much of a difference...
About 15 years ago I installed a Bies on my saw and to be honest
from that day on I have not looked at any fences nor have I been
tempted to see if I could improve on "My Bies"...
Owners of the Unifence most likely could or do say the same
thing.....Both are very good fences.
The OP asked the advantages of one over the other. Having used both, there
is only one distinct _advantage_ of one over the other in my
estimation/experience for most wooddorker's:
The Beis, out of the box, is easier to "jig up".
What a salesman trying to make a sales says should be taken with a grain of
salt, as most everything else is arguably subjective and a matter of
On Tue, 27 Jun 2006 23:46:35 GMT, "R. Pierce Butler"
As I stood between them side by side set up at various shows here is
"they are the two best fence systems and you can't go wrong with
either one of them.
The Unifence is more featured. You can (as I frantically demo) unlock
the fence extrusion and pull it back to use your scale as a miter gage
cut off block. You can (more frantic demo) pull the fence off and
turn it 90 degrees to use the short leg to do the first side trim on
laminated pieces with the laminate overhanging the fence. You
can(additional demo, less frantic), use the new flip stops to have
permenant set ups if you need to come back to certain rip lengths.
You can move it from side to side (When asked about the bies
capability to fence from both sides) very simply. You have both
lateral and perp adjustment easily at your fingertips with supplied
wrenches hanging on the unit.
The Biese, on the other hand is a Bulldog. Heavy steel tube and angle
construction, no aluminum components, with hand shimmed laminate
covered baltic birch on the fence faces. Easy to attach all manner of
jigs, sacrificial blocks, and feather boards and the like to the fence
I always advised heavy production board slammin operations to go for
the Biese and all others just have a difficult choice that won't
matter once they get what they choose.
My $.02 worth
I wish to thank eveyone for their opinions regarding this matter. I think
that I will opt for the Unifence. I will take the $100 I save and use it
toward a mobile base. My saw and fence dates back to the 1940's and is a
bit tough to read now for a variety of reasons.
Thanks again eveyone!!!!
The biggest dislike I have for the Uni is having to change the
position of the fence rail to cut from the other side of the blade.
Granted this not a problem very often but with the Uni you have to
unscrew the fence rail and mount it on the other side. Then when you
have finished with that one cut, you have to move it back.
Normally I'd stand there looking at it trying to figure out how to
make the cut without changing the fence.....and then change it
It even goes one step further down the line than that- I've used
Beismeyers fairly extensively for work, but I've got the Delta T2 (if
you're not familiar with it, think of it as a Beis-light) While it's
a little narrower, I haven't found it to be inadequate in any way, or
even noticably different than the Beis in "feel" or accuracy. My
original thought was that I would get the saw as it was at the tool
store, and then upgrade the fence later when I had some more ready
cash, and after using it, I can't see any reason to shell out another
$400 for the marginal upgrade.
Speaking of the T2, I had the opportunity to mess with that fence while at
Lowes the other day and was not impressed. When locked in place I could
move the far side laterally with moderate effort. I tried to see if there
was a lock for the far end but could not see that there was one. Is there
a lock for the far side?
On Sun, 02 Jul 2006 15:11:45 GMT, "R. Pierce Butler"
Nope- no lock for the far side, but I haven't noticed any problem with
lateral deflection, and I've played with it quite a lot. AFAIK, there
isn't a lock on the backside of a Beis. either, though that may be a
side-effect of only seeing them installed on saws with outfeed tables.
It's important to note that the display models are often beaten up
quite a bit by people doing things like intentionally pushing the back
side to see they can move it, and other impromtu stress tests. Add
that to sloppy assembly by the store in the first place, and even a
great tool can end up looking like a POS. Took a look at my saw at
Farm and Fleet today, and if I'd have gone off from what it looks like
there, I would have never bought it. It was bright and shiny when I
bought mine- but the top is now covered in rust, and everything is
loose and looks like it has been beaten with a hammer. But that's the
display model- mine is still nice and shiny (waxed weekly) and
everything is still tip-top, even though I use it a lot.
I guess my point is not that the Beis isn't a better fence- it is made
of a wider steel tube, but that the T2 is pretty good as well (beat-up
old display models at Lowes aside) and it sure doesn't feel like it's
worth $400 less than the Beis. My plan was to get a Unisaw with the
Beismeyer fence when I got the 36-680, but something came up (as it
always will) and took a bite out of the tool budget. I was expecting
to be disappointed in the contractor's saw with the lighter fence- but
I'm not. It's really a pretty good saw, even comparing it to the
Caddilac that is the Unisaw- and for a price tag that is almost $1000
The Bies ONLY locks at the front... Thats why it is refered to as a
"T" square type of fence...and honestly I will NEVER ever go back to
fences that lock both front and back...simply because they can
"sometimes" lock down out of square....
The Bottom line is that if your fence "works" and it does not give you
any problems there is no reason to upgrade to another...
At places like Lowes and Home Depot the display models usually are
assembled by some kid... who is more concerned with getting off work
so he can run home and get ready for his "hot" date that evening...
(nothing wrong with that been there myself a long long time ago)
Your comment is irrational considering there's pros and cons to both types
of fences.. *Any* fence can lock down out of square if it's not setup
properly. I've got an Excalibur fence that locks down both sides and the
fact that it locks down both sides allays any fears of fence deflection when
running large heavy pieces of wood along the fence.
I upgraded from a Delta contractor's table saw with Delta's standard fence
to a Delta Unisaw with a Beisemeyer fence. I like the fence. My only
disappointment was no adjustment to make fence face perpendicular to the
table. It was at about 87 or 88 degrees out of the box. I ended up putting
a some tape under one of the glides on the T square to tip it to 90 degrees.
I know there are other ways to mickey mouse it into being square or one
could just live with it, but at the cost of the fence, it just seems like
they could easily put an nylon adjustment screw on each side of the T-square
to get this done. Even the cheaper clones and the lower grade fence that
came with my contractor's saw have that..
There are allen screws to get the fence square to the fence rails.
However, the fence can still be out of square to the top of the table.
Some Biesmeyer clones also have a second set of allen screws to adjust
the angle of the fence faces relative to the table top. The name-brand
Bies doesn't have these.
I have a Bies with a 5HP LT Unisaw - never had a problem - sounds like one
needs to make sure that the fence rail is mounted correctly on the table -
if that is done then there is no need to worry about fence faces.
Think about it - if the rails are not true to the table, they are going to
be off by a consistent angle across their length. It would not require two
sets of adjustments to make this error correct, only one. True the fence to
the blade and it's done. If the fence is true to the blade, nothing else
matters. If the rails were to be off by a varying angle across their length
you'd have bigger problems than any number of set screws will ever fix.
We're talking about adjustments in two planes.
The first set of screws allows you to set the fence parallel to the blade.
The second set of screws found on some fences allows to you ensure that
the face of the fence is perpendicular to the table.
Assuming the fence is in good shape, this second set should never be
needed. I expect that some of the clones have this second set in order
to allow the end-user to adjust out errors in the construction process.
It could also allow to realign things if the short "T" section of the
fence got bent from a fall or some similar form of damage.
When I go into a Lee Valley store, I'm always eyeing the HTC Bies clone. It
has a micro-adjustment feature with magnifier for exact measurement. Do most
other Bies clones including the original have the fine adjustment?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.