So here's my deal. I just bought a used ~1991 craftsman (emerson)
contractor saw. Cast iron top and wings (webbed-style), 1.5HP. But
the fence that came with it is terrible.
So I've been looking at aftermarket fences, and they're more expensive
than I had hoped. So there are two choices I'm looking at now, in the
$200 range are:
1) Vega Utility 26 (http://www.vegawoodworking.com/table%20saw%20fences.html )
2) Mule M1025 (http://www.mulecab.com/products.asp?mnu_Products=1 )
Both seem to get a lot of praise, probably because everyone's
upgrading from the same POS fence that I have. The Mule looks a
little strange to me, with it's twist lock instead of a lever, and
exposed sharp-looking corners. But it's a front-only lock, and I feel
like that would be good. I don't know, it just seems like it would be
easier to lock it down parallel to the blade.
Has anyone seen or used these two? Is the twist lock on the Mule a
good feature? Is the Vega's clamping at the back problematic at all?
Another option is to turn around an sell the thing and buy a Grizzly
for only a little more than the craftsman + fence.
Thanks - J
The fence on your vega link looks like the 50 "one i've got on my rockwell
contrator's special -the saw and vega fence are about 30+ yrs old and have
had a LOT of use. I've had no problems with it clamping front or back. It
still glides nicely and clamps easily with a push on the lever and is dead
on. I don't use the micro adjuster, as it is just as easy to move the fence
a little. It's a good heavy aluminum extrusion so it should last forever.
I also like the window gauge- easy to read the adhesive measuring tape on
the rails. I would recommend fastening a piece of UHMV plastic on the fence-
reduces friction between the board and fence, it will also will protect the
fence - better to sacrifice a little plastic than risk the fence
accidentally coming in contact with the blade. If you choose to add the
plastic, do so before you put the adhesive measuring tape on the fence rails
, so the fence can be zeroed with the blade. I doubt you'd be disappointed
with the vega -dave
The Vega fence does not lock at the rear. It rides on the rear rail. Fence
deflection as described in tool reviews by various magazines, etc. is
virtually nonexistent. Don't have any experience with the Mule, heck, I've
never even seen one. My Vega has given me sterling performance for several
years. One hint if you do decide to go the Vega route. When adjusting the
fence for parallel to the blade, you will be loosening four Allen head type
machine screws to accomplish this. Unless Vega has made their own mod., you
should place steel washers between the lock washer under the head of the
Allen screw and the fence innards. If you don't, the lock washers will dig
in to the aluminum and create a "memory" so that it will be VERY difficult
to accomplish and hold any fine adjustment. This fix works perfectly, and I
picked it up here on rec.WWing some time ago. Thanks again to whomever that
Hope this helps
I have used the Vega in doing some work at
a school I go to at times and think it's a solid
fence. I like the feature of adding hold downs
on top of the fence. I doesn't move when hit
The Mule has gotten good reviews in the
latest review of fences by I think Wood Magazine.
I've not used it but think about it when I think
of replacing my own fence.
Why don't you write/email both of them? I'm sure
they will send you the latest material on the
fence and any reviews that were done.
jeffs firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff) wrote in message
Never used either fence, but I specifically looked for a fence that
locked in back. Once it's set PARALELL to the blade, it won't bend
away from the cut due to release of internal stress in the wood during
a cut. More accurate, IMHO.
Don't have any experience with the Mule, but I do have a Vega on my
Craftsman saw, and it works well. Company was helpful, too.
The Vega doesn't lock at the back, it has a finger that just rides
along, just under the rear rail. It's purpose is to preven the fence
from lifting if a hold-down or stock feeder is attached to it. Since
the Vega uses a tubular rail, if they didn't have that finger under
the rear bar, the fence might lift if something like a hold-down was
applying downward force toward the table. Those fences that use
square front rails don't have that problem, I guess.
All in all, it was an easy installation, and a wonderful upgrade
for the saw.
I've got the 52" Vega Utility fence and it is dead nice to use. There
is a slot on each side of the top which their accessories fit into,
and a 1/4" piece of masonite rounded on the edges will slide into as
On my vega I have installed the washers under the allen heads and I
check my fence every 6 months. It doesn't move, it's my saw that
moves. The micro adjust is outstanding and really allows fine
adjustment. Only thing better I could think of would be the Incra
tracks which allow exact repositioning. The Vega is limited by YOUR
I also have the small item feeder accessory and use it for anything
getting under an 1" in width. It is very easy to use, and does it's
job pretty well. With use of a featherboard, you get fine tolerance
uniform width slices.
I have the Mule Accusquare fence and have been using it for about a
year now with no problems. It is head and shoulders above the old
fence on my Craftsman saw. My saw is older than yours (Emerson,
probably 80's vintage). The installation was simple and the fence
dialed in perfectly. There were times originally that I wished the
fence locked with a lever but I have gotten used to the twist lock and
don't even think about it anymore. The fence is rock solid and I love
the fact that mounting things to it is so easy with the T-slots built
in on all sides.
All in all, I'd keep the Craftman and put either the Vega or Mulecab
fence on it. I was about ready to sell my saw in a garage sale but
after replacing the fence and performing a couple other minor tune-ups
(solid pulleys, linkbelt and aligning the blade to the miter slot) I
can live without a new saw. I bought the Mule because it was slightly
less expensive than the Vega and I haven't regretted the purchase.
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