Retrofitting A Delta T2 Fence to a Craftsman Table Saw

Picture of Retrofitting A Delta T2 Fence to a Craftsman Table Saw
If you have one of these older Craftsman table saws, you already know two things:
1) With a little tweaking, they're surprisingly adequate saws.
2) The fence really sucks. Like, a lot.

Luckily there are a lot of options out there to upgrade that shotty old fence. In this instructable, I'll cover the procedure for installing a Delta 36-T30 T2 fence & rail system onto a Craftsman 113.298762. This is a popular upgrade for these old saws, but the documentation out there on how to do it is pretty sparse. Hopefully this little guide will help a few folks.

Step 1: A note about compatiblity...

The Delta 36-T30 fence & rails are a bargain no matter how you look at it. Its basically a clone of the ever popular and ever expensive Biesemeyer fences. Those can run upwards of $300-400+. The T2 is sold by Lowe's for around $150. A true bargain. But here's the thing...

The Delta T2 rails are supposedly universal, but none of the pre-drilled holes line up on Craftsman saws. There's lots of drilling and nervousness involved, so be forewarned. If you take your time and measure, measure, measure, this works great. If you try to rush through it, you could damage the fence and render it unusable...and un-returnable.

The saw in this instructable is a Craftsman 113.298762, but this process should apply to most other Craftsman table saws.

Step 2: What you'll need...

Picture of What you'll need...
To do this properly you'll need:

Combination Square
24" Carpenters Square
7/16" Drill Bit
3/8" Drill Bit
5/8" Countersink Bit
Flat Head/Phillips Head Screwdrivers
Wrenches (various sizes)
Socket Set
Various Clamps

Note about the drill:
I used a drill press for all the drilling in this Instructable, and recommend you do the same if you have one available to you. The accuracy and repeatability of a drill press made this go a lot smoother. You could certainly do this with a hand held drill, but make sure to use a center punch so your bit doesn't wander.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

About halfway through, this will be a great upgrade for my 1980's Craftsman saw. I could actually get by without changing the back rail but with a drill press, there's no need to do that. Wasn't sure what to do with the scale until I saw Sparkie's comment about lifting the tape - thanks.

heavyveggie4 months ago

First, I would like to say thanks for the step by step. I attempted this yesterday, I got the front rail on with little problem. But, today I attempted to attach the back rail with the assistance from my neighbor, he pointed out to me before drilling that there is excessive movement up and down ( meaning that the fence doesn't sit flush the back rail) but little if any movement side to side. If possible could provide some insight as to what I did wrong or a possible remedy. Thanks again for the steps.

Bdb70986 months ago

Just did this yesterday on my Craftsman TS. Mine was a little different since the bed isn't as deep. Had to reposition the clip and plastic glide at the end of the fence to ride on the back rail. No biggie, actually. Just used a couple of self tapping screws. Thanks for the step by step. Couldn't have done it, or at least wouldn't have ventured into it, without the help. Looking at your fence, mine was even worse. No toggle lever, just a hand screw that was very inaccurate. So, again, thanks.

cornflake_81 (author)  Bdb70984 months ago

Glad I could help! There's something supremely satisfying about breathing new life into an old machine. Happy (safe, accurate) sawing!

ColumbusEric9 months ago
Awesome instructions. The only thing I ran into different was the metal side tables on my craftsman saw have corner brackets in them and bolts. I ended up buying replacement bolts for these holes and counter sinking them so that the rails fit flush against the table. Once that was done I found the hints about the adjustment screws in the T to be a lifesaver. Had I not had your article I would have had them above the table surface for sure.

cornflake_81 (author)  ColumbusEric9 months ago
No sweat, Eric. I'm glad it worked out well for you. Also, not a bad idea to make use of those rails hanging off the right side now and build yourself a router table extension. I just finished that on mine and I love it. Enjoy your new fence!

thorkelsr1 year ago
I have an older model, the 113.298051 with aluminum table and sheet metal extensions. I have done a similar modification to mount this fence. A big thank you for your section on marking the zero position on the table. This tip saved me a lot of re-drilling and head scratching. After reading your installation guide, I made allowances for my installation. One major consideration to me was that, since the table was aluminum, I did not want to do any drilling into the table. I have documented my install, if anyone wants to see it. If there is a way to upload the file, I'll be happy to do that, too.
photogWA2 years ago
I bought an old craftsman like yours for abour 50 bucks, but with no fence. This being the first table saw I have ever owned, I'm really not familiar with how a "normal" fence should be. So I have a couple questions before I try to fit the Delta Fence I just bought. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction.

How far to one side do I put the rails? I.E. , more to the right side of the table or the left? I presume more to the right since that is the direction of the rule on the guide tube. OR should you center the rails on the table? Or does it matter?

What puzzles me is why not put almost all the rail to one side, wouldn't you gain more fence real estate? The ability to rip wider than 30 something inches?

I appreciate the help.
WoodChip72 years ago
Haven't put my fence on yet but it seems to be much beefier and by the comments more accurate repeatability. For those looking to buy this little beauty try seems to be the most reasonably priced by as much a $50.00 or so in savings, free shipping and I ordered mine on sunday evening and recieved it tuesday afternoon. Will repost after the fence is mounted.
I guess I lucked out installing mine. I just located two holes (one front and one back) in the table, set the front angle in place, then ran a countersunk bolt up snug. I then took a combination square, set it on top of the front angle over the bolt, and adjusted the other end of the angle until I had the same measurement at the other end of the table. Clamped the angle in place, chucked a 5/8 " drill bit in the hand held and started a pilot center in the edge of the table. Piloted the hole with a 3/16 and finished with the right size clearance drill. Added one hole in each wing using the existing countersunk holes and bolted it up.

The only real problem I ran into was having to remove the splitter mount rod. Rather than go through the hassle of removing all the internals of the saw just to take out two panhead screws that are hidden behind ribs cast into the tabletop, I hacksawed it off and filed the end flush with the edge of the table. I noticed in the pic from cornflake_81 that his splitter is missing too.

For the back rail, I located the end of the angle the same distance from the left end as the front angle. The first hole in the table lined up with the hole in the angle. All I had to do was clearance that hole, bolt it up and repeat the leveling procedure. The holes in the back angle were big enough to use for guides so I just pushed my clearance drill through and installed the bolts. All in all, I think I have about an hour and a half in putting it together.
wallerps2 years ago
I love this Delta T2 kit but am having trouble getting it attached. I used one of the existing hole on the front and one on the back. When I lay the fence on the saw table the fence doesn't even come close to fitting the back rail. I'm sure I will have to re-drill all the hole and mount it again. I was glad to read that you could remove the measurement tape and re-position it. My Craftsman has metal sides and not the steel ones.

I have attached some of my photos.

All of the comments on this project have helped me a lot. Any ideas on my project would be appreciated.

Sparkie Waller
Quinton, Alabama
Delt T2 Fence #6.jpgDelta T2 Fence #1.jpgDelta T2 Fence #2.jpgDelta T2 Fence #3.jpgDelta T2 Fence #5 copy.jpgDelta T2 Fence #5.jpgDelta T2-30 in box & Craftsman Saw.jpg
Mr Waller,
I don't know if you have figured this out yet, but it appears that you have the back rail on upside down. The fence rides on the flat part of the rear rail. I attached a photo.

Hope this helps, it's a great fence.

Blackie_2 years ago
Thought I'd chime in a bit late, thanks for these great instructions cornflake, I have an Hitachi C10FL and was looking for instruction for installing the T30, I ran across yours for the craftsman and thought well shouldn't be that much different and it wasn't actually using your method I had it installed within 5 hours, no trips to the hardware store either, I found that a 1/2" counter sink was enough as I didn't have a 5/8 on hand, I used these adjutable roller stands

to hold the rails up with and made minor adjustments getting the fence proper height and also 2' level. I optioned for the drill press as well.

All in all your instructions fit my application perfect once again thanks.

home84012 years ago
I am trying to install my new Delta T2 fence on my craftsman table saw and it is a 113.226880 I have owned for a lot of years. The table is only 23" outside to outside old rails still on the saw. New fence is 6" longer. I would like any experiences you have had with this problem. Looks like moving the rear bracked on the fence forward about 6" is my only hope. Any advice would be appreciated. Need to install this and just received it today.
Thanks in advance.
home84012 years ago
I tried to find the Delta 36-T30 T2 and called every Lowes I could find.
No one had one. I got on the Internet and found several places that had them at different prices The one I selected was Tools Plus, Inc. They had them for $147.97 and shipping was $6.50, UPS ground. They shipped it the day I ordered and am waiting for it to arrive. Good Price.
My saw is a Craftsman #113.226880 and I hope it works. Not sure of the saw width but this seems to be a critical width or fence won't fit.
Hope this helps those of you are now searching for a Delta fence upgrade for your Craftsman saw.
The installation went great following your procedure; lots of measuring. Required two trips to hardware store; what project doesn't require that? Took the motor off which made working on the rear rail much easier. Oiled the old motor while I was working on the saw. The motor burnt up on restart (go figure). I assume the cause was my penchant for over lubricating. New motor, belt and I've got a great running sw. Definitely wirth the time and money.
Pinhead93 years ago
Where have you placed the switch? I'm trying to locate a position that doesn't interfere with the operation of the fence.
Just finished installation on mine this weekend. My saw is Model No. 113.298031 from the late 70's. I mounted the switch on the bottom right leg for the base, just below the saw housing. Easy enough to reach to start, then very easy to stop with a tap of the toe.
pfred23 years ago

I'm in the process of writing up my fence right now. Oh BTW your craftsman saw isn't that old. This is an old Craftsman saw! Like 1948 old
I did this exact thing a couple of years ago! Kudos for posting about it. Definitely a worthwhile upgrade!
shafiqj5 years ago
Nice instructions! However, I found that drilling into my saw table was a lot easier. I lined up and used one existing hole on the table with the front rail and drilled the next two. 10 mins for the front of the table (front rail) and 10 mins for the back of the table (rear rail) and I was done. The only remaining thing to do was to remove the sticky measure tape on the guide tube and move it over to the zero point. No other measurements needed.
bsczap shafiqj3 years ago
This is the way to go. Here's my writeup about it.
jster shafiqj3 years ago
Alot simpler
jesseroscoe4 years ago
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I used your instructions and installed the T2 on the exact same model Craftsman saw (16 years old).  Huge difference.  Thanks!
Small correction: you are counter sinking the holes, not counter boring them. Counter bore is for fasteners with a flat underside like a hex head cap screw. Counter sink is for slope-sided heads like wood screws.
cornflake_81 (author)  UnstoppableDrew5 years ago
Noted & corrected, thanks.
moosetooth5 years ago
Great instructable, thanks! I have a craftsman saw that's quite a bit older. Model 103.27270 . Great saw, lousy fence. I bought the delta fence because this instructable made it look do-able... Imagine my surprise when the Delta fence bolted right up! All the bolt holes fit, I just had to peel the measure tape off (it came off easy!) and reset it about 1.75 in. to the left. I thought I would spend all weekend on this project but it only took less than an hour. The Delta fence is a Cadillac....Thanks again for the how-to... I never would have bought the fence otherwise.
rweerstra5 years ago
Does this upgrade work with the same saw if it doesn't have the two table extensions as pictured? It would be nice if the fence can be used beyond the edge of the existing table on the side without the extension.
cornflake_81 (author)  rweerstra5 years ago
As I have it set up, the rails are only bolted to the main table top and not the extensions, so it would work. However, if you were cutting a particularly wide panel without the extension to support it, it could get hairy real quick.
I did the deed. I got the kit from Lowes yesterday. The results are fantastic. I found that there were no mounting holes in the rear of my saw cast iron table. I drilled them and started to thread the holes and broke my tap. After getting the broken tap out, I redrilled the hole and used bolts and nuts to attach the rear rail. Then I found I had reversed the rail when I marked the zero spot so I had to redrill the rail to match the holes I had drilled in the saw since the holes in the rail lined up with the castings on the saw table. To get the 1/16 inch clearance to the table you suggested, I found two pieces of sheet metal 1/16 inch thick, placing them under the fence during the alignment process. That worked great. All in all, it worked out fine considering my mistakes. I found that there is a great deal of adjustment with the nylon screws in the fence so I could have mounted the front rail lower drilling the holes I farther from the edge of the front rail. The holes were close to breaking out while drilling. I am so glad that you compiled the instructions as you did. The instructions with the kit were lacking if you were not using this kit on a Delta saw. I would say that I am so glad to get rid of the original fence. It was great fun to toss it into the trash. Now that I have replaced the original motor ($140) with a sealed unit, and replaced the fence ($150), my saw probably is worth about $190 now. Thanks for your help.
graywolfy5 years ago
Worked like a charm, had it done in one evening. I've been hunting for an affordable replacement fence for ages. Best instructions I've had to work from in ages.
cornflake_81 (author)  graywolfy5 years ago
Glad I could help. =)
richz5 years ago
I just finished putting the Delta fence on a 1980 Craftsman saw. It took about three hours-mostly measuring. Your directions were on the money. The fence works so well I can't believe I waited this long to make the switch. Thanks again.......Rich
cornflake_81 (author)  richz5 years ago
No problem, enjoy your new fence.
LinuxH4x0r5 years ago
Great job! I have the same exact saw. I also bought a newer saw when I moved (sill have the other one in the old house) and trust me, the new ones SUCK!!! 5/5
cornflake_81 (author)  LinuxH4x0r5 years ago
Thanks. Apparently, with table saws at least, newer isn't always better. I actually found this one on craigslist for $75.
Thats true of almost everything nowadays. My dad would buy a new microwave about every 3 years when his friend was still using a 20 year old one. His packard bell from 91 outlasted two laptops and is now being used in a factory to control machinery. I'd rater use my Minolta from 82 than my digital camera. Kind of sad how its going backwards. He bought it new for $2-300
Nicely done! Best improvement I made to my Craftsman was switching fences, but I just used a cheap aftermarket. Also, I noticed you made the second best improvement also, a link belt.
cornflake_81 (author)  Tool Using Animal5 years ago
Thanks. I dunno which made the most difference, the fence or the belt. Before I aligned the pulleys and put the belt on, that saw shook so much I was afraid to use it. Smooth and solid now.