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I need to buy some "T" track and I can't find it anywhere.  When I ask for "T" track at Lowes or Home Depot they look at me like I have two heads.  The only place I have seen it is online and the price is about the same as the current price of gold!  Can anyone tell me where to find "T" track and not have to break into my sons college fund to get it?  Thanks for all your help.

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Hi David, If there is a Rocklers wood working supply in you area, this is probably the best source for "T" track.

I have found it in my area and seems to be selling at the going rate of most outlets.  Its quality worked well for me as I inset some in a bench for a hold down for lite clamping. 

I purchased a universal kit of which included a 4 ft section of "T" track several different length  hold down bolts several  knobs in two styles.  The track takes a 3/4" inset groove in your bench or table and is about 3/8 Inches deep. The cost in the store was a little over $25.00.  I felt that it was a good buy.

 

I'm going to have to check out their website since we don't have a Rocklers in our area.  Thanks for the heads up.

 

David,

Rockler offers shipping.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21276&site=ROCKLER

There service is great---delivery is fast.

As soon as you place an order, it's routed to the shipping dept, for shipment.

I've received some goods in 2 days, after placing an order early in the am.

I shop there often.

I have several of their track, in various fixtures and jigs, router tables, assembly fixtures and more.

David Niebeling said:

I'm going to have to check out their website since we don't have a Rocklers in our area.  Thanks for the heads up.

 

t-track usa

 

Here's another source. Mind the size hardware they use. Some use 1/4", some 5/16" and some 3/8". Wouldn't be surprised if there are more out there. If I remember correctly Rocklers flavor will handle both 1/4" and 5/16" hardware and, if you order their t-track package, the hardware is 5/16"

 you could also make one by wood if it is not in a groove or a dado. Look online for woodcraft.com; they have some "T" track also. They might have it inexpensive too.

Rockler

Woodcraft

David,

You can make your own t-tracks---

by adding the applicable ''grooves'' in wood, (mdf, particle board or plywood).

Malamine coated particle board make nice fences---

the malamine reduces sliding friction.

Adding t-slots in wood is less costly to metal t-tracks, if you looking to keeping the costs down.

This pic depicts the t-slot router bit.

Rockler T-Slot Cutter Router Bit

The t-slot can be simply made by making a 3/8'' wide slot, then followed by the t-slot cutter.

T-slots are very versatile---

useful in a workstation, fences, jigs, fixtures, and the like.

In a worktop, the slots can be parallel and perpendicular to an edge,

as well as having t-slots that cross each other at the desired locations.

Handy to have in a table saw auxiliary fence, to hold feather boards, and the like.

A t-slot can be made, using a handheld router or on a router table.

When a wood jig or fixture wears-out, just make a new one.

TIP: coat the slots with ''Seal-Coat'', so as to seal the wood fibers, to reduce ''chip-out''---

this will prolong the useful life of the t-slots when in wood.

Works for me.

That's right, you can use either wood or MDF. I wouldn't recommend t-slots in plywood. I like the metal ones in tables as they tend to be more durable but use the home grown variety in jigs. There is a difference in t-slot cutters though that should be pointed out.

T-slot cutters are spec'd with two dimensions, Large diameter and small diameter. Not all of them have cutting surfaces on the small diameter which means they require a pilot groove at least equal to the small diameter. The ones with cutting surfaces on the small diameter theoretically don't require a pilot groove but I usually use one as the geometry of the bit is weakest at that point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

t-slot cutters also may or may not have plunge cutters on them but all keyhole bits will so shopping for keyhole bits to make t-slots is also a viable alternative.

Want to build your own "T" track and make it  heavy duty?  If you like to work with metal and have some flat steel stock lying around   Here is a method I have used in the past.  It is simple to make and can be made custom to fit your needs.  A few years ago I built a custom work bench for a customer that was a 8 foot long heavy duty bench.  The "T" track ran the full length of the bench. 

It requires three datos cut in your bench surface.   The main one is down the length of your intended location and then two shallow dato's, one on each side of the deep dato.  The one I have shown in the attached drawing is cut into a bench top made of 2"  (1& 1/2")   stock like a 2"x6" . It is made to use standard bolt sized heads for the hold down attachments like 1/4" 5/16" and 3/8" .  In my example, I use two pieces of 1/4" thick x 1 & 1/2" wide flat bar of which a series of holes are drilled down the length of the stock and and then counter sunk the holes to make the attaching screws flush with the steel surface. The debth and width of the datos will have to be determined and cut to insure that there is room for the atachment bolts to slide down the channels once they are installed. The shallow dato must be cut to allow for the thickness of the steel bar as well as leaving clearance for the steel bolts used to attach the hold downs and or other attachments.

To do this measure the width of the steel stock plus 1/2 of the dia of the steel bolt plus 1/64". Deduct the amount the amount of the needed overhang to catch the bolt heads and cut the dato on each side.

The advantage of this is that it can be made heavy duty and as long as you need it. It will not bend or deflect like the aluminum tracks used for ligh duty clamping.

John, that second router bit looks like a bear to run thru hardwood or MDF, since it's not like you could cut the slot in multiple passes.  Clearing out the sawdust might even be a bigger issue.  Have you ever used it?

For those reasons, the first router bit seems to make much more sense.

John Schaben said:

That's right, you can use either wood or MDF. I wouldn't recommend t-slots in plywood. I like the metal ones in tables as they tend to be more durable but use the home grown variety in jigs. There is a difference in t-slot cutters though that should be pointed out.

Hi Rick, yep, it probably would be in hardwood, would likely be OK in MDF. I posted primarily because not everyone is aware of the difference. I always cut the groove first anyway as the bit geometry just doesn't look that robust to me. Same with dovetails. Have I used it? Yes, I have one just the right size to put the t-tracks on the back of the sacrificial face of my push block.

With the t-track retaining strategy, when the face gets chewed up all I have to do is loosen the knobs, slide it off and trim the end back.

 


Rick said:

John, that second router bit looks like a bear to run thru hardwood or MDF, since it's not like you could cut the slot in multiple passes.  Clearing out the sawdust might even be a bigger issue.  Have you ever used it?

For those reasons, the first router bit seems to make much more sense.

John Schaben said:

That's right, you can use either wood or MDF. I wouldn't recommend t-slots in plywood. I like the metal ones in tables as they tend to be more durable but use the home grown variety in jigs. There is a difference in t-slot cutters though that should be pointed out.

I prefer to make my first cut, using a 3/8'' ''down-spiral'' bit---

it results in a smoother/sharper cut edge---

without any chip-out.

(Chip-out is objectionable for some of my cuts).

(I attach my vac system to the router, to suck-up the sawdust and chips).

Works for me.

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