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Biesemeyer Fence

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Forum topic by taoist posted 1016 days ago 2299 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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taoist

110 posts in 1087 days


1016 days ago

Hello fellow Lumber Jocks. I have a problem that I can’t solve and am looking for advice and or experience with this problem.
First off let me say that I have a Delta contractors(36-979) saw with a 42” Biesemeyer fence that I bought new 4-5 years ago. I have done a little ripping and crosscutting with it but nothing serious. I haven’t really set up my shop yet because of monetary considerations but now I am ready to move in that direction. One of the main reasons I bought this particular saw was because of the fence system. The fence itself is plywood with a laminate over the plywood. I also noticed a while back that on the TV show “Rough Cut” with Tommy Mac, that he had put a wooden face on his Biesemeyer fence and I was curious as to why he did this. I received my first issue of Woodcraft Magazine a few days ago and there is a small write up where somebody ask him about the fence’s wooden face. He replied “The MDF face of my fence wasn’t perfectly straight, so I added a strip of 1 1/4”-thick maple butcher block.”
Last week I spent a day in the shop trying to make sure the blade on the saw was lined up perfectly with the miter gauge tracks and also the fence was perfectly parallel to the miter tracks. Well much to my surprise, the fence is off by at least 15 thousandths.
Yes I have gone through the procedure in the owners manual step by step twice before the light bulb came on.
If you put a vernier caliper on the fence it starts out straight but about 6 inches in, it starts to come closer to the miter track by 3-4 thousandths. Once you get past this hump the fence starts falling off in the opposite direction.i.e. moving away from the miter track to the tune of 8-12 thousandths. So there is no way to adjust the fence with that kind of problem.
I guess I want to know if anybody else has had this problem and if so how it was solved. Should I just bolt another piece of wood to the fence (like Tommy Mac) or should I order a new fence face from Biesemeyer, or should I try to make this fence straight.
Looking for suggestions or solutions.
Thank you all for your input.


8 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2244 days


#1 posted 1016 days ago

as far as I know (have one myself) the bies type (and clones) fences have the steel tube which is not machined to any tolerances and can be out of straight to a certain degrees, and then there are the faces on top (ply+lam) that is bolted to the steel tube over the length of the fence using 4-5 bolts (can’t remember the number right now. these bolts can be loosened and you can shim the faces to the steel tube to get a straight fence. OR you could put an additional flat board over the existing fence and shim it where there are gaps (same thing just adding another board which I find to be redundant).

makes sense to you? if not I could try and sketch it out

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1016 days


#2 posted 1016 days ago

I usually keep a “sacrificial fence” handy which is just a plywood box that slips over the beismeyer fence. This is mainly when cutting angled rips or rabbits where the blade might touch the fence.

I imagine one of these could fix your issue though.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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taoist

110 posts in 1087 days


#3 posted 1016 days ago

Thanks to all three of you for replying to post. I’m going to call the Biesemeyer folks tomorrow and see what they say. If they can come up with a recommended fix then I will follow their orders. If not, I will probably just add a new face and shim it. I’m pretty sure Mc Master-Carr has peel shims that are .002 each, which will make it easy to shim. Would you guys recommend S2S plywood over MDF ?
Thanks

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2244 days


#4 posted 1016 days ago

Since it’s a fence you’d be pushing things against I would prefer to use something with as little friction as possible – UHMW, Phenolic up at the top followed by laminate ply or laminate MDF.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jcwalleye's profile

jcwalleye

288 posts in 1669 days


#5 posted 1016 days ago

Let’s see 15 thousandths is 1 and a half hundreths which is pretty close to 1/64th”. That’s the accuracy I shoot for, but rarely achieve, so if it was mine, I’d probably try to shim it too. Before I upgraded to a Bies I used playing cards and beer can aluminum to shim a UHMW fence to within a couple thousandths along the whole length. I’m not sure though that it made any difference in my work.

I don’t recall checking the Bies but will do that tomorrow.

Good luck with it.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

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taoist

110 posts in 1087 days


#6 posted 1015 days ago

Thanks to all for the responses. I called Biesemeyer today and their suggestion was to put a new face on the fence to the tune of 76.23. I thought someone had asked how the other side of the fence was, so today I measured it for straightness. It’s more than twice as bad as the other side..It’s out about .042, which is more than 1/32”.
The new fence face does come with shims, plywood, and new laminate.
I am now answering all stop because I can almost buy a new fence for what it will cost to reface the one I have.
Guess I am just going to live with it for awhile.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2715 posts in 1839 days


#7 posted 1014 days ago

Unfortunately, with a fence that is out 1/64”, you can never square up a piece of wood so it is a perfect 90°. Getting wood to a 90° accuracy is the most important dimension in woodworking. A miter gauge can be set to cut a perfect 90°, but when you rip it, the squareness is lost. I have the same problem with my Biesemeyer fence and I’m still trying to fix it. Maybe a torsion box structure attached and shimmed to the fence might work.

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taoist

110 posts in 1087 days


#8 posted 1013 days ago

I feel sure I will get mine fixed but it may take a while. I’m going to order the kit (1350147) but I am interested in what is behind the laminate. Yes I know there is a piece of plywood but there are also shims. I think that is the key to the straightness of the fence.
I ripped a couple of pieces of wood today and once while locking the the fence down, I noticed the opposite end was moving around a lot.
Sometimes when I come upon a problem that I can’t figure out immediately, I sleep on it for a while and sooner or later the night light comes on.

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