for Guide Rail Brackets locates the saw kerf off-center between rows of holes, so the blade will never cut beyond the strip, regardless of whether you’re doing vertical or beveled cuts. Of course you do need to be aware of your depth setting to avoid going all the way through the strip; the idea is to cut into it, not through it. With correct use, the saw kerf will go back to the same spot every time you reinstall the Guide Rail Brackets and follow the easy setup process; you’ll rarely need to replace the strip. 

B. Cutting Through The Air

Our Long Rip setup puts the saw blade between the bench top and our Universal Track Stars and Outriggers, whether for vertical or beveled cuts. You cut only your workpiece and the air beneath it, so there’s no worry about any surface damage. 

Now, we know some will ask “What about tearout on the bottom? I need my sheet of foam insulation for that.”

First, foam is not dense enough to provide any resistance to tearout, and we believe this popular myth has more to do with the convention that users place a piece of foam insulation under their plywood when they’re breaking down sheets, just because they either have no proper bench and they’re kneeling on the floor - so they want to prevent the blade from hitting whatever’s underneath - or they (properly) want to avoid cutting their work surface.

Second, the track saw blade is spinning up, into the bottom of the material, so tearout is a non-issue there, except in the case of some laminates that will fight you no matter what. Your best bet for that is a laminate-specific blade, and foam is certainly no match for flaking laminate. 

System Integration

Whether you set up to cut over the replaceable strip or off the edge of the bench, the rest of our accessories help complete the process. For cutting on the benchtop, use either 2 side-mount fences or the F2 surface-mount fence (included with our Pro and Platinum Accessory Bundles) to back up your work. Dual-Sided Carbon Fiber Flip Stops can run along those to help you make identical repeat cuts. Unparalleled Parallel Guides attach to the bench top’s 20mm holes and

Track Stars via their  ExpanDogs to let you set stops in many spots for tons of uses.

Off the bench’s  edge, Universal Track Stars support offcuts during rips or crosscuts.

Outriggers open up enormous potential by:

Supporting large workpieces to allow full sheet rips,

as a base for our Rip Stops, enabling accurate cuts to the right of the blade,

and by letting you install Guide Rail Brackets and Universal Track Stars on them to accomplish crosscuts up to 49”.

Mentioned products

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