Best After Market Fence & Rail System? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-04-2018, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Best After Market Fence & Rail System?

I've got a tablesaw that I've written about several times here. Old Craftsman 113.***. It runs smooth, cuts well, but the fence and rail are garbage.

I attempted to make my own setup from purchased plans, but finding that time just isn't available due to family reasons.

I've seen the Vega series and like them, but they're pricy for anything beyond the U26. Next in line was the Delta series, but I've heard they aren't as good as they once were.

So... if you were to buy (or have bought) an aftermarket fence and rail system, what would you go with?

Thanks in advance, all.

-Joel

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post #2 of 23 Old 06-04-2018, 09:35 PM
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I put a Delta T2 on my old Sears 113..... table saw. I had to drill new holes in the rails to line up with the Sears bolt holes. Very happy with it and a decent price.
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-05-2018, 01:15 AM
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I went with a higher line Sears Craftsman fence to upgrade my Sears Craftsman 113 saw. No drilling required, and it is a heck of a lot better fence than what shipped originally with the saw.
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-05-2018, 08:27 AM
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I had a Vega fence on a Craftsman saw and it made the saw really nice. I recommend the Vega fence.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-05-2018, 03:17 PM
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I have a Vega 26 on mine. Long enough for my needs. Got a good price on eBay, picked it up locally. Very nice fence.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-08-2018, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, all. @JIMMIEM, @hawkeye10, and @Maylar, I think we're mostly on the same page with the Delta or the Vega. @Mad, I've had such a bad experience with my current Craftsman setup that I'm ready to step away. Does their updated Align-A-Rip compare to the Delta or Vega? I haven't used any of the three, so I'm looking for experience from y'all.

So here's another wrench to throw into the system... I didn't know the length of my tabletop could be an issue.

My 113.x is only 20" deep. I installed the saw in a custom cabinet, and I added a 4" deep section behind the saw, but that only takes me to 24". I'm not sure if these will work on a 24" deep tabletop. (Hmmmm... if needed. I could always square off some 2x4s, glue and screw two of them side-by-side for an extra 3", and attach that to the back for a full 27". That'd be a thought.)

I'm looking into the Non-Bieselmeyer Delta T2 ($299) on Amazon. But I'm also looking into the Delta T3 system ($209) at Home Depot and Lowes. I'm also considering the Vega U26 from Rockler and Amazon.

Anyone have experience mounting one of these on a NON 27" deep tabletop?

Thanks again!

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post #7 of 23 Old 06-08-2018, 03:56 PM
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Oh... you have a 20" table. I have a couple of 103. Craftsman table saws with 20 inch tables, and another 113. Craftsman with a 20" table also. I don't plan on keeping my 20" 113. And my 103 saws are 65 and 75 years old respectively, with original fences. Not quite sure what I will do with them either. I have them stored now until I can get a larger shop. But I will follow this thread to see what you decide on.

In your case, I'd take a closer look at the Vega, although I have never personally seen this fence and have no experience with it. But from researching fences for my 27" 113., the Vega seemed to come up a lot for smaller footprint saws.



I don't have an Align-A-Rip. I specifically chose not to get that fence, due to it having a split front guide rail. Were it not for Bill (woodnthings), I would not have noticed that little detail from photos, and might have gone ahead and ordered the Align-A-Rip new from Sears last year for only $119 (now sold out and no longer available). But I wanted a solid front guide rail, and to get that, I had to look for a used saw that was at least 40 years old that had the larger, heavier predecessor to the Align-A-Rip, called the Exact-I-Rip. I had to buy the entire saw to get the fence.


The fence is beefy, sturdy, silky smooth, easy to operate, and solid. I really like it. I'd post a photo of it, but it looks like Woodworkingtalk removed my last three photos that I posted of it from my thread and from my album. Without any explanation. So I see no point in posting the same photos again, only to have them get removed again without so much as the courtesy of a note explaining why. It isn't like all the photos in my album were removed. Only the photos I took of the fence. Go figure. Kind makes me feel unsettled here, but I'm not going to go about swinging for the fences!





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post #8 of 23 Old 06-08-2018, 07:07 PM
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highly unlikely ........

It's very unlikely that admin at WWT removed your photos! You may not have clicked "Save Changes" and they were not posted. I've never had photos removed in all my many thousands of posts. Keep the faith and repost them.
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-10-2018, 10:26 AM
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American made biesemeyer fence, tried and true. Mine as good as when I purchased over 25 years ago..
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-10-2018, 04:47 PM
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A Biesemeyer might be too big for a 20" table?


Even my Craftsman 30/24 fence is a full 72" wide by 31" deep, and the T square fence bar has a wheel on the end that indexes to a 27" table.


That being said, a Biesemeyer has no back rail, correct? The end of the Biesemeyer T square fence bar floats in free space at the opposite end of the operator, yes?


In that sense, the 20" table depth would be irrelevant then?
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-10-2018, 04:54 PM
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Missed the part about 20", maybe too big. Mines 42" long. (Unless you're building a table around it).

They use to make a smaller version, I once adapted to a portable craftsman saw.

Yes, T fence dont need a back rail.

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post #12 of 23 Old 06-10-2018, 09:48 PM
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No, it doesn't float at the rear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad View Post
A Biesemeyer might be too big for a 20" table?


Even my Craftsman 30/24 fence is a full 72" wide by 31" deep, and the T square fence bar has a wheel on the end that indexes to a 27" table.


That being said, a Biesemeyer has no back rail, correct? The end of the Biesemeyer T square fence bar floats in free space at the opposite end of the operator, yes?



In that sense, the 20" table depth would be irrelevant
then?
I wouldn't put a full size Biesemeyer on a 20" table saw, it's a waste. Very Super Cool Tools makes a DIY "T" square style fence. See them on You Tube.

My Biesemeyer's have a plastic/nylon pad at the rear that spans the miter slots and supports the weight of the fence, they are heavy. You don't want the bare metal fence bottom sliding across your miter slots and on the cast iron. \

If your table is not as wide as your fence rails are long, then you will need an angle iron support over the open space. If you have a particle board filler panel that will support the sliding pad, then you will be OK.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-10-2018 at 10:15 PM.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-11-2018, 12:42 AM
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What are the appropriate nouns that describe the individual components of a fence?


Which fence component is considered by most to be a "rail"?


What is the correct and proper name of the moveable fence component that runs parallel to the blade, and that the wood slides against?
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-11-2018, 03:36 AM
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Good question!

Search for a parts diagram and see what they call each part:
http://www.toolpartspro.com/Biesemey...899-Parts.html

There are 3 main components, the fence bar itself, the head and the rail on which it slides. Older Craftsman fences had both a front and rear rail, but that led to non-parallel alignment with the blade because it didn't slide evenly on the rear rail. And the fence was locked in place by a tension rod clamping it to the table, so it never "self aligned" like a "T" square style fence., where the camming or locking action secures it to only the front rail. They were a PITA.

The Delta Unifences and Biesemeyers lock only on the front rail, there is no rear rail. I love 'em.

Just buy a whole 'nother saw:


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rockwell-34...oAAOSwgTJbCDXa
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Last edited by woodnthings; 06-11-2018 at 03:42 AM.
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-11-2018, 10:43 AM
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A 20" deep table? If I was looking to upgrade that particular saw, I would consider replacing it. Considering $200-$300 for a fence upgrade would have me scouring CL for a good Delta, Craftsman or Ridgid contractor saw with a 1-1/2HP motor and a good fence already on it for that price point or less.
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-12-2018, 11:23 PM
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Bill, since you have personal shop experiences with both several square rail tube versions of the Delta UniFence, as well as at least two copies (PM68 & Crafstman Professional) of the Biesemeyer (sp) fence, can you discuss which fence you prefer, and why?


I'm going to guess that you prefer the square Delta UniFence, because that is what you fitted to SawZilla, and you have several times pointed out how much you like the low lip rise of Delta's convertible fence bar. But there might be other preferences and observations you have made in using both of these quintessential aftermarket fences that have set the bar by which all other fences are judged, and what better thread for these preferences and observations to be discussed than a thread entitled "Best After Market Fence Rail System".


I'm sure the OP wouldn't mind... as any discussion regarding what you like and don't like about each of these "halo" fences will be instructive as to what to look for in any other "also ran" fence on the market.


If you could only have 1 table saw (a globular cluster of saws doesn't count as one), with only 1 fence, which fence would you choose, and why?
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-12-2018, 11:39 PM
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Stranded on a deserted island with one table saw question ...

The little Craftsman Hybrid 22124 with the Biesemeyer fence would be my choice. I came up with a high/low "L" adaptor for it made from two pieces of straight parallel edged stock, or plywood which will work equally as well as the Unifence when you need more gap between the blade and fence for push blocks and such. This unit clamps to the Biesemeyer readily because it's a box section, where the Unifence is a rather complex shaped extrusion and clamping to it would be difficult.

The biggest difference is the Biesemeyer will lock down and self-square no matter where you slide it on the rail. On the Unifence you have to push the head into the rail while simultaneously locking it down to ensure it "grabs". Sometimes it changes it's position slightly, so it's a bit more fussy, but I still really like them.

The Biesemeyer is a real workhorse and bullet proof. You could probably whack the far end with a 4 X 8 sheet and it wouldn't move when locked down... I donno? That's all I got....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-13-2018, 12:44 AM
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I'm shocked. SHOCKED that you would prefer a Sears saw over the vaunted PowerMatic... a 68 no less. Well, that is a subject for another topic.



Since this topic is about fences, let's stick to fences. Have a look at this open leg platinum colored Sears saw that looks to be the open leg twin of your favorite table saw.


Notice the FENCE. It is the same fence that was on a photo you posted of another WWT member's top of the line Craftsman saw in platinum and red colors, a saw which I recall had an enclosed cabinet just like yours, but that had the fence just like the one posted in these photos below...

















Looking at this fence, are you familiar with it? Do you think that it operates as a true T square fence that locks only on the front rail, without squeezing into the rear rail?
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-13-2018, 05:45 AM
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Response ...

The Powermatic 68 is a scary powerful 5 Hp saw, much more than a home shop requires. That much power is for production ripping of 3" or thicker material all day long. A kickback from this saw would require a visit to the ER for certain. I'm not interested, thank you.

As far as that fence goes, it looks like a "T" square locking type to me. What I don't understand are the two small red knobs on either side of the locking handle. Why would you need fence alignment knobs immediately available when that process is a "set it and forget it" operation, performed rarely. If those knobs do not align the fence, what do they do? Why is the term "micro adjustment" used on the cover of the instruction manual? How does that work? Craftsman used to have an aluminum front rail with a rack and pinion drive in the fence head which you could "micro adjust" for ripping different widths. I had one and liked it ... 1960's vintage.

I don't know why they made two versions of the same saw, one with an open stand, 22114, and my saw with a full cabinet stand 22124? Unless the open stand version was more stable because of the splayed out legs..... I donno? As far as I recall, Steel City had similar saws back when, but they were both made in the same factory by a third party manufacturer and branded for Sears or Steel City.

Ripping on the table saw VS the band saw. There are safety issues when ripping on the table saw that I have come to dislike. This has to do with kickback in 2 variations. In some "reactive" woods the kerf made by the blade, will close at the rear, grab the blade and spin over the top, kicking it back towards the operator. The use of a riving knife or splitter will all but prevent this hazard in addition to the second type of kickback, which is the moving off the fence at the rear of the workpiece. The splitter retains the registration against the fence so it will not rotate away and spin up and over, kicking back at the operator.

The bandsaw, because the blade is only a narrow plane, unlike the wide plane of the table saw blade, has none of these issues, as a rule. Is is safer for ripping in my opinion AND will cut to greater depths or thicknesses more easily. Yes, you will need to face to surface on a jointer to get it smooth, but no big deal. A sharp blade and a proper set up will insure a smooth and a straight cut. A full depth rip on a 12" 5 HP table saw leaves a whole lot of spinning blade in the work, a potential for kickback. Not so, on the bandsaw.

Several of my kickback incidents have been with plywood. These occurred before I reinstalled the splitters, and none have occurred since. So, you don't need a lot of blade exposure to have a kickback, even with a 3 HP or less motor, which is the rating on my direct drive 12" Craftsman saws, running on 220 Volts only. I don't know why Sears stopped making those great saws since they were perfect for the home shop, with no belt and motor hanging off the back and allowing all the dust to escape the cabinet. They went to the "contractor" style with the belt drives and if you used them outside on the site, the dust issue didn't matter, but that wasn't the case. Finally, manufacturers started making blade shrouds with shop vac dust ports on the newer table saws. My Bosch 4000-09 job site saw even has one.

Dust is now a more widely known health hazard than 30 years ago, so consumers are more aware and manufactures must respond accordingly. Home shops in basements and garages are confined spaces, so dust collection is a must, and is probably one of the largest and most frequented forum topics we have here. Almost all of my experimentation in the woodshop has been with various methods of containing the dust from the table saws. Over the blade covers are very effective in this regard. The home shop dust collector does not move enough air volume at a high enough speed to evacuate even a contractor saw cabinet in my experience. Gravity causes the dust to settle out on all the corners until enough builds up and smooths out from the air flow. I'm still working on solutions for capturing the dust...

I got off on a bit of a tangent here, but it's all related to being safe in the shop.
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Last edited by woodnthings; 06-13-2018 at 05:51 AM.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-14-2018, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update. I bought the Delta T3 from Lowe's yesterday. It should be here by June 21, so I'll be tackling the install that weekend.

I'll keep y'all up to date with how that goes.

-Joel

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