Fine Woodworking’s Jefferson Kolle writes that all a tablesaw fence has to do is lock parallel to the blade. Simple function, but a complicated procedure. Kolle looked at eight “commercial” fence systems with significantly different designs. He defines the parts that compose the fence system and described things that might alter a fence assembly, such as rough or uneven saw tops. He addresses the locking controversy, and explains how he ensured a fair test. He performed a “whack” test to see how the fence held when bumped by large stock, and compared their price/warranty, locking systems, rail length, what saw sizes they fit, instruction manual quality, finish quality, rail installation difficulty, fence adjustment, vertical adjustment, and vertical squareness from the factory. An accurate fence system can eliminate a lot of fiddling; decide which features are most important to you before deciding which to buy. A side article discusses Bill Biesemeyer, maker of the first aftermarket tablesaw fence, and its many clones.

From Fine Woodworking #133