Upgrading/replacing fence on a Delta contractor saw?

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Forum topic by elschaefer posted 10-01-2011 10:57 AM 10837 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View elschaefer's profile


17 posts in 2517 days

10-01-2011 10:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw fence question

I have a Delta contractor saw and I need a better fence solution. Right now I’m using a powermatic accufence model 64A (no rails) from ebay and have cobbled together a rough kludged block of wood and metal that allows me to use it with the extruded aluminum rail from the saw’s original Delta fence. It’s not as accurate or safe as I would like, though it works better than the original fence, and the aluminum rail is scarred from the metal pressing against it, which will deform it significantly before long.

In a perfect world, i’d just purchase the rails that go with the Accufence and bolt them onto the saw. But I’m having trouble finding them for less than it would cost to buy a whole new fence system (any of the Home Shop versions from Jet, Powermatic, or Biesemeyer seem like they should work, but I haven’t found any yet at a reasonable price). Instead, I’m thinking about purchasing one of the less expensive aftermarket systems and selling the powermatic fence. In this option, the two most popular cost-effective possibilities seem to be the Delta T2 fence system and the Shop Fox system. I also came across a Sawstop fence on Toolking for $180 shipped that looks nice, but I can’t find any info on it online (it’s here:, anyone ever seen it or used it?).

My third wild-card option is to fabricate my own rails for the powermatic fence. The only catch is that it rides on a 2 3/8” x 1 5/8” rail, which is not a size they have at my local steel supplier, so I’d have to cobble the rail together out of several different pieces of steel. I’m concerned this process would significantly affect the accuracy of the system, though it would give me a lot of freedom to come up with a custom design that would work for my needs.

Something to consider- right now I have 36” of rip capacity to the right of the blade after moving the stock rails over 6”. Ideally I’d like to keep this much or more capacity, however I do have a small shop so I likely would not purchase a fixed rail with a larger than 36” capacity.

The T2 and the Sawstop fences both give 30” of rip capacity, which would be less than I’d like but I’m sure i’d live with them. The shop fox rails would have to be cut down so as not to eat up too much space in the shop. If I fabricate my own rails I could make them any length I wanted, and possibly even make them telescope so that I can have a greater rip capacity if I needed it but not eat up all the space all the time.

Any input and advice would be greatly appreciated!

11 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


7985 posts in 3345 days

#1 posted 10-01-2011 01:25 PM

If your saw is left tilt, you should have no trouble sliding any of these rails farther to the right to gain rip capacity…most include a generous portion of rip capacity on the left which you’ll rarely (if ever) need with a left tilt saw. Even if it’s right tilt you could do the same thing, but you’re more likely to need left side capacity with a right tilt saw.

These Biesemeyer type clones tend to be remarkably similar, but there are commercial duty and home duty sizes (ie: Biese Commercial vs Delta T2, Shop Fox Classic vs Shop Fox Aluma Classic). I always thought that the PM Accufence was the same as the Jet Exacta/Exacta II/HTC fence and would fit directly onto the 1.75”x3” Biese Commercial/Shop Fox Classic fence rails, but according to the info you’ve given I take it that it’s not true? Double check if there’s an adjustment that would allow the Accufence to adjust to fit the 3” wide rails. You could always try to source the size tubing you need from an online supplier, or a “less local” supplier.

The Delta T2 is a great value IMO at ~ $150 shipped from Tools-plus.

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

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3714 days

#2 posted 10-01-2011 01:43 PM

I have a ‘90’s model contractor saw with the Unifence system, that I really like. I don’t know if it can still be purchased new anymore. It only has the rail on the front, so you don’t have to worry about clearances on the back of the saw. It came with the 32” capacity rail, but I recently upgraded to the 50” and I don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago. If you have the room, go with the larger capacity fence rails, I think in the long run you’ll be happy you did.

Check out Ebay, also. Put in table saw fences, there are a bunch. If they come with the rails, most are easy enough to adapt to the contractor saw.

View elschaefer's profile


17 posts in 2517 days

#3 posted 10-29-2011 01:17 AM

Thanks for the responses knotscott and tenontim! I had a big project that I just finished, and in the process a few more wrinkles were added to my plan. One- i picked up a 52” older-style biesemeyer fence with rails locally for $140. Two- I discovered that my local Home Depot will take the Harbor Freight 20% off entire purchase coupon that expires Monday (both my medium and narrow crown staplers died in the middle of the project, so i was forced to replace them and home depot kindly lessened the blow by 20% :).

Now my debate is the following- Do I keep the delta contractor saw as it is currently set up and bolt the biesemeyer onto it? Or do I buy a ridgid R4512 from Home Depot with the 20% off (about $450 or so) for the riving knife and the better dust collection, move the cast iron wings from my delta onto it, bolt the biesemeyer onto it, then sell the delta with either its original fence or the ridgid fence for about $250 and put the powermatic fence back up on ebay and hopefully get about $80 for it?

Is the difference between the delta and the ridgid worth $120? It would be nice to have a left tilt saw again, the delta is right tilt and it’s kind of annoying to use. The delta also doesn’t have a splitter or blade guard, and I would really like to have some safety features on it so at a minimum I would want to purchase/fabricate a blade guard if I didn’t buy a new saw. I looked into a BORK and it would cost about $100, or another $100 if I wanted a blade guard as well.

Thanks for any further thoughts! I know these questions sometimes drive everyone crazy but it’s helpful to write out my thought process sometimes.

View elschaefer's profile


17 posts in 2517 days

#4 posted 10-29-2011 01:27 AM

knotscott- the PM accufence comes in two versions. The full size version for the PM66/2000 saws rides on the 2” x 3” standard sized rail, and the smaller version for the 64 contractor saw runs on a 2 3/8” x 1 5/8” rail. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the difference when I bid on it. Looking at the accufence that I have, I would need to drill out a rivet and remove and re-machine a solid steel part in order to make it lock onto a standard-sized rail. I checked into sourcing the actual Powermatic rails and it would have cost $235 shipped to get them to me.

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3224 days

#5 posted 10-29-2011 01:47 AM

I was going to say just get a Biesemeyer and be done with. That was until I saw the prices of them. Ouch.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2546 days

#6 posted 10-29-2011 02:22 AM

The shopfox classic from grizzly is nearly the same as the bies at a cheaper price. I’m eyeballing one myself.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View mrg's profile


820 posts in 2969 days

#7 posted 10-29-2011 05:51 AM

You can get the Delta T-2 for 140 from tools-plus.

-- mrg

View Jahness's profile


70 posts in 2733 days

#8 posted 10-29-2011 06:38 AM

Just buy the tube and angle iron from a local distributor. Where I live I can get both for about 50.00


-- John

View elschaefer's profile


17 posts in 2517 days

#9 posted 10-30-2011 12:17 AM

Nitewalker, mrg, and Jahness- I actually picked up a commercial 52” Biesemeyer, so my fence issue is solved. But, because I can’t just be happy with what I have, I’m now looking at upgrading the saw itself :).

Here’s what I have right now-

Delta 34-444 right tilt contractor saw on an HTC3000 mobile base, two cast iron wings (one is the top from another contractor saw, one is the wing from a unisaw), the original extruded aluminum fence, a powermatic accufence off of a powermatic 64 contractor saw without rails, and a 52” biesemeyer with rails.

My best option with my current equipment- attach the Biesemeyer to the Delta contractor saw and sell the powermatic accufence and the original delta fence. This gives me a functional saw with a solid, safe fence, but I have poor dust collection and no additional safety features (I don’t have a blade guard or splitter for the saw, so I’d have to make do with a microjig or shop-built splitter and no guard).

What I’d like to have- a left tilt saw with a riving knife and better dust collection. I’m leaning toward purchasing the Ridgid R4512 from Home Depot, because I have a 20% coupon that my local store will honor. I would then bolt the Biesemeyer and the cast iron wings onto it, and sell my Delta along with the fence from the Ridgid saw (or I might keep it for when I eventually sell the Ridgid saw for something more powerful).

I know I won’t gain any more power by moving to the Ridgid, as both are 1 1/2 horsepower belt-drive saws, the main improvement would be in the addition of a riving knife and better dust collection. I think the built-in mobile base on the Ridgid would be an improvement over the HTC3000 I’m currently using, as I find it doesn’t hold the saw as securely as I would like when I lock it in place.

So basically, it boils down to a simple question- are the improvements worth the cost/energy of buying a new saw and selling the old one?

View elschaefer's profile


17 posts in 2517 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 10:26 PM

As is the way of things, I came across a deal on a craftsman 22124 that I couldn’t pass up, so now I have two saws in my shop, four fences, and a decided lack of space.

Anyone in Southern California want a 52” unifence? Perhaps attached to a right tilt Delta Contractor saw?

View ohtimberwolf's profile


785 posts in 2322 days

#11 posted 12-17-2011 11:31 PM

I am looking for a new fence for my 34-444. is the unifence a good one for that? If so what would it take to buy it and ship it to me in Ohio 44691

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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