A few weeks ago Laguna Tools sent me a Driftmaster Fence System for evaluation; events kept me from installing it, until now.
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Last night I finally found the time to install the Driftmaster on the 17-inch Grizzly G5013 band saw. Several times I wished for a third hand or an assistant, as the fence is heavy — its table is especially so. However, the system breaks down into smaller components, making it much easier to do a successful installation alone. You can download the installation manual by clicking on this link. Watch Laguna’s four videos at this link.
The installation requires ½-inch holes, to accept the bolts on the universal brackets. I had the proper high-speed bits to enlarge the existing holes, but no power drill that accepts bits larger than 3/8″. After a trip to the home center, and $12 later, I was able to drill out the holes using a ½-inch with a 3/8″ hex shaft.
A free tip from Sandal Woods: To prevent oil and grease contamination on the workbench, use a plastic sheet to cover your working surfaces. It will reduce headaches the next time you apply finish to your work pieces.
The first order of business consisted of doing a thorough cleaning, to remove the heavy oil used to prevent corrosion in storage and shipping. The manual is clear about this; it also recommends using a white Lithium grease, to minimize dust and gunk accumulation. I followed this instruction, doing a thorough job of the clean-up. The instruction manual suggests WD-40 to remove the oil; I am always reluctant to use WD-40 in the shop, as it can interfere with finishes applied to furniture. Instead, I used a “lacquer solvent”, applied to a blue shop towel; it evaporates quickly, leaving no residue (Note: another free tip from Sandal Woods!):
The table has two large sliding surfaces that accept the main shaft, and a smaller one for the threaded micro-adjustment rod; I lubricated these with the white grease:
I started installation by fitting the ½-inch mounting bolts to the universal brackets:
From that point on, the installation went smoothly. I found I had to add two (2) washers at each mounting point, to provide sufficient spacing between the back of the universal brackets and the band saw table. Why? Although the front side of table on the G0513, where the fence mounts, is not flush, the mounting bolts extended too far behind the brackets – the extra washers provided ample clearance:
The rest of the installation was easy. Total time: 2 hours, including a trip to the home center. Now I will highlight some details I found interesting, following the installation:
The handle on the micro-adjusting rod interferes with the bottom door on the band saw. It is essential to open this door completely, to allow changing the blade on the machine. This is what you see:
I also found that the bottom of the fence table clears the door — no problem here:
If you gasped about the interference of the handle on the door, I apologize. The door on the Grizzly band saw lifts out of its hinges, without need to remove the adjustment handle:
It took only a few minutes to adjust the fence square and flush to the band saw table:
Finally, the fence is installed on the band saw — I am happy:
Two things to avoid, which are dependent on your particular band saw model:
- Avoid installing the universal brackets in front of the blade slot (this is not an issue with this band saw, as the blade slot is on the right-hand side of the table), and
- Select mounting holes on the shaft such that it is possible to make adjustments to the mounted fence at a later time.
In the following photo you can see there is ample room to remove the blade from the band saw through the slot on the column – the slot on the table can also be seen, crossing the miter slot on the table, and far away from the universal bracket:
In the next few days I will be using the newly-installed Driftmaster resaw fence. It should be a great accessory to have, as I love to make boxes. Resawing is a wonderful way to get thinner boards, for use on those boxes; it is also a terrific way to get shop-made veneers, as they will be much thicker than commercial veneers.
I will be filming some of these operations, especially the ability to easily adjust for drift with the Driftmaster. The fence, combined with the Resaw King blade, should result in fine shop-made veneers. Stand by!
— Al Navas