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Aftermarket Fences: Where to demo / buy? Will vendors at the woodworking show have them?

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Forum topic by varnerrants posted 01-15-2016 08:40 PM 1060 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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varnerrants

4 posts in 327 days


01-15-2016 08:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: aftermarket tablesaw fence question

I’m in the process of upgrading my trusty, not at all rusty, true within .002, nickel test passing 1970’s delta contractor saw.

I purchased this saw third-hand. The second owner put a fence on it that looks like a vintage delta, perhaps for a really old unisaw. It’s far longer than the table, and hangs out enough that he had to machine custom stand-offs for it. In addition, the fence is front/rear locking and a bear to get ‘just right’ it’s adjustments suck, and I cannot, for the life of me, get the fence plumb to the table. This has caused problems in past projects although I’ve managed to learn to work around it with processes that take a whole lot more time than a simple ‘set it and cut’. The fence rails are short enough that I can only rip ~23.25” to the right of the blade, which becomes a problem when dealing with ripping sheet goods.

I’ve used this saw for 7 years now, and it’s been good to me. It’s a solid saw, plenty of power (220v), and runs like a top since I replaced the arbor bearings about 3 years ago. I’ve been wrestling things with straight edges and circular saws and it just isn’t the same as having a decent setup for the ts. All told, I’ve got about $250 wrapped up in this saw over the years, and it’s more than paid for itself with the projects I’ve made with it.

I’ve started on a 72” x 27” mobile saw stand / cabinet / router station, with the goal of having ~50” rip to the right of the blade. I want to get a fence system for the saw, and I’m willing to drop ~$350 to do that. Seems there’s plenty of options at that price point, but I can’t get the ‘good one I want’ without having to pay a shipping charge.

Turns out the woodworkingshow is in town this weekend (Indianapolis) and I’m getting ready to head down there. Will the vendors there have aftermarket fences for me to try out? I know I’m a bit late to the game on this one. 20 years ago, seems like everyone and their brother sold an aftermarket fence (thanks to the t-square revolution) but now that those systems have been standard equipment for 20 years, it looks like the market is drying up, and the retailors are responding in kind.

I don’t have the budget for a brand new saw (I’d drop >$2k on it if I did) and I don’t want to buy some piece of crap fence that goes all wonky on me in a year. I was ready to purchase the Vega U50 yesterday, and saw the price after tax and shipping of >$400 and had to put on the brakes… I didn’t get that much cash for Christmas this year. :-)

So where should I go near Indianapolis, IN to check out table saw fences, or get one at a reasonable price?


10 replies so far

View varnerrants's profile

varnerrants

4 posts in 327 days


#1 posted 01-15-2016 08:48 PM

For what it’s worth, i just got back from the show, and have vowed to never return. There is literally nothing there you can’t already find at the local Rocker & Woodcraft stores, or online.

As for used / liquidated tools, you’ll have better luck on craigslist and at local auctions.

They also have jack squat for aftermarket TS fences, and the one that was there is (imho) a total piece of crap.
I could do better myself. http://vsctools.com/diy-guide-rails/

View dday's profile

dday

48 posts in 894 days


#2 posted 01-15-2016 09:04 PM

Google Delta T2 fence and you’ll find them for sale on Ebay. They range in price from $400 to $199, depending on the model. Check them out and I think you’ll be pleased.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7214 posts in 2840 days


#3 posted 01-15-2016 09:39 PM

It’s hard to say who will be at the show…usually Incra shows up, but that’ll be more expensive than the Vega. About the best bang for the buck is the Delta T2…I think the newest version is now the T3 (Model # 36-T30T3). It’s a decent “Biese Lite” style fence made from steel tubing with aluminum faces. It might even bolt directly on to your saw. HD has it for $19 with free s/h, and you might swing some other discounts through Ebates or Fat Wallet.

Vega might have some show specials if they attend…

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#4 posted 01-15-2016 09:48 PM

A good T-square, like the Biesemeyer (ie: new Delta fences) will bolt on without much problem. New, they are a little pricey, but you can often find them used for much cheaper (and sometimes attached to a saw that you can then sell to recover some of your money :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Joel_B's profile

Joel_B

294 posts in 845 days


#5 posted 01-15-2016 09:53 PM

I second the Delta T2. Installed one on my old Craftsman TS and it was a huge improvement. Can make accurate cuts just using the scale on the fence. The first one I bought was defective however and had to be sent a replacement.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View varnerrants's profile

varnerrants

4 posts in 327 days


#6 posted 01-16-2016 05:20 AM

I have not had any lucking finding the T2/T3 locally, to get my hands on it before I buy it, and for the 50” capacity, it’s a bit out of my price range. Ok. It’s way out of my price range. I’ve heard from others that you _hav

I have an inlaw with an upper-end grizzly saw from the mid 90’s, with a precursor to the shop-fox ‘classic’ (as they call it now) fence system. I’ve poked that fence a few times, and have liked what I saw. I also have a good friend with a newer grizzly who really likes his UHMW faced fence, which I believe is the same as what I just ordered.

I think I’m going to take my chances on the shop-fox classic fence system with the 7’ rails. It’s a Bies knock-off that sits at the top-end of what I wanted to spend (ok, juuuuust a bit over), but it does use the standard 2×3 tube rail set 3/4” from the table—so even if the fence itself sucks, I’ll have options later on down the road. For now, I think it’ll work out. My biggest problems have been adjustability and consistency, and this fence should fix those issues… for about a hundred bucks less than the T2’s I’ve seen from HD, given the length of rails I’m wanting.

I should mention I did try out some router table inserts, and settled one while I was at the show, so it wasn’t a total waste… :-)

View RogR's profile

RogR

53 posts in 329 days


#7 posted 01-16-2016 06:10 AM

I have a Shop Fox classic and its been very good for me. Very stable and accurate. The composite faces screw into the center square tube which makes it simple to attach a tall fence when needed.

Why such a mechanically simple unit is over 200 bucks is another story.

View Gentile's profile

Gentile

262 posts in 1283 days


#8 posted 01-17-2016 04:56 PM

I put a Steel City fence on my Delta Unisaw. The original fence was beat to heck from a Middle School wood shop.I paid more the fence than I did for the saw itself. It’s a Besimeyer knock off and it works great. I don’t know if Steel City’s stuff is still available. Get a good fence you’ll never regret it…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View cracknpop's profile

cracknpop

195 posts in 1813 days


#9 posted 01-17-2016 08:54 PM

For years I used a Craftsman contractor saw on a shop built rolling cabinet with an extended table top with router plate. When I built the cabinet, I bought the Shop Fox Aluma-Classic fence with extended rails. Served me very well for 10-15 years until I upgraded. It is now at my son’s house (I used it this past weekend – still works great).
I definitely feel I got my money’s worth out of it and my son will too.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Aluma-Classic-Fence-Long-Rails/W1720

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View varnerrants's profile

varnerrants

4 posts in 327 days


#10 posted 01-18-2016 02:49 PM

Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

I bit the bullet and bought the shop-fox classic with the 7’ rails. I did seriously look at the aluma-classic, but for the extra $100 or so, I decided having the standard 2×3 steel tube rails (more options later if I don’t like the fence) was worth it. This gives me further options if I don’t like the actual fence, although all signs point to it being a serious upgrade.

I was trying to rip a sheet of plywood at 22 7/8 yesterday, and the damn fence I have won’t lock securely at anything over 22.5 (I knew it was around there somewhere, I just always assumed it was closer to 24”) It took me 15 minutes of measure / adjust / remeasure and some clamps to get it stable and ready for the cut.

Fence is scheduled for delivery tomorrow. I can hardly wait. So much, that even though it was 10 (f) outside (I was able to keep it close to 30 inside the uninsulated—for now—shop) I was out working on my mobile base cabinets yesterday.

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