Menard’s “Masterforce” line of tools don’t have much of an online review presence, this is a short review to give potential buyers some more data points.
I picked up this track saw kit after wearing out my shop-made circular saw guides. For $200 it was well worth a shot. While I ultimately returned it it’s a good value. I’m just looking for something that will reliably deliver perfect-as-possible cuts.
TLDR: The saw unit is pretty good but the track might not be stable enough for picky people like me.
The saw itself seems to be of decent quality. I crosscut a 1-1/2″ cherry butcher block countertop (with the shitty included 20 tooth blade, no less) and it didn’t bog down at all. Plywood is no problemo. The plunge action is smooth and easy, one doesn’t need to push very hard.
Dust collection is fair/good – it will still spit out a modest amount of chips but none of the nasty floaty fines were present, at least (this is while using a Rigid vac). The dust outlet does swivel.
Here’s one thing I always look for in a power tool – how flexible is the power cord? A cheap Harbor Freight tool will have a stiff, plasticky cord that’s hard to wind and will tug on you while using it. In more expensive tools the manufacturer is willing to spend the extra cents on a better cord. This cord is nice on this saw.
My main complaint about the saw is that it won’t accept thin-kerf blades. I ordered a Freud Diablo 6-1/2″ plywood blade to compliment this saw, I love that brand. But being a thin blade the plate material is just a touch thinner than than normal. Due to this the arbor bolt can’t be tightened down enough to securely clamp the blade – it spins as soon as you hit wood. I was totally baffled by this… the blade is like 1/32″ thinner than normal. This isn’t the reason I returned the saw but is annoying.
The depth stop is odd, it seems to have two positions, “I” and “II”. But neither match the actual cut depth when using a 6-1/2″ blade. About 1/16″ past “II” is the actual position. The manual has no discussion of how to use the depth stop. But of course once you figure this out it’s not a show stopper.
My second complaint is about the track tightening knobs; the two black plastic knobs which tighten the saw in the track slots. They don’t stay tightened at all, they like to wiggle back after each cut. So each time you place the saw back onto the track it will be loose and they will have to be re-tightened.
The track is where this product let me down the most. It comes in 27″ sections so you’ll be making frequent use of the connecting bars. In the above gallery I have a photo of a gappy connection between two sections. This gap allows the tracks to flex horizontally without much effort. The problem is with how the bar is secured within the track; in order for the bar to be able to be slid into the slot it needs side-to-side play. The design needs the bar to be laterally cinched in to make up for this slop, much like Incra miter bars do. But it doesn’t, instead the grub screws are mashed into the top of the track in the hope that it will keep things from moving around too much.
I will only use this track saw in my shop so I would much prefer a one-piece design.
Otherwise the track is fine for the price you’re paying. It stays put well enough. The zero-clearance strip’s glue isn’t that good so you need to be careful around it. I’ve had to press a section back on a few times.
I recorded some of the interesting dimensions of the track.
The track clamp bars measure 12mm wide by 5mm thick.
In the below photo, the U-shaped protrusion is 16mm wide and 7mm tall. The inside with of the right-hand channel is 39.5mm. The height of the C-shaped lip is 7.3mm.