There is a saying in woodworking, “measure twice, cut once”. I’ve also heard the common spin “measure twice, cut once, force it to fit” which is sadly a category a lot of us fall into. I’m not ashamed to admit that trying to get 8 identical length boards cut is often the hardest part of a build. Kreg is known for their jigs, like the Pocket Hole Jig to drill perfect pocket holes for strong joints, or the Rip-Cut, which is a jig used on a circular saw to cut straight and measured lengths from large sheets of plywood. So, how can Kreg help cut perfectly measured lengths? Let’s jump into the Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit Review to learn all about their solution to a common carpenters problem.
Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit Review Overview
Kreg is sort of enigmatic tool company. They produce very specific tools and mostly jigs, geared towards solving common complaints specifically for woodworkers. Jigs are by nature a device designed to allow for repeatability and accuracy in some sort of manufacturing. Jigs have been around forever, and span a lot of different fields and professions, even some tools we know and love today started out as a jig. I’ve seen jigs that are homemade for everything from jointing wood to making dovetails. As well as dozens of processes in between that are otherwise tedious and time-consuming. But, making a jig can be time-consuming itself. Not to mention the materials can be somewhat limited when you’re building it yourself.
Kreg seems to have seen the hole in the market for quality jigs that both hobbyists and woodworkers love. The Precision Trak and Stop Kit is essentially a series of tracks attached on the side of a miter saw with measuring tape and stops. It’s designed to make repeatable and accurate cuts without the hassle of measuring and undoubtedly re-measuring. So, imagine a world where you could turn your miter saw into a production set up and now consider the time you’d save from constant measuring and the drastic increase in accuracy you could gain.
Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit Review Features
The Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit include 8ft of the aluminum track, a swing stop, production stop, two tape measures, and a bag of necessary hardware.
The first thing to note about this tool from Kreg is the aluminum tracks. Included you will find 4 2-foot lengths allowing for easy customization for your needs. This system is most commonly set up with a miter saw, but can also be configured for a drill press or radial arm saw.
There are two measuring tapes that are 12 feet in length, one reading right to left, and the other left to right. The measuring tape is made of a thin metal similar to a standard measuring tape with adhesive and a peel back for easy attachment to the track.
You will find the two stops, one production, and one swing stop.
The production stop features dual cursors and is dropped onto the track and tightened in the back by a knob. The dual cursors allow you to use this on either side of the saw based on your cutting needs. The production stop is meant to be the stronger of the two stops to hold up against tough use.
The swing stop allows you to make a precise cut, but have the ability to swing it back and out of the way without complete removal. The swing stop attaches using a black T-knob on the top of the track. The swing stop comes with one right mounted lens cursor.
The lens cursors attach using a small plastic set screw. This allows for easy adjustments to ensure maximum accuracy.
There is some set up to the Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit. In the manual, they show a clear diagram of one option for installing, or you can build your own set up which I opted to do. The key points are that you need to use 3/4 inch material that is 2 1/2 inch tall for the tracks to be mounted on. Because Kreg allows the user to build what suits them best, you have a lot of options to customize your workspace.
Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit Review Performance
Set up is pretty simple for the Kreg Trak and Stop Kit. The instructions are very clear as is the case with the previous tools I’ve owned from Kreg. I assembled mine using 3/4 inch plywood and a 2X3 pine board that I trimmed down. I had the miter saw supports I made prior to attaching the Trak. Being able to modify the plans to fit my existing supports was awesome. One thing I would note is when attaching the track to the fence, you drill into the back of the aluminum track quite a few times. This isn’t hard at all, but just be mindful to have a drill bit designed for the material. The remaining set up relies on accuracy from you. Be sure you’ve measured well and used materials that are straight and sure.
To put it quite plainly, this system is genius. Once you’ve gone through the setup, you have an incredibly reliable and strong system to make repeated cuts. The quality of materials is superior, which I’ve come to expect from Kreg. I love that you have the option to adjust the cursors should you need to for accuracy. The time-saving benefits of this system are unmatched in other ways. When building anything that relies on repeatable cuts this system is a must. The end result is accurate, strong, and reliable.
Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit Review Value
The Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit (Item KMS8000) retails for $139.99 but can be purchased at The Home Depot for $124.00. There are a few things I always consider when determining if something is a good value or not. One is how adjustable it is to your needs. Kreg does sell the separate tracks if needed, and with the included measuring tapes you could easily extend the tracks each direction some. You can also purchase replacement stops for around $30 dollars if something gets lost or damaged. This is an important factor for a lot of users who may need to make adjustments in the future.
For me, the value of this system comes from increased accuracy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken great lengths to measure and mark boards just to have to recut because the blade took off just a hair too much or not quite enough. Being able to ensure that you can produce ten boards at exactly the same length is incredibly useful. It becomes yet another way to save time and headaches and increases the quality of your overall piece. Considering the benefits, and the quality of the materials, I think Kreg priced this fairly well. I would love to see an option designed for beginning hobbyists at a more accessible price point too, but the quality of this set up certainly warrants its cost.
Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit Review Final Thoughts
I have been a huge fan of Kreg since I purchased the K4 Pocket Hole Jig years ago. One thing that is consistent with Kreg is their tools do exactly what they say they will do. Kreg doesn’t skimp on quality either, the sturdy aluminum and tough knobs are meant to be used repeatedly without damage. So often jigs just don’t hold up in real workshop conditions which just leaves you frustrated. This is definitely an example of a system that should stand up to the abuse. In the short amount of time I have owned the Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit, my build process has drastically changed. For the small investment of time to set up this system, you gain back an incredible amount more that you would have spent measuring in the future. Increasing efficiency, accuracy, as well as relieving a lot of frustration. Sounds like a win to me.