|Review by bill4123||posted 05-31-2011 03:54 AM||8310 views||0 times favorited||16 comments|
I just finished installing my Laguna Tools Driftmaster Fence on my Grizzly 17” Extreme Series bandsaw. I have only used it briefly to test it but I felt compelled to let everyone know about my negative feedback up to this point.
I had a smooth transaction from Rockler and the shipping was prompt. The fence itself though was shipped as it came from the manufacturer and it is very much in-line with Laguna’s reputation…it arrived damaged. It was not damaged enough to effect how it works but it had scratches all over the back side of the extrusion from where parts were banging into it from inside the box. It beat itself up from within the box due to very poor packaging. They could have spent an extra $0.50 on the packaging and it would arrive in immaculate condition. I decided to not test my luck by making a claim and hoping to see a undamaged replacement piece…this was based on everyone else’s reviews of Laguna customer service.
I decided to use the existing mounting holes on the Grizzly iron table. I used a series of drill bits to increase the original holes to just under 1/2”. I didn’t hurt the table but I nearly hurt myself by using dull wood bits instead of metal cutting drill bits. As with any project, you must use the right tool for the job for a safe project. I now know these holes are about the only place you can place holes for mounting this fence but I also know the universal brackets aren’t quite universal enough. When I have the chrome rod all the way to the left I still would like to shift it another couple inches. I had to flip the chrome rod the other way because of the spacing of the holes on the rod and now have the rod almost exactly where it needs to be. I would like to shift it 1”-2” further left to maximize the amount of available table space but I didn’t lose too much table space with this conversion.
I really don’t like these mounting brackets because you will have to spend quite a while re-tightening things and tapping things back into alignment. I’ve aligned it twice just because it moved out of alignment from normal use. The adjustment sliding thingy that holds the fence and moves when you turn the crank…it kinda flops around until you put the extrusion on it and it gets weighed down…that’s right, the adjustment thingy is held in alignment by gravity and not nicely machined brackets and bolts :/ .
I have included a picture of the gap between the fence and the saw frame illustrating the need to shift the chrome rod 1”-2” to the left. There is also a picture of the whole thing assembled.
The problems I have from using it are in this paragraph. The extrusion needs to rub the iron top to hold the fence in alignment and this leaves you with metal to metal rubbing, not smooth gliding as you would expect on any major manufacturer’s tool. The threaded rod is not very straight and the little lever underneath isn’t very easy to use. The problem with the rod not being straight is the threaded part of that cam bolted to the lever doesn’t always hit the rod so when you use the crank it doesn’t always move the fence. When it does move the fence it sort of wobbles the extrusion in such a way that it makes unwanted adjustments to my drift (I thought this was supposed to be the drift MASTER!).
All in all, I am pleased with how easy it is to adjust for drift (extremely easy) but I am not confident it will perform well at all. I guess I’m just spoiled by the fit and finish of Powermatic, Jet, Incra, and all of the other big players. I think the idea behind this fence is great but I do not recommend buying this fence. There are three good things with this fence: the extrusion (it’s long and very solid), the ease of drift adjustment, and the chrome rod. Everything else with this kit is junk.
Update for 8/23/11:
I have included one final picture of this fence. It is the moment I finished boxing it up for return to Rockler. Customer service at Rockler was great and I was issued a full refund. I have reverted back to my stock fence. I do miss the Laguna extrusion because of how stiff it was but everything else I am glad to be rid of. I know Laguna sells an extrusion seperate from the fence so maybe I’ll give it a try. If I do I will write a seperate review for the extrusion. The saw takes up less space now, is easier to keep tuned-up, and still performs rather well.