Thursday, December 26, 2013

A New Fence and Stop Save an Old Saw

10:45 AM Comments 0

We used to cut all of our parts to their rough lengths on our trusty CTD saw, but after jointing and ripping the pieces to width, we would have to cut the pieces to their final length on a different chop saw, in another area of the shop, since the fence and stop on the CTD saw were a cobbled-together mess.

Eventually, my schedule slowed down enough that I was able to work on a solution, which, thankfully, was an easy one; just upgrade the fence and stop. The table that the CTD saw sits atop is a TigerStop-brand steel monster, 22′ long, heavy, and deal flat, so, with the addition of a good, high-quality fence and stop, we would be set for years to come.

After a few weeks of research, I learned that fence and stop systems on the market fall into three categories: inexpensive consumer models, expensive production models, and automatic positioning stop systems. I will forgo any discussion of the consumer models, since I quickly ruled them out as being to lightweight. I also ruled out an automatically positioned stop, like the previously mentioned Tiger Stop, Accu-Cut Gold, or ProScale. I passed by these options because of the price. We have a TigerStop installed on our specialized shutter up-cut saw, and it is worth every penny, but I decided that option was fancier than we needed for this particular application. This focused my researching energy on production-level fence and stop systems.

Maya Positioning Equipment makes some beautiful fences and stops and I was introduced to the company when I met the owner at IWF in Atlanta last year. I was very impressed with his company’s products and saved his brochure for this very occasion. I was also able to find several other candidates, Glide Stop, Scotchman, and SawHelper,via a Google web search.

In the end I chose to go with Maya Positioning Equipment, mainly due to the fact that I had met the owner at IWF and had handled the product, so I could vouch for the quality. We ordered 10′ worth of track and a fixed S-06-L stop. At close to $700 for the track, stop, and shipping, it was not cheap, but neither is cutting a job worth or rails and stiles to the wrong length because an inexpensive stop shifted on the operator.

Maya Posi Stop Rigid Stop

Once the parts arrived, we bolted on the track, applied the measuring tape, and dropped on the stop. Let me say that I am in awe of the stop. It is truly a thing of beauty and I can see why it costs $324. Each of its parts are beautifully machined and fit together perfectly to make a rigid, heavy, and strong stop. Alignment and squaring adjustments were painless and the stop is immovable, even with the handle only slightly tensioned.

The installation of an upgraded fence and stop was not cheap, but it finally allowed us to use our CTD saw to make accurate cuts, minimized material movement, and eliminated a bottleneck at the other chop saw.