Which Fence


My father gave me his TS for Christmas. He didn't use it much and I sure can put it to use. I'm re-setting it up per the manual. It's and older Craftsman 10". It needs some TLC, a neww belt, and could really use a new fence. I have been woodworking for a shile and have had more time than money so I have looked at just about every fence out there. T-square, Beisemeyer, Vega, Accusquare (and the Rockler clone), HTC, Jet, Incra, Powermatic, most all of them. I have noticed some commonalities and some differences. They seem to either be aluminum of steel with an overlay of some laminate of composite material. They seem to either have aluminium or steel rails. Some have "micro-adjusters" and some do not. Some have a lever lock and at least one hase a turn-knob lock. I am in search of experiences and rational argeuments as to which brand or features I will find most usefull/accurate/pleasureable to use. My criteria are simple: Accurate, I want to set it up then slide the fence to a increment I specify and cut exactly that increment. Solid: If it moves when you bang it with lumber, it's useless. Price: comes in third, but still matters. Dimensions: This is for a contractors saw, but I want at least 40" to the right and 12" to the left. That's about it. Looking forward to any experiences and resources you can provide. Thanks, Rockfish
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I had really a really good experience with the vega on a craftsman. It was a 28" model, but I'm willing to bet that they have a flavor that meets your needs. I would buy one again in a moment.
IIRC it's near the bottom of the spectrum of aftermarket fences pricewise.
Here is important thing... *all* the aftermarket fences put the original carftman fence of the 80's/90's to shame. The difference between the aftermarkets is minimal compared to the difference from the original.
Beis, Vega, Uni, HTC... They will all perform well.
-Steve

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I had a mid 70's craftsmen that I put a Vega Fence on. I did just about everything you could to upgrade the performance of that saw. To be honest it did a pretty good job with a good blade, link belts and the Vega Fence. The only thing I would probably fault is probably true of every lighter weight saw, which is as you push and pull and move it around I think you knock things out of alignment more frequently. But anyway I was really happy with the Vega Fence but eventually found a used unisaw with all the goodies and a large laguna sliding table at a great price so I moved up.
Mike M
On Sun, 22 Jan 2006 02:09:29 GMT, "rockfish"

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On Sun, 22 Jan 2006 02:09:29 GMT, "rockfish"

time flies) and I ordered it with the optional Home Shop Bies fence...(Delta did not own Biesmeyer at that time and it was an upgrage option from Jet)...
To be very honest I have NOT looked at fences since... I use my saw allot and I can not remember when I last adjusted it ...I do know it has been more then a year...its solid... !
The homeshop is just a little less expensive then the Commercial version..the fence itself is only 36 or so inches long (but most tablesaws are only 27 inches deep)..the commercial version is 40+ inches and the rails are bigger...and in MY opinion the rails I have are not small...
I also offset the rails to the left...as I wanted 20 or so inches to the left and still have 42 inches to the right... the rails are really close to 6 foot long..
I have absolutely no need for a microadjusting fence... I can bump it with the best of them... lol !
Seriously I love the thing and I was also serious when I said I stopped looking at fences the day I first used the Bies...
Bob G.
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In deciding, keep in mind that Vega's customer service does not have a stellar reputation.
Biesemeyer, on the other hand, is professional.
FWIW.
Chuck
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Ditto what Chuck says. Vega makes some good stuff, but it's a very small operation, and they make it clear that they don't want to spend time with you after a sale. As long as they still manufacture your model, you can still get parts if you get lucky with their customer service. If it's out of production, forget it.
H
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Keep watch on eBay. I found a nice Delta fence there which was a vast improvement over the Craftsman fence.
Walt C
wrote:

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I agree the Biesmeyer is a quality fence but Delta owns both the Biesmeyer and their own Unifence. The Unifence is usually about $50 cheaper than the Bies which puts it in the range of the Home shop Bies. For a one man shop the Unifence offers a lot more options (pulling the fence back for cut-offs and managing sheetgoods, two different profiles, the ability to raise the fence off the table to avoid sawdust buildup against the fence, easier to adjust than the Bies, and easily retrofits to any saw. Some say its not as sturdy but it boast the same 64th accuracy and I think if you're slamming things that hard against the fence your biggest worry isn't the fence moving. Be prepared to spend around $300 but its definately worth a look. And as for spending that much on a contractor saw, well I have one on a sears contractor (great fence waiting for a real saw to show up some day) and I think the fence affects the quality of your work much more than the rest of the saw as long as trunions can be aligned and the arbor doesn't have runout.
Also take a look at Delta's new low-end fence, the T2. Its similar to the Bies home shop in design and size, maybe not quite as sturdy, but a good little fence for around $200.
BTW, I know of a cabinet shop owner who bought one of those trick fences with a micro-adjuster and his workers broke the damn thing off about the 3rd day.
wrote:

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Max Mahanke wrote:

My Grizzly ZF series contractor's saw came with an upgraded Shop Fox Fence.
http://www.grizzly.com/products/G4722
I bought it about 8 years ago and added the long set of rails. This is the only fence I have used since my old 8" Sears table saw that the Grizzly replaced, so can't really compare it to the Beis or Vega. I know that it has performed flawlessly since I've owned it and it STAYS in alignment. The only time I had to readjust it was when I went back and readjusted it to be dead on with the miter slot and blade instead of the 1/64th off recommend by some folks. Only minor complaint I have is that you have to remove a screw and rubber stop from the end of the rail to remove it. But, with the long rails, that isn't needed very often (in fact I can't remember the last time). This might be a problem for someone who can't accomadate the long rails in their shop and needs to remove the fence a LOT, but it actually only takes a few moments in any case. Or, you can use it without the stop, but you have to remember not to slide it off the end.
I remember when I was buying the saw and deciding on whether to get the upgraded fence, one of the ww mags had a review of fences and it was viewed quite favorably. Only complaint I remember was that it was a little tedious to set up the first time.
-jj
--
Remove BOB to email me

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wrote:

<snip for brevity>
I too have an Accusquare and never regret it. Last week in the net I came across an Ebay store "8020 Inc. Garage Sale" selling surplus aluminum extrusions. I bought a few lengths of various sizes (1" to 1-1/2" square) to fabricate fences for my bandsaw, drill press and a new router table. You should drop by and take a look at these aluminum extrusions, look almost like those use by Accusquare. They also sell UHMW T Slot. BTW, they also sell polycarbonate clear panels.
http://search.stores.ebay.com/8020-Inc-Garage-Sale__W0QQfcdZ2QQfclZ4 QQfrppZ30QQfrtsZ60QQfsooZ2QQfsopZ2QQsaselZ129537225QQsofpZ0
Disclaimer: I am just a satisfied customer and posting it AFTER I bought it.
.
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rockfish wrote:

So thanks a lot for all the suggestions. One thing y'all have confirmed is that I need a better fence AND you can spend a lot of money but if you don't spend the time to set it all up, you are just wastin both.
With that in mind I spent some time on setting up the saw and doing it without buying anything except a good sharp blade. I found and corrected the following:
The table (mitre slots) were not parallel with the blade. fixed.
The mitre guage, shich y'all have advised and I agree need replacing, was not at 90 degrees. It is now. Luckily there is not much slop in the slots.
90 degrees on the tilt was not 90 degrees to the table. Is now.
The pulleys were not running on the same plane. They are now.
The motor shaft was not parallel with the arbor drive shaft. It is now.
The fence, such as it is, had a number of things that need(ed) tweaking to get best performance for the design. Still working that.
Extension tables neither flat nor level with main table. Are now.
The belt is stiff and remains a cause for vibration. PowerTwist will be on order soon.
All in all, the saw cuts a lot better now. I went to get a dial indicator, but non I found had the accessories to get the job done right. I passed on that for the time being and simply used by dial calliber, roofing square, and a level to do my set up. I guess this shows that time and care have a lot to do with how well your stuff performs. Additional tools are good, and I will be getting a new fence and a proper dial indicator, but just taking the time can make a significant difference. Sort of like that NordicTrack sitting in my bedroom, it's state of the art but won't lose me a pound unless I take time to use it.
Thanks for all your advice. Rockfish--
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Oneway makes a great jig and dial indicator for setting tablesaws, jointer blades, etc. It's actually good enough to use for metalwork setup which requires a lot more precision than wood. About $ 80.
rockfish wrote:

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