What an upgrade for an old Craftsman TS

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Review by brtech posted 06-23-2011 03:47 PM 10896 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
What an upgrade for an old Craftsman TS What an upgrade for an old Craftsman TS No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve got an older (Emerson) Craftsman TS (113.298240). The stock fence is a joke, but I’ve made do. I finally decided to do something about it, and a T2 was it. Got it at Tools-Plus for $148 + 6.50 shipping. It came pretty well packed via UPS. The box was a bit caved in, but the parts were fine. Excellent manual, very clear, real English. The fence is made in Taiwan. Fit and finish appear to be excellent.

There are two ways to mount the fence to this TS. One is to drill holes in the rails to match the holes already in the TS top. The other is to drill holes in the TS to match the holes in the rails. I chose the latter. There are then two options on that. One is to align the zero on the scale with the blade and drill all new holes. The other is to use one existing hole and drill the rest. The advantage of the latter is that you can put a screw in the one hole which holds up the rail at one point and then support the other end with something like an adjustable roller stand. The disadvantage is you have to move the scale. I chose to do that, although if I had to do it again, I’d probably drill all new holes. When I supported the rail as described, the gap between the bottom of the fence and the top of the TS was small, less than 1/8”. When I was done, the gap is more like 3/16”. Not sure how that happened, but the gap is more than I would have liked. It was very easy to align the rail, drill the holes, and mount them. Less than an hour, more like 45 minutes. I used my Bosch cordless drill, a new bit and WD-40 as a lubricant. I went slow, but steady. I did chuck a smaller bit in the drill and used it to drill a starter “dent”, as the full size drill bit didn’t want to stay on the center punch divot. Only one of my holes didn’t come out centered, and 10 seconds with a round file fixed that.

This TS has stamped steel wings. There are steel angle brackets on each corner, with round head bolts through the wings. I had to remove all the bolts on the front and back, and the rail hole on one side is just about dead center on the END of the angle bracket, meaning I had to drill through the bracket on half the hole. That was actually harder than drilling through the CI. It wasn’t very hard, and with a washer on the bolt supplied with the fence, the rail is stable. The wings appear to be fine, but I’m going to replace them with something else pretty soon.

After mounting the rails, mounting the square stock to the front rail went smoothly. The T square fence dropped right in and moved smoothly. Alignment of fence to miter and square to table was easy: it was close to begin with, the adjustment is simple, and the instructions were clear. With my Align-it, I have the fence parallel to the miter within .001. My good square shows no light coming through with a flashlight behind it.

Moving the scale was easy. I ran a piece of blue painters tape along the bottom of the scale as a reference line. I slid the fence over to touch the blade, centered the plastic indicator line in its slot, and marked where it should go on the square stock. Peeling up the scale was simple, and laying back down in the right place was straightforward. It went down very close to where it should have; final alignment by moving the plastic was about 1/16”. I had to move the scale over around 4”, so I gained a bit on the right, and lost a bit on the left, which is better than the other way around.

What a difference! I knew the stock fence was junk, but the T2 is an amazing upgrade. It’s much more substantial, doesn’t move when you lock it, much smoother motion and more range.

I highly recommend this upgrade to an older TS with a stock fence. The price is very reasonable, the quality is very high, and the installation is not bad at all. That’s my install on the right. With my EB-3 miter gauge, and a decent blade, this is a very capable TS.

Anyone want a stock fence for this TS? Available real cheap!

View brtech's profile


1068 posts in 3838 days

9 comments so far

View mikema's profile


180 posts in 3501 days

#1 posted 06-23-2011 04:20 PM

I made the near identical upgrade that you did, and have to agree that was the single best thing I have done for that TS. It made a HUGE difference for me as well. The only difference is I did drill two holes in the front so that the scale would fit in front with out having to take it off and back on. For the back rail, I did what you did and only drilled on new hole and used an existing hole.

Those angle irons are thick! I chose not use the stamped wings after putting the T2 on it. I ended up making two new wings using similar methods to making a router table top. Made the right wing twice as big so I have a lot more surface to work with as well.

-- Mike ---- Visit my woodworking blog:

View Delta356's profile


463 posts in 3769 days

#2 posted 06-23-2011 05:21 PM

I have this fence on my Delta Table saw. It an amazing fence. This thing has the quality of the bisymeyer..

“The fence is made in Taiwan” Thats funny mine says USA, even has a sticker that say’s it.

Have fun with your new fence.

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR


View Rob Lopez's profile

Rob Lopez

9 posts in 4105 days

#3 posted 06-23-2011 06:14 PM

I had done the same thing on my previous Craftsman saw….what a difference!


-- Boards, Don't hit back! - Bruce Lee

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 3509 days

#4 posted 06-23-2011 10:37 PM

Makes you wonder why Craftsman doesn’t pay more attention to their fences? I had the same saw you have but always hated the fence.The rest of the saw wasn’t bad! reasonable power nice stand decent flat table, even cast iron.Good up grade,If thees newer fences were available at the time I had my craftsman I would done the same thing.

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1128 posts in 4347 days

#5 posted 06-24-2011 12:58 AM

When I bought my Craftsman new in 2004, I never even attempted to put the stock fence on. Snagged a Incra TS-LS32 off of Woodpeckers (when all they did was Ebay) and never looked back. I do at times wish for a little more room to the right of the blade, but I get about 31” and pretty rare for me to need more than that. I think that after having the Incra, it would be hard for me to go back to a standard fence. I do wish for a real cabinet saw, but would have to be one where I could install the Incra.

Glad you like your upgrade!

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4228 days

#6 posted 06-24-2011 12:56 PM

+1 here for the T2!!

Added it to my R4511 and it is a vast improvement. Never do I need to adjust. It just stays square and locks tight.

I bought a couple of Starrett replacement tapes for my rail as I streched the T2 tape when I tried to reposition it.

If you find that happened to you the Starett is a really nice replacement tape and costs like $7.50.

View woodsmith's profile


69 posts in 4707 days

#7 posted 06-25-2011 01:54 AM

I agree! I put one on my Craftsman TS asnd it made a big difference.

-- woodsmith

View rmoore's profile


329 posts in 3550 days

#8 posted 06-25-2011 04:13 PM

I agree. I also have an old Craftsman TS and upgraded it with this fence. Major difference!

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View Darryl Jones's profile

Darryl Jones

202 posts in 4084 days

#9 posted 06-27-2011 04:50 PM

I mad the same upgrade years ago and I agree it was the best upgrade for that saw. I have since upgraded my saw twice moving the fence along each time. My T2 is now installed on a grizzly cabinet saw with an easy and very useful upgrade. I had searched high and low for the 50” version of the T2 (no longer being made) and one day I was looking at the fence and realized that the rail is constructed of standard 2” steel tube and 2” angle iron. So I went down to the local metal supplier and purchased the necessary pats and now I am the proud owner of a t2 fence with a 49” right side rip capacity! It took a couple hours if you include paint time and less than $50. I definitely recommend this upgrade! I have included the project card that shows my upgraded setup.

Click for details

-- Dread Knot Wood Shop

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