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Vega Fence Modification

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Blog entry by Blake posted 2325 days ago 10672 reads 3 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I don’t know if anybody has a Vega table saw fence out there… I got mine used and really like it. It is not one of the big names for after-market fences but it is a good, accurate T-square style fence.

It’s only design problem is that to tighten it you push the front knob down, (like most fences) but on the Vega this motion would tend to lift the rear end of the fence off of the table. Vega’s solution to this was to attach a clip on the back of the fence which reached down under the rear rail. That way it could not lift up.

Two problems with this:

1. When ever you would tighten the fence it would try to lift up, the clip would hit the underside of the rear rail (preventing it from lifting), and then it would fall back down to the table. The difference was only about 1/8” but every time… ”Click… Click”

2. To remove the fence from the table you could not just lossen it and lift it up (Like Biesemeyer or Unifence). The clip made you move it all the way off to one side.

I found a simple remedy to both of these problems: I removed the shaft which holds the tightening cam in place and just reversed the cam. Now to tighten the fence I pull UP on the knob/handle which forces the fence down against the table at the same time it tightens.

By doing this I was also able to remove the clip. So now I can just loosen and lift the fence off the table when I need to.

The other modification I made to this fence is the added plywood insert along the top. This allows me to keep a ruler handy (held in a channel with a rare earth magnet) and also add threaded inserts for atatching jigs.

With the modifications I made to this fence I really like it a lot. It is weighs a lot less than a Biesemeyer or Unifence but seems every bit as sturdy and accurate. If you ever see a used Vega fence for sale I would recommend picking it up.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com



18 comments so far

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2637 days


#1 posted 2325 days ago

Blake -

Great ideas. I don’t have a Vega fence . . . I do have a similar recess in my fence so I might be borrowing the insert concept. Excellent!

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2535 days


#2 posted 2325 days ago

I put some rare earth magnets inside the square tube of my fence. Now when I put stuff on the metal, it just sticks to it. It’s handy for adjustment drivers for my incra sled/mitre gauge, rules, etc. Just an idea. Three 1” rare earth magnets along the fence magnetizes the entire top.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2504 days


#3 posted 2325 days ago

I have a vega fence on my unisaw, but both are sorta stored in a corner right now. I think its a great saw fence.
Not so great in a heavy production environment where you see guys hitting the handle with a block of wood thinking that makes it more snug though :-(....But some people can tear up a crowbar.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Karson's profile

Karson

34795 posts in 2899 days


#4 posted 2325 days ago

Great modification and thinking outside the box. Box tube that is.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2526 posts in 2456 days


#5 posted 2325 days ago

Good thinking. The Biesmeyers do the same thing..pop up on the end when you tighten down on it.

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1140 posts in 2490 days


#6 posted 2325 days ago

Hey Blake, I have a Vega too and really like it, but you don’t have to slide it off the end to remove it. You just lift the front till it clears the bar and then push backwards so the clip disengages. The clip on the back of mine has about a 1/2” of clearance between it and the bar though (which might be wrong, I got it used with no instructions) but works nicely.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View bues0022's profile

bues0022

215 posts in 1658 days


#7 posted 1631 days ago

I know I’m really pulling this back from the dead, but I have a functionality question…..how has changing the cam lever around changed the function of the t-square? My thoughts are (and please correct me if I’m wrong as I’m a bit of a newbie), when the handle is in the original position, the little clicks you’re hearing are the backside of the T-square pulling up slightly on the rear rail. Would this provide a small amount of additional friction on that rear rail making it a little more secure? By turning the cam around, I think when it is locked the T-square is forced down instead of up – thereby negating the necessity of the rear rail…..Is this somewhat accurate or am I WAY off?

If this is the case, in general – what is the purpose of the rear rail if it locks hard on the front rail and the t-square is sufficiently sturdy enough not to flex?

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

View Blake's profile

Blake

3432 posts in 2373 days


#8 posted 1630 days ago

Um…

There was never anything that “locks” the fence to the rear rail (like older and/or cheaper fences such as the tube style found on many old delta or rockwell tablesaws.) It only locks into place against the front rail, which is what makes it a “T-square” style fence.

A Beisemeyer fence sits on the top of the table saw. This is where the Vega differs: there is actually a space between the fence and the saw because it is supported by the front and rear rails (a little plastic foot rides on the rear rail). So to answer your last question: the only purpose of the rear rail is to hold up the back of the fence. The fact that the fence glides on the two rails and doesn’t rest on the table top actually makes it VERY smooth.

The clip in the back never had anything to do with stability. It didn’t lock down on the rear rail, and it did not create any additional friction. All it did was keep the back side of the fence from lifting up (a fix for poor design in my opinion).

What I did is turn the front locking cam upside-down…
  • which means that to lock it you pull up instead of push down on the handle to lock it in place;
  • and in turn keeps the back of the fence down against the rear rail instead of pivoting up
  • and eliminates the need for the rear clip

Does that answer your question? Why do you ask? Do you have one of these fences?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View mchiper's profile

mchiper

1 post in 1571 days


#9 posted 1571 days ago

“What I did is turn the front locking cam upside-down…
which means that to lock it you pull up instead of push down on the handle to lock it in place;
and in turn keeps the back of the fence down against the rear rail instead of pivoting up
and eliminates the need for the rear clip”
I’d about given up on my fence until I read your fix.
The problem I had was no matter how hard I “locked” the fence, it would creep
as I made a cut. The cam doesn’t travel far enough to to get a good grip.
Also as for the so called “design fix” (click, click)
My fence didn’t have it, but, any up down motion on the fence tends to loosen
the cams hold on the front rail.
Yours is a GREAT solution.

View Blake's profile

Blake

3432 posts in 2373 days


#10 posted 1571 days ago

Thanks! Glad it helped.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View theicysea's profile

theicysea

7 posts in 1183 days


#11 posted 1174 days ago

Blake, that’s brilliant. If what you’ve done works on my Vega, you’re Johnny-On-The-Spot.
Thanx

-- theicyone@sequentialsound.net

View theicysea's profile

theicysea

7 posts in 1183 days


#12 posted 1173 days ago

Blake,

How did you get the shaft out? I tried to to clamp the fence to a bench, and with a dead-blow hammer and drift pin tool, I attempted to drive the shaft out. No joy. The shaft didn’t even move. I don’t want to drive it to hard and risk distortion. Please advise.

Ben

-- theicyone@sequentialsound.net

View Blake's profile

Blake

3432 posts in 2373 days


#13 posted 1173 days ago

Don’t use a dead blow. It needs a metal hammer to gently tap it free.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View theicysea's profile

theicysea

7 posts in 1183 days


#14 posted 1172 days ago

Blake,

Good call. Jumped right right out. No sweat, after I installed it upside down and had to take it apart again and reinstall it. The spring washer was a little tricky. I’m not sure why Vega didn’t think of this. Good call. As for the other modification you did, I made board buddy’s that fit into that slot. So you are officially “Johnny-on-the-spot” You may quote me.

Ben

Remember “With great power comes great responsibility” Spider Man

-- theicyone@sequentialsound.net

View Blake's profile

Blake

3432 posts in 2373 days


#15 posted 1172 days ago

The problem with board buddies is that the Vega fence is too light. The spring tension in the Board Buddies will just lift up the fence instead of hold down your stock… which could be very dangerous. Be careful. The BB work better on a heavy steel fence like a Biesemeyer (or one that has hold-down clips like the unmodified Vega).

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

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