Don’t have time to read the entire article? Our #1 pick for the best aftermarket table saw fence system goes to Shop Fox W1716 Aluma-Classic Fence
For many amateurs and pros alike, the table saw is the power tool that they use most often in their shop. If you have ever worked with one, you know how important the fence is in making accurate and safe cuts. Included below is a closer look at elements that make the best table saw fence features along with five tables saw products.
Here are the products we will be reviewing in this article:
- Shop Fox W1716 Aluma-Classic Fence with Standard Rails
- Vega PRO 50 Table Saw Fence System
- DELTA 36-T30 T2 30-Inch Fence and Rail System
- Shop Fox W1410 Fence with Standard Rails
- Delta Power Tools 78-919BT2 Biesemeyer Fence
Cutting Through Table Saw Fence Necessities
If you are new to woodworking, or table saws specifically, you might be wondering what a table saw fence is? Also known as a Rip fence, this integral component aids the user in achieving accurate cuts by acting as a stop between the fence wall and the blade. A table saw fence also helps with safety, as the fence can be placed closer to the blade than fingers ever should be.
Why would you want to buy an upgraded table saw fence?
This is often the first question that someone will ask and there is more than one answer to this question. Obviously, in the case of someone buying a used or a new table saw, they may discover that it does not come with a fence. Another instance would be to replace a broken or worn out fence that no longer lines up, or locks, properly.
When I first started building up my tool collection, I would often try to save money by purchasing cheaper brands and models. The lower price of this equipment often came at the expense of quality. With power tools, this is often seen in the accessories that come with them, such as the fence on a table saw.
All fences are not created equally. A final consideration for upgrades with many users is the features that make the fence stand out from the previous component.
What’s the best way to use a table saw fence?
It might be a good idea to write about what a fence is used for before we continue with other product aspects.
A table saw fence is intended to be used when making rip cuts along the grain of wood you are working with. The fence is designed to provide a parallel surface to the blade so that you can achieve straight cuts when the wood is placed against it.
Crosscuts, as well as angled cuts, will use a miter gauge to support the wood instead of a table saw fence. Please note that you should not use the rip fence and a miter gauge at the same time as this can lead to kickback.
What are the advantages of an aftermarket table saw fence?
One of the major advantages of an aftermarket product is your ability to upgrade material composition. Upgrading to a fence that is made from durable material that offers a completely straight profile is a necessity on some products. The upgrade in materials might include the hardware that moves and locks the fence into position. Function and ease of operation are other reasons that table saw owners will look to upgrade their rip fence. Some fences are not large enough to be of practical use with some projects.
Owners may also struggle operating or adjusting the fences that come with their table saw. An upgrade will not only improve performance, but it may also encourage you to use your table saw more often.
Things to look for in replacement table saw fences
The most important feature on any table saw fence will be how true the face is in comparison to the blade. A fence face that runs parallel to the blade will help to generate the square cuts that you are looking for.
From there, you will want to look at how easy the fence is to move and lock. There are fences on the market that you can move back and forth or lock with one hand. Unfortunately, there are also products out there that do not move smoothly and will require both hands to move or lock into position.
A feature that is sometimes overlooked by novice woodworkers is the ability to micro-adjust. With many fine woodworking projects, you may find yourself needing to make very small adjustments to a piece of wood’s width. Having a fence that allows you to move it a 1/8 or 1/16th of an inch will save you time and frustration.
Many fences will include one or more scales. Larger letters and numbers will be easier to read. Easy to read print will save you time as you make adjustments to the fence.
Table Saw Safety
The fence itself is designed to offer support, so never make rip cuts without it. Adding feather board attachments to your fence will help keep the wood secure as it is being cut. Make sure that your fence is parallel to the blade and stays in place in order to prevent the wood from binding.
Finally, always use push sticks when making rip cuts and never use your fence in combination with the crosscut gauge.
Top 5 Aftermarket Table Saw Fence Reviews
Vega PRO 50 Table Saw Fence System
The fence is made from aluminum and has an epoxy coating that should help extend the durability of its surface. It includes matching hole patterns for Delta Unisaw, Contractor, Powermatic 66, and the Sears 10-inch saw.
Shop Fox W1716 Aluma-Classic Fence with Standard Rails
This model from Shop Fox measures 57-inches for the length of the rail, something that will provide plenty of registering surface as you push the wood through the cut. The aluminum components on the fence also lower its overall weight.
DELTA 36-T30 T2 30-Inch Fence and Rail System
This highly durable product offers a steel tube body and welding that provides extra strength at the joints. The surface is not rough, however, and glides smoothly when positioning and during use.
Shop Fox W1410 Fence with Standard Rails
This reasonably priced model from Shop Fox provides basic use for most standard 27-inch table saws, including older models that are sometimes more difficult to fit.
Delta Power Tools 78-919BT2 Biesemeyer Fence
This model entry from Delta has been designed with the older table saw models in mind. The range of tables that this fence will fit should be ideal for those who have inherited an older model or are into refurbishing their power tool equipment.
Which table saw fence is the best in my opinion?
While all of the products reviewed above will provide you with a solid fence surface, I feel that Shop Fox W1716 Aluma-Classic represents the best table saw fence out there. While it does have a more limited 30-inch rip capacity, it should still provide most hobbyists with room for small and medium width cuts they will require for shop jigs and projects.
A solid torsion bar design gives the fence a solid and true surface that is parallel to the table saw blade. Its cam lever is easy to operate with one hand while still providing a solid grip when it is locked down. Finally, a magnified cursor increases the fence readings, making them easy to see.