Rip Fence Options for Euro Tablesaws

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The Problem

As detailed in the review, the Hammer triangle type rip fence is totally unacceptable for use; it is far inferior to other fences on the market. I have also used the "B3L" fence system, although it certainly is a step up from the triangle type, it is incredibly inferior to the aftermarket fences I am familiar with.   Due to the obvious shortcomings of European rip fence systems, I began to search for alternatives.  It has also become obvious to me that most likely all low to mid level European saws are equipped with inferior rip fence systems.  The comment below for installing decent aftermarket American systems should hold true with some variation to nearly any brand of Euro saw that I am aware of.  Full 5 function combination machines are another matter, their jointer / planer table configurations present a host of new problems but these too could be solved with enough Yankee ingenuity.  This article does not deal with the issues in fitting a new fence to a "full" combo machine.

The Ideal
My ideal rip fence system would have the following characteristics in order of importance:

1 Very rigid when locked down.
2 Accurate and repeatable.
3 Slides easily along the rail.
4 Easy to "micro adjust" or sneak-up on a desired reading.
5 Has a minimum 32" rip capacity.
6 Can be easily lifted off and replaced.
7 Rigid fence section that can be slid backwards to point in front of the blade - very important for a sliding tablesaw.
8 When used at the maximum rip capacity, does not increase to footprint of the saw by any great amount. This also implies that the saw does not have to be moved in order to use the full capacity of the system.
9 Does not decrease or have detrimental effects upon machine mobility if it has a mobility kit installed.
10 Be very easy to adjust the measuring "cursor".
11 Is easy to install and adjust.
12 Has a fence section that can be used without laminates getting under the fence.
13 Has a fence section that can be made to present a low height section towards the blade, useful for ripping thin stock and for preventing the blade from hitting the fence when tilted.
14 Has a fence section that can be used to easily mount jigs and accessories.

To my knowledge, there is no aftermarket fence system available that will fit the Hammer that has all the characteristics listed above.

I very early on ruled out the Felder rip fence as a viable option due to the reports of problems, cost, an lack of engineering commitment by Felder.  In my opinion, the two incredibly inferior Hammer fences (which are made by the same company as the Felder fence) has twice demonstrated a failure of their engineers to adequately design a rip fence, there is no reason for anyone to "experiment" with them further.

The main reason there aren't several aftermarket fence systems that can be fitted to the Euro saws is that it does not have room for the typically very wide "T-square" type fence head, the sliding table gets in the way.

All of these solutions listed below would require the extension table to be replaced or modified greatly. To me, replacing the extension table is not a big issue. However, if I were to go to all the trouble of replacing the extension, I would impose the following additional requirements on it:

  • Must be a continuos surface, not segmented like the original.
  • The surface must be adjustable independent of the rip fence system to align with the iron table easily and precisely.
  • Should not require any legs that need adjustment when the machine is moved or interfere with machine mobility.
  • Not be supported by the rip fence rail(s) in such a way that induces an alignment relationship between the two.
  • Easy to install.
  • Have a reasonably durable surface.

Biesemeyer Clone

The home shop version of the Biesemeyer clone seems like it would be easier to modify for this application with its smaller T-square head. However it would be a little more difficult than the "pro" version to install because the rails are closer to the plane of the iron table than the "pro" version. This limits how closely the fence can come to the blade without modification.

The easiest way to get the fence to go all the way to the blade would be to add another fence onto the left side of the standard one. The best implementation of this would be to use a system similar to the Unifence wherein the new fence surface could be slid back to act as a stop or even rotated 90 degrees to provide the low profile section.

In the illustration shown, the type of fence used is either an Accufence or Modulus unit; I would select these over a Biesemeyer or Jet Exacta. Because it was easier to draw (I had it drawn already) I show the added fence section as a Unifence extrusion which is held on by a large T-bolt assembly just like it is on the standard Unifence system. Although three nuts are shown to secure the added fence, only two are required at any one time.

Because the T-square section of the Accufence is 16 inches wide, to fit it as shown below would require cutting about 2 inches off of the left side. This would further require the replacement of the top wear pad on the left and a re-building of the left interior wear /alignment pad. Although the clamping action would be somewhat asymmetrical because of the 2 inch loss on the left, it should not have a measurable negative effect. If it did have an impact, two inches could be cut off of the T-square section on the right as well.

To support the fence rail attachment angle, a three bolt arrangement could be used; two of the bolts would be in the iron table and a third (or more) in the new right extension table. Because the infeed side of the Hammer iron table is not milled 90 degrees to the surface, this poses anther problem to installation, getting the angle iron installed square to the plane of the iron table. This could be solved with tapered shims or set screws in the iron table or rail angle to offset the taper of the iron table.

With this system, items 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 13 of the ideal fence system can be achieved. The main detriment of this fence system is cost and a well-known issue of an un-parallel fence when it is moved; this doesn't affect accuracy and could be resolved by technique. Another detriment would be the cost of the base fence and an additional (Unifence like) extrusion. The main benefit of a system like this is that the Accufence locks down very rigidly and could probably be used with a stock feeder; by combining the rigidity of the Accufence and the sliding fence section of the Unifence, this should be a very robust and versatile solution.


Biesemeyer clone

Jointech Saw Train / Incra TSIII

On both of theses offerings the bridge that spans across the rails is not long enough to make it across the large table of a European machine. Also, the fence is not long enough to span the table which will not allow both fore / aft auxiliary lock-down devises to be used. In my measurements of the Clincher system described above, both these systems may be rigid enough without them anyway unless a power feeder is used. The clincher system was measured to be just as rigid (statically) as the Unifence and measurably better than either of the Hammer fences.

To install either of these systems, the rails would have to be bolted to both sides of the iron table and the extension table support with the same difficulty as the Biesemeyer type systems. To span the larger distance between the rails a replacement bridge (that the positioning machine is attached to) must be built or obtained from the maker.  The standard bridge is lightweight aluminum which would be preferable to a shop-made substitute made from heavier material.

With either of these systems, items 1, 2+, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, & 14 of the ideal fence system can be achieved along with one noteworthy additional improvement. These systems are inherently more repeatable and precise than other fence systems. These fences add a feature not found on the other systems listed herein.   Because they were derived from router table systems they have incorporated a push fixture which could be used as a small miter gauge.  The sliding table on the Euro saw would perform the miter gauge function better most of the time but there are instances where a push fixture on the fence would be either easier / quicker or one desires the high accuracy these fences provide.  This type of fence system does require a sizeable open space to the right of the machine to operate to full capacity.

Delta Unifence

This basically is a European fence design in every way except the "T-square" head is still a problem in this application. In order overcome the shortfall, a spacer could be inserted between the head and the fence section.

To support the fence rail, a three-bolt arrangement could be used; two of the bolts would be in the iron table and the third near the end of a new right extension table. The Unifence rail has the same difficulty attaching to the non-milled iron table edge as the Accufence. However, because of the Unifence head design, the rip fence rail would not have to be exactly 90 degrees to the plane of the table, just close.

To get the fence up to the blade it is offset with spacer about 2 inches thick. The spacer is bolted to the Unifence head section and the T-bolt used to attach the extruded aluminum fence section would need to have longer bolts to attach the fence section. The spacer would also benefit from having a glide pad installed to help support the fence which is cantilevered away from the head by a few inches.

With this system, items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 13 of the ideal fence system can be achieved. The only detriment to this system that I can think of is that there is some wear on the inner guide rail surface but that's a very long term use issue. The main benefit of this system is that it is fairly easy to implement and one of the lower cost solutions.




The Vega looks similar to the Biesemeyer but has several advantages in this application. First, the lock-down clamp is not part of the fence and would not introduce any problem if the fence were to be re-located. Second, the fence is attached to the head with four bolts, not welded like the Biesemeyer. It would be very easy to relocate the bolt holes and move the fence to the left edge of the head. Because it would be fairly easy to do, a triangular support could be added between the right side of the rip fence and the T-square head to stiffen the assembly.

The rail attachment bracket and the round rail of the Vega would not be affected as adversely to the non-milled table edge in the Hammer like some of the other solutions.

With this system, items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 14 of the ideal fence system can be achieved; the Vega also has a micro adjust function. Vega also offers a stock pusher, cut-off device, stock feed roller, and laminate trimmer accessories that fit onto the fence. The main deterrent to this modification is that the fence is fixed to the head and cannot be repositioned in the Euro manner. Unlike the Accufence and Unifence, the Vega does not have a perpendicularity adjustment for the fence, it is set by the rail. The main benefit of this system is that it is fairly easy to implement, it's one of the lower cost solutions, and the beneficial Vega accessories available for it.

Although not described here, the Vega could also be modified in a manner to use a fence extension like the Accufence adaptation.



European Biesemeyer

According to FOG reports, Biesemeyer makes a version of their rip fence that can be fitted to a Euro saw like the Hammer. As I have had no response from my own inquiries, the following information and picture were supplied to me by another FOG member:

The two part numbers to order for the 30" system will be B78X99 for the guide set. this P/N is a generic number for guide sets "as per specs". The dealer would then specify 30" right hand capacity w / sliding table at the blade. The P/N for the rip fence is B79100W for the 42" Offset fence or P/N B79200W for the 48" offset fence.

Euro Bessy


With this system, it looks like items 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 14 of the ideal fence system can be achieved. The main detriment of this fence system is that the fence is fixed to the head and cannot be repositioned in the Euro manner. The cost is probably a detriment as well along with a well-known issue of an un-parallel fence when it is moved; this doesn't affect accuracy and could be resolved by technique. The main benefit of a system like this is that the Biesemeyer locks down very rigidly and it is a robust design.

Of note is the different right extension table. I don't have any information on this but it looks like a Biesemeyer product. This particular implementation would not allow the machine to be as mobile as the OEM extension


In order to span the much larger table of a Euro saw, the largest Excaliber would be required.  This is basically a $500+ system, quite costly for an analog fence.  The easiest way to adapt the Excaliber would be to use a scheme similar to the Accufence modification described above. In this case it would appear that the T-square head could not be altered and the "make-up" distance to get the fence up to the saw blade would be between 2 to 3 inches.

Using the Excaliber, items 1, 2, 3+, 4, 5, 6?, 8, 9, 10, & 14 of the ideal fence system may be achieved. The Excaliber also has a micro adjust function and guide bearings that keep the fence parallel when moved at all times and reduce sliding friction to a minimum. Excaliber also has a stock pusher device that rides in T-slots in the fence but if an additional fence were to be fitted, this accessory could not be used close to the blade (the only place it would be useful). It does appear that it could be possible to use a dual cursor so that the additional fence could be used only when desired.

The main benefit of this system appears to be the very strong locking action, ease of fence movement, and a continuously parallel fence. The main detriment of the system appears to be the high cost, rail installation and the very temperamental (but critical) alignment.  While one is at it. it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and improve upon the bad method used by the bearing system of this fence, basically the bearing run on paint instead of metal.


I also investigated other rip fence systems for use on the Hammer.

The fence system used on the Dewalt 746 tablesaw has the cursor on the left which would probably be obscured by any modification and the T-square head itself cannot be shortened. That leaves the option of moving the fence over by several inches using a big spacer. In my analysis, this fence design would be harder to modify than the others and therefore less desirable.

I haven't seen the Grizzly Shop Fox (original) in person but I doubt it could be used since it could not span the table.

I would also prefer the Accufence or Modulus versions of the Biesemeyer clones over a true Biesemeyer or any other clone. The Biesemeyer style wear pads aren't as good as the Accufence and the locking mechanism is not as powerful. Both the Accufence and Modulus units have a locking accessory for the rear of the fence that might be useful for power feed operations if they could be used.

As mentioned in the review, my recommendation would be to purchase a Euro saw without the ripfence and extension table; they are quite inferior to what can be bought aftermarket.

The following chart summarizes where the rip fence systems described herein fall into the "Ideal Rip Fence" criteria mentioned above.


Rip Fence Chart


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