The guys over at VerySuperCool Tools recently gave me an opportunity to test out one of their new products: an after-market fence system. The great thing about this unit is that it works perfectly with existing Biesemeyer-style fences. So installation is as simple as dropping it on the rail and performing a standard fence calibration.
Why Should You Care?
So is it worth your time and money? Well, if you’re completely happy with your tablesaw fence then it might not be. But if you are having trouble keeping your fence aligned or you are frustrated by a wavy fence face, or maybe your fence is difficult to use with accessories, an after-market fence system like this one just might be the answer to your problems.
What I Like!
Bye Bye Wavy Fence!!
The stock fence on my Powermatic 2000 is pretty decent. It locks down accurately and dependably and never needs adjustment. I honestly don’t have much to complain about. But there is one little thing that does bother me, although it’s something of a “perfectionist” issue, and that is the waviness of the fence. The fence body is steel and the fence faces are made from UHMW plastic. The faces are held to the body of the fence using metal bolts and at every bolt location there’s a slight dip. This usually doesn’t present a real problem for me as rip cuts will simply glide along the high points. Cross-cuts are also unaffected since I typically reference from a short auxiliary fence. But I often think to myself how nice it would be to have a dead straight fence, and that’s what the VerySuperCool Tools fence gives me. The fence body is made from a 48″ piece of extruded aluminum which is not only perfectly straight, but also very lightweight. The fence extends well beyond the back of the saw and even gives me some extra reference surface in front of the table.
Because the extruded aluminum is loaded up with t-tracks, you can do just about anything with some basic hardware. On a traditional fence, you usually have to design accessories that essentially straddle the wide fence body. This really adds an annoying level of complexity to the jig/fixture and prevents many of us from building the best accessories for the job. For instance, there are many times I could have made use of a tall auxiliary fence. Maybe I’m cutting a bevel on a table top or putting a groove into the end of a tall board. Thanks to a healthy dose of laziness, I either make the risky cut with my short fence or simply find an alternative way to do it. But as you’ll see in the video, you can make a nice tall auxiliary fence with a few bolts and a single scrap piece of plywood. Other things I’m looking forward to building are sacrificial fences and a short auxiliary fence for cross-cuts.
One of the owners of the company is Allan Little from AskWoodMan.com and he has a video that shows how you can make your own tenoning jig using this fence system. Now THAT’S an accessory! Check it out:
This is a solid after-market fence that alleviates many, if not all, of the common problems we confront on traditional tablesaw fences. But there are two minor things that I actually don’t like about the fence. The first, as some of you might have already guessed, is the color. Nothing personal against you Packers fans out there but the green and yellow combination just isn’t working for me, haha. Yeah, 1st world problems and all that. The second minor issue has to do with the handle. My PM2000 handle is a thick tear-drop shape that is very comfortable in my palm. Even when putting a decent amount of downward pressure on the handle, it is never uncomfortable. The VerySuperCool Tools version features a small round plastic ball for a handle. While fully functional and just a minor detail, I do find it rather uncomfortable in use especially when making frequent adjustments.
While I wasn’t actively seeking out a new fence system, I was delighted with this upgrade. Even after doing a demonstration on the show, some products just don’t make it into my regular workflow. This product, however, certainly will. I plan on taking the time to make some accessories and jigs that will surely make shop life easier and safer. Go Packers (I guess)!