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Thread: Fritz & Franz jig vs parallel positioner?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Fritz & Franz jig vs parallel positioner?

    Or is this apples and oranges?

    I'm getting used to my new slider. I made a F&F jig and really like the versatility and ease of making small rips and crosscuts. I've been watching a lot of slider videos, primarily Steve from Extreme Woodworker and Sam Blasco, and I'm in the process of building a home made parallel positioner to see if I like it before I shell out a couple hundred bucks for an Incra LS positioner.

    Steve is a huge proponent of the F&F jig. He's lukewarm at best regarding the parallel positioner; in one video he mentions it in passing and says he rarely or never uses it. In another video featuring the parallel fence for ripping, his presentation in the video seems to suggest he would rather not even be discussing the parallel positioner, let alone doing a video on it....or maybe he just had bad indigestion that day.

    On the other hand, Sam doesn't ever mention the F&F jig, doesn't seem to use one, and uses the parallel positioner quite a bit. For small and medium crosscuts he uses a short crosscut fence with an Incra 3000 head grafted onto the factory quadrant and multiple length stop setups.

    It seems to me that the F&F jig is great at small to medium crosscuts and quick single cuts, small to medium rips, and multiple rips and crosscuts when used with the stop blocks. It also doesn't take up much room, and comes on and off the saw easily.

    The parallel positioner seems to be more suited to rip cuts in medium to larger stock, and doesn't appear to have much if any utility for crosscuts. It has to be mounted and unmounted on the side track on the wagon, and stored somewhere when not in use. It also seems that I could more or less duplicate the functions of the parallel positioner by using both the short and long crosscut fences and their respective flip stocks to hold the stock once the stock had been crosscut to length, although the parallel fence would have more flexibility in terms of random lengths of stock.

    There does seem to be some overlap in their functions, but is it worth the trouble (and expense) to build a high tech parallel fence setup given there are so many other ways to rip on a slider?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    I use the F&F jig for small pieces of wood and some ripping of smaller (probably up to 2 feet length). Just now, I was cutting 1.5 x 1.5 square stock from scrap to make holders for marking gauges using the F&F jig. Larger and repetitive ripping is done with either a homemade parallel rip fence or the Felder OEM rip fence with hold down clamps or use the saw's main rip fence just like a cabinet saw. I find the parallel rip fence is very useful for ripping and sizing sheet goods for cabinet sides. I made one from left over plywood and one piece of hardwood for the fence itself. All I need it to do is to be a reference point, x distance from the blade. The more fancy version allows for easier adjustment of the rip width without having to take another measure each time the rip width changes (Sam's, Lambs tools works's, etc). I tried using the short cross cut fence, but found it annoying when stocks have different lengths.

  3. #3
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    I had a "slapped together" parallel positioning thingie that I use for parallel ripping in conjunction with my short miter fence and stops prior to making my F&F jig. I now use the F&F for any of this kind of parallel ripping tasks, both for small and thin things as well as for parallel ripping boards up to the capacity I can fit between the two ends of the F&F jig on my slider's wagon.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Crozet, VA
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    Everybody works differently and has their own preferences and such. Personally, I feel both are useful. F&F is great for quick rips in short/med stock of moderate width. I prefer the parallel jig when either (a) the stock gets longer than about 4’ or (b) the width of the rip is more than a foot, or (c) I’m making a lot of repetitive rips. I have the Felder parallel rip fence which comes on and off pretty quickly. I don’t have any experience with the more elaborate Incra-style systems so those might be more involved to set-up and take-off.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  5. #5
    what is this parallel positioner?

  6. #6
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  7. #7
    Get a couple of parallel fences and you will never look back. Lamb tool works fence is awesome.

    The fritz and Franz is good for small pieces, but for ripping lengths the parallel fence is vastly superior.

  8. #8
    Mike...why two parallel fences. Steve Rowe in his video only uses one parallel fence.
    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Upland CA
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    Not trying to be sarcastic here, but why not use the rip fence on the saw? I can see getting the first straight edge on a board using the parallel fences, but once you are done with that, what is wrong with just using the rip fence, and pushing the work through with the slider?

    I like to get the sides parallel, and cut ends square separately. Anything under 16" wide I do ends on my RAS which is dead on 90 degrees, and quick & repeatable using stops.

    It works for me, but then, I am not trying to get accuracy by the thousands of an inch either.

    Honest question...not trying to be difficult.
    Last edited by Rick Potter; 08-26-2019 at 12:05 PM.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  10. #10
    One vs. two is probably our most asked question. Two main reasons, the use of one with the cross cut fence stop means you will have your stops roughly 20" or more apart. For shorter pieces you will have to resort to a piece of wood to act like a bridge. With two, you can set them as far apart or close together as your work dictates.

    Second reason, and what I find I do the most, is I have a width set on the parallel fences and then have my cross cut stops set to trim the panels to length after the width has been done. this way you can works through the width and length cuts with one handling of the piece up on the slider, and have multiple length stops if required.

    I hope that helps.
    Brian Lamb
    Lamb Tool Works, Custom tools for woodworkers
    Equipment: Felder KF700 and AD741, Milltronics CNC Mill, Universal Laser X-600

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post
    Not trying to be sarcastic here, but why not use the rip fence on the saw? I can see getting the first straight edge on a board using the parallel fences, but once you are done with that, what is wrong with just using the rip fence, and pushing the work through with the slider?

    I like to get the sides parallel, and cut ends square separately. Anything under 16" wide I do ends on my RAS which is dead on 90 degrees, and quick & repeatable using stops.

    It works for me, but then, I am not trying to get accuracy by the thousands of an inch either.

    Honest question...not trying to be difficult.
    Why not just have a cabinet saw then? Using a slider involves learning different methods of work. Once you learn and use those methods of work, you will either see the benefit or revert to your old ways. In which case, you might as well sell the slider.

    IMHO, the slider is a vastly superior and safer tool than the cabinet saw. I would never go back.

    Mike

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David Davies View Post
    Mike...why two parallel fences. Steve Rowe in his video only uses one parallel fence.
    Dave
    Brian answered it better than I could, but I'd just add that perhaps one reason Steve Rowe doesn't use parallel fences is because he only has one. Another great use for two parallel fences is as a taper device.

    Mike

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post
    Not trying to be sarcastic here, but why not use the rip fence on the saw?
    Honest question...not trying to be difficult.
    Quite simply because for any slider larger than a short stroke, you cannot stand in the position that you would want to be to rip boards along the fence like you would with a cabinet saw. The support structure for the wagon gets in your way. The secondary reason is that doing both sides on the slider wagon creates an edge that's nearly pristine with no minor deviations like you will get when your hands are used to push a board along a fence. I pretty much never edge joint anything at this point...I flatten and thickness first and then rip using the slider wagon. As was already noted...it's just a different technique.

    Editing my post to add a photo to illustrate what I describe about the physical nature of the tool...if you look carefully, you can see that the body of the saw under the slider wagon extends about a foot and a half back from the fence rail location so you cannot stand where one would stand when ripping with a cabinet saw...it's physically impossible. And mine is only an 8'6" slider. Many folks have 10' sliders which extend back farther. I've gotten used to "new ways" pretty well since I bought this tool And I don't work with sheet stock all that much, honestly. I process a lot of solid stock.

    Last edited by Jim Becker; 08-26-2019 at 7:25 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Great answer Jim. My slider is a short stroke, and I was not considering the longer sliders blocking easy use of the rip fence.

    Mike...I did go back to the dark side once, a few years back, when I sold my KF 700. Later, I decided to give sliders another try and I have had a Griz 623 slider for a couple years now, and have been trying to use it for more procedures than when I had the original slider back in 2000.

    A week ago I bought a used MM C130 combo machine, mostly for the jointer/planer and mortiser. The slider was an extra bonus so I guess I need to sell the Griz now. As mentioned above, I have been trying hard to use the slider for more things for the last two years.

    Don't tell anyone, but I still have the cab saw.

    Just a struggling hobbyist/tool junkie here.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post
    Not trying to be sarcastic here, but why not use the rip fence on the saw? I can see getting the first straight edge on a board using the parallel fences, but once you are done with that, what is wrong with just using the rip fence, and pushing the work through with the slider?

    I like to get the sides parallel, and cut ends square separately. Anything under 16" wide I do ends on my RAS which is dead on 90 degrees, and quick & repeatable using stops.

    It works for me, but then, I am not trying to get accuracy by the thousands of an inch either.

    Honest question...not trying to be difficult.
    Once you get into some real woodworking, and your trying to get a glue ready edge on a 10'x18" slab of 10/4 white oak, you realize how helpful the sliding carriage is.

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