How to Make a Table Saw Fence

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Every table saw needs to have a fence. The fact of the matter is that not every saw comes with a fence and sometimes you just might not like the fence that comes with your saw and feel the need to do something a little different than what is provided.

You can make your own table saw fence and rest assured that the fence will be what you want and will be accurate if you make it correctly as well.

Check out these simple processes to help you make your own fence.

Prep Work

Before you get started, you might need to do just a little bit of prep work. Obviously, you need to have your wood available to work with. You will have several different pieces to create but you can probably make them all from the same piece of wood.

Most of us recommend using plywood that is 1/2 inch thick.

You also need to measure your saw so you know just how long the fence needs to be. While you can follow a standard pattern, you still need to know the sizes to make it fit your saw. Some people even choose to make a fence that is longer than the saw so that is an option as well.

Do a quick search to find a pattern or diagram so you know exactly what pieces to cut to create the real deal.

Cut All Pieces

table saw crosscut sled made of plywood
Image by Mitch Barrie on wikimedia

If you have a pattern or diagram to work with, it just makes it easier to know all of the different pieces. Piecing together the fence is going to be simple but there are multiple cuts that you need to make of varying sizes.

It’s a lot easier to create your fence without confusion or running back and forth if you do as many steps at once as possible. We recommend cutting all of your pieces at one time before you get started.

If you do this, you can methodically work through each cut. Your cuts will include the fence rail pieces, as well as the parts to create the fence and piece it together, as well as attach it. Refer to your pattern to know exactly what to cut.

You’re probably going to end up with somewhere around 20 cuts in total. Measure each one out and make the cut. Remember that you should be able to use the same plywood for each cut instead of wasting or needing a ton of different wood.

Drill All Holes

carpenter drilling a hole in the plywood
Image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer via Flickr

The next step is to get all of your holes drilled and ready for piecing the fence and rails together. Again, you should refer to your diagram to know exactly where to place holes and counter sinks.

Once you mark where the holes need to be, drill pilot holes in the wood so screwing the parts together later is easier. Go ahead and also create the counter sinks to have those spaces prepared.

If you do the pre-drilling here, you will just be able to drill for connecting the screws and pieces together when you start piecing the fence details and parts later in the process. If you have a drill press, this can be accomplished very quickly with a simple jig.

However, if you don’t have a drill press or don’t want to mess with it, you can create the counter sink and the target holes easily enough with your drill as well. Doing this little bit of pre-drilling will help to ensure your screws all end up where they are supposed to be in the end.

Fence Rail Assembly

You’re ready to start piecing things together. Start by assembling the fence rail first. You should have clamps, wood glue, screws, and your drill or screwdriver on hand for this part.

Assembling the fence rail is probably one of the easiest parts of the assembly. All of the pieces line up together. You just need to make it strong so you’ve got to use plenty of glue and screws to secure the pieces.

The fence rail will include the rail itself as well as the mounting piece. You can create your own temporary spacers to help maintain your gaps for the angle and the fence rail combination. The rail itself here won’t be glued. You simply screw it on in case further adjustments are needed.

You will want to double check that you have a 90-degree angle and that your parts are lined up straight as well. Try clamping it down against a straight surface to help with this part.

Fence Assembly

woman woodworker is using a table saw with fence assewmbly
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Now, you can assemble the fence itself. This will be a little bit more involved because you have multiple pieces to put together. You will do this in parts so again be sure to refer to your pattern.

First the tee. You need to screw and glue the tee together and then clamp it and allow it to dry.

Next, you will attach the larger pieces of the fence to the tee. Be sure to square it up and again use plenty of glue and screws to piece it together. Attach the rub plate and then test to be sure your rail can fit in the gap.

From here you will need to work through the details of the pointer and the cam handle. Both of these will be more challenging because they will be very specific to what you are making. Take it slow to get them right. Find a solid guide to walk you through each step, particularly for the cam handle.

Once you get past that, you can attach wear sides to your fence.

Finally, get that fence attached to your saw so you can put it to use! Make sure it is square and secure and make any adjustments as needed to get it so. You can add any type of design or paint to your fence as well if you don’t want plain wood.

Wrapping Up

While some parts of the process can be a little bit complicated, you can put a fence together for your table saw within a few hours. The most challenging part is just making sure everything lines up properly and getting the cam to work the way you want it to.

With the appropriate pattern and these simple steps, you should be able to create a very nice fence! 

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