Table Saw Upgrade #3: On the Fence and Need Some Help

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Blog entry by MikeGCNY posted 02-16-2011 04:30 AM 2915 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Strip, Prime, Paint Part 3 of Table Saw Upgrade series Part 4: Powering a 5HP Monster with Single Phase Power »

I spent a few hours last night disassembling the 2 Biesemeyer T-Squares and removing the laminated plywood faces. Besides a nasty splinter in my thumb, the process left me with a bigger problem: How to re-face the T-Squares.

I do not want to purchase the Beisemeyer replacement face. They are too expensive and there is just something fundamentally wrong with a woodworker paying 70 dollars for a 3×42 piece of laminated ply. I have come up with the following options, but am not sure which is the best choice:

  1. Laminated Plywood (1/2 inch?, 3/4 inch?, not sure which species)
  2. UHMW Polyethylene: I am not sure how flat this is and how to attach this to the T-Square body
  3. MDF or Laminated MDF (1/2 inch?, 3/4 inch?)
  4. Phenolic ??
  5. Something else ???

UHMW Polyethylene

I have a sheet of UHMW that I purchased and it is cupped, bowed and twisted. I was going to see if I could glue this somehow to a piece of MDF or Ply, but the gluing process seems a bit too complicated with this material. I was going to try screwing it from the backside, but because it is so warped, I do not think that this option would be good for a fence.

Laminating the Ply or MDF

Then for my choice of laminates, I was wondering if anyone has ever used Formica’s Micro-dot laminate. It is the same one that Kreg uses on its router table. I also have no experience in laminating with anything other than wood, so I am not sure what else is out there.

I feel that I am in a good position to experiment here. I have 2 T-Squares for the saw, so I could implement 2 options and see which one I like. I could also build out one square as an auxiliary fence and make it so that I could easily attach jigs, guides and sacrificial fences to it.

If anyone has any experience with this, or could point me to some resources I would be very grateful for your help.

Now onto the next question: When I am done, do I get a Powermatic or a Biesemeyer decal for the top of the fence? :)

6 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3310 days

#1 posted 02-16-2011 05:05 AM

I have UHMW on one of my fences and it’s straight, but ply I think would be better cuz you can make it higher and put a T-track in it. Heres a pic of it.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View bigpops0259's profile


302 posts in 4171 days

#2 posted 02-16-2011 05:45 AM

I used ABS plastic, check out the pic in my projects page on table saw. There is a guy here in cleveland ohio on Craigslist, that sell ABS plastic Sheets. I use them for many jigs and such. Another thought is Old counter top material, laminate your own.

-- Marty Ohio

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2698 days

#3 posted 02-16-2011 03:44 PM

Hi Mike,
You know what looks cool is 1/2” Baltic birch plywood with Formica laminate. Slightly arch the exposed edges and varnish them. MDF has to be veneered on all sides, more weight and more work.

Don’t T slots require 3/4” mat.? It sounds like a good idea but I’ve never needed this feature yet.
I guess if I was making the same cut on 500 ft. of wood, a feather board on top would be good. You could just clamp one on too.

It’s a matter of personal preference in the end. You could make 2 and have both options.

It’s a BEISEMEYER fence, and so a proper sticker would be the same. right?

“cupped, bowed and twisted”.....nice firewood.

View sawdustphill's profile


53 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 02-17-2011 03:16 AM

Hi Mike
your best bet would be 1/2” phenolic plywood. this stuff is slick, is stable, and stays very flat.
it makes good jig and fence material, however it is hard to get a drill bit started in it because
it is so hard and slick. That uhmw is not alwas flat and is hard to shim, I found this out on my accu fence
powermatic’s clone of the biesemeyer.

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2917 days

#5 posted 02-18-2011 12:37 AM

I used laminated plywood with formica for mine .It has held up well and I also mounted a T -track on top. It seems very stable dimensionly.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View MikeGCNY's profile


44 posts in 3517 days

#6 posted 02-18-2011 11:47 PM

Thanks for all your tips. I am still not sure what I am going to do, but will be experimenting this weekend.

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