Introduction: 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...

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
Drill
WD-40

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.

Step 3: Establish the Zero Reference Line...

The fence's guide tube has an integrated measuring tape, so you have to take care to make sure that it lines up properly. Here's how I went about that.

Go ahead and attach the guide tube to the front rail. Using your square against the front edge of the guide tube, find the "Zero" line and transfer a pencil mark to the front rail. Now, butt the back rail up to the front rail and transfer the mark. Set the back rail aside.

Now go ahead and pop the fence onto the front rail/guide tube assembly. Line up the sight on the fence with the zero line on the guide tube and lock it down. Raise the blade up to full height...you did unplug your saw, right? Of course you did. Lay the fence on the table and slide it firmly against the saw blade. Also make sure that the front rail is firmly against the front of the saw. Use a couple small clamps to make sure that the front rail is fairly level and that everything is secure.

Now transfer the pencil mark from the front rail to the front of your saw table. Remove the fence and front rail and set them aside. Now, using a small square, extend that pencil mark up the front of the table. Using a larger square, extend the pencil mark all the way across the top of the table, and then down the back of the table. Now we have all the guides we need to line the scale up properly.

Note: The fence's sight is adjustable a few millimeters from side to side, so you have a small margin for error in this step.

Step 4: Mark the Front Rail for Drilling...

There are a couple different ways to go about making this fence fit. You can use the pre-existing holes in the front rail and drill new holes in the saw table. Or, you can use the pre-existing holes in the table and drill the front rail. I chose the latter simply because I can't get my table saw onto my drill press.

First, we need to get the front rail/guide tube into position. I just propped the whole front rail assembly up on a saw horse and slid it up to the front of the saw table. I lined up the line I drew on the front rail with the line I just marked on the table. I then used a combination of scrap wood and paper to shim it up to where I wanted it. I would occasionally clamp the front rail in place and pop the fence on to check it for clearance over the table top.

This required a LOT of trial and error. If you position the rail too high, the fence will ride really high over the table. If you position it too low, you'll have to drill too close to the edge of the rail. Take your time and find a good equilibrium. On my saw, 13/16" from the top of the saw table to the top of the rail was the butter zone. I used a combination square to make sure that this measurement was constant across the entire length of the rail. That gave me just enough room to drill, and the fence rides a mere 1/16" over the table.

Note: Another thing to look out for are the little nylon adjusting screws on either side of the fence. If your fence is riding too high, they will actually be above the level of the table top and will interfere with your work piece.

Once the fence was where I wanted it, I used a Sharpie marker to mark the drilling locations. I just crouched down beneath the saw table and marked through the existing holes in the table top. Once I was confident that everything was marked correctly, I disassembled the front rail & guide tub and headed for the drill press.

Step 5: Drilling the Front Rail...

To simplify things at the drill press, I set up my makeshift fence. Its just a piece of aluminum angle that pivots on a bolt on one end and is secured by a c-clamp on the other. Its crude, but it works well. I actually drilled into the back of the rail since that's where my marks were made. I used a couple of blocks of wood to elevate the rail off the table and referenced the bottom of the rail against the fence (see the first pic for clarification).

I used a 7/16" drill bit for all the holes. Its roughly the same size as the pre-drilled holes in the rail, and it gives us a little wiggle room for fine tuning later. When drilling the holes, be sure to keep a can of WD-40 handy to keep things cool. Also, be sure you've got your safety glasses on as you'll be flinging around lots of metal shavings. After the first hole is drilled, just slide the rail down and drill the second hole.

Next, mount a 5/8" countersink bit into the drill press. Countersink the holes just until the screw heads sit flush. The front rail is done, just mount the guide tube to it and bolt it to the saw and make sure everything lines up as it should.

Step 6: Drilling the Rear Rail...

Go ahead and put the fence in place. Because of the motor sticking out of the back of the saw, we have to approach the rear rail a bit differently. We can't get the saw horse up to the saw, so we have to use clamps to hold it in place. Luckily, the rear rail is lighter and much less cumbersome, so its pretty easy to just clamp it in place making sure to line up your zero reference lines. With a clamp on each end, just loosen one end at a time and bump the rail up until the fence is raised off the table evenly with the front (in my case, 1/16"), and even across the back of the saw. On my saw, the top of the rear rail was 11/16" below the table top. Once you're confident everything is where it should be, mark the holes for drilling just like you did on the front. Using a similar set up on the drill press, drill the holes. However, it is not necessary to countersink these holes since the bolt heads won't interfere with anything. Now bolt the rear rail on and install the fence.

One thing to note, I actually used a couple of smaller diameter bolts I had laying around the shop for the rear rail. This gave me a little more room to tweak and fine tune things.

Step 7: And That's It.

Now, just make sure everything is lined up as it should be. Raise the blade and slide the fence over until it touches the right side of the blade. If the sight on the fence doesn't read "Zero" on the scale, just loosen the two screws on the sight and line it up.

And there you have it. If all has gone well, this thing should be solid and glide like butter.

Comments

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CraigS153 made it!(author)2017-07-14

I can't find a schematic or info anywhere. Do you have the center to center holes for the manufactured two bolt holes that secure the front/rear to the table top? I have an older Rockwell with holes 16" on center and can't get any confirmation as to whether the t3 rail has holes 16" on center. I'd rather not drill anything.

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Turlock2A made it!(author)2017-02-23

Thank you for the very helpful instructions! I just installed the Delta T3 on my 113 series Craftsman and love it! Delta even provides a Rail Alignment Gauge with the T3 fence kit for easily setting the front and rear rails at the correct distance from the saw table. That made the installation a cinceh.

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lakadaman made it!(author)2016-09-28

Thank you for the detailed instructions. I installed the Delta 36-T30 T3 on an old Delta Super 10 model 34-470 table saw. Without your instructions it would have been a disaster. The only holes that lined up were the ones on the stamped extension wings. I drilled the rails verses the table. The top of the table is thin and shallow in depth but I was able to get about 1/16 clearance between fence and table top. The fence really isn't square, sides are scalloped but not horribly. I was able to square one side of the fence to the table however it caused the screws holding the fence site to protrude above the level of the table top. After unsuccessfully looking for low profile screws, I opted to grind the top of the screws to prevent the screws from interfering with the work pieces. Because the table depth was less 27" I moved the rear metal clip and nylon guide to correct this.

Thank goodness for the internet and people like you who take the time to post detailed instructions with pictures! Thanks again!

To JohnL289: if I can do this (62 yr, 5'2" female with limited experience with tools), anyone can! Be patient, double check your measurements. It'll be worth it.

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JohnL289 made it!(author)2016-03-11

does this work with the Delta 36-T30 T3 as well or is there another retro fit for that one as well?

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thorkelsr made it!(author)2012-11-01

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.

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tsturtevant made it!(author)2015-11-24

Are you still active? I would like to download your info on the Craftsman saw and fence conversion if it's available. Thanks

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herrbob2000 made it!(author)2015-03-18

That model is 113.241691.

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herrbob2000 made it!(author)2015-03-18

I have a Craftsman 113.24167 and new a up-grade fence for it. Will the Delta t-2 work on this model as well? Any help would be appreciated much since I can't afford to buy a new table saw on my SS income.

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Jnbrown made it!(author)2014-11-19

I started my retrofit tonight and couldn't do it without this.

However I am really disappointed as the Delta fence I received seems to be either defective and/or damaged. First the holes in front rail do not line up very well in the holes in the guide tube. This resulted in an uneven gap between the rail and guide tube, 3/8" on one end and 3/4" on the other. When I tried to put the fence onto the guide tube it wouldn't go on. After pushing very hard it went on but is basically locked in place and won't slide and yes I have the lever up. I will be calling the place I bought it from tomorrow to find out why I am having these problems. I am wondering if Delta quality isn't what I thought it would be. And damn this thing is heavy, I am going to need help putting it on the saw while I figure out where the mounting holes go.

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Jnbrown made it!(author)2014-11-19

Ok after reading the Delta instructions I was able to get fence on and sliding by adjusting the two allen screws on the fence. One was way too far in. I am still not happy about the gap not being even between the rail and guide tube, its off by about 1/16" from one end to the other. Hopefully the screws to adjust the fence square to the saw will make up for that. If not then I will have to slot the holes in the front rail even through they already have tons of slop.

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-12-02

That sounds incredibly frustrating. When I installed my second T2 kit, I had one bolt on the rail that didn't quite line up, but nothing that caused that much of a misalignment. Did you manage get it dialed in?

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Jnbrown made it!(author)2014-12-02

After spending a whole day lining up the rails and drilling the holes I discovered that the fence was welded crooked to the bracket that slides on the guide tube, so it is impossible to adjust it square to my saw table. I checked it with a square and it is at least a few degrees out of square. I called Delta customer service and they are sending me a new fence which should arrive tomorrow after waiting a week. I was almost ready to return the whole thing and was considering paying more for a Vega fence, but decided since i already did the work and drilled holes to stay the course. One question I have is how far should the locking lever go down? Mine only goes down about 45 degrees from vertical and doesn't really lock it just gets tight and won't go any further. Again thanks for the detailed instructions, without this I wouldn't even attempt to do this on my own.

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-12-03

My locking lever is the same way. It doesn't go all the way down like you'd assume a cam lock should, but it still locks in place firmly.

Glad that Delta was able to get you straightened out. Hopefully you'll be up and running soon.

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Jnbrown made it!(author)2014-12-03

Have you seen this? I have the stamped metal extension wings and they are really crappy and was looking for something better. I think this may be my next project for the TS:

http://lumberjocks.com/Dustmite/blog/15531

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-12-03

I need to do that to the left side of my saw as well. I have the aluminum wings, but they're less than flat. I did something very similar to the right side to incorporate a router table. I actually posted that on lumberjocks as well...

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/94535

My next project will to build a rolling cabinet base for my saw, too.

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JasonL5 made it!(author)2014-12-02

I will be installing a Delta T2 on a Craftsman 113.298240 and I am wondering if anyone has had any luck with putting the blade guard back on after installing the fence and rails?

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-12-03

The new rail is only marginally larger than the original rail, so I don't imagine it would be an issue.

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tom.redmond.967 made it!(author)2014-11-29

I am trying to put the t2 on my model 113226880 craftsman but the fence is 29" and the table is 23". Anyone have ideas if it can be tweaked?

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-12-02

The far end of the fence slides on top of the back rail on a UHMW block. I've seen where folks have just removed and remounted the block further up the fence to accommodate a shorter table. I would need to run downstairs and look at my fence again to confirm that this is plausible.

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tom.redmond.967 made it!(author)2014-12-02

It is possible.. I did it and it works great. You just need to,measure ,measure ,measure. So you mount it in the new spot correctly.
Thanks

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JeffKinCC made it!(author)2014-11-08

Thank you so very much for your article! I just finished installing the new rails and fence on my 34 year old Sears 113.298031. The details you provided gave me the confidence to try it and now I can't believe how much more fun it is to use. Your notes on things to look out for were especially helpful and probably saved me hours of frustration. I really appreciated the detail you provided to describe your methods for accomplishing each step. The photos were really helpful. Thanks again. I never would have tried this if I hadn't found your article.

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-11-13

I'm glad it helped!

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pinky.vancat made it!(author)2014-10-09

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.

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heavyveggie made it!(author)2014-06-08

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.

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Bdb7098 made it!(author)2014-04-17

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.

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-06-04

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

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ColumbusEric made it!(author)2014-01-07

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.

THANKS!

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2014-01-07

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!



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photogWA made it!(author)2012-09-03

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.

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WoodChip7 made it!(author)2012-05-04

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 ToolsPlus.com 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.

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Alan+Purvis made it!(author)2012-06-20

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.

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wallerps made it!(author)2012-04-06

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
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jeffver made it!(author)2012-04-17

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.

Jeff

IMG_5116.JPG
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Blackie_ made it!(author)2012-04-11

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

http://www.harborfreight.com/132-lb-capacity-roller-stand-95621.html

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.

Randy

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home8401 made it!(author)2012-01-30

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.
Wendell
hwendell6487@yahoo.com

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home8401 made it!(author)2012-01-28

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.
Home8401

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Mosheim+Jack made it!(author)2011-12-31

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.

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Pinhead9 made it!(author)2011-10-21

Where have you placed the switch? I'm trying to locate a position that doesn't interfere with the operation of the fence.

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Mosheim+Jack made it!(author)2011-12-31

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.

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pfred2 made it!(author)2011-10-18


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

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obstreperous82 made it!(author)2011-10-18

I did this exact thing a couple of years ago! Kudos for posting about it. Definitely a worthwhile upgrade!

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shafiqj made it!(author)2009-08-12

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.

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bsczap made it!(author)2011-05-10

This is the way to go. Here's my writeup about it. http://tiny.cc/craftsman-t2-fence

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jster made it!(author)2010-12-10

Alot simpler

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jesseroscoe made it!(author)2010-02-17

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!

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UnstoppableDrew made it!(author)2009-08-20

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.

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2009-08-20

Noted & corrected, thanks.

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moosetooth made it!(author)2009-04-09

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.

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rweerstra made it!(author)2009-03-05

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.

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cornflake_81 made it!(author)2009-03-05

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.

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