Vega Saw Fence System: 36 Fence Bar, 26 to Right U26XXX
(4 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating:
Vive La Vega!
Jan 12, 2006 (Updated Nov 5, 2006)
Review by woody2
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Accurate affordable rugged fence, great microadjuster, easy installation. Fits most standard 27" deep saws.
Cons:Initial setup adjustments are not as easy as a Biesemeyer. Uses an ugly decorative panel.
The Bottom Line: The microadjust mechanism is in a league of it's own. Tough to beat for the price. Stronger than a Mule, and more versatile than Shop Fox Aluma Classic.
My first exposure to the Vega U26 came while using a friend's Jet cabinet saw equipped with the Vega. My second exposure to the Vega was in my shop after I bought an older Craftsman contractor saw as a refurb project that was equipped with the Vega...which was the primary attraction with the saw. I was initially struck by how easy it was to use and how solidly it locked down, but the feature that really stood out was the microadjustment mechanism...I was particularly impressed with how well it worked. The microadjust uitilizes a secondary locking device which secures independently to the rail, then uses a fine thread to glide the fence into place. The cursor provides an excellent glimpse of the smaller increments and the microadjust wheel allows you to smoothly dial to the precise measurement and lock the fence down without skewing the setting. The result is the exact cut intended. I've seen and toyed with plenty of microadjustment gizmos, and most just don't work well enough to bother with...they're essentially sales gimmicks. The Vega's works and works well.
Recommend this product?
The Vega is a straight forward rugged design made with quality materials. It's easier to install than any other fence I've had, including my Biesemeyer. Installation involves two bolts on the front rail to secure the chrome plated steel rail and two on the rear rail and that's it ....it's as easy as it gets for an aftermarket fence. The adjustment to set the fence parallel to the blade is a bit more cumbersome than the Biesemeyer, but wasn't too bad. The rear of the fence has a hook type device to prevent the fence from ever lifting up if alot of force were to be applied to the front. Note that it's not a rear locking type fence, which can be prone to skewing out of parallel when locked down. The locking of the fence is handled completely by the front tube with a metal handle and cam assembly. Pressure is smooth and solid, and the fence does not move until the handle is lifted. Once lifted, the fence can easily be removed from the saw to be put out of the way with a simple upward lift. I love the weight of this fence...it's just right. My commercial Biesemeyer is quite heavy, and many aluminum fences feel too light and rickity. The Vega is substantial but not heavy....less filling too ;-). Another nice feature that Vega offers is their "finger saver". It's a simple sliding device that rides along the top of the fence and acts as a push stick to help keep fingers farther from the blade. It can also be used as a indexing guide block for safe precise crosscuts.
My biggest complaint is cosmetic and kind of silly, but it's a complaint nonetheless. The top of the fence is adorned with a decorative panel made of a synthetic material that's supposed to resemble wood. Considering that intended users are typically woodworkers who are typically wood lovers, I'm not sure why they'd choose this route. I think they'd be better off without the faux wood and just picking an industrial color...it's ugly, but is easily removable.
I've had the pleasure of using several good aftermarket t-square fences...the commercial Biesemeyer, General Biesemeyer, Shop Fox Classic, Mule Cab Accusquare, and the Vega. All are very good, but none offers a microadjustment except for Vega.
The Vega is a straight forward design with quality materials. It's easy to install, simple to use, accurate, repeatable, rugged, and has very low deflection. It's also priced considerably lower than most others on my list. My short stint with the Vega left me with a very good impression. I'm not quite ready to trade in my Biesemeyer for the Vega but it's hard to find fault with it, and at under $235 delivered, you'd be hard pressed to find a decent fence for less. The Mule Cab is in a similar price range, and has the benefit of t-slots, but those slots come at the expense of softer lightweight aluminum tubing substituted for steel, and the Mule understandably has higher deflection than it's steel competitors. If the t-slots are an important feature to you, I'd consider looking at the fairly new Shop Fox Alumarip Classic. It's essentially a steel Biesemeyer homeshop copy that uses t-slotted aluminum faces on both sides of the steel fence tube instead of the laminate faces. It'a available for about $200 plus s/h through Grizzly.
For what it's worth, Wood Magazine recently compared several aftermarket fences including many listed above. They chose the Biese as "Editor's Choice", and the Vega as "Best Buy". If I were actually buying a fence now I'd have a hard time justifying the extra money for the Biese over the Vega...the Biese is a great fence and was a bargain that was included with my saw, but the Vega is excellent in it's own right...it's not quite as rugged, and no where near as sexy as the Biese.
Wood Mag got it right...."Best Buy". Overall it's about 4.5 stars in my book...price considered it gets 5 stars.
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