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Well, i've come across a bit of a dillemma and hopefully someone here will be able to help me sort through it. I currently have a delta contractor table saw w/cast iron wings and the T2 fence system. This particular saw is great for now because i have a small shed that it lives in and from which i pull it out into a spot in the back yard any time something needs to be cut. Moving it around like this makes alignment a common chore but the fence is easy to tweak and PALS make blad alignment pretty easy too. This is as accurate a saw as i could ask for under the circumstances and i can't think of another setup that would work as well being pulled in and out of the shed. My question deals with the long-term, though. We'll likely be living here for another year and then moving across the country and putting down roots. At that point, i could convert a garage into a shop or even build a small outbuilding for woodworking projects.

With that background in mind, I'm interested in lengthening the saw's fence capability. Right now it has the 32" fence rails on it and a recent project showed me how much handier a 40 or 50" capacity could be. I have found a set of 50" rails for the T2 for around $120 shipped. I can't decide whether or not to get those and plan on sticking with the saw/fence combination long-term, or spening a little more ($250) and picking up a Shop Fox fence. Advantage here is that i could put it on another saw later on down the line if i were to get a hybrid or buy a used unisaw or something. If the shop fox fence isn't any better than the T2, then i'd save the money and just get rails.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for any input you might have.
jr
 

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My best suggustion is to replace your saw instead of spending $250-$350 for aniother fence, upgrade to a saw with a good fence .This way you get a better saw and fence. if you factor in what you can sell your saw for you could end up with a used Powermatic or Delta cabinet saw.
 

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I recommend that you stick with the 32" T2 unless you are going to need the larger rip capacity frequently. Maybe there are other ways to make the cuts you need?

I had an older Delta contractor saw and a few years ago added the T2 32" fence, a V-link belt, PALs, and an Incra miter gauge. More here: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/14586 The sheet metal wings (an issue you don't have) were one hassle too many for me, and I upgraded to a SawStop PCS w/ 36" fence earlier this year.

I was very happy with the 32" T2 fence and see no particular advantages to the SawStop fence. Futher, I personally don't see much advantage to going from 32" capacity to 36", and certainly don't want anything longer. How often do you expect to need rip wider than 32"? I do only occasionally, and then use a T-track for a miter runner: http://lumberjocks.com/GregD/blog/11857. On the other hand I am constantly squeezing by the 36" rails of my saw.

I thought I've seen someone make bolt-on fence rail extensions. That might work well. Probably a loss of precision in some ways, but for wood panels that big I wouldn't think that would be an issue.

Yeah, Jim was pushing me down the upgrade path when I was there. He wasn't wrong. I get a smile on my face every time I use my PCS. But you can still get a lot of good work out of your current setup if you'd prefer to focus your financial resources elsewhere, IMHO.
 

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I bought a Jet contractors saw 18 years ago and got it a 50" Vega fence substitution. I couldn't afford a cabinet saw. I am unfamiliar with the t2 fence, is it the same as a Besemeyer? it looks similar from the pictures. Anyway I have never been sorry that I got an expensive fence. I use the 50" capacity fairly often with plywood. I don't have to remove the fence for crosscuts nearly as often as I would with a shorter fence, and I use it as a stop sometimes too. I never use a tape and I don't think I have had to adjust it once after the first time. If the T2 is as good as a besemeyer I'd get the 50" rails, if not I wouldn't bother. A fence really is one of those things where the best you can buy will pay off in the long run.
 

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I haven't used a Shop Fox personally but they look the same as the T2 I had before. The Biesemeyer was noticably heavier, and more heavy duty. But T2 has never failed me at any time and i was perfectly happy with it.

When I got my used Unisaw with 50" Biese, I found that the long rails along with the homemade extension table is heavy enough to make even the unisaw kind of tippy before I supported the extension below. Just something to remember when you upgrade to longer rail, your saw will be a lot more hassle to move around and store. Might need to devise some new mobile base for it too.

I find it easier to break down sheetgoods with a circular saw before moving to my small shop. Trying to wrestle a full 3/4" MDF sheet onto the saw is way too much for me.
 

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i'd probably get the rails. i'm cheap and that's probably the best bang for the buck.
if you wanted something better than that, I'd look for a used unisaw or something similar that has a good fence w/ it.
 

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jred, You do not say how often you would need the longer rails. Myself I do not need them and really they would just hinder the small amount of room that I have (full two car garage entirely for the woodshop). I definitely agree with your thinking of keeping the saw you have now. It will be a big expense or else hassle to move a cabinet saw, and you said the saw you have now should be able to keep up with what you are planning to do. Unless you get a great deal on a great cabinet saw stay with what you have and just use guide rails for the longer sheet goods.
 

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It's possible to slide the existing rails further to the right. If you have a left tilt saw, you're not likely to ever need left side rip capacity, so you can "borrow" from the left and add it to the right. Leave the angle brackets in place as is, unbolt the rails and slide them the distance of one bolt hole (~ 10") ....no drilling…replace all but one bolt, replace or relocate the tape measure….you can build an extension for the gap between the front and rear rail if you. It's surprisingly easy to do.

I'd hold off until after the move before considering replacing the saw.
 
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