crosscut sled vs upgraded fence system

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Forum topic by fatherofthree13 posted 10-14-2013 10:32 AM 1231 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1712 days

10-14-2013 10:32 AM

I am a newb and I have been reading a lot on this site. I have a bit of a dilemma that I need help with. I have a Jet contractor saw(older blue model) with jet fence. I just sold a vintage dirtbike to get into woodworking. (wife says get rid of one toy for another) So here is my dilemma. I have a list of things to buy to get the table saw ready. One is a new Freud blade. The other thing I was all set to buy was a Vega fence. That is the link to the system. As you can see it is $280. My problem is that I just read an article that said a good crosscut sled was better than a good fence. So should I not buy the fence and make a crosscut sled first? Would the $280 be better spent on something else? I really appreciate the help. I just do not want to waste money on things that I may not need right now when it could be spent on something I really do need.

9 replies so far

View MAKZ06's profile


69 posts in 1800 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 04:09 PM

I would require an accurate fence that consistently locks parallel with the blade and it’s where I would put my money. You can build yourself a high quality and accurate crosscut sled for very little expense. There are a lot of great design ideas on here and you can get as fancy or basic as you want.

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3474 days

#2 posted 10-14-2013 04:17 PM

What MAKZ06 said. Hands down.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2628 days

#3 posted 10-14-2013 05:22 PM

Yep- what MAK said.

I’ve had a Craftsman 113 contractor saw for a while. It came with an incredibly poor fence, which made the machine hard to use. I paid $175 for a Delta T2 fence and it made a night/day difference. That saw went from my least favorite to my most favorite machine to use.

I then made a crosscut sled out of a $10 piece of 2’X2’ Blatic Birch. Took about an hour. Its not fancy, but I can cut small/moderate sized boards perfectly square. What more could I want?

The Vega fence will be money well spent. And you can always transplant the fence to future saws. So its conceivable that you might use that fence until you’re a vegetable.

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 10-14-2013 05:29 PM

I’d get the new Vega or T2 fence, sell the old fence to offset some costs, build a simple crosscut sled or buy an Incra miter gauge with the proceeds from the Jet Fence, and by all means buy a good blade.

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

View Woodknack's profile


11610 posts in 2376 days

#5 posted 10-14-2013 05:45 PM

The rip fence is arguably the most important feature of a saw and a good one is worth every penny but I wouldn’t run out and buy one unless I knew the fence I had was of poor quality (I’m not familiar with Jet fences). And yes, also build a crosscut sled and buy a good quality blade if you don’t have one. I strongly recommend getting training or finding a mentor before using the saw.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


6845 posts in 3363 days

#6 posted 10-14-2013 09:06 PM

I also agree with MAKZ06!

It is VERY important that your fence is parallel to you blade at all times you are using it!

Cross cut sleds/or a precision miter head is a good addition!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View bondogaposis's profile


4723 posts in 2347 days

#7 posted 10-14-2013 10:08 PM

Crosscut sleds are for crosscutting and rip fences are for ripping to state the obvious. A crosscut sled will not take the place of a rip fence, you need a good one.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View PaulDoug's profile


1535 posts in 1699 days

#8 posted 10-14-2013 10:40 PM

I’d like to make you aware of another good fence in the same price range. I had one of these on an old craftsman contractor saw for years and was very happy with it.

The one thing I like about it over the one you are looking at is the fence has slots on the top and the sides which makes it easy to attach feather boards and other accessories to it. Just thought I’d give you another one to look at. Both are good fences.

I agree with all above, good fence first, a good miter gauge is important also, make a cross cut sled.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View phlyers's profile


93 posts in 1783 days

#9 posted 10-16-2013 02:53 PM

I have the Vega Pro 40 and swear by it. It is built like a tank and was easy to install onto my vintage craftsman 10” TS. Yes pricey but the thing has never failed me in terms of accuracy. I don’t know if it will be a direct fit on yours but there IS a youtube video of a guy installing it on his. Check it out and if you have any questions let me know. Another thing to note but to me wasn’t a big deal. The machine work isn’t top notch meaning there are burrs here and there and some spatter from the welding. Not a big deal because the rigidity of it makes up for it.

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