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Using T-Track | Popular Woodworking Magazine

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T-track is a versatile product that has many great uses around the shop. It can be attached to the fence of a chop saw, drill press or router table to provide a quick, secure place to attach feather boards, stops and hold-downs. It also makes a great addition to jigs and fixtures with parts that need to be adjustable or easily removed.

At first glance, all T-tracks look pretty much the same. There are, however, several subtle but important differences among brands.

Sizes and Prices

T-track is available in lengths from 1 ft. to 12 ft. and averages about $4.50 per linear foot. It is usually sold in 1- or 2-ft. increments, but some brands can be special ordered to a specific length. Most T-tracks are approximately 3/4 wide with a thickness of either 3/8  or 1/2. Almost all are made of extruded aluminum. There are a few key features to look for.

We like T-track that accepts the hex head of a standard bolt. It will save you from having to buy the special connectors that some tracks require.

Accepts Standard Hardware

T-tracks that accept standard hex head bolts and nuts as connectors are a big plus, because standard nuts and bolts are readily available at hardware stores. This means you won’t get stuck in the middle of a project because you don’t have the right connector. Some T-tracks require special connectors that are only available from one supplier.

Some T-tracks have a deep slot to accept a hex nut. It’s a feature that will increase your connecting and fastening options.

Pre-drilled for Easy Mounting

We prefer T-tracks that are pre-drilled and countersunk to accept No. 6 or bigger wood screws. It’s also nice to have screw holes spaced no more than 5 apart. Closely spaced holes mean more holes for more mounting screws and less risk of pulling the T-track off the mounting surface. Also, if you need to cut the T-track shorter, you will still have a hole near the end.

T-tracks pre-drilled to accept No. 6 or larger screws have better holding strength than the tracks that are drilled for No. 4 screws.

If you need to add screw holes to a T-track, you can drill them yourself. It’s a bit of a hassle but not difficult. Some T-tracks even come with a groove to help you center the drill bit. A groove on the bottom is best because drilling the shank hole from the top leaves a burr on the bottom that must be removed with a file.

Drill the shank hole from the bottom of the T-track with a 5/32″-dia. bit. Some T-tracks have a groove to help center the bit; it’s helpful but not essential. A pencil line and center punch also work well.

Make the countersink for the screw head with a 9/32″-dia. drill bit. Make the countersink just deep enough so the screw head is flush with the inside of the T-track.

Grooved for Glue

Glue grooves or lips on the sides of T-tracks provide a mechanical bond when gluing a T-track into a dado. Gluing is the best way to mount a T-track in a dado when the material below the dado is too thin to hold screws.

Glue grooves or lips on the sides of T-tracks help lock the T-track into the dado

Undrilled T-tracks have one advantage here: There are no screw holes for glue to squeeze up through. If your T-track has screw holes, just cover the holes on the bottom side with small pieces of masking tape before gluing.

Hold the T-track in place with a dowel and some weight when gluing it into a dado. Epoxy is the glue of choice because it bonds to both wood and metal.

Fits in a Miter Slot

Some T-tracks will fit into miter slots on table saws, bandsaws and router tables. Some T-tracks can be used with the slot up or down, while others must be one way or the other to get a good fit.

T-tracks that fit into miter slots make handy runners for sleds or jigs

The 3/8-thick tracks are the best choice for use in miter slots. Thicker tracks will extend above the miter slots and you will have to cut a dado in the bottom of the jig you are making.

Specialty T-Track

Many woodworking tool and supply companies also sell a variety of special-application T-tracks. Some have multiple slots, unique shapes or even a built-in tape measure. One type is the miter-slot T-track, which is designed to accept the bar of a standard miter gauge. In addition to these specialty T-tracks, a huge selection of ready-made jigs and fixtures is available that you can add to your T-tracks.

Whether you’re building a miter saw station or a simple crosscut jig, getting familiar with the uses and applications of T-track will make your life as a woodworker easier.


Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.



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