Table Saw Fence Options
Which fence to buy? Figuring out which aftermarket fence is right for your cabinet-style or contractor-style table saw can be a daunting task. Your grandfather will tell you, "Buy a Biesemeyer, young man, and forget all your worries. But get a job first." But questions may remain.
"Isn't there a cheaper, just-as-good alternative to a gold plated Biesemeyer?"
"Isn't the t-square fence a universal design?"
"What about all these fences that cost $150 less - aren't some of them good enough?"
"Do I really need a job?"
If you ask me, I'll tell you to buy a Biesemeyer. Here's why: It'll hold its value. It'll help you sell a used saw quicker. You'll love using it every day. Old guys will envy you. It might keep you from becoming a total wanker.
- You don't need micro-adjustment.
- Extruded aluminum bars and laminated fence faces with formica-looking stuff on them are preferable to UHMW plastic faces.
- Rails constructed of heavy-gauge angle iron and square tubing are far superior to those made of tubular steel.
- Pay attention to how the nose of the fence is supported and slides (the far end of the fence).
- A great fence makes life better.
TABLE SAW RIP FENCES COMMONLY AVAILABLE
The original and reining champion: Biesemeyer. Its pronounced "BEES-uh-myer". Spend the money, wanker. It's a great fence.
For all you hand-wringing snowflake types still over-thinking your options, I provide the following: A reasonably comprehensive list of table saw rip fences on the market today. Many are very good (i.e., professional quality) while some are so-so. Also, there's a ton of DIY fence help out there, too, if you want to make your own. Just scroll down farther for links to vids and info.
2.) Delta Unifence
A very good fence. A professional-quality, proven tool. Sam Maloof's table saw sported a Unifence.
This is the fence that used to come standard with Powermatic and Jet machines. I'm not sure if it still does. Very good fence.
Very good fence with micro-adjustment. Not sure if Vega is still in business. They might have gotten out of the market or may be doing the manufacturing for other companies now.
5.) SawStop T-Glide
Standard fence that comes with SawStop cabinet saws. Very good fence.
6.) Delta 36-T30 T3
A step down from a true Biesemeyer-style fence, but a pretty good choice if you're on a tight budget.
7.) Shop Fox Fence
A step down from the top-line rip fences. A budget option. People will ask why you bought it. Your answer should include the word "wanker".
8.) Very Super Cool Tools
Innovative fences with super-straight extruded aluminum rails and lots of configuration options. Save a few super bucks and support Super Allen. A very super good fence, despite the green paint.
9.) Incra LS32-TS
Kind of weird looking, but very nicely built. Incra has a particular design aesthetic that carries through its entire line of tools. I have to believe Germans on holiday tend to gravitate towards Incra (in their short shorts, of course). Very good fence system appreciated by some cabinet makers.
Not sure if HTC is still making fences. Half step down from pro level tools.
11.) Grizzly Aluma-Classic
A short step down from the top class, but serviceable. Keep it waxed up and it'll work fine. I owned this fence for 12 years. I have replaced the rails, slider pads, clamp pad, and knob. I'm such a wanker.
12.) Shop Fox Classic Fence
Similar to the Grizzly and HTC. A half step down from the pro tools, but likely as good as any in this class.
13.) JET X-Acta
Very nice. Not sure if it is still being made.
14.) Jet ProShop
Looks similar to others out of the Taiwan factories. Half step down in quality from the big boys.
15.) Rockwell Delta Jet-Lock
Total crap. These fences are worthless. Remove and sell as quickly as you can. They are crap. Am I clear?
16.) Craftsman 113
Not great, but will probably work OK. A budget option.
Forget about this fence.
BUILD YOUR OWN TABLE SAW FENCE
a.) John Heisz Wooden Table Saw Fence Plan
John Heisz is super talented. His plans and videos are great.
b.) JersWorkshop Incremental Fence
Innovative young builder with some good thinking behind his plans. You'll need a welder to make this fence.
c.) DIY Creators
e.) Well Made Tips
f.) Elias Stratakos
g.) pin bal
h.) Wooden Tool Man
j.) Matthias Wandel
k.) Cosmas Bauer
l.) The Italian Makers
m.) T2's Stuff
n.) Marcello Bianchi
o.) Gokman Altuntas
p.) Izzy Swan
t.) Joshua Luther
u.) JCR Creations
v.) Mads Kevy
w.) Danny S. Hodges
x.) Stan Sullivan