a choice: unisaw w/ unifence vs unisaw w/ beis

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been looking for a good used cabinet saw
two have come my way
2003 unisaw w/ 52" unifence 2003 unisaw w/50" bies
both are priced about the same..
I have a Delta contactors w/ 40" home shop bies. I like the bies, but have never worked with a unifence.
Is there a dollar point where you'd take one over the other? I assume it's a commercial bies, but not sure yet. I have pics of the unifence - looks like new.
The rails on the unifence look like all Aluminum. Is that a pro or con?
I guess I need to run down to the store and kicks the tires on a Unifence. The Bies is no frills, but no spills either.
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On Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:19:12 -0700, "Kevin"

The shop I used to work at had a Unifence. I had nothing negative to say about it. 10 years later when I bought a bunch of tools fom that shop I noticed that someone lost the pointer to the fence. They had a bunch of butchers in that shop after I left. If I recall correctly it had an acrylic plate with a hairline. I seem to recall it worked well. That fence had a 10 foot to the right of the blade guide. I don't know why someone would want that but I guess maybe it had some value when cutting large sheets of formica.
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Hello Kevin, I have used both in my shop at home; I had a unifence on a Craftsman TS and I got a Biesemeyer when I upgraded to a Unisaw. Both have their merits and I really missed the Unifence for the fist few months but now I like the Bies better. One of the best features of the Bies is its rectangular fence rail. I think that feature lends itself to more home made jigs and fixtures, especial clamp on sacrificial fences and sliding mortising jigs. It is heavier than the Unifience- a trait I first disliked - but if you wax your table the bulk is less noticeable. I did like the fact that the Unifence could be set "off" the table and its two position rail height was a nice feature but the Bies' uniformity, as mentioned above makes it more user freindly now. A good feature of the Unifence is its versatility as a cut off fence. Simply "shorten" the rail by sliding it towards you (or buy the short rail at an obscenely high price for a "stubby piece of aluminum"). Only draw back there is that the protruding rail can be a hazard to your abdomen, etc. On the Bies, a cut-off short fence can be easily affixed by a clamp. Either way you'll be happy but if you already have a Bies, I'd suggest you stay consistent. No "learning curve" to deal with. Marc
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On Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:19:12 -0700, "Kevin"

I've owned both and prefer the Bies. I sold my Unifence about a year ago but it had been removed from my saw about a year before that. Since you have a Bies, you already know what to expect.
The Uni is accurate enough but to me the biggest drawback is the need to remove the fence from the arm and put it on the opposite side if I needed to cut from the other side of the blade. Granted that was a rare occasion for me but still it seemed a pain to take it off, bolt it to the other side and then have to move it back when I was finished.
You can also lay the fence down on the Uni to cut thin stock but I did that once just to look at it and I don't believe I ever made a cut with the fence in that position.

Assuming you're not going to beat it up, it'll be fine.

That's your best bet.
Mike O.
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On Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:19:12 -0700, "Kevin"

Have both, used both, have sold both and like both.
The sales pitch when asked to compare:
Unifence has a few more features. Fence can be pulled back to use as a cuttoff guide with the scale still in use. Fence can be laid over on the short side to let laminate hangover ride over the fence, scale still good at secondary witness mark. Later models have stops that are really nice when you have to break a setup to do another operation but want to go back. Unifence has adjustment in all planes, including perpendiculariy.
Biesmeyer is a little tougher with steel guide rail and HPL laminated baltic birch over steel tube fence. Biesemeyer can be used on both sides without switching the fence to the other side of the fence block as with the Unifence. A little easier to attach feather boards, space blocks and temporary sacrificial faces to the Biesemeyer. Scale is not accurate with the attachment of a cuttoff space block. Biesemeyer, at least in my day, did not have a perpendicularity adjustment, but the factory took pains to get it right.
All the above while doing the side by side demo.
Good news is you have a choice and can't really go wrong either way.
If your primary use is throwing up boards and panels and ripping all day long, I might suggest the biesemeyer. If not either way.
Frank
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On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 08:53:56 -0600, Frank Boettcher
<<snip>

<snip>
So just how do you attach feather boards, spaceblocks, and sacrificial faces to a Unifence?
I have a Unifence and thats the most exasperating thing about it. Its got that damned curved backside that prevents you from clamping anything to it.
-dickm
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wrote:

You consider that a cute handle?
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page 821&filternce%20clamp
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And that really works with the Unifence's curved backside?
-dickm
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When I was researching Bies vs Uni for my fence purchase last year, a lot of folks said that they preferred the Unifence with the Uni-T- Fence from T Track USA to a Bies fence. I have no experience with it, but for $90, you can get enough Uni-T-Fence to give you a nice regular fence and a little extra to trim off and use for a cutoff fence or something similar.
http://www.ttrackusa.com/unifence.htm
-Nathan
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If you put the matching fill strip in place, certainly. Though the fence is really made to use these things, as memory serves. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?pageW39&filter=t%2Dtrack or at least the design referenced modified to be held with T-track stuff.
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Ok, maybe this explains my confusion. What matching fill strip??????? Am I missing some pieces?
Is this something that comes with the fence or the clamps?
I've been wrestling with this ever since I got the saw. I watch Norm on TV and he has all these neat jigs and such that he attaches to his Beisemeyer fence and I just never saw how to do that kind of stuff with my Unifence. So maybe this is a good reason to get the Beis, you dont have to mess around to attach a sacrificial fence to it.
-dick
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Find a woodworker to make one.
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wrote:

I have to admit to having an extra fence where I have permantly attached a wooden face that has cuts for a dado and molding cutterhead. Slide the primary off and this one on.
I have a set of griptite magnetic featherboards and holdowns and have installed the supplied steel plate to my primary fence, resetting the face to the scale.
There is a flat on the extrusion that will take a block and provide a good clamp surface. A little trouble but works fine.
Frank
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Hmm.. interesting.. since the fence is replaceable.. that does lend it to being somewhat flexible.
Now if only the cost for that aluminum extrusion was $35.. instead of what? $150?
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On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 14:05:33 -0700, "Kevin"

Don't know. Mine was cosmetic assembly line reject. Cost exactly what we got for clean aluminum scrap by the pound.
Frank

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What about drilling 5 or 6 1/4" holes in the fence for afixing sacrificial fences, etc?
I was thinking to do that with my Bies also, but never got around to it. I was going to imbed inserts.
Is there for certain a flat on the backside of the Uni? That's important, or I guess at least enough room for a 1/4" washer to span.
I'm gonna try to find a Uni to look at.
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On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 14:15:05 -0700, "Kevin"

My unifence has this big concave extruded backside surface that precludes attaching anything to it without a lot of monkeying around. I guess I'll go on record as saying I regret not getting the beis. when I bought the saw. -dick
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wrote:

The Uni's are pretty easy to sell. A little more difficult to ship. I sold mine locally in 2 days.
Mike O.
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"Kevin" wrote

I was going to do that to my Bies too, but procrastination won out and then Rockler came out with these: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page 821&filternce%20clamp They work great and are easily moved from one aux fence/jig to another. The only minor gripe I had was that when attached to a Bies the screw and knob stick waay out away from the fence. I cut off the knob and some of the screw then used locktite to secure new threaded knobs to the screw. Now I just need to find some clamp pads which will fit so the metal cups don't dig into the Bies. Art
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Yeah, this spawns some great ideas.. and gets me close to justifying the welder I "need" ;-)
need a custom made 'clamp' sized for the fence.
again. this looks to be Bies only fixture..

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