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Need some advise on a table saw fence

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Forum topic by Tim Dahn posted 2065 days ago 6431 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2191 days


2065 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

Need some Lumberjock advice.
I have this Craftsman table saw and have been noticing saw marks on the wood after making a cut, so I Decided to tune it up, I adjusted the trunnions so the blade is square with the miter slot and I can get a very smooth crosscut and this is a good thing! I have adjusted the fence numerous times but can’t get rid of the saw marks when ripping. Well I have found an issue with the fence, it’s twisted!
So I am trying to decide what to do.

1. Can this be repaired?
2. Should I live with it?
3. Buy a new saw or fence?

Here are some pic’s

From WOOD WORKING

Here is the infeed of the fence
From WOOD WORKING

And the outfeed side
From WOOD WORKING

This the fence laying on it’s side with two straight edges, you can really see the twist.
From WOOD WORKING

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.


20 replies so far

View Greg3G's profile

Greg3G

815 posts in 2712 days


#1 posted 2065 days ago

I’m not sure you can correct that. Check and see if there is a long threaded rod running down through it, that may be your only way to adjust it.

If you chose to replace it, I would recommend either a Biesmire or Vega. Both have received high reviews. Another option is to contact Sears and see if they have a prelacement. That would probably be the cheapest and easiest route.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2588 days


#2 posted 2065 days ago

Tim,
It appears that this is one of Sears’ bench top saws. Is that correct? If so and it is practical for you, you might consider replacing it with a cabinet saw. I tried to use a Craftsman contractors saw for a while. It works fine on construction sites but lacks the inherent accuracy needed for furniture and cabinet work. Some of the saw marks could be from blade wobble or you need a new blade. A Freud Glue Line rip of a Forest WW2 are a vast improvement. Just a few thoughts. The Sears replacement fence will probably be the most cost effective.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2390 days


#3 posted 2065 days ago

Lowes sells a Delta T2 fence for about $150. I don’t what to tell you about replaceing the whole saw, I guess it depends on if your haveing other problems with the saw and what your willing to spend. I have an American made Delta Contractors saw with a 30” Unifence and mobile base that I bought new in 1995 and have yet to find a reason to sell it. I’m sure cabinet saws are nice, but I don’t use my saw enough to justify the extra cost. If things in this country got better and I was running a fulltime shop then I might consider one, but for now I don’t see it happening anytime soon. But then again, if I run into a used Unisaw at a price thats too good to pass up then it might happen, but it would have to be a steal of a deal.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2191 days


#4 posted 2065 days ago

Thanks for the input so quick.
I think the blade is fine, I don’t see any wobble and the crosscuts are smooth. I am considering new saw but I may add a sacrificial fence first to see if I can compensate for the twist. Ultimately if I spend the money on a new fence, I still have a Craftsman contractors saw. I can’t justify the cost of a cabinet saw but the new Ridgid R4511 hybrid looks interesting, I may wait awhile for some reviews to show up.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

887 posts in 2239 days


#5 posted 2065 days ago

Buy a whole new saw because the fence is twisted? Isn’t that like throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

I’ve seen these fences on the bay; with and without rails. however, the reason it twisted is probably because they cheapened the aluminum extrusion making it much thinner than it should be. Odds are, the replacement will warp with time.

I wonder if there is an 80/20 extrusion that would fit this fence design? Hutch here at LJ’s built an entire fence system out of 80/20 or similar extrusions. We use them where I work and I am amazed at the strength and rigidity.

And I respectfully disagree with the statement that these saws cannot be made accurate enough for furniture and cabinetry work. My 40-year-old version of this saw does exactly that very well. But a twisted fence is not going to allow that.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2390 days


#6 posted 2065 days ago

I’m not sold on the Hybrids, for alittle more you can get a full blown cabinet saw thats better built and has twice the power with a good fence. If your going to make the jump, do it, don’t do it half assed. If your dead set on a different saw, have some patience and wait for a used cabinet saw to popup at a reasonable price.

View odie's profile

odie

1680 posts in 2466 days


#7 posted 2065 days ago

My answer would be to get rid of the rip fence and upgrade. I have a 32 year old craftsman that works like new with an Incra TS. I have the first generation Incra and am very happy with it. Another thing, I used to have to align my trunnion once a year. It had those damn star lock washers. 10 years ago I replaced those lock washers with real split lock washers and it hasn’t moved since.

Take a look at the Incra rip fences. http://incra.com/product_tsf_main.htm

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". http://woodstermangotwood.blogspot.com/ (my funny blog)

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2448 days


#8 posted 2065 days ago

Tim, you are discovering the biggest drawback on the Sears contractor model saw, in my opinion. The fence is really problematic. It tends to bow when you lock it down. I measured mine at about 0.015” deflection in the middle of the fence when I lock it down.

Another problem with the fence is that the front and rear of the fence travel somewhat independently of one another. I have found the alignment of mine to be off as much as a 1/4” when I lock the fence down to set the fence to blade distance. This entails breaking out my fine adjusting tool (dead blow hammer) to repeatedly “tap” the front and rear of the fence until they are in alignment with the miter gauge slot (that I have made sure is parallel to the blade). Of course this resets the fence to blade distance so the entire process has to be repeated until (1) the blade distance is set and (2) the fence is aligned from front to rear.

And, of course, putting a good blade (This does not include Craftsman products. I use Forrest blades) in there is a good idea as well. When I go through this reiteration I can produce glue line rips in cherry without any burning. Sorry for the lecture but in summary the fence is simply a PITA.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2191 days


#9 posted 2064 days ago

Thanks to all, it is sure great to have a place like Lumberjocks for help and ideas, Thank You!

EEngineer: I know, I know…I am just growing tired of tweaking this saw. I found the blog from Hutch and found it very informative, thanks.

Woodchuck: I’m also on the fence with the hybrids or even just getting a new saw, that would open another can of worms regarding jigs made for this saw.

Odie: Thanks for that tip! I will replace those washers. The Incra is under consideration.

Thos, Angle and Scott Bryan I bought a Forrest WW2 and a new zero clearance insert at a wood show last March but have been reluctant to put it on until I put this fence issue to bed. Well today I put them on just to make sure the blade was not part of the problem. The new Forrest did help some, and it sure does cut! What is PITA?

One thing I’m sure of at this point, the fence is the weak link. I will keep you all posted.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2390 days


#10 posted 2064 days ago

Timbo, I understand money is tight, it certainly is for me, but when you made this statement, it told me you wanted a different saw ( Ultimately if I spend the money on a new fence, I still have a Craftsman contractors saw. I can’t justify the cost of a cabinet saw but the new Ridgid R4511 hybrid looks interesting, I may wait awhile for some reviews to show up ) I guess at this point if you can’t afford a different saw I would highly recommend the Delta T2 at Lowes for about $150. If you ever sell the saw you can reinstall the old fence and keep the new fence if you run across a good used saw with a not so good fence. The Ridgid I’d be a little concerned about how well the granite top holds up in time, and the fence looks to me as if it’s not very tall. Good luck with your decision.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2448 days


#11 posted 2064 days ago

I am sorry I normally do not use acronyms but a PITA is an acronym for A Pain In The A**.

By the way here is a picture of some cherry I ripped on my saw this morning for a raised panel door that I am currently working on. Cherry is notoriously easily burned if you don’t have a sharp blade and the fence correctly aligned.

I could go ahead and glue these up as is since the edges are as good as a jointer will generate but I am going to go ahead and joint the upturned edge anyway just to be safe. By the way it took me about 10 minutes to align the fence in order to make these rip cuts.

I thought about getting a T2 to go on the saw as has been mentioned but the drawback, for me, is that I would have had to drill out the T2 fence to fit my saw. Obviously if it did not work out there would be no way to return the fence. But since I am going to upgrade to a cabinet saw anyway I will just put up with the fence as it.

Another note I would add is that I tried to correct the bow by clamping a 1/4” piece of angle iron to the fence but I could not generate enough clamping pressure to take out the bow. Clamping a piece of plywood to the face of the fence improved the bow markedly for me.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2191 days


#12 posted 2064 days ago

bentlyj: This morning I actually clamped the fence to the table saw and tried twisting…...it’s pretty stout, no luck, maybe I should had my wheaties first.

Woodchuck: money is not an issue I just haven’t decided what to do and with all these great ideas and help I may sound all wishy washy.

Scott Brian: Doh! I should have got that one.

Thanks again for all the input, I will keep you posted.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2614 days


#13 posted 2064 days ago

You could try attaching a wood face to your fence and just shim it until it’s square.

Just drill holes into your fence and use self tapping screws. Just make sure that you counter sink/bore your holes in the peice you attach.

Then loosen the screws, slide little wedges between you new face and the fence and tighted the screws.

It shouldn’t take you too long to get it perfectly square to you table.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View pitchnsplinters's profile

pitchnsplinters

262 posts in 2064 days


#14 posted 2064 days ago

There are a ton of great saws out there and some not so great ones that with some care and tuning can cut just fine. I bought a 10” Delta Contractor’s Saw with Unifence about 13 yrs ago and it has served me well. I’ve since made a few modifications; upgraded the blade, added a Uni-T-Fence (http://www.ttrackusa.com/unifence.htm), rebuilt the laminate extension table, and mounted a Woodpecker’s Precision Router Lift (http://www.woodpeck.com/precisionrouterlift.html) with P-C 7518 router. Here are a few pics.

http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp134/billoneil/Lumberjocks%20Photos/Saw-Router_01.jpg
http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp134/billoneil/Lumberjocks%20Photos/Saw-Router_05.jpg
http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp134/billoneil/Lumberjocks%20Photos/Saw-Router_02.jpg
http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp134/billoneil/Lumberjocks%20Photos/Saw-Router_04.jpg

Unfortunately I am not a fan of Craftsman power tools, so my advise is pretty obvious.

Good luck.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 2334 days


#15 posted 2064 days ago

I was going to suggest something along the same lines as GaryK but instead of the shims, drilling/tapping threaded holes in the wood face and putting set screws through them to contact the fence and provide for adjusting square to the table. You might have to back off the tension on the fixed self-tapping ones that attach it, but combined with the set screw you’d be able to square it all without continually flipping, inserting shims, and rechecking.

-- Use the fence Luke

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