MisterDrow

DIY Table Saw Fence?

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Has anyone had good luck making their own table saw fence? My old Craftsman 113.298051 table saw cuts nicely for a direct-drive saw but the fence leaves much to be desired. I don't currently have $300+ in the budget to buy a ShopFox or other fence and I'm wondering if if it is worth my time to just make one. I've seen a couple YouTube videos on the subject and it doesn't seem incredibly difficult but I'm still new to a lot of this.

If you have made your own fence and can offer tips in this regard, any help would be appreciated. If you have attempted to make your own fence and found it to be more trouble than it was worth, please share that info as well. I've got to weigh my options here.

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I didn't make a table saw fence, but I did make one for my router table, which served me well until I bought the Incra fence.

If I had to make that fence again, I would do it, because unless a miter slot is being used, the thing does not need to stay square to anything.

But a table saw fence I wouldn't even try, unless I had the skills and tools to make a solid fence out of metal that will lock square no matter what.

Are you planning to build it with wood?

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57 minutes ago, Immortan D said:

Are you planning to build it with wood?

Yeah, I've seen several made of plywood... the idea intrigued me. My current fence is light-years ahead of the one on my first table saw (a skil 3310) and I can still cut straight with it, I just have to be careful and make sure the fence is aligned properly as sometimes it can lock down with a slight angle if I'm not paying attention.

Maybe there's a way I can modify my current fence to make it be more dependable? Or maybe I'm just too locked into wishful thinking and should just save up for a couple months.

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5 minutes ago, MisterDrow said:

save up for a couple months

I vote for that! IMO A dependable fence is a top priority on a table saw. I don't think you can get that with plywood. I've seen people successfully making plywood faces for existing metal fences, but that's another story.

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I definitely understand the importance of a dependable fence. My first saw became something I hated to use because it was so hard to make sure things were aligned properly and I had SO MANY kickbacks. The saw became scary to use and I wondered how anyone was ever able to use it for anything more than very rough cuts.

Like I said, my current saw and it's fence are significant upgrades from my first saw but every so often i run into accuracy issues that would be alleviated by a better fence. I do not, however, have the same issue with kickbacks as my old saw and that makes me exceedingly happy. Some of that, I'm sure, is due to better technique and more experience but it's also nice to not have the fence come loose and shift 1/8" in the middle of a cut.

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I know exactly what you mean. The fence on my bandsaw needs constant supervision and tuning to remain true. And I rip stuff there a lot, so go figure... On the positive side, adjustments are easily done and will remain true for many cuts.

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If you have tools to cut, drill, and tap steel, a T-square fence shouldn't be difficult to build. Precision of build is important, of course. My biggest concern would be how to attach it to a bench-top, direct-drive saw.

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I made my own Table saw fence for my craftsman contractor saw. I made entirely it entirely out of wood. It locks down and stays where I put it.

I first started by finding the dimensions of a biesemeyer fence and went from there. I made a video showing an overview of it on my YouTube channel, Luther ToolWorks. Here is the link to the video.

I've been using it for a couple of years now.

I used a vertical bed post as the main fence and other scrap wood I had in the shop to make the rest. People who have watched my video have asked for plans and a build video. I have been working on a sketch up drawing of it but since I don't see myself making another one in the near future, a build video isn't going to happen.

I would point you to John Heisz. He has a website, www.ibuildit.ca as well as a YouTube channel. He built one very similar to mine and has plans with step by step instructions on how to make it.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a good quality plywood for constructing it.

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I was on this search a few years ago when I was in the market for a 113. machine.  I settled on this:

http://vsctools.com/shop/product-category/table-saw-fence/

There are a few good options here.  I downloaded the free PDF on how to make one with parts you can buy locally or through the website.  In the end though, you might find your fence being twice as nice as the saw itself.  This was why I opted to buy a used Ridged tablesaw that was both a nice saw and a nice fence.

My advice is sell the 113. and buy a used Ridgid.  If value is what you're looking for, unless you have some attachment to that saw. 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

If you have tools to cut, drill, and tap steel, a T-square fence shouldn't be difficult to build. Precision of build is important, of course. My biggest concern would be how to attach it to a bench-top, direct-drive saw.

Yeah, I don't have those tools but the place I work is a custom manufacturing shop that does, and I get everything at cost here. That being said, if the cost of making my own is up around $125-150, I honestly may as well just buy an aftermarket one. Even though it's a bench-top saw, many of the after-market fences fit it just fine so I'm not as worried about that. It doesn't have the same issue that other bench-top saws today have where the fence slide mechanism is a cast part of the table. This one is removable/replaceable. 

I can get the extruded aluminum via Amazon for around $30, which isn't what I expected... I figured it would cost a lot more. I've got a couple on my wishlist for Christmas so I should probably see what happens with that, first.

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I have seen several shop made t-square fences that look great.  I do not have the tools but, as you say, you have access to them (I also lack the metal working skills but, let's not go there). I just wanted to point out that you will want an extrusion that has been milled true (parallel and perpendicular faces) or right after finishing your fence, your next challenge will be alignment. 

Think of the posts you've seen here with folks adding or replacing faces on fences that are not true along their length.  Easily available, they just cost a little more.  A stock extrusion is "straight" the same way a sidewalk is "flat".

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No reason not to, especially if the budget is tight.  A friend built one similar to the one in Joshua's picture and it worked well.  I grew up using a saw that had a half assed fence that was held on with two c clamps and had to be squared each cut.  My dad turned out a lot of really nice work using that saw.  Truth be told it worked fine other than taking an extra minute to adjust and really wasn't all that much trouble, so something like Joshua's fence would be really nice in comparison.  A well built shop made fence can actually be done without any real compromise IMO.

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Fences and fence heads come on the market occasionally. Can you come up with $100? $100 should be able to get you this bies fence shipped to your door, and then you can follow the instructions from VSCT woodman and get angle iron and steel tubing to make the rails. 

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/tls/5887185933.html

 

Table saw fence is used too often with too much demand for accuracy. Making your own router table fence is completely different from making your own table saw fence. You need a proper TS fence. 

 

Edit:

 

I did some more homework for you. Here are some complete plug-n-play packages. More expensive to buy and ship, but you can bolt them on and be done. I really like that unifence for $100. that is an awesome deal.

http://bend.craigslist.org/tls/5848207776.html

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/tls/5883264935.html

https://mohave.craigslist.org/tls/5821988429.html

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Yeah, I keep watching craigslist here for one. There was one that popped up a while back... a Shop Fox one that had never been used for $120. By the time I called the guy I was third in line and missed out.

Maybe I'll contact that guy in Prineville and see if he's willing to ship to Meridian, ID. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, MisterDrow said:

Yeah, I keep watching craigslist here for one. There was one that popped up a while back... a Shop Fox one that had never been used for $120. By the time I called the guy I was third in line and missed out.

Maybe I'll contact that guy in Prineville and see if he's willing to ship to Meridian, ID. Thanks!

I contact people ALL the time and offer paypal and to cover shipping. Some people are old and tell you to buzz off because they arent getting scammed, but ive had plenty of stuff shipped. Shipped plenty of stuff via craigslist sales too. Make sure to pay the 3% or have them eat the 3% for buyer protection through paypal. That unifence is way better than the after market vega/mule/shopfox for $300. Just my opinion, but the unifence is a top design from what ive used. 

 

Have you thought about uship? I have a love hate relationship with it, but put out an auction and maybe is someone coming through the area and will deliver it for $25-50 while they drive a motorcycle/RV/something profitable. 

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