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Which Fence for an Experienced DIY'r but Newbie Woodworker

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Forum topic by PresidentsDad posted 09-21-2017 02:23 PM 1092 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PresidentsDad

7 posts in 30 days


09-21-2017 02:23 PM

Hey all! All of the “fence” discussions seemed to be quite old, so I have what I hope will be a new, fresh, question.

I’m about to get my Dad’s Delta 34-444 table saw. I’ve worked with him using it for years and the main thing I hate about the saw is that the fence is awful!! So….I need some help trying to find a good replacement fence. I do not mind paying more money for a better, longer lasting product. But, I see no sense in spending an extra $100 to get a very minor incremental improvement (I’d rather spend that $100 on another needed tool).

It would seem that since a foreign company now owns Delta that the Biesemeyer fence is not what it used to be, although I have no hard evidence to back that up. I’ve heard good things about the Delta T2 (née T3) fence system ($199) as well as the Shop Fox Classic ($350) and the Vega Pro 40 ($299), the Biesemeyers seem to be about $450 to $499.

I’m a novice woodworker, but very experienced DIY’r, so I need good (even great) quality, but it does not have to go all the way to professional grade, but I do need it to work every time and be square! Most of the stuff I’ll be building will be small, but I do intend to build the occasional cabinet.

My questions:
Which one should I get and why?
My shop will have somewhat limited room, do I really need more than 30 inch rip capacity (if I have a track saw)?
Can I save room in the shop by adding a router table between the new rails? Should I?

Thanks in advance for the help!


19 replies so far

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jonah

1263 posts in 3081 days


#1 posted 09-21-2017 02:52 PM

I’ll plug the VerySuperCool Tools fence. I love mine. It doesn’t come with rails, so you’ll have to make or buy Biesemeyer-style rails to use with it, but if you’re comfortable with a bit of cutting and drilling steel, it’s very doable. You can also buy Delta/PM/Grizzly/Sawstop/Jet rails and they’ll work just fine.

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Rich

1712 posts in 372 days


#2 posted 09-21-2017 03:05 PM

My saw came with the standard Unifence. I did replace the stock fence bar with an aftermarket one that has some t-tracks and a nice space for sacrificial inserts. It’s available here: http://www.ttrackusa.com/unifence.htm

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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PresidentsDad

7 posts in 30 days


#3 posted 09-21-2017 03:32 PM

I’m really looking for guidance for one of the items I listed above. Anyone have any opinions on those? Thanks.

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Rich

1712 posts in 372 days


#4 posted 09-21-2017 04:22 PM



I m really looking for guidance for one of the items I listed above. Anyone have any opinions on those? Thanks.

- PresidentsDad

No.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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knotscott

7728 posts in 3158 days


#5 posted 09-21-2017 04:25 PM

The Delta T3 is about the best bang for the buck going IMO, and is an appropriate fence for that saw and your described needs. It should also be a direct bolt on, which is always a plus.

The SF Classic is a beefier heavier duty fence, but costs quite a bit more on a percentage basis. It’s a solid clone of the older style Biese fences.

The Vega is also a really nice fence, with an excellent micro adjust system. A good value on sale.

The new Biesemeyers aren’t what they once were, so I’d be hard pressed to pay the premium for one.

HTC, PM Accurence, Jet Xacta II (all made by HTC AFAIK), and the Saw Stop T-Glide are other systems I’d consider at the right price. These are also decent earlier Biese clones.

Adding a router table to your TS is a viable way to save space if you’re short on space, but it’s not as slick (or convenient) as two individual stations IMO.

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

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PresidentsDad

7 posts in 30 days


#6 posted 09-21-2017 05:17 PM



The Delta T3 is about the best bang for the buck going IMO, and is an appropriate fence for that saw and your described needs. It should also be a direct bolt on, which is always a plus.

The SF Classic is a beefier heavier duty fence, but costs quite a bit more on a percentage basis. It s a solid clone of the older style Biese fences.

The Vega is also a really nice fence, with an excellent micro adjust system. A good value on sale.

The new Biesemeyers aren t what they once were, so I d be hard pressed to pay the premium for one.

HTC, PM Accurence, Jet Xacta II (all made by HTC AFAIK), and the Saw Stop T-Glide are other systems I d consider at the right price. These are also decent earlier Biese clones.

Adding a router table to your TS is a viable way to save space if you re short on space, but it s not as slick (or convenient) as two individual stations IMO.

- knotscott


Thanks. Any comment on how much capacity is really used to the right of the blade?

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knotscott

7728 posts in 3158 days


#7 posted 09-21-2017 09:07 PM

Thanks. Any comment on how much capacity is really used to the right of the blade?

- PresidentsDad

That varies a lot by user and project. Due to space limitations, I have about 36” rip capacity, and I rarely need that much. 30” is pretty common, and is usually plenty….no harm having more if you have the space.

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

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

352 posts in 371 days


#8 posted 09-21-2017 09:18 PM

Incra LS-III fence with the matching miter gauge rules. It will take your skills to the next level no matter what saw you have.

Ask the man that has one!

M

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3090 posts in 3013 days


#9 posted 09-22-2017 12:01 AM

I vote for the Vega Pro 40. I put one on an old Craftsman saw (my dad’s) and it seemed like I had a new saw to use. Highly recommend it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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PresidentsDad

7 posts in 30 days


#10 posted 09-22-2017 03:24 PM



I vote for the Vega Pro 40. I put one on an old Craftsman saw (my dad s) and it seemed like I had a new saw to use. Highly recommend it.

- MT_Stringer

Thx MT….ever have any issues with the round rails or clamping down (I’ve heard of issues from others)?

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

7955 posts in 1268 days


#11 posted 09-22-2017 04:21 PM

Looks like square tube.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

391 posts in 1752 days


#12 posted 09-22-2017 04:39 PM

I also have a Vega Pro 40 on my Craftsman table saw. I love it. After about three-four years of use, there was some wear on the clamping. I place two pieces of aluminum tape on the inside of the main clamping part and now have no problems what so ever. I also install a Wixey DRO and now get .005” or better repeatability.

I suggest checking eBay for returns etc. I managed to purchase my Vega for about half price using this method.

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PresidentsDad

7 posts in 30 days


#13 posted 09-22-2017 07:24 PM

Hey all,
Just back from Lowes and looked at the fence on the latest Delta saws, which looks almost the same as the “T3” fence…operation is pretty bad, but I’m gonna chalk that up to poor assembly by the store technician. I also held up a square to the fence and it is not even close to being square, so out it goes….

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3090 posts in 3013 days


#14 posted 09-22-2017 08:19 PM


I vote for the Vega Pro 40. I put one on an old Craftsman saw (my dad s) and it seemed like I had a new saw to use. Highly recommend it.

- MT_Stringer

Thx MT….ever have any issues with the round rails or clamping down (I ve heard of issues from others)?

- PresidentsDad

I didn’t have any problems with the clamping, but I did sell it and upgraded to a Grizzly 1023RLW. The clamping problem may have popped up later with the new owner.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3090 posts in 3013 days


#15 posted 09-22-2017 08:22 PM



Hey all,
Just back from Lowes and looked at the fence on the latest Delta saws, which looks almost the same as the “T3” fence…operation is pretty bad, but I m gonna chalk that up to poor assembly by the store technician. I also held up a square to the fence and it is not even close to being square, so out it goes….

- PresidentsDad

Personally, I would not make a decision to buy or not to buy from anything I see in a store like that. I watched a guy attempting to assemble a band saw once. Just a big kid with no clue what he was doing. Just sayin’.

My son in law bought a new Rigid from HD. He put it together and I broke it in for him while the was at work. It seems to be just fine. I have heard of folks having trouble with the trunions, but didn’t see anything wrong or out-of-whack with his saw when raising or lowering the blade.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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