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-   -   Powermatic 66: cut Biesemeyer rails or not?? (https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/powermatic-66-cut-biesemeyer-rails-not-207792/)

moderngraindesigns 10-13-2018 04:07 PM

Powermatic 66: cut Biesemeyer rails or not??
 
3 Attachment(s)
I recently scored a 1989 Powermatic 66 from literally Santa Claus and i love it. However the width of my shop does not. Its 6ft+ wide for a 53'' rip that Santa used in his cabinet shop. I don't need this wide of a rip capacity as I'm not making cabinets. I need it to be around 5 ft. wide as i cant really use my jointer on more that 3ft of material the way it is. I'd like to cut this at the 36'' rip mark so i can make 32'' cuts.

So my question to all of you is do i dare cut the T Square Biesemeyer rails that hold the extension table? I have no problem cutting this correctly, i have all the tools..... its more about is this blasphemy?? Will the wood working gods look down upon me with a curse? haha

once i figure this i can fix the extension table legs, narrow the rolling cart rails and build a router table and storage underneath.

many thanks in advance!

FrankC 10-13-2018 04:27 PM

It is your saw, do what is best for you. If you move the saw along later the next owner can deal with the shorter rails as to how he sees fit. The rails are just stock material, they can be replaced.

woodnthings 10-13-2018 04:40 PM

I had the same problem ...
 
The rails on my Powermatic 68 were just too long for my space and I ordered it that way... go figure? I cut the right side off about 24" or so, here's why. It is basically a heavy duty rip saw, not a cabinet saw in my case. If I need to make panels for cabinets, I have a vertical panel saw. It still has enough right side capacity to do a whole lot of normal woodworking tasks.

If I were you, I'd remove the original rail, use a horizontal metal cutting bandsaw and make an accurate cut. Then If you even decide to add the length back on, make a 2" long steel insert "plug" to align the surfaces while you weld it back on, however, that need may never arise. You could even thread and tap the plug on the bottom and just use socket head cap screws on the bottom rail. Of course, a support would be needed on the length. You will also end up cutting the angle support on the front rail. I moved the sliding pad back on my fence so it rides on the top of the table.

Why not blast the paint and crud off the old rail and replace the measuring tape from a woodworker's supply like Rockler?

subroc 10-13-2018 04:50 PM

Since you are asking. I would move the rail to the end of the saw on the left, cut off what I didn't need on the right. I would clean it as needed put a fresh coat of paint on it and as woodnthings suggested add a new tape. I would try to keep a 36" cut to the right side of the blade if I could, if not I would make the cut and never think of it again.

Steve Neul 10-13-2018 07:32 PM

I don't see any reason you can't it off except you might be cutting around 350 bucks from the value of the saw.

moderngraindesigns 10-14-2018 09:15 PM

thats exactly what i was thinking subroc... move the rail down 6'' so its flush with the angle iron at 6ft. cut 12" off and drill and tap new holes into the rail. but to keep the gap the same.. maybe cut up so hardwood spacers to ensure straight cuts. this is my biggest concern.. bolting up the rail and the fence is off.. what do you think?

moderngraindesigns 10-14-2018 09:18 PM

i like the plug idea... i would definitely keep anything i cut off. I already have new tape ready.. haha


Quote:

Originally Posted by woodnthings (Post 2013796)
The rails on my Powermatic 68 were just too long for my space and I ordered it that way... go figure? I cut the right side off about 24" or so, here's why. It is basically a heavy duty rip saw, not a cabinet saw in my case. If I need to make panels for cabinets, I have a vertical panel saw. It still has enough right side capacity to do a whole lot of normal woodworking tasks.

If I were you, I'd remove the original rail, use a horizontal metal cutting bandsaw and make an accurate cut. Then If you even decide to add the length back on, make a 2" long steel insert "plug" to align the surfaces while you weld it back on, however, that need may never arise. You could even thread and tap the plug on the bottom and just use socket head cap screws on the bottom rail. Of course, a support would be needed on the length. You will also end up cutting the angle support on the front rail. I moved the sliding pad back on my fence so it rides on the top of the table.

Why not blast the paint and crud off the old rail and replace the measuring tape from a woodworker's supply like Rockler?


subroc 10-15-2018 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Neul (Post 2013832)
I don't see any reason you can't it off except you might be cutting around 350 bucks from the value of the saw.


$350? $50 or $60 worth of box beam and angle iron is probably more accurate. That might be the retail price of a rail and angle iron but I am not sure what that has to do with a 30 year old saw.

subroc 10-15-2018 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moderngraindesigns (Post 2014096)
thats exactly what i was thinking subroc... move the rail down 6'' so its flush with the angle iron at 6ft. cut 12" off and drill and tap new holes into the rail. but to keep the gap the same.. maybe cut up so hardwood spacers to ensure straight cuts. this is my biggest concern.. bolting up the rail and the fence is off.. what do you think?

Exactly. There are a couple guys on YouTube that demonstrate how they built rails and I am sure you can use the methods they use to modify yours or manufacture a right sized set. There isn't any mystery to it. Not realty rocket science. Jerome Pfeifer and askwoodman have some vids. I am sure there are others as well. Just use something like "biesemeyer fence rails" as a search parameter you will find plenty. I believe that gap is 3/4" I just used some scrap pieces of pine and some clamps. I expect you would be well served with hardwood. I believe the tapped hole size was 1/4-20 and the thru hole is 5/16. Anyway, seems like you have an idea of what you want to do. Looks like you got a really nice saw there. The best of luck.


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