What fence with my DELTA Table Saw?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Sailor posted 07-01-2009 02:28 AM 11328 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3259 days

07-01-2009 02:28 AM

I have been in the market for a new table saw. My current table saw is a cheap Ryobi that is loud, underpowered and definately inaccurate. I have been looking and looking at different saws compairing prices, reviews and options and I think I like the Delta 36-9 model.
(I think the picture should work)

I have read the reviews here on this site and on others and every owner seems to have been proud of their purchase. I intend the use the saw quite a bit for hobby woodworking and maybe for part time cabinet/furniture making.

The saw can be purchased with a few different options. Prices are from Rockler*

-2 Cast Iron Wings
-2 Stamped Steel Wings
Seems like cast iron wings are superior over stamped, am I correct?

-No fence system
-Delta T2 30” fence ($710)
-30” Delta Unifence System and Table Board ($850)
-30” Delta Biesemeyer Commercial Fence System and Table Board ($980)

I have read a few reviews where people had no problems with the T2 fence (the T2 fence is the only fence availiable with the stamped steel wings, the Unifence and Biesemeyer both come with cast wings). The T2 options doesn’t come with the table board.

The Unifence and the Bie both come with table boards. I have of course read good things about the Bie and Unifence.

-So which is the best option for the money? If the T2 fence isn’t worth a hoot then I wouldn’t having a problem spending the extra money on a better fence.

-Do the Uni and Bie have large differences?

-Will I be glad I went with a Table Board?

-Where can I find the best deal ?

Thanks guys!!!!!!

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

38 replies so far

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3738 days

#1 posted 07-01-2009 02:51 AM

it wasn’t one of your choices, but I like the Delta unifence, mainly because you don’t have a back rail to fuss with.
It is a bit of a PIA if you decide to use it for cutting on the left side of the blade, which you may not have to do much, since this is a left tilt saw your looking at.

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3259 days

#2 posted 07-01-2009 03:00 AM

tim, not sure if you are speaking of different Delta Unifence but I did mention one as an option. Are there different ones? Are you thinking of another that I could get as an upgrade?

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#3 posted 07-01-2009 03:04 AM


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3259 days

#4 posted 07-01-2009 04:07 AM

Jim, did I mispell it somwhere or are you telling me to go with the Biesemeyer? lol

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View knotscott's profile


8006 posts in 3369 days

#5 posted 07-01-2009 04:14 AM

Sailor – Which fence to get should really boil down to which one makes the most sense to you. I’m a fan of the Biesemeyer, but have to say that for the price the T2 is tough value to beat. It’s really a “Biese Lite”...steel body, steel rails, t-square design. If you’re compelled to spend more for a fence upgrade, go for it but the T2 is a plenty functional fence.

You’re correct that cast iron is generally preferable to steel wings but it’s more of a “nice to have” feature than a “must have”. A table exstension is nice but is very small concern when looking at a new saw…you can add one of your own for very little money. The reason it’s included with the Biese fence is that fence actually rides on the table.

If you’re willing to spend closer to a grand for a saw, I think I’d consider upgrading to something like a cabinet saw, or at least a hybrid saw if you don’t have 220v available. AFAIK, Lowes sells the Delta 36-980 with cast iron wings and the T2 fence for ~ $600….$710 isn’t a great price.

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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3297 days

#6 posted 07-01-2009 04:26 AM

Ive really enjoyed the 52in unifence…but have never used the biesemeyer…i would go with Jim’s recommendation, hes an experienced wood worker…30 years plus…...from reviews Ive’s very accurate ,,,square ..good for clamping onto it…...have fun with your new saw….nothing like it…after a ryobi…you will be very pleased..grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3259 days

#7 posted 07-01-2009 04:57 AM


Lowes? I have read that they sell it but I can’t find it on their website….... Where can I find it?

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View BigJimAK's profile


30 posts in 3285 days

#8 posted 07-01-2009 05:56 AM

I recently went through this same thought process. I narrowed it to the Biese and the Uni due to reviews I’d read and then, when talking with our local Delta dealer, learned that Delta is phasing out the Unifence, in favor of the Biese. Based upon that, I went with the Biese. I can see why it is the basis other fences are measured against!


-- Jim in Alaska

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3480 days

#9 posted 07-01-2009 05:59 AM


I complained to Lowes and HD a few months ago because I could not find certain items. They said not all items are listed on their website. I said duh I know that!

I came that close to buying the $600 Delta contractors saw from Lowes. If I had not found a once in a lifetime deal on a cabinet saw, the Delta saw would be sitting in my garage, as I type. The Lowes deal is a good price, plus if you don’t like it, take it back. Unifence or biesemeyer, it’s probably a coin toss. didn’t delta buy beisemeyer? i have the shopfox clone of the beisemeyer and i’m fine with it. perfectly accurate.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3259 days

#10 posted 07-01-2009 06:05 AM


Gotcha, I guess I will head over to my local Lowe’s and ask them about it.

I am pretty sure that Delta owns Beisemeyer. At least I read that somewhere and it makes more sense since the product description said “Delta Bieseyemer”.

If I can get that saw for under $700 with the Beisemeyer then I will order one real quick like!

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3747 days

#11 posted 07-01-2009 07:29 AM

Sailor, I got my jet cab saw off from for a lot less with the 52 inch beisemeyer fence with the long rails that can rip 52 inches to the right of the blade. If you can wait a while there are some great deals out there. And all the cast iron extensions.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3986 days

#12 posted 07-01-2009 09:26 AM

going with eather fence you will be extremely happy. i haven’t hat a bisy in years i went with the uni fence about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back but their are down sides to it. fixtures are almost impossible to attach to it with out drilling holes in to it. so i buy c channel the right size to fit the head and just build all my fixtures out of MDF. one thing i do like about doing it this way is i can make my fixtures so i can still use the tape on the rail. good luck to you

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3999 days

#13 posted 07-01-2009 01:16 PM

I’ve used a 52” Vega saw fence on my unisaw for 15 years and ave been extremely pleased with its performance. Probably even lower priced than better known name brands.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3259 days

#14 posted 07-02-2009 12:47 AM

Well, I went by Lowe’s today to check out their pricing. For the Delta 36-982 which is the saw with the Biesemeyer fence was about $900 the person told me. They didn’t give an exact price, I am not sure but the woman really didn’t know what she was doing. It took us a while to just find it in the catalog until I took over and found it.

She called someone and their price was $850 and she said that I could get it for probably about $900. Thats the better than any price that I can find on the internet, anyone know of a better bargain?

I think I have decided on the Bie since so many people like it, just seems like it would be a good choice since I am not getting a cabinet saw or a hybrid. I like this saw because it can be moved around with the mobile base.

It’s a really tough decision buy a saw….......

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View knotscott's profile


8006 posts in 3369 days

#15 posted 07-02-2009 01:50 AM

Sailor – It seems like you really want to get a nice saw, and you’re doing due diligence with your homework. It’s important to get the saw that you like best, but had hybrids been available in my price range when I bought my contractor saw, I’d have wanted someone to nudge me just a little like I’m going to nudge you, and spare the upgrade process (and cost). I’ve got time tonight to spell some things out that I hope you’ll give consideration to.

The Biesemeyer is a great fence…highly rated, highly respected, rugged, easy to use, accurate, etc. No issue with that fence whatsoever…I like it a lot. But it can also be pretty expensive, and there are several that are in the same league. Having owned two Biesemeyers, a Vega, a Shop Fox Classic, and a Jet Exacta II, I’ll be the first to tell you not to give up very much just to hold onto the Biese if it means buying a lesser saw. Anyone of those fences are at roughly the same level as the Biese, and the SF Classic and Exacta II are a very similar design. The HTC fence and Powermatic fence are the same as the Exacta II. There are also some improved versions of this type of fence from Steel City, Laguna, Saw Stop, and Grizzly. Not to mention that the Jet Proshop hybrid fence is pretty darn good too. Point being that the Biese is the gold standard and the original of this type, but there are others that are very worthy to put on your saw.

The basic Delta contractor saw is a solid value without a fence at $450….for $900 with the Biese (36-982) it’s not a good deal IMO. It means you’re paying $450 for the Biese fence, which is just about MSRP. The Delta contractor saw is also based on a slightly watered down 60 year old design….that comment isn’t intended to slam the basic 36-979, but to point out the realities of where it falls compared to other saws and other types of saws. Contractor saws were developed decades ago as a portable option to take to the worksite, thus were made with an outboard motor for easy removal, which is really the only advantage of that motor location. The outboard motor location creates large openings that make dust collection difficult, necessitates a longer belt (more vibration and less efficient power transfer), a higher safety concern, leverage on the trunnions, and a signficant risk of lifting something inadvertantly when the blade tilts, which can really whack the alignment. Once the portable jobsite saw evolved to the point of respectability, and sliding compound miter saws hit the scene, the traditional contractor saw’s obsolescence was just a matter of time. Also, some contractor saws, the Delta included, use steel connecting rods as an arbor carriage between the trunnion brackets…its cheaper and lighter to manufacturer, but not necessarily a better design than saws that use a single cast arbor carriage. These rods can twist when the saw is beveled creating an effect called heeling that essentially puts the back of the blade out of line with the front of the blade. It’s not always an issue, but should be considered before buying, as opposed to finding out after.

The hybrid saw is an evolution of the traditional contractor saw that eliminates many of the disadvantages posed by the outboard motor. The hybrid is about the same size, has the same duty rating, similar power, and similar electrical requirements, all while offering a smaller footprint, better DC, better power transfer, etc., etc….which are really most of the advantages a full cabinet saw offers, but with less power and lower duty rating. There are plenty of us who have and/or still do good work with a traditional contractor saw…it’s capable of good work, and while it may not be worthwhile to pursue changing saws from a traditional contractor saw to a hybrid, it is worthwhile skipping the contractor saw in the first place and buying the hybrid instead if at all possible. Unless price or features of a contractor saw offer a compelling advantage, there’s really no benefit in picking the older design over the hybrid IMO. Many of the hybrids either offer a Biese fence, or a Biese caliber fence.

If you’ve got 220v available, or if you could get it fairly easily, the industrial 3hp cabinet saws trump all the hybrids…they’re simply more powerful and robust than hybrids or contractor saws. A cabinet saw may be a bit over the top, but it’s hard to put up much of an argument in favor of spending ~ $900 for a contractor saw, when a Grizzly 1023SL is $1075 shipped…and there are other worthy 3hp saws near that price range.

That’s about as far as I’ll go, but take a look at the pics below:

The guts of a Delta contractor saw:

back of the saw

The guts of a Craftsman hybrid, Steel City hybrid, Ridgid hybrid, Grizzly hybrid:

The guts of some 3hp industrial cabinet saws:

p.s.: Any saw can be put on a mobile base. It’s a nice built in feature, but buy the saw, not the mobile base.

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

showing 1 through 15 of 38 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics