Wise Buys: Bandsaw Fences
Why buy? If you use your bandsaw only for making curved cuts, you'll likely never need a rip fence. For accurate ripping and resawing, though, a good fence helps greatly. That said, many bandsaws don't come with a fence. Those saws that do have fences, particularly on lower-cost models, often don't work that well. The three fences we recommend here fit virtually any 14" bandsaw and some 12" models. (Before buying, check with the fence manufacturer to see if its product works with your bandsaw.)
For the price of competitors' aftermarket fences, the Rockler 24504 provides an auxiliary table with perpendicular miter slots, a 3"-tall fence, and replaceable throat inserts. The 1-1/8"-thick, 24"-square MDF table easily clamped onto my bandsaw's table and offers nearly twice as much surface area as typical factory tables. Removing blade drift proved easy and intuitive; I only had to adjust the two bolts that thread into the T-square end bracket (that mounts to the rails).
After that adjustment, I could resaw 1/8"-thick pieces of red oak with almost no deviation in thickness. A T-slot milled into the MDF fence face accepts featherboards, hold-downs, or stopblocks; but overtightening can crush the thin walls. (I'd prefer aluminum T-track in the fence.) With only one working face, this fence must be used left of the blade--a drawback when tilting the table because I like my workpiece to ride against the fence in that situation. Rockler includes a jig for cutting circles up to 26" in diameter.
--Tested by Craig Ruegsegger, Multimedia Editor
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