Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer
#8
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All this recent talk about fence systems... Anyone else remember when Biesemeyer Manufacturing (creator of the T-square locking tablesaw fence) was a separate company before Delta acquired them?  That was slightly before my woodworking time, but the T-square fence design was one of my few top driving reasons to eventually upgrade to a full-size cabinet saw.  I must've left a drool mark or two at the Unisaw with the Biesemeyer fence system on display at the local Delta store (before Delta was sold and resold and eventually defunct - sigh).




Reproduced from Biesemeyer Fence - A Brief History

Circular saws were originally invented in the 16th or 17th century in Europe. The first patented table saw was a patent by Samuel Miller in Southampton, England. However a much more charming version of the origin of table saws, is found in America by a Shaker known as Tabitha Babbitt.
 
The story goes that Tabitha Babbit was watching a pair of men using a pit saw, a long single blade operated by two men which only cuts on the forward stroke. She noticed how inefficient this was, and an idea struck her as she used her spinning wheel. She took a tin disk and cut notches in it to make a circular blade, and mounted it onto the spindle of her spinning wheel. This basic design was powered by the foot pedal, and was eventually used in saw mills throughout America.
 
The original table saw fence was a simple design, fixed at one side and designed to be moved back and forth dependent on the width of the cut that was required. The problem was that you had to measure the top and bottom of the fence to ensure that it was square to the blade. This took considerable time and meant that jobs could not be done quickly and efficiently.
 
Bill Biesemeyer changed all that.
 
He had worked in cabinet makers workshops for 35 years and grew increasingly frustrated with the inaccuracy of the fences they used. During his spare time he started to design a new fence, based on a simple t-square, that would increase accuracy without the need to be constantly measuring.
 
In time he came up with a design consisting of only 2 moving parts. It consisted of a fence with a single locking point, with guide rails and a guide tube with a measuring tape pre-installed. This design is what came to be known as the Biesemeyer fence.
 
The initial acceptance of this was relatively slow, as many wood shops hung on to the old system of measuring, squaring up, measuring again, cutting and doing a final measurement to ensure accuracy. The idea of the Biesemeyer fence, setting the measurement one, locking the fence into position and cutting, took time to settle in their minds.
 
The real acceptance of the Biesemeyer fence system came in 1980 at 2 trade shows in Atlanta and Louisville. In a small booth Biesemeyer demonstrated the accuracy of his design, and over 500 orders were placed at each show. In addition many dealers were signed up to handle the product.
 
In 1983 the Biesemeyer design was awarded the Challenger award for his contribution to woodworking. This was against over 300 competitors worldwide and firmly cemented Biesemeyer as a household name in the woodworking trade.
 
Expansion continued in the next few years, and even as other manufacturers designed similar products, Biesemeyer continued to thrive. A big part of this was due to the great customer service, and attention to detail the the Biesemeyer brand valued so highly. For example if a customer’s saw could not take the basic table saw fence design, then a custom design was made to suit.
 
One of the major points of the craftsmanship was the fact that everything was hand made. The quality was always recognized as the best, and it had durability and reliability as part of the complete package. It was not until the business had been running for several years that tooling and machinery could be purchased to improve the process.
 
The Biesemeyer system proved to be a simple, yet groundbreaking addition to the woodworking field. It is a testament to what one man could achieve when he put his best, into everything he did.

Thank you, Mr. Biesemeyer!



Obituary from 2013.
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#9
  Re: Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer by Cian (All this recent talk...)
The key to that system was the mylar tape strip and the fine line on the low riding acrylic cursor.  The operator could confidently see where the fence was set.  Past fences relied on a coarse pointer way above some die stamped rule.  The fence was brutally heavy and withstood the test of time.  Replacing the cursors and tape strip from time to time was easy to do and well worth the investment.

I've installed a many of those fences from Alma School Road and always got praises for the upgrade.
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#10
  Re: RE: Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer by Bob Vaughan (The key to that syst...)
(02-28-2019, 01:29 AM)Bob Vaughan Wrote: The key to that system was the mylar tape strip and the fine line on the low riding acrylic cursor.  The operator could confidently see where the fence was set.  Past fences relied on a coarse pointer way above some die stamped rule.  The fence was brutally heavy and withstood the test of time.  Replacing the cursors and tape strip from time to time was easy to do and well worth the investment.

I've installed a many of those fences from Alma School Road and always got praises for the upgrade.

I'm interested in where I can get a new cursor and tape strip for the fence on my PM66 saw, it's time.
Im sure these are the same people that have said they got no problem eating cats and dogs but shreek like little girls at the sight of an octopus.jonzz 12/17/13
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#11
  Re: Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer by Cian (All this recent talk...)
(02-28-2019, 12:40 AM)Cian Wrote: All this recent talk about fence systems... Anyone else remember when Biesemeyer Manufacturing (creator of the T-square locking tablesaw fence) was a separate company before Delta acquired them?  That was slightly before my woodworking time, but the T-square fence design was one of my few top driving reasons to eventually upgrade to a full-size cabinet saw.  I must've left a drool mark or two at the Unisaw with the Biesemeyer fence system on display at the local Delta store (before Delta was sold and resold and eventually defunct - sigh).




Reproduced from Biesemeyer Fence - A Brief History

Circular saws were originally invented in the 16th or 17th century in Europe. The first patented table saw was a patent by Samuel Miller in Southampton, England. However a much more charming version of the origin of table saws, is found in America by a Shaker known as Tabitha Babbitt.
 
The story goes that Tabitha Babbit was watching a pair of men using a pit saw, a long single blade operated by two men which only cuts on the forward stroke. She noticed how inefficient this was, and an idea struck her as she used her spinning wheel. She took a tin disk and cut notches in it to make a circular blade, and mounted it onto the spindle of her spinning wheel. This basic design was powered by the foot pedal, and was eventually used in saw mills throughout America.
 
The original table saw fence was a simple design, fixed at one side and designed to be moved back and forth dependent on the width of the cut that was required. The problem was that you had to measure the top and bottom of the fence to ensure that it was square to the blade. This took considerable time and meant that jobs could not be done quickly and efficiently.
 
Bill Biesemeyer changed all that.
 
He had worked in cabinet makers workshops for 35 years and grew increasingly frustrated with the inaccuracy of the fences they used. During his spare time he started to design a new fence, based on a simple t-square, that would increase accuracy without the need to be constantly measuring.
 
In time he came up with a design consisting of only 2 moving parts. It consisted of a fence with a single locking point, with guide rails and a guide tube with a measuring tape pre-installed. This design is what came to be known as the Biesemeyer fence.
 
The initial acceptance of this was relatively slow, as many wood shops hung on to the old system of measuring, squaring up, measuring again, cutting and doing a final measurement to ensure accuracy. The idea of the Biesemeyer fence, setting the measurement one, locking the fence into position and cutting, took time to settle in their minds.
 
The real acceptance of the Biesemeyer fence system came in 1980 at 2 trade shows in Atlanta and Louisville. In a small booth Biesemeyer demonstrated the accuracy of his design, and over 500 orders were placed at each show. In addition many dealers were signed up to handle the product.
 
In 1983 the Biesemeyer design was awarded the Challenger award for his contribution to woodworking. This was against over 300 competitors worldwide and firmly cemented Biesemeyer as a household name in the woodworking trade.
 
Expansion continued in the next few years, and even as other manufacturers designed similar products, Biesemeyer continued to thrive. A big part of this was due to the great customer service, and attention to detail the the Biesemeyer brand valued so highly. For example if a customer’s saw could not take the basic table saw fence design, then a custom design was made to suit.
 
One of the major points of the craftsmanship was the fact that everything was hand made. The quality was always recognized as the best, and it had durability and reliability as part of the complete package. It was not until the business had been running for several years that tooling and machinery could be purchased to improve the process.
 
The Biesemeyer system proved to be a simple, yet groundbreaking addition to the woodworking field. It is a testament to what one man could achieve when he put his best, into everything he did.

Thank you, Mr. Biesemeyer!



Obituary from 2013.
............................
Yep...I got mine 23yrs ago.....no regrets.... Big Grin
I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be
issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the
traditions for generations of warriors past. [Cpl. Jeff Sornij, USMC;
in Navy Times, November 1994]


Jack Edgar, Sgt. USMC Korean War 51/52
Get off my lawn ! Upset





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#12
  Re: RE: Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer by splinter7612 ([quote='Bob Vaughan'...)
(02-28-2019, 07:34 AM)splinter7612 Wrote: I'm interested in where I can get a new cursor and tape strip for the fence on my PM66 saw, it's time.

If you're talking about the tape measure on the front guide bar, Rockler and Woodcraft carry them.  Even Lowes:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/delta-adhesive-...e/50157096

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#13
  Re: Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer by Cian (All this recent talk...)
I'm quite a fan of Mr. Biesemeyer, myself! Yes

I've actually got three of his fences now, although I really only use two on a regular basis.  And while this picture doesn't show it, I can set up both saws with their own fence for certain projects. Their rigidness and ease of use are simply amazing...




Dave
"One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyrany, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
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#14
  Re: RE: Raising a glass to Bill Biesemeyer by Big Dave (I'm quite a fan of M...)
Good grief that's a great looking shop, Dave.  Do you do any work in there?  I'd have the floor all scuffed up, with dirt ground in and finish spatters all over the place.  And I'm jealous of those windows and high ceiling.  Nice.  

John
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