My biggest concern in buying this fence is that I know it requires two mounting holes that were already occupied by my Delta Uniguard saw guard. The other brands (like Excaliber, perhaps) don’t use those holes, plus they have dust collection built into the guard, but I don’t want to add to my costs to put in this fence.I had discussed the issue via a few emails to Mark at Incra, their tools support guy. He said he had heard of a couple of customers who were able to make them cooperate by
- removing the Uniguard
- installing the Incra fence
- flip the Uniguard supports over and mount to the underside of the rear rail, using bolts to fit
The Uniguard must weigh 50 pounds. How much flexing would I expect with the rails and their support brackets? Mark said probably not too much, and that two extra brackets are provided, so I could add them for extra support.
(These two brackets are there so that if your original blade guard can’t be installed with the fence in place, you can hack the Incra rail into two pieces, separate them slightly, use the two brackets to support the two new ends, and thus be able to use the original blade guard. I don’t use the original blade guard, and the Uniguard does not have this issue, so I can use the extra brackets for extra rail support.)
Mark suggested that I start by mounting the rear rail by itself, and then satisfy myself that the Uniguard would mount ok, before proceeding, in case I decided to return it. Makes sense.
I started with the rear rail, in order to get right to the point: being able to see if the Uniguard could be mounted on the bottom of the rear rail.
The Uniguard brackets are compatible with the Incra rear rail; I just need to get some 3/8” x 1/2” hex head bolts for installing them. And I was able to get the Uniguard tube in place, almost…
Another Problem, and A Convenient Solution
There was a hangup with the motor. Because the Uniguard is mounted lower than before, it was right on top one of those boxes mounted to the motor housing. I could make them fit together, but it did not seem good that the heavy Uniguard was resting right on the motor. Maybe cause excess belt stress.
This is where the Power-Twist v-Belt came in really handy. I added two links to the belt, causing the motor to hang just a bit lower, and voilá! The Uniguard no longer contacts the motor: problem solved!
Except that now the Power-Twist v-Belt is in contact with the masonite cover for the trunnion box. (See my blog entry about Table Saw Mods for pictures and description of this cover.) No problem; I just took off the cover and cut the slots a bit longer at the bottom.
A Bone-Headed Mistake
I will note in passing that the Uniguard brackets, which are very thick aluminum, have very sharp square corners. I managed to bump my unprotected head against one of them, and got a pretty good cut in my scalp, and a bit of a dent in the thick skull below it. It didn’t hurt or bleed very much, but it was time for a break for washing it off. Really, a minor injury: I was lucky. But a mental note to grind down those corners to make them round, to avoid such problems, or gashing my leg as I walk by, in the future.
Decisions and Observations
Anyway, I consider this to be a success, and I currently see no reason why I would be returning this fence. I have a total of 45 days to decide, but I think I’ll be deciding sooner than that.
I also found that the rails are SIX FEET long. That’s something they don’t tell you about in any online material I could find. It is longer than I expected, perhaps long to support part of the fence infrastructure. But my saw was five feet long when I started all of this.
I expect to set this fence up with the rails shifted right by about 8 inches, so I can cut wider objects (up to 40 inches) on the right side of the blade. I think the only reason to cut on the left side is when you want to tilt the blade for an angle cut: my saw has a right-tilting blade, so it is safer to do such cuts on the left side of the blade. It is probably possible to shift the rails back to accommodate more cutting width on the left side for angle cuts, but I don’t see that happening often, if ever.
At present the rails are mounted (front and rear), and the LS positioner is nearly attached. I figured out that I could not complete the assembly without removing the existing right extension table. I plan to suggest that they add that to the beginning of the instructions for people who have them.
My day job is busy. I have taken some time to work on this before breakfast and dinner, but it’s going slowly. But I’m taking my time and enjoying it. I think it could probably be done in an hour or two, especially if you have done one before. The assembly is straight-forward, and the instructions are very good.
-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA