It’s a frustrating fact of woodworking life that most tablesaw mitre gauges and bandsaw fences offer mediocre performance. No wonder there is such a large after-market for these two accessories. The Kreg Tool Company, manufacturer of the highly regarded and widely used Kreg Pocket Hole Joinery system (see review in Canadian Woodworking, Issue #5, Oct/Nov 2001), has recently introduced two new products into the mitre gauge and fence aftermarket.
Assembly on both of these units is fairly straightforward because of the excellent documentation. Welcome features on the Kreg Gauge include 5 nylon adjustment inserts on the bar that enable snug bar movement along the mitre track (to adjust for inevitable wear) an optional T-Slot washer if your table saw top has a T-Slot in the mitre track; nylon buttons that slide the gauge across the table top; a clever curved flip-stop that allows you to slide the work piece under the stop without having to manually raise the stop out of the way; an adjustable cursor that makes re-alignment of the stop position quick and easy (very handy if you have saw blades of differing thicknesses); a hole and pin system in the handle that enables you to make quick and precise positive stops at +/- 0°, 10°, 22.5°, 30° and 45°; and a vernier scale so that you can make incredibly accurate adjustments in increments of 1/10th of a degree.
The features on the Kreg Fence, are less extensive: nylon buttons that slide the fence across the table top; an adjustable cursor for easy alignment of the stop position; and a fence that is easily adjustable to be parallel to the blade. Two optional but highly recommended accessories are the Micro-Adjuster that lets you dial in very precise fence positions, and a Re-saw Guide that enables you to make drift angle adjustments on the fly as you bandsaw your stock. There is a 4½” guide for 14″ band saws and a 7″ guide for 16″ saws (and 14″ saws that use a riser block extension).
The value of any tool is ultimately a function of its performance. After using both these accessories in the shop for over three months I can recommend the Kreg Gauge with a caveat, and recommend the Kreg Fence without reservation. Their performance is both a function of good design, quality of materials, and good craftsmanship. The fence on the Kreg Gauge was square to the saw blade at both ends, while the movement of the fence wasprecise without any slop. The pin system in the handle works very well, allowing for quick and easy adjustment from 90° to 45° and back – the two most frequently used positions in most shops. The flip stop is one of the best that I’ve used – an excellent design. Now for that caveat. The 24″ aluminium fence flexes at the end of the fence when cutting long stock – not much, around 1/64″, but flex it does. A steel fence might resolve this issue.
The Kreg Fence is a real gem. I mounted it on a 16″ Laguna bandsaw, and it works like a dream. What sets this fence apart from the others I’ve used is the ease of adjusting the fence parallel to the blade, and the convenience of the micro-adjuster. Used in conjunction with the Re-saw Guide and a sharp blade I could quickly align my stock and make precision cuts with ease. An exceptional product.
Carl Duguay - [email protected]
Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.