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.)
My bandsaw's factory fence is always on the saw. Not because I love it, but because I have to remove the blade before I can slide the fence off the right end of the rail! And that's one of the main reasons I replaced it with the Kreg KMS7200, shown above, which lifts on and off anywhere along its rail. The lock holds the 2-3⁄8 "-tall fence securely when resawing, even with long workpieces that apply greater force against the fence. Fine-adjustment screws on the fence make it easy to counter blade drift. The fence sports T-slots on both faces as well as the top and bottom of the fence. So I can lay it sideways to reach under the blade guides for short, thin rips. The microadjuster accessory (#KMS7215) proved dead-on and well worth the price. It mounts to the left side of the fence and helps precisely dial in a rip cut. I used the microadjuster to find the exact center of a 3⁄4 "-thick piece of red oak and resawed it at that point. The resulting cut showed almost no difference in thickness from end to end when checked with a caliper.
—Tested by Bob Wilson, Techniques Editor
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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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I want my bandsaw fence to be intuitive to use, easy to take off and put back on, and have T-slots for mounting jigs and accessories. Woodhaven's fence does all that and more. It starts with two 24"-long aluminum rails that mount to the holes in my saw's table, with no drilling needed. These rails slide left and right when not locked, giving me plenty of options for fence position. And, although the fence can't simply be lifted off the rails, it's only a five-second job to slide the rails to the right and then the fence to the left. No blade removal is required.
The fence itself is 24" long and 3" tall with eight T-slots, and holds solidly without deflecting. It's easy to adjust square to the table and to correct blade drift. I like the included handy stop that mounts in the T-slots and prevents cutting into tenon shoulders. Finally, Woodhaven sells this fence with an optional circle-cutting attachment (#7285) that mounts onto the ends of the fence rails, enabling you to cut circles up to 31 1⁄2 " in diameter.
—Tested by Kevin Boyle, Senior Design Editor
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