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Comparing the older US-made Biesemeyer with the newer model

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Review by David Smith posted 10-20-2017 12:14 PM 2186 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Comparing the older US-made Biesemeyer with the newer model No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

My most regrettable mistake in 40+ years of woodworking was selling an older US-made Biesemeyer fence (the white one with the flag and eagle on it). I was selling an old Craftsman bench saw and decided to let the fence go with the saw—otherwise the saw would have probably sold as scrap iron.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted a Biesemeyer fence again. I constantly combed eBay and checked craigslist, but all the Biesemeyer fences were either in poor shape, too expensive, or ‘local pickup’ a thousand miles away. I decided to compromise and buy a Delta T-Square fence, thinking it would satisfy me. It didn’t.

I finally decided to buy one of the newer Biesemeyer fences. Even though I had read some poor reviews on this newer, not US-made fence, I decided to take the risk.

When I first installed the fence and tried it out, I got this sinking feeling that all the bad reviews were right. It didn’t line up well, and the plastic laminate on the sides was rough and chipped. It felt like something you’d find on a $100 Kmart saw.

Thankfully I decided not to give up on the fence (mainly because I didn’t want to resell it—”for sale: sh**ty Biesemeyer fence”). I sanded the plywood edges (there are no voids in the plywood, by the way) and beveled the laminate. Then I spent a couple of hours tuning the rails and fence (forget the “template” they provide—it’s worthless). I’m happy to say I now have a Biesemeyer fence worthy of the name.

What I liked about the original Biesemeyer was how easily it glided on the table saw top and locked into place. This one behaves the same. The locking lever engages effortlessly and the fence won’t budge once it’s locked. It has a little deflection at the end if I push on it pretty hard, but I’m not going to push against it that hard when I’m sawing wood. The scale is accurate—I don’t have to double-check the measurement like I did with the T-Square fence.

Bottom line: my experience with the newer Biesemeyer fence has been a good one, so I’m giving it four stars. Judging from the way mine came out of the box, though, the quality of the new Biesemeyers probably varies from fence to fence. Maybe I got lucky.

-- David




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David Smith

18 posts in 321 days



5 comments so far

View jonah's profile

jonah

1374 posts in 3108 days


#1 posted 10-20-2017 02:11 PM

Thanks for the review.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I pay $400 for a fence, I don’t expect to have to sand rough edges or “tune” the rails. I expect to bolt it on, align it, and get to work.

That’s how it was with my VerySuperCoolTools fence. I’d never be satisfied with the kid of terrible fit, finish, and attention to detail you describe in a supposedly “premium” product.

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Andre

1439 posts in 1616 days


#2 posted 10-20-2017 04:03 PM

I picked up a Craftex CX series fence from Busy bee here in Canada, was a huge improvement from the stock Delta fence on my hybrid cabinet saw. Installation and set up was about an hour!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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MrRon

4412 posts in 3053 days


#3 posted 10-20-2017 09:51 PM

I bought my commercial Biesemeyer fence around 35 years ago, the same time I bought my Jet cabinet saw. I still have the setup and use it just about every day. It ha never given me any problems. I’m sure glad I bought it when I did and it cost much less than $400. I’ve had to reface the plywood, but if you are good with laminates, no biggie.

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Mainiac Matt

7372 posts in 2138 days


#4 posted 10-20-2017 11:35 PM

I referbed an early 80s Jet cabinet saw with the BM fence. I replaced the facings with BB plywood and new laminate faces.

The rails are HEAVY! 1/4” steel and the fence doesn’t budge.

Love the BM design… simple, solid and accurate.

Glad to hear the new ones clean up well

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View David Smith's profile

David Smith

18 posts in 321 days


#5 posted 10-21-2017 02:54 AM


Maybe it s just me, but when I pay $400 for a fence, I don t expect to have to sand rough edges or “tune” the rails. I expect to bolt it on, align it, and get to work.

That s how it was with my VerySuperCoolTools fence. I d never be satisfied with the kid of terrible fit, finish, and attention to detail you describe in a supposedly “premium” product.

- jonah

I don’t disagree, and I wouldn’t have bought the Biesemeyer if I had to pay full price. I got mine for $270. I looked at the VerySuperCoolTools fence—impressive fence, but out of my price range.

-- David

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