Woodworkers are by nature frugal. You might also say we're thrifty. We're cheap, Ok? Consequently we don't pass up bargains, but it is sometimes difficult to tell where the bargain ends and your journey down the road of diminishing returns begins.
In this case, a woodworker found and bought an old Craftsman table saw (about 20 years old), but he wanted to install a different fence. So he asked the group if they thought it was worth it to attach a Beisemeyer fence to this old saw. He didn't want to do a lot of drilling to attach it either, so he asked for recommendations.
There was some agreement that the fence would definitely be worth more than the saw, but quite a few of the respondents had done precisely the same thing, i.e. bought an old Craftsman and attached a really good fence to it with, according to them, very satisfactory results. They often declared more affection for the fence than the saw, but most said the saw and fence together cut very accurately and would do the job. A couple attached Incra fences and loved them, too.
There were also favorable reports about the Accusquare and Vega fences. There were also some nice sentiments about old tools. One participant wrote, "I'm glad to hear these older machines are alive and well. Not that the new ones aren't fine as well, but the timeworn pride isn't there. The proven ability is yet to be proved. It takes generations to season that into the iron."
It was a tossup about whether attaching the Beisemeyer would require drilling. But the Incra, it was agreed, didn't need holes drilled into the table to attach the fence.
If your old saw is beyond saving, Simon Watts, our West Coast editor, has some recommendations on how to most efficently:
New Uses for Old Machinery
A modest proposal for the woodworking community
By Simon Watts
With the depressed price of scrap iron there is little point in loading up some ancient wood-working machine and taking it to the re-cycling. One ends up all bent out of shape and with only a few dollars to show for the effort.
For the boat owner, however, these relics present an unusual opportunity. Good moorings are scarce so why not simply put a chain around these retired behemoths and sink them where you plan to moor your boat?
Not every machine is equally suited for this purpose. Spindle molders, for example, are hard to get a grip on; steel stands rapidly corrode and cheaper models have too much plastic.
Here are some criteria when selecting a machine for use as a mooring: obviously you need mass; also some place you can wrap a chain around without any danger of it slipping off. Less obvious is the necessity of having the machine lie flat on the bottom so it doesn't snag fishing lines or tear the propellers off passing boats. That is why an old band saw (lying on its side) makes an especially good mooring.
A table saw or thickness planer will settle into mud pretty well but I wouldn't use one on a sandy or gravel bottom. Large joiners, especially those with cast-iron stands, make excellent moorings. You can slip a chain around the waist and they usually can be coaxed into lying down flat. Use heavy chain--at least 3/4 in.--with the same size shackle at the end.
The make of machine is not crucial but my two favorite brands (when it comes to moorings) are Quebec's General and Powermatic. The older the machine the more cast iron so better the holding power. You'd do well to avoid the Inca line altogether. I've nothing against the Swiss but the machines are just too light and aluminum castings corrode rapidly in salt water.
Be wary of sinking a popular machine in clear water?an old Delta Unisaw, for example. Some passing woodworker might be tempted to raise it?cutting your boat loose in the process. However, there are some well-known brands of woodworking machinery that are actually more use at the bottom of a lake or estuary than in the workshop. My attorney advises me against identifying them but woodworkers will know which ones I mean.
If scrap prices rise or the machine you've deep-sixed comes back into vogue you can always raise it and restore it to circulation. Barnacles and other marine growths are easily removed with a wire brush. However, before plugging it in be sure to rinse the salt out of the motor with a garden hose.
Simon Watts is our West Coast editor and has been researching this subject for half a century.