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Is it worth upgrading my table saw fence?

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Forum topic by sboyle posted 07-02-2009 04:20 AM 3690 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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sboyle

34 posts in 2721 days


07-02-2009 04:20 AM

Hello, I have an older Rockwell contractor type table saw. The saw runs great and definitly has some power. My problem is the fench is horrible. So I ask, Is it worth upgrading the fence, or holding on to that money and wait to buy a good used table saw? If I am to buy one, I want a top of the line make. I can’t afford new so I would have to save for a used one. If you think an upgraded fence is the way to go for know, what would you recomend? Thanks in advance for your help.

-- Hey, It will always make good firewood!!


14 replies so far

View Drewskie's profile

Drewskie

53 posts in 2719 days


#1 posted 07-02-2009 04:29 AM

Defenlty, use you money to by a good used contractor saw! Craigs list is the best for bargans, in my opion. You should be able to get a deal around $500 or less, you will spend at least $350 for a new biesmare fence.

Andrew

-- I cut it three times and its still to short? www.work-in-wood.com

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 3232 days


#2 posted 07-02-2009 05:02 AM

if you have the money go for the saw. if not the delta t-2 fence is great. i upgraded for it and i would do it again in a heartbeat

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7214 posts in 2839 days


#3 posted 07-02-2009 06:24 AM

IMHO, the best bang for the buck in a new fence is the Delta T2 for ~ $175. You might find a decent fence used for less.

If a great deal on a whole saw comes along, that’d be a good move too.

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

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 3532 days


#4 posted 07-02-2009 08:22 AM

With knowing nothing about your saw or fence…

Opinion Mode ON:

Answer is : NO, no it is not worth upgrading the fence.

Opinion Mode OFF.

You say the fence is “horrible”, what makes it horrible? Does it move in use? Not adjustable for blade / miter slot parallelism? Too low? Too small? Fences are pretty simple, what’s wrong with one on the saw now? Replacing the fence likely means replacing the rails too. Which could mean drilling and tapping your saw table. What features do you hope to get with a new fence that your present fence is not providing? More info and we might be able to suggest ways to salvage your existing fence. Or at least we’ll generate more and more complex opinions :).

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Don K.

1075 posts in 2790 days


#5 posted 07-02-2009 08:41 AM

”More info and we might be able to suggest ways to salvage your existing fence. Or at least we’ll generate more and more complex opinions :).”

LOL…. I agree…a little more info and someone may be able to help you out some more. As it is…going off of what you have said…I would probably go for a better used saw. I just sold a like new Ridgid contractor saw that was in GREAT shape for $350…and I see decent cabinet saws on craigs list all the time from $500 to $1000. Just be careful when you buy any used saw…there are some great deals out there….and there is pure junk for the same price as the good ones.

-- Don S.E. OK

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DavidFisher

77 posts in 3161 days


#6 posted 07-02-2009 02:22 PM

It depends.

Which Rockwell contractor’s saw do you have? That will make the difference in my opinion. Some were really great. I tried to buy one from a guy who was moving and selling most of his shop. He said that saw was going with him if he had to carry it.

If it’s a good saw that holds it’s settings and cuts well, get the fence. If the saw is garbage, replace them both.

For the fence, I’ve purchased two used Unifences in the past. One for $100 and one for $50. I still have one and will probably use it for life unless I come into money and can afford an Incra. Keep watching the classifieds here and at other woodworking forums. You will find a deal. If you need it now, the T2 is a good way to go as well.

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coloradoclimber

548 posts in 3532 days


#7 posted 07-02-2009 02:46 PM

I have to ask, a fence locks down, it stays parallel to the miter slots / blade, you slide jigs along it once in a while, maybe clamp a sacrificial fence for rabbeting. What else do you do with a fence? What wonderful features does an “upgraded” fence provide?

I’ve looked at the Incra and the indexing they provide but I’ve heard mixed reviews on how well it locks down and problems with parallelism.

Personally I’m much more a fan of the Biesemeyer style fence over the Unifence (how the hell do you ride a jig on a unifence anyhow?? like a tenoning jig?)

Here’s a quote from an article with some opinions on fences.

“The Biesemeyer is pretty much the “gold standards” of table saw fences. You basically can’t go wrong with a Biesemeyer” Table Saw Fence Buying Guide: Biesemeyer vs. Unifence vs. Vega vs. Incra

By Biesemeyer read “Biesemeyer style” fence, like the T2 or any of a handful of other aftermarket fences.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#8 posted 07-02-2009 06:03 PM

Unless your old fence is bent or somehow damaged, I think a lot of it comes down to what the problem is you are trying to solve.

I went through sort of the same process a few months ago … I have a Jet JWTS-10 WorkShop, which is sometimes referred to as ‘hybrid contractor’s saw’, and was thinking it would sure be nice to have a better fence. The stock aluminum fence is hard to clamp to, and tended to drift out of square.

I looked at all of the options I could find for after-market fences, and ultimately decided to keep what I already had.

The one advantage in the stock fence is the 30” capacity to the right of the blade which doesn’t require any leg supports. My saw rides on a mobile base, so adding legs to accomodate longer rails to the right of the blade isn’t an option.

There are some excellent fence options, but the ones I found for contractor saws were all 26” rip capacity, or required auxilliary legs.

So I decided to tweak up the adjustments on my Jet’s stock fence, as well as build a couple of auxilliary fences to clamp fixtures, sacrificial fences, etc. to.

I found that if I adjusted the alignment blocks in the fence body, kept the rails clear of sawdust and chips, and checked alignment periodically, I can get satisfactory performance. I built an alignment jig (feeler gauge on a magnetic base that rides in my miter slot) that makes keeping the fence parallel to the blade a lot easier.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 3232 days


#9 posted 07-02-2009 06:08 PM

some fences also you just cant fix. my old fence had about a 1/6” bow in it and it didnt lock down at the end no matter what adjustments i made and it would deflect like crazy. the new fence was just the best way to go

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#10 posted 07-02-2009 06:13 PM

when shoping for table saws I always say check the fence first and then the rest of the features. I would try to find a used saw ,fences can cost the same or more than a good used saw.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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knotscott

7214 posts in 2839 days


#11 posted 07-02-2009 06:16 PM

Dane – The Vega U26 and the Shop Fox Classic are the only popular aftermarket fence I know that are limited to 26”. AFAIK, the Biese, HTC, Exacta II, Shop Fox Aluma Classic, and Delta T2 all offer at least 30” that don’t need additional support.

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

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#12 posted 07-02-2009 09:20 PM

HTC has discontinued their Multi-Fence system … it is still on their website, but when I called them direct was told it was no longer being produced.

I saw the auxilliary legs on the Shop Fox W1720 … missed the fact that the W1716 doesn’t require them! There is a guy on WoodNet selling Exact II (older model I believe) for $95 w/o rails … that may be an affordable way to go.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Hobbywood's profile

Hobbywood

7 posts in 2699 days


#13 posted 07-17-2009 07:13 PM

Recently retired, I am trying to put the workshop that I built in 1988 in shape. The fence on my jwts-10 Jet Tablesaw began acting up. When I pull the lever down to lock the fence in position, it does not hold. The back seems to hold when the front does not. I have never had this problem before and was wondering where you suggest I begin to take it apart and clean/oil and maybe adjust it? Only one of the two bolts on one top end appears to have anything to do with the tightening of the small black arm around the back rail when the screw on the front of it is turned. Any suggestion?
This is my first email to anyone on Lumberjocks and I am not that great at mechanics but can follow directions.
Any help you could give me would be appreciated.
Wayne

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#14 posted 07-17-2009 07:38 PM

Hobbywood—Don’t know that I can help much. Is it possible the rear lock got bent a bit? I checked the manual that came with my saw, and there is no mention of any front-to-rear adjustments to the fence.

I have a newer JWTS-10 (model 708100 … purchased 11/06), and am replacing the stock fence with a Shop Fox Classic. The stock fence is hard to keep aligned, is hard to clamp to, and worst of all has a round top!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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