Biesemeyer benefits?

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Forum topic by Andybb posted 07-19-2018 11:46 PM 1038 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2762 posts in 1380 days

07-19-2018 11:46 PM

Purely out of curiosity…what is the benefit of the famed Biesemeyer fence system? I really have no desire to buy a fence for my Griz since it’s deadly accurate. Kinda-like the “square is square” argument. I’m just wondering what makes the Bessy so special.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

11 replies so far

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

298 posts in 1552 days

#1 posted 07-19-2018 11:49 PM

Ive had one for 25 years, sturdy, accurate ,easily removed and replaced,adjustable ,same on both sides and it just works.

View Woodknack's profile


13397 posts in 3157 days

#2 posted 07-19-2018 11:59 PM

The Bies was revolutionary when it came out, rigid, strong, accurate, versatile, precise. The only real competitor was the Unifence. The Bies allowed you to make jigs that rode on the fence like a track which turned out to be very popular. Most aftermarket fences are Bies clones.

-- Rick M,

View BroncoBrian's profile


894 posts in 2735 days

#3 posted 07-20-2018 12:07 AM

Many fences now are knock-offs of that design. The best upgrade from most stock fences now would be some of the newer extruded aluminum options like Very Super Cool Tools fences.

I think most manufacturers caught up after a while. Not to say that there are a lot of flimsy fences out there on budget saws…

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3197 posts in 2271 days

#4 posted 07-20-2018 12:48 AM

Speaking as some one who has never owned one, but has used Beisemeyer fence at friends workshop, plus owned a couple similar fences; here are my thoughts:

>> Number on complaint on non-Biesemeyer style fences is accuracy and repeatability.
Most (if not all) of the job site and contractor saws use a fence system that clamps to both front and back edge of saw table. Beisemeyer style fence uses only front rail mounting. By using only front rail (with a stout 3×2 square reference tube), it is easier to set fence square to blade AND keep it square along entire 7-8 foot table top.
Additionally, portable saws typically use light weight aluminum for rails and fence, and they shrink/expand due temperature a lot more than steel reference rail used on Beisemeyer system.

IMHO – While Biesemeyer brand fence is considered gold standard, there are many clones or similar derivations of design that work just as well. One only needs to reference the Delta Unifence, Shop Fox Classic fence, Vega tools fence, or VSCTools fence; to see similarities to Beisemeyer.
Hate to quote a commercial site, but toolcrib has interesting summary on table saw fences you might like?
So while some people RAVE about Beisemeyer fence, my personal experience the last 40+ years of woodworking is that most Beisemeyer style fences will allow accurate and repeatable table saw adjustments; especially when compared to lack luster fences found on job site saws, or old tube style fences common on antique Unisaw.

Thanks for reading.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1676 days

#5 posted 07-20-2018 01:16 AM

The rails also offer support for a side table,
not that some others don’t,
just saying it is another benefit compared to the ones that don’t.

View Andybb's profile


2762 posts in 1380 days

#6 posted 07-20-2018 01:20 AM

Thanks. Like I said, I’m happy with the fence that came on my hybrid Grizzly model 07??? something-or-other. Once I set the gauge to zero based on the blade I can run a 4’ long 8”wide board through it and it’s within .002 on each end. Not sure if it’s 32nds or 64ths but if I need something 6 7/8” today I can set it to 6 7/8” a month from now and they are dead even. It’s got my Jessem clear cut guides on it and a large router table on the rails. I was just curious what all the rage was. That is not to say that if someone gifted me a Bies fence I wouldn’t happily dump the stock fence in a heartbeat. I like nice stuff even if I don’t really have a need for it. :-)

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Woodknack's profile


13397 posts in 3157 days

#7 posted 07-20-2018 01:29 AM

The Unifence is patterned after European fences. It has a removable, somewhat L shaped fence.

Andy your fence is probably a Bies clone, if it works, you have no reason to change.

-- Rick M,

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2263 days

#8 posted 07-20-2018 01:32 AM

I put a unifence on my unisaws. I kinda miss having access to the right side of the fence as a stop block. I don’t use bolt on jigs either. I do like how it detaches and all it’s adjustments.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View enazle's profile


66 posts in 785 days

#9 posted 07-20-2018 02:07 AM

The company I worked for bought 15 Biesemeyer fence’s when they were first showed at a trade show in 1980. I think they were among the first sold. Some of those fences are still in service.

View hairy's profile


3075 posts in 4309 days

#10 posted 07-20-2018 07:14 PM

I had one for about 8 years. Now I have an Incra LS. One good feature of the Biesemeyer is moving the fence to either side of the blade.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4020 days

#11 posted 07-20-2018 10:43 PM

I bought a Biesemeyer fence when it first came out (1980-81), the same time I bought my Jet cabinet saw. It has traveled from Ca to Ms and is as accurate today as the day it was new. I hear the new Biesemeyer’s are not as good as the original. The only problem with the fence is the way the sacrificial surface is made. When it needs to be replaced, you have to first remove the Formica surface with acetone; then remove the birch ply backing and then reverse the procedure. I don’t think a better fence has been produced.

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