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Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence
Tough, Accurate and Easy To Use
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Band saw fences are not all created equal. In fact, many band saws come without a fence at all. When I decided to add a fence to my Delta X5, 14" (#28-475X) band saw, I wanted one that was tough, adjustable and accurate. The Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence seemed to fit my needs best.
The Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence kit contained everything needed to install the fence, including fasteners for multiple models, including saws from Delta, Jet, Craftsman, Ridgid and other imports. Check the Kreg listings if your saw is not listed here.
All of the parts are well made and nicely finished, something to which owners of other Kreg products are accustomed. The aluminum extrusions used for the fence itself and the mounting rail are heavy-duty and promise many years of service.
Using the included bolts, attaching the mounting rail was easy. The longest part of the installation was aligning the rail to the table of the saw and that took only a few minutes. Using a combination square, as suggested in the instructions, made getting the rail level with the table surface easy.
The instructions also show how to adapt the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence mounting rail to saws with bolt patterns that do not match the factory-drilled holes.
Assembling the rest of the fence system is a matter of a few bolts and screws, all of which fit easily with no "persuasion" necessary. In less than 20 minutes, I had the fence assembled, mounted and ready to be dialed in to my saw.
Note: The instructions call for installing the stick-on measuring tape before alignment but I decided to wait until after I had the fence dialed in. Hopefully, if adjustments to the fence are needed during alignment, installing the tape afterwards will make it spot-on accurate.
The Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence can be adjusted on two planes; square to the blade vertically (hopefully the table also if that is adjusted correctly) and parallel to the blade horizontally. To compensate for blade drift, the fence can be intentionally tailed away or towards the blade.
I began by checking that the table was exactly square to the blade. It is also a good idea to be sure the blade itself is in good condition and tensioned properly.
The Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence needed very little adjustment to square it to the blade/table vertically. Setscrews in the fence mount make this an easy task, even when very fine adjustments are needed. To confirm the vertical adjustment, a thin slice was re-sawn from a piece of oak. Measuring the top and bottom edges with a digital calipers confirmed that the fence was in fact, square to the blade vertically.
While assembling my band saw, I had made certain that the blade was square to the edges of the table. This made aligning the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence easy. After aligning the fence to a square registered with the edge of the table, I made a few test cuts to check for blade drift, finding none. However, the instructions that come with the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence clearly describe a simple procedure for setting the fence if blade drift is present.
With the alignments complete, the measuring tape was installed. I think waiting until after the alignment is a good idea because this fence system is very accurate and the cursor magnifier makes setting precise fence-to-blade distances easy.
Precision Micro-Adjuster (Add-On Option)
To make fine adjustments of the fence-to-blade distance easy, Kreg offers the Precision Micro-Adjuster. This adjuster installs behind the fence, using a T-slot in the mounting rail and a threaded hole in the fences mounting block. No modifications to the fence system are needed.
The screw that runs into the mounting boss of the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence is brass and fit rather snugly when first installed. Running this screw in and out of the threaded hole a couple of times before installation relieved that tightness.
To make a fine adjustment, tighten the locking knob on the Micro-Adjuster, loosen the fences locking knob and turn the knurled dial to make even tiny fence adjustments accurately. When positioned where you want, tighten the fences locking knob and the saw is ready for use.
Re-Saw Guide (Add-On Option)
If re-sawing is part of your operation, the Kreg Re-Saw Guide is a quick way to make this an easy task. This aluminum extrusion mounts using one of the T-slots in the face of the fence. It can be easily aligned with the blade, specifically, the crest of the curved face ¼" before the blade. The distance between the Re-Saw Guide and the blade is controlled by the fence itself.
Note: A pair of small nylon buttons is included in the hardware pack that are not explained in the instructions. They are pressed into the bottom of the Re-Saw Guide and prevent it from scraping on the band saw table.
The curved surface of the Re-Saw Guide is straight vertically and parallel to the fence. This precision manufacturing lets you concentrate on following the layout line to slice exceptionally consistent thickness pieces.
In the Shop
The Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence is very easy to use and solid when locked down with the hand-operated knob. The magnifying cursor lens and tape make setting accurate cutting widths with precision fast and simple if the rest of the saw is set up correctly.
A nice feature of the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence is being able to lay the fence down without compromising other adjustments. This feature is handy when cutting thin stock because the blade guard and guides can be lowered to maximize their effectiveness. Changing the fence from the upright to laid down configuration is tool-less thanks to the finger-operated locking bolts that secure it in both positions.
At 18"-long and 2 ¾"-tall, the fence rail itself has plenty of surface to handle most cutting jobs accurately without modification. A pair of T-shaped slots in the wide face and another along the top edge accept 1/4X20 bolts should you want to attach shop-made jigs. Kreg also offers re-saw fence attachments in 4 ½" and 7"-tall versions that mount in these slots.
While band saw operations are seldom stressful, the L-shaped extrusion used for the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence is very rigid and showed no tendency to deflect during the extensive evaluation.
When freehand sawing operations are encountered, the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence can be positioned back against the saws frame or removed easily. Re-installing the fence did not change any of the alignments.
During evaluation, the Precision Micro-Adjuster and 4 ½"-tall Re-Saw Guide were added to the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence and used extensively. Both performed perfectly, making fine fence position adjustments and re-sawing jobs easy to handle. Adding these two options greatly enhances the capabilities of the saw itself and the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence.
The Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence certainly lives up to the formidable reputation Kreg Tool has earned over the years. The design, materials and workmanship are all first rate. Equally important to the woodworker is that this fence system is easy to set up and use. It also holds its alignment very well.
With a street price of $109.99 (12-4-2005) the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence is an affordable way to add accuracy and versatility to your band saw, extending the capabilities of this already versatile machine even more.
If you are clamping pieces of wood to the band saw table to act as a fence, checking out the Kreg Precision Band Saw Fence should be high on your to-do list.
The Precision Micro-Adjuster has a street price of $14.99 (12-4-2005).
The Re-Saw Guide has street prices of $17.99 (12-4-2005) for the 4 ½"-tall version (KMS7213) and $19.99 (12-5-2005) for the 7"-tall model (KMS7214).
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