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Thread: Craftsman Table Saw Fence Upgrade?

  1. #1

    Craftsman Table Saw Fence Upgrade?

    I need to upgrade my Craftsman contractor style table saw fence it is old from the 80's with cast iron wings that are not solid but open.

    I have seen different fences but they are confusing and I can not find a direct replacement do not know what to order and from where. Can anyone help would like to find a direct bolt on replacement.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    4,229
    Eric.

    First off. Welcome to Sawmill Creek. Pleased to meet ya'.

    Don't be afraid to drill the cast iron on your saw if you can't find a bolt on replacement. Cast iron is very mild. It has a somewhat "granular nature" to it, so when drilling, use a low speed to start, lots of cutting fluid, and drill pilot holes. This will prevent the drill from trying to walk,and follow the grain on you.

    A number of folks on the board have had, or still have Craftsman Tablesaws. I'm sure you'll get a wide range of solutions, and options.

    Mostly though. Welcome to Sawmill Creek.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Unfortunately Sears has stopped selling the Align-a-Rip made for them by Ryobi. they were around $250 but went on sale for half that frequently. When they stopped selling them they blew them out for $99!!!

    If you can find one used or at a clearance center they are 30" left AND 30" right by design. they mount with t-slots so lots of folks would make 12" left by 48" right units just by sliding them down and sticking on a new tape.

    I had one on my 1970's saw and it also fit my 1950's C-man. If you find one I would highly recommend it. The only downfall is it is aluminum so home shop use with care is all I'd advise.

    Beyond that there are a boat-load of $250 - $500 fences out there but that was more than my saw was worth. You can see my old build here:

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=36317
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  4. #4
    I have a Craftsman also from the early 80's that I got from my grandpa. I put a Unifence on it and it's an immeasurable improvement. That fence is pretty close to "bolt on", I had to drill some of the existing holes a little bigger for the bolts to fit, other than that it was a straight foward installation. A high quality fence, along with a link belt and machined pulleys, are the best upgrades you can do to a saw like that.

    I know some will say that it may be crazy to spend $300 on a top notch fence to put onto a $100 saw, but my saw has some sentimental value to it, and, I'm not ready for my Sawstop yet because I'm really tired of moving 400+ lb machinery down a flight of stairs.

    Edit: Welcome to the forum!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    4,236
    The Vega is one of the better values going, and it's also one of the easier installations.

    http://www.epinions.com/content_217486757508
    Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

  6. #6
    Not a Craftsman owner, but another vote for Vega. I put a Vega on a Jet contractor saw and all of a sudden, I did not yearn for a cabinet saw.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    New Orleans LA
    Posts
    1,335
    I put a Vega on my Craftsman (about 5 yrs older than yours) and have been really pleased.
    18th century nut --- Carl

  8. #8
    Ditto on the VEGA. Put on on an ~90 vintage Craftsman about 8 years back; best upgrade ever. Like a whole new saw. Also consider upgrading to the RIDGID pulleys which should fit that model also. They are grooved and extremly smooth. (I found mine on *bay)

    Jim in Idaho.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
    Posts
    2,550
    [QUOTE=Mike Cutler]Eric.

    First off. Welcome to Sawmill Creek. Pleased to meet ya'.

    Don't be afraid to drill the cast iron on your saw if you can't find a bolt on replacement. Cast iron is very mild. It has a somewhat "granular nature" to it, so when drilling, use a low speed to start, lots of cutting fluid, and drill pilot holes. This will prevent the drill from trying to walk,and follow the grain on you.



    Cast iron is self lubricating because it has either fine flakes of Graphite in it if it is ordinary cast iron or in ball like form if it is Nodular cast iron also know as spheroidal graphite iron ( Ductile iron)(info from the Machinery's Handbook) so you don't need oil. You can drill it with a common HSS drill bit. Yes drill a pilot hole.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 02-11-2007 at 10:29 PM.
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

    My web page has a pop up. It is a free site, just close the pop up on the right side of the screen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Auburn, ME
    Posts
    712
    I picked up a late 70's c-man saw a few years back. It has worked well so far but I was having trouble with it. The shear pin on the main pully broke yesterday...not sure why but I tore it apart and finally got it fixed tonight. The other problem I was having was getting the blade aligned with the saw. I was able to read back to a few good articles about aligning the saw.

    But to the point of your post. I picked up a Jet superfence....drilled a few mounting holes and it is 1000 times better than the original fence. Look around on *bay or craigslist or where ever....any secondary fence will work well and mount on your saw... I have heard great things about the vega...very similar to a biesemeyer which if you can afford go for it....

    good luck.
    Greg

  11. #11

    Thumbs up Craftsman Table Saw

    I have a Craftsman 10 table saw i picked up the other day at a sell and want too upgrade it and clean it up a bit also,The table it self has a small amount of surface rust on it and what is the best thing too use on it to clean it up and then add some wax, also i want to replace the pullys and put a new and better belt. Iam going to get it cleaned up and give it too my son.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Southern MD
    Posts
    1,931
    Not sure if they still sell them, but the Ridgid fence was a direct bolt on. I bought one for around $99 and it worked well. It's not as good as some of the more expensive fences mentioned, but it was usable. It required periodic readjustment though. But, for the price it was good.
    The biggest problem with my Craftsman saw was that the blade wouldn't stay adjusted parallel to the miter slot. I eventually got tired of adjusting it and got a new saw.
    Jay St. Peter

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    North Central Arkansas
    Posts
    43

    Fence Upgrade

    I upgraded my Craftsman Bench Saw 113.29943 (circa 1970's) with a Shop Fox Classic from Grizzly. All mounting is done to the table top and nothing on the wings. I had to drill & tap the table top,(cast iron) but this was easy and straight forward. Just make sure you have a drill/tap to match the size/threads of the mounting bolts. I am very well satisfied with the fence. The fence is heavy so plan for a close storage place, I put mine in a special box/slot under the 7' x 8' table I have built a round the saw. Good Luck

  14. #14
    Yeah the saw has sentimental value belonged to my father who is not alive anymore. I new he wanted to upgrade the fence so will give it a shot. Vega seems to be the consensous what exactly is required for a vega upgrade any drilling and tapping? What is the rigid belt size or part number?

    I like the mobile base plans I saw on woodcrafts website so I ordered them. The pic shows a delta saw and biesmeyer fence very nice The fence looks larger then 50 inches though hmm! Any chance you can upgrade the motor on the craftsman what is it factory?

    Thanks for the welcome and glad to be a new member of the forum...

  15. Anyone have pics of the vega fence on their craftsman table saw that want to share. I would love to see how it fits I am very close to making my decision.

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