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Biesemeyer table saw fence system - Clean-up/ Restoration/Modernization

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Blog entry by RichmanNot posted 01-03-2017 05:00 AM 1636 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This series will be about cleaning up and restoring my Biesemeyer 52 inch table saw fence system. The Biesemeyer came with my 1980’s era Powermatic 66 3HP 10 cabinet saw I purchased out of a barn on New Year’s Day 2017.

The Biesemeyer “T-Square” and fence system was made especially for Powermatic by the Biesemeyer Company in Arizona which is seen on this decal that was on the top of the T-Square.

The T-Square was in kinda rough shape, so I decided to break it down and do a clean-up. I took it down to my basement work area and began a complete disassembly. The fence had plywood faces that are attached to a large 3 inch by 2 inch by 36 inch square metal tube.

I believe the plywood faces were originally both covered with a yellow/gold HPL (High Pressure Laminate e.g Formica). On my fence one side was still covered in laminate the other side did not have the laminate. but it is a bit confusing because the side that still had the HPL also had a black plastic edging that is a T- shaped edging that is held on by a narrow slit in the plywood. While the other side which did not have any HPL did not have the black T-type edge material. So I am not sure if that side actually had the Yellow/Gold HPL to begin with?

On the face that did not have any HPL facing there was some blue masking tape which I would guess was just something left there from a past user? What I found was there are 9 hex head screws that hold the plywood fence face to the metal tube. Using a 5/16 socket I removed the screws. They are self-tapping metal screws about an inch long and the heads are countersunk into the plywood. A couple of them were under the masking tape and a couple of them were a bit hard to remove as they seemed to be in at an angle and the socket had a hard time getting onto the head. But with a bit of luck and some persistence I got them all out.

Once all the screws are removed, the plywood can be removed from the metal tube.

The other side with the black T-edging and the HPL was next. The first thing is to pull off the T-edge material, then remove the HPL. I found a loose corner of the HPL, grabbed a drywall knife and my heat gun and proceeded to slowly and gently un-stick the plastic laminate facing. Using the heat gun was the key and with patience the HPL was removed.

Once more there are 9 of the hex-head self-tapping screws to remove and the other plywood fence facing is off.

There was some left-over double sided tape stuck to the metal tube, my thought on this was that they used the dbl sided tape to position the plywood while screwing the plywood to the tube? Anyways, to clean off the tape I used the drywall knife to scrape it off. The remaining residue was spayed with some WD-40 and rubbed off.

Next I turned my attention to removing the position indicator piece, and the cam lock mechanism so I could get down to just having a bare metal tube.

The indicator device is attached to the fence T by two slotted screws. The cam lock is composed of two parts. One is a metal component with the black plastic knob attached to it and it has a ball like feature with a nub welded on it. Then there is another piece that the nub forces down onto which in turns creates a cam lock effect against the fence rail.

The handle part has a 9/16 bolt and nylock nut, the smaller piece is held on by a 7/16 inch bolt and nut.

The black handle is threaded onto the nub shaft.

All of the component removed here are then cleaned and stored for later reassembly.

NEXT TIME: Removing the decal, rust, and paint from the T-Square and small parts.

-- "can't died in the poor house" (Because he always went around saying... "I can't")



10 comments so far

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1703 posts in 1846 days


#1 posted 01-04-2017 06:18 PM

I’ll be following your process as I must do the same for my PM66 fence system: glides are about gone, some rust here and there, chips and major scratches to the fence face. Probably will do in addition to a Powermatic 66 tear down and rebuild, the same I did for my Unjisaw. Also, I assume the fence would be very similar to my Unisaw Biesemeyer fence which needs a retrofit.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View jbay's profile

jbay

1800 posts in 715 days


#2 posted 01-04-2017 06:42 PM

I just changed the laminate on my Biesemeyer fence. To remove the old laminate I used a squirt bottle with lacquer thinner, got a corner started then peeled it off as I squirted, came right off…
Looking forward to seeing yours finished.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View RichmanNot's profile

RichmanNot

39 posts in 327 days


#3 posted 01-04-2017 06:45 PM


I ll be following your process as I must do the same for my PM66 fence system: glides are about gone, some rust here and there, chips and major scratches to the fence face. Probably will do in addition to a Powermatic 66 tear down and rebuild, the same I did for my Unjisaw. Also, I assume the fence would be very similar to my Unisaw Biesemeyer fence which needs a retrofit.

- Holbs

Holbs, Sounds good! The so-called “glides” on my “B-Fence” are actually small pieces of white HPL (aka Formica). I am not sure what type of GLUE they used to attach that Formica to the steel but it is still permanently attached!

While they look pretty worn down, I may just leave them on and try and glue on some new pieces of HPL next to the old pieces to see if they stay put? But that is a long ways down the road!

Still have a lot to do before I get the fence back on top of the table/

Best regards, RichmanNot

“can’t died in the poorhouse” (he went around saying “I can’t”)

-- "can't died in the poor house" (Because he always went around saying... "I can't")

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

116509 posts in 3393 days


#4 posted 01-04-2017 06:47 PM

Kind of ironic I just finished my PM 66 fence .I removed the laminate with a heat gun also, works very well.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View RichmanNot's profile

RichmanNot

39 posts in 327 days


#5 posted 01-04-2017 08:50 PM



Kind of ironic I just finished my PM 66 fence .I removed the laminate with a heat gun also, works very well.

- a1Jim

Well I removed the laminate from the plywood with my heat gun, I guess that is the way to get the sliding tabs off as well? Hope there is an adhesive still around as good as the one they used originally. LOL

-- "can't died in the poor house" (Because he always went around saying... "I can't")

View jbay's profile

jbay

1800 posts in 715 days


#6 posted 01-04-2017 09:28 PM

A tip I did with mine.
Before I contact cemented the new laminate piece on, I tapered the leading edge of the plywood back a little so that the laminate at the beginning of the fence would be kicked back a little. This keeps plywood splinters from trying to get underneath the laminate and causing problems down the road.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View RichmanNot's profile

RichmanNot

39 posts in 327 days


#7 posted 01-04-2017 10:45 PM

My B-Fence was a bit different in that only the left side of the fence had laminate on it. The right side appeared to never had had any laminate on it? Additionally the side with the laminate had a black plastic or vinyl edging. The edging was a T-shape and there was a kerf cut into the center of the plywood top and ends, and the T-edge was held in by the friction.

I am considering going with an extruded aluminum (T-slot system) as a replacement for the plywood/laminated fence faces. Still trying to work out the details of that idea.

Look I am not a “purist” on this—I want to modernize and create something with fun options. So any purists out there I am sorry if I offend.

RichmanNot

-- "can't died in the poor house" (Because he always went around saying... "I can't")

View jbay's profile

jbay

1800 posts in 715 days


#8 posted 01-04-2017 10:59 PM

I am considering going with an extruded aluminum (T-slot system) as a replacement for the plywood/laminated fence faces. Still trying to work out the details of that idea.

RichmanNot

- RichmanNot

That would be nice.
Depending on the thickness of your new track, you may have to move your index scale over a bit.
(New holes and tap is all.)
Keep us posted, I would like to see what you end up with…

I was going to do this once but never did.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View RichmanNot's profile

RichmanNot

39 posts in 327 days


#9 posted 01-04-2017 11:05 PM

The cleanup of the Biesemeyer Fence was pretty easy. I used a 4 inch grinder and an assortment of wire brushes to strip off the paint and rust and get down to shiny metal. Wearing PPE (personal protection equipment) is just a safe thing to do (beware of tiny flying wires!).

I use the ‘el-cheapo’ wire brush sets from Harbor Freight – just beware the wires can fly. But more expensive brushes do the same thing – so I choose to save the money.

After a couple of hours the main tube is getting to be shined up.

Having a bench-mounted vice to hold the tube was great! My twin work benches were just the ticket to get this done.

I also wire brushed the locking cam pieces and in the tight areas I used some sand paper and a drill bit to get into the hole and the tight areas of the small parts.

The outcome was a clean and rust free T-Square and cam parts ready for new paint.

Next I will do the the rail set with the two angle iron pieces and the six foot 3×2 Tube.

-- "can't died in the poor house" (Because he always went around saying... "I can't")

View RichmanNot's profile

RichmanNot

39 posts in 327 days


#10 posted 01-04-2017 11:20 PM



I was thinking more along the line of using this type of T-slot – 80/20 Aluminum Extrusion on both sides of the T-square. Something akin to what they have done on “VerySuperCoolTools” (Web site: http://vsctools.com/diy-guide-rails/)

- RichmanNot

That would be nice.
Depending on the thickness of your new track, you may have to move your index scale over a bit.
(New holes and tap is all.)
Keep us posted, I would like to see what you end up with…

I was going to do this once but never did.

- jbay

I am considering going with an extruded aluminum (T-slot system) as a replacement for the plywood/laminated fence faces. Still trying to work out the details of that idea.

RichmanNot

- RichmanNot

That would be nice.
Depending on the thickness of your new track, you may have to move your index scale over a bit.
(New holes and tap is all.)
Keep us posted, I would like to see what you end up with…

I was going to do this once but never did.

- jbay


-- "can't died in the poor house" (Because he always went around saying... "I can't")

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