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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently been reading some reviews on the Delta Unisaw. The writer of one of the reviews talked about a problem with the curson in regard to it being difficult to make a critical setting. Since I am an advocate of the Incra LS Fence Positioner System I wonder if anybody has any comment on quality of the Biesmeyer Fence System that comes with the saw and if one should just plan on buying the upgrade fence from Incra. Sure seems like for the price of the saw that one should get a decent fence with it.

Jerry
 

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I have recently been reading some reviews on the Delta Unisaw. The writer of one of the reviews talked about a problem with the curson in regard to it being difficult to make a critical setting. Since I am an advocate of the Incra LS Fence Positioner System I wonder if anybody has any comment on quality of the Biesmeyer Fence System that comes with the saw and if one should just plan on buying the upgrade fence from Incra. Sure seems like for the price of the saw that one should get a decent fence with it.

Jerry
Jerry-

The Biesmeyer Fence is the most popular and most copied fence system in the world. That is their own claim. It is a fence system that most people factor in and think about upgrading to.

The Biesmeyer fence from Beismeyer had separate cursors and tapes for left and right sides.

The Industrial fence had one cursor (see attached)

Look at the pic I attached... Most problems reported about problems getting an accurate setting doesn't have to do with the fence system itself persay, it's the cursor itself in relation to the scale... which can be mod'ed to remedy that.

Sometimes when adjusted, the cursor sits above the scale, so as you look at it and move your head side-to-side, the person's perspective of where that cursor falls on the scale is changed. Does that make sense? Some fix that by lowering the cursor by mounting it under the fence lip to move it closer to the scale. Others have made their own cursors that lay closer to the scale. But the best fix I heard was this: (User bought Bies cursor from Powermatic and installed on his)

"the powermatic cursor sits real tight to the tape and just has a thin etched line on it making it easy to read. i later bought a wixey digital read out and attached that to my fence it is real nice and super acurate"

OEM Beismeyer fences are not born equal and there are minor changes per each saw manufacturer. IMHO, the fence straight from Biesemeyer is better.
 

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"The writer of one of the reviews talked about a problem with the curson in regard to it being difficult to make a critical setting."

From what I have seen in the magazine industry, the writer is probably a moron.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"The writer of one of the reviews talked about a problem with the curson in regard to it being difficult to make a critical setting."

From what I have seen in the magazine industry, the writer is probably a moron.

Don
Actually the writer was complaining about the cursor as descriped in the post earlier and he remedied the problem with his own modification. The problem, as I recall, was that the curso was so far from the scale that the issue of parallex was what had to be fixed and he did so. I am aware that the Biesmeyer fence is very popular, but wonder how it compares to the Incra System since I have the Incra and like it so much. I've never heard of anybody complaining about the cursor on the Incra besides myself and I have had to modify it on my system to elimiate parallex and make it easier for me to see due my personal vision problem. I might add that the accuracy provided by the Incra system might be over kill for the majority of useres as after getting acquainted with this forum I have learned that most folks aren't of the opinion that such accuracy is not of much value due to the fact that wood is so unstable and I do see their point. A system that gets you into a 1/32" inch ball is probably adequate in the real world.

Jerry
 

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Been using a Biesmeyer fence for over 30 years. Like it a lot. As always, I never trust any preset type of measuring device so always measure the distance myself. Also don't depend on the angle gauge or heigth, always measure w/ one of the digital devices. Went to digital years ago, upgrade as the industery progresses. Great results. Again, reley on nothing but yourself.
 

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I don't pay attention to the tape. I measure from the blade to the fence either with my measuring stick (ruler) or set up blocks if the size works.
 

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I do the same, in that the scale is to get it close and then I measure. But in all fairness, I use a lot of sacrificial fences and jigs.

Jerry-
There are different strengths that key in to different uses and styles in the two fences that that you are trying to compare.

Incra systems key into to minute accurate repeatability. Incra systems revolve around their patented locking system, which enable locking/movements of a known measured amount. Their basic locking system keys in on 1/32" increments. It takes extra time and effort to ensures it's locked into those increments accurately. I see some using it in a careful, watching kind of way to ensure that kind accurate, measured movements.

Biesmeyer keys around industrial strength kind of accuracy and large "movements" to those positions. It has no "increments." It keys in on that smooth movement from point A to B, then a strong secure locking at that point, then the strength in construction to do that for years. I see it's construction being able to take abuse from all-day, everyday industrial/commercial use and stay accurate in it's own designed, intended way.

Both are adjustable within it's own designed purpose of use.

The Biesmeyer does not move in increments, but gets to where you want it quickly and smoothly. Nor do I think of the Incra as being industrial strength, but think of it as being more like a precision instrument. Hard to compare different things, for different uses. Like comparing a miter saw to a meat slicer. Both can be accurate, just in different ways.

I feel August Leyman's adaptation of the Incra TS/LS as an ingenious system that combines both's strengths- Industrial strength... accurate, fast and smooth movement over large measured distances... and machinist's type accuracy.
 

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In all fairness- You are only going to get that kind of accuracy if all other factors stay constant.

For example, you zero in. You change blades. You have a few a little "more or less" runout in that blade... Or the kerf is just a little different. You then need to re-zero your Incra. Other factors settle in also.

I adapt and do thinks on the fly as the job calls for it. That is why it is just faster for me to get close and measure with something I keep there for that use. (To keep that constant.) I can still micro-adjust to get int the finshed cut from there, but I plan for that.
 

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The cursor on my Jet fence, which copies the Biesmeyer design, is very tight to the tape, has a thin red line that is easy to see plus it has a built-in magnifier that enhances its readability. I really like this fence.
 

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OK, the cursor being too high can only be that way if, the guide tube is too low from the table top, and or the guide tube is canted forward "most likely"
That type of fence is very forgiving to an out of wack set up, but, the cursor was not the problem.

Don
 

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OK, the cursor being too high can only be that way if, the guide tube is too low from the table top, and or the guide tube is canted forward "most likely"
That type of fence is very forgiving to an out of wack set up, but, the cursor was not the problem.

Don
Agreed(?) All true. Other factors also. If you get a fence kit from Bies', it comes with a gauge that hangs from the table to set the fence rail guides "to." That sets the rail height for those kits.

Mine has an additional fence adjustment that sets fence face perpendicular to the table surface. That sometimes can lift the cursor. It is known that different saw manufacturers using Bies' fences and Bies' clones use their own cursors, which do not have the same cursor heights and some are of different designs. (some with magnifiers, some with the cursor scribed on top instead of below, different scribe line widths and colors, etc.) Beis' themselves redesigned their fence back in '08 and their standard cursor "changed." All being... there is adjustments and work-around's for that, if the user is aware to adjust for that. (instead of blindly complaining.)

A Biesmeyer Fence system is great for what it was designed for. It is also a bull, not a gazelle. You don't have to baby it during use. It is designed to be used. It is designed to hold up for years of use. It is fast and accurate for what it does and "how" it's used.

I've made design changes in how mine works to overcome some of those "things"... For example a Bies' styled fence, once unlocked, it moves away from the support/far side of the rail towards the table and does not stay square as it moves until you pull the fence towards you against the rail and lock it back down. Most Bies' users hold the fence against the rail as they move it, to overcome this. Just adding a guide to support it back into the locking/ near side keeps it square while being moved and adds to the smoothness while being moved.

Another is how it locks down. On some, while locking down will lift the rear of the fence. Flipping the locking cam over will cure them and instead push the fence against the table while being locked down.

I'm not worried about spot-on accuracy in my first (initial) cut. That is left for a finishing cut during fitting. I usually cut within a 1/16" excess to start. If you repeatedly try to cut to a finshed cut in your first cut, you're going to end up too short too many times and timber does not seem to stretch near enough, no matter how much you try to steam it.

It all boils down to personal preference and how someone thinks and works... What is acceptable accuracy for that person and what they are making.

I have digital measuring devices on some of my power woodworking tools. It takes "time" to get each on that 0.001" or 0.1 of a degree. So I tend to round up. Even if not, it might be at one point in the start of the day... and hours later (Phil and I just talked on this, LOL) at a different standard. With humidity here, the wood is going to change more than this. If I need it, that accuracy and repeatabilty is there... Again, if I need it and if I choose to use it.

I personally find a digital number staring me in the face more accurate than an analog scale. I don't know how many times I've made mistakes, I've been in a hurry and/or tired and marked for a cut an inch short. My eyes "saw" the number on the tape or scale... My brain interpretation of that was off. LOL (Embarrassed and sometimes frustrated) I try "not" to make quality firewood too often...
 

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I'm on my second Unisaw in over forty years. Both the first and the one I have now are equipped with a Unifence. Even after using the Bies - I bought a Unifence again. As much as anything, that's based on personal taste and preference (e.g., I was brought up in a Chevy house - and I like that the Unifence is more versitile).

One of the primary reasons I spent a whole bunch of nickels on a nice cabinet saw and fence was so I wouldn't have to pick up my machinist ruler, other than when doing maintenance alignments. That's also a main reason for why I bought one again. In other words, if you have to pick up a ruler to set your fence each time you want to make a precision cut, either your fence is due to be replaced, or its not set right.

After setting them up, the cursors on both my saws gave accurate cuts. When I put a machinist's ruler on a board, I get what the cursor says. Making a tight cut is just a matter of: lift, slide, thumb or tap to position final position, push down, then cut.
 
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