The most useful accessory in my shop

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Review by EarlS posted 03-26-2017 01:30 PM 4427 views 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The most useful accessory in my shop The most useful accessory in my shop No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had a Wixey saw fence digital readout for many years. I bought one when they first came out and recently had to replace the readout unit as mine finally quit working. During the short period of time I was without it, while waiting for the replacement to arrive, I realized how much I rely on this little miracle gadget.

Pricing is reasonable too – $120 for a complete set up and $28 for a replacement readout.

For those of you that don’t have one, the readout slides along a sensing strip mounted just below the fence rail.

The Wixey website provides a list of saw that are compatible with the unit. I have a 52” Delta Unifence.

There is a small hanger that is attached to the fence allowing the magnet on the readout to hold the readout against the fence as it is moved. The readout slides along the sensing strip as the fence arm moves. Because the readout is held against the fence arm by a magnet, it easily disengages from the fence arm so there is no risk of damaging the readout or the sensing strip when working with the fence.

Once the sensing strip and readout are mounted, you are ready to go. Move the fence so that it lightly contacts the blade, hold the calibrate button to zero the readout. Move the fence to the cut length, verify that the readout unit is touching the bracket on the fence arm, make the final adjustments to the fence to get the exact distance (inches, mm, and fractions) with 3 places right of the decimal (0.001) of accuracy.

The readout unit keeps the zero reference. I’ve cut reference pieces and checked them with a Wixey digital caliper and generally they are within 0.005”. If not, I will re-zero the readout and make another reference piece and check it.

The digital readout really shines when switching between blades such as a dado stack. Make up the dado stack, slide the fence over to the edge, make sure the readout is touching the fence arm properly, and select “zero”. You are ready to go without having to remember to include the dado stack thickness to measurements on the tape measure strip on the unifence. I rarely look at the tape measure on the fence.

In addition to absolute distance, there is also an incremental option that comes in really handy when cutting thin strips. Knowing that the kerf on my blade is 3/32” and I want a 1/8” strip, I can use the incremental setting and move the fence by 7/32” (or even more precise 0.218), make the cut, switch back to absolute, then back to incremental and repeat the process.

The only slight downside is that the new readout doesn’t slide along the sensing strip quite as easily as the old one did. That is OK with me since it forces me to make sure the readout is touching the bracket on the side of the fence arm. Doing so, along with periodically checking the zero makes sure the readout is displaying the actual length for the cut.

Battery life is very good. The unit shuts off when it is inactive for a few minutes. The original unit used a CR2032, but the new unit uses 2 AAA batteries.

The accuracy of the cuts, and the resulting precision that I acheived made a vast improvement in the fit up and assembly of every type of project, large or small.

This is the most useful and helpful accessory in my shop.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View EarlS's profile


4968 posts in 3679 days

4 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6575 posts in 4334 days

#1 posted 03-26-2017 08:00 PM

Awesome unit, have seen them and would like to get one

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1922 days

#2 posted 03-27-2017 12:12 PM

I ordered mine from Rockler months ago when they had it in sale for half price. But I am still am waiting for the delivery as the unit instantly sold out and was put on backorder. But what you are saying about the necessity to check if the readout touches the strip is worrying me. What if you forget to check? Will you make a cut with wrong setup ?

View EarlS's profile


4968 posts in 3679 days

#3 posted 03-27-2017 05:10 PM

Carloz – I check the readout and verify zero in the same way that you “measure twice, cut once”, but certainly not on every cut. If I’m making a lot of different cuts I end to go back to the saw blade with the fence and start from there anyway so it becomes part of the routine and really isn’t about the accuracy or reliability of the readout as much as it is my anal retentive nature of verifying that everything is always accurate. For further reference, I wouldn’t want to go back to using the fence tape measure as it is so much less reliable.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


489 posts in 4959 days

#4 posted 03-31-2017 09:33 PM

I have one of these and find them well worth the money. I too experienced the readout unit coming unattached from the fence.

I cleaned the track that the readout runs on with glass cleaner (being careful not to spray directly on the circuit board – spray on a paper towel away from the track first) and coated it with teflon dry lube and the problem has gone away.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

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