50' vs. 30' Fence
Issue: Issue 4.09
Posted Date: 5/20/2003
He's ready to lay down his benchtop Makita and stride over to the Powermatic 66 Promised Land. But a few questions are still nagging. Will he find true happiness with a 30" Biesemeyer fence? Or should he upgrade to the 50"? Aside from cutting sheet goods, are there any other compelling reasons to get the larger fence? His 16' x 24' shop will accommodate either size! (Oh and he also wanted to know if anyone had come across a better price than at Amazon.com?)
Almost everyone agreed that the Powermatic 66 was a great machine. And most favored the larger fence and several now regretted their decision to go with the 30" fence. Even though he allowed that 98% of the time his smaller fence did the job, one woodworker still advised not making the same choice. The 2% where it came up short was enough to make him regret not choosing a 50" fence. Since the price and size difference is negligible, and as long as its size fits safely and effectively in the space available, another poster backed the larger size for panel cutting, processing sheet goods, and crosscutting. If a current PM66 owner with a 30" fence could have his druthers, he'd spring for the larger size and plus take a serious look at a model with a built-in router table. And on the rare occasions when he needed extra space in his 16' X 24' shop, attached wheels made it easy for another woodworker to move his 50" fence/router table-equipped saw safely out of the way.
On the other hand, a 30" Biesemeyer worked out just fine on a woodworker's Craftsman table saw. It's a good fence at either size, and for sheet goods, he's got his trusty circular saw and a good blade. Two years ago, he got it at a scratch and dent price from General Industrial and and the only damage he could find was to the box it came in. Though he mentioned without comment that his Craftsman had a 40" Biesemeyer, a forum member explained that if he were to get a PM66, he would opt for the 50".
As for Amazon.com, though he thought he might have gotten it cheaper locally, he was pleased with Amazon's tailgate delivery service. With no pickup of his own, the delivery truck used a lift gate to drop it off at the end of his driveway, and then he wheeled it into his garage shop.
Convinced by majority opinion, the original poster declared his intention to go with a 50" fence and a model with the built-in router table. He'd also found that Amazon offered several special discounts for users of their credit card, but he'd have to wait until his credit limit increased to cover the PM66. To bypass this delay, a post suggested arranging to pre-pay the balance over the credit limit and get the discounted price (and the PM66) that much sooner.