A common complaint about T-track extrusions is how, even if you fasten down a track using the hole spacings provided, you can still pull them up out of their groove with heavy upward force, such as when you are using hold-down clamps.
I ran into this problem once, when using a short section of T-track on my drill press table to secure small objects. My solution was to drill and countersink more holes in the track. Some T-tracks have centered grooves that make it easier to drill additional mounting points, others don’t.
Otoro’s dovetail T-track was specifically designed to prevent the pull-up that can plague common T-track installations. It features a dovetail profile and securely installs into a 14° dovetail groove, giving it a lot of resistance against strong upward forces.
You still have to use screws when installing an Otoro dovetailed T-track, but they’re more for keeping the T-track in place from sliding in the groove, rather than for holding the track down to your table.
Made from high-grade aluminum, the T-track is anodized in “Otoro pink.” They provide 6 screw holes for a 610 mm (24″) length, and 9 holes for a 914 mm (36″) length. Of course Otoro recommends that you use their own hold downs, but I measured a T-bolt from a Rockler accessory and it should fit nicely.
Cutting the dovetail slots for these T-tracks will be a little more difficult than just cutting a straight sided groove with a 3/4″ bit. Unless you can find a 14° 23 mm wide dovetail bit (I couldn’t), you would have to make at least 2 passes with a smaller 14° dovetail bit to get the correct width. One pass could create the correct angle on one side, and a second pass (at the least) would create the angle on the other side, widening the slot to length.
For installation, you’ll only be able to slide the T-track in from the side, so you need to design and plan out your project accordingly.
The biggest downside is that I can only find one distributor for these dovetail T-tracks, Dieter Schmid in Germany, with all of their prices are in Euros. I’ve converted the amounts to dollars, but they are only approximate.
They sell the T-track in 24″ and 36″ lengths for ~$11 or ~$14 respectively. Also you’ll have to pay at least $32 shipping on top of the $14 for a single 36″ T-track. After the first couple of extrusions, shipping goes to ~$41, and then goes up in smaller increments as you add many more extrusions to your order.
Buy Now (Dovetail T-track via Dieter Schmid)
Otoro also makes a dovetail miter channel extrusion. It’s made for a standard miter slot bar (3/8″ x 3/4″). Dieter Schmid notes that you have to remove the bottom T-clip to use this miter channel with Incra miter sliders.
As with the Otoro T-slots, Dieter Schmid seems to be the only distributor. They sell the miter channel in 24″ and 36″ lengths, and for a little less than the T-tracks, at a little over $7 for the 24″ track, and a little over $9 for the 36″ track. The same shipping charges apply as above.
Buy Now (Dovetail miter channel via Dieter Schmid)
Dunno, this looks a bit fishy.
What do you mean? Dieter Schmid is a legitimate retailer of fine woodworking products. If they sell Otoro, it’s certainly on the up and up.
Or do you just think it’s a gimmicky product?
You obviously didn’t read the ‘about us’ section on the Otoro website 🙂
No you got me, I didn’t read the about section. It would have been really funny if I was paying attention.
For everybody else:
I love a good Google translation fail!
For those that still may not understand the inside joke
From the about us:
One of the foods introduced to the world from Japan is sushi.
Of all the sushi items, “OTORO” is known as one of the finest and best parts of tuna.
If this were from Rockler – I’d bet they would be selling a matching dovetail bit. You might try hogging the first pass with something like an Amana 14818 (7/8 inch) then sneaking up on the second side.
This seems like one of those head-smacking products. Why have a never thought to look for one of these?
Not sure what the cost would be, but these guys advertise to make any aluminum extrusion you want:
So, if a person wanted a bunch of the Otero extrusion, the guys at Orange A. might offer a worthy alternative.
Also, their t-track is the lowest priced I could find anywhere:
FWIW: their service and customer care is awesome.
Thanks for the link Rick
This makes me wonder how the T-Track table Benjamen made is working out. That’s got to be a popular post, I’d love a retrospective story on it.
It’s been sitting in the corner because I’ve been testing out other clamping systems. Unused, but not forgotten.
Maybe I can do an update later this year if I ever get around to routing more T-tracks into the table.
Great idea but surely they have or can provide the matching router bit to install this as a complete solution and standard.
do people have trouble with t-track coming out?
Also I get this is speced in EU or maybe even Japan. SO it just has to be metric but I’m mildly surprised that it’s a semi – common Bosch or other router bit
and equally surprised this wasn’t thought of before now with a SAE sizing scale.
hmmmm. aluminum is fairly easily machined with carbide tooling. if you ABSOLUTELY need these tracks in your life, run a piece of normal t -track through a dovetail bit on your router table and then use the same bit to mill the slot in your workpiece. easy peasy. that said, i’ve never once had an issue with t-tracl pulling out of its groove.
I lock my track into my tables by using track with small grooves in the edges and then scoring grooves in the table recess with a tilted blade. Follow this up by bedding the track in the toothed groove with epoxy. The epoxy sets and the teeth in the track and the table prevent it from ever being removed or lifted out.
I’ve never used this, but there is also t-slot track by Incra. The outside has a small lip. http://www.incrementaltools.com/INCRA_T_Track_Regular_24_p/ttrackreg24.htm
I’ve wondered about it.