I have a fairly old (15 yrs?) Craftsman table saw, works well except
for the fence. I have to measure the near and far sides before locking
it in place, because every time I move the fence it gets out of
parallel to the blade. (I measure off the mitre gauge slot.)
I would like a fence that stays true/parallel to the blade when I move
it, and has a knob to move the fence those angel hair widths we
sometimes need to just make it fit. Sometimes you just need to sneak
up on the groove width, and a knob seems the way to go.
Kreg sells such a fence for the bandsaw, but my (limited) research on
the 'net has not yielded any fruit. Is there such a fence out there?
TIA - Greg
Funny you mention that one Ed. That was the first one I thought of. It's
expensive as hell, but it permits a really fine adjustment with hairline
cursor under a magnifier. I was playing with LV's display model Oct. 31 when
I went in to take advantage of the Bessey sale LV had going.
To this date, I've been using an Excalibur fence and guide. Never had any
problem with it and it's a really good setup in my opinion, but the HTC
appears to have some advantages such as the fine adjustment.
I thought I needed that knob too. My old saw had one, and I used it a
lot. My new saw came with a Biesemeyer fence and I've never looked
Since the fence glides so easily across the table, the gentlest slap
with the finger tips will sneak it up to the line like you want. And
the hairline cursor is such a quantum leap over my old method of
measuring to the front of the blade, back of the blade, and front
again. It still amazes me when my boards come out EXACTLY the width I
want (measured a few with a dial caliper). The Bies locks down
precisely parallel every single time. I've checked it with my TS
Aligner Jr (Good Job Ed!) and it's dead on.
But the Bies rides across the table surface on a couple of nylon
buttons. If your extension wings aren't flat; if they are the cast
iron waffle style or the pressed steel wings some of the Craftsman saws
come with, you would need to replace them with flat surfaces. But you
were looking for an excuse to put a router table extension over there
Don't get too hung up on the knob though. I promise you won't miss it.
"I'd rather expect the best of people and be wrong than expect the
worst and be right." - Thomas Carlyle
I added one of these to my old craftsman. It made a huge difference in the
usability of that saw.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)"8013&v=glance
IMHO $200 is a much more appropriate investment for a mid-range contractor's
saw. The Vega was such a huge improvement over the stock fence. The stock
fence on my jet cabinet saw (my current saw) is no better (in some ways, I
kind of liked the Vega better). The Vega has micro-adjust andis predrilled
for attaching an aux fence.
IMO the differences between the half-dozen or so quality aftermarket fences
is miniscule compared to the leap from stock old-style craftsman fence.
There is no way that I could justify paying almost twice as much for product
that might be a wee bit better.
Greg, Before you buy any fence, I suggest you take a good look at the
ones offered by Shopfox. They have two different ones a standard duty
and a heavy duty that are designed like the Biesmeyer, but a lot less
exspensive. Plus they should line up with the holes on the older
Craftman. You can get them with 30" or 50" Bars. The price range should
be $200.-- $350. Range.
For ultimate accuracy Incra or Jointech systems. I have jointech. Once
locked to rough measurement you can adjust 1/1000" at a time with a thumb
wheel. (overkill, but sometimes handy for dadoes, etc.).
Both are pricey and bulky
I'll second that...
I have an old (20+ years) Craftsman table saw I inherited from my Dad. It
worked fine, but the fence was terrible.
I considered buying a new tablesaw, but anything comparable was at least
$500, and wasn't much of an improvement over what I already had. Since
the weakest point of my saw was the fence, I opted to buy a Mule
Accufence model M-825 for about $200.
The fence probably cost 2-4 times more than the saw is worth, but wow,
what a difference. It was relatively easy to install, and it's easy to
adjust and accurate. It feels like a brand new saw!
My fence arrived with a broken cursor, but Mule sent me TWO replacements
at no charge. Great folks to deal with.
I've been very happy with the Accufence, and would consider getting
another one even if I change saws in the future. But my old saw is
working so well now, it may be a while before I have to buy a new saw. :)
I found an old ball bearing (think it was from an old router) that fit
snuggly in place of the old nylon roller and gave just a slight bit more
lift off the rear of the table. It rolled real smooth along the back rail
and the fence stayed in alignment a lot longer that the original set up. I
just had to blow the bearing out and put a drop of oil in it once in awhile.
I used it that way for probably 15 years and my son has had it for 4 or 5
years and still using it.
It worked fine if you are as I am, a "once in awhile wood worker", if not
spend the bucks for a good commercial one. RM ~~
I guess I'll be the one to recommend the "black sheep" of fences. I've used
the bies (and clones), unifence and some others that aren't worth
mentioning, but my favorite is still Vega by far. IMO It's much more
smooth than the Uni and the Bies as they seem to slide harder as dust etc
builds up on the rail. Furthermore, the Uni rail will wear if the same
measurement is used on a regular basis. The Vega rides on a round tube
for the front rail so gunk doesn't build up so much, and no "track" to wear.
My current Vega is a Pro 50" and is about 15 years old. It has taken much
abuse, being dragged from jobsite to jobsite, but I'm still very happy with
its performance. Slides easily, micro adjustable, easy to remove, locks
down tight, set it and forget it. It is that simple and has been very
I'll third the Vega. Put it on my Grizzly 1023SL and haven't looked back.
Accurate as heck and I don't even measure anymore before making a cut. Just
set the distance and go. The micro adjust on it is pretty nice too.
That said, I received a Shopfox Bies clone with the saw when I bought it. I
haven't installed it on anything so can't speak for it's actual performance
but it looks pretty nice sitting in it's box... :)
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