A table saw is composed of various parts to provide you with a safe and accurate woodworking experience. One of these parts is a rip fence. The purpose of a rip fence is to hold the piece from one side when you are making rip cuts. It provides stability and support to the work piece and lets you focus on the other side of the blade so that your fingers don’t fall prey to the blade.
Working on a table saw will be riskier without a rip fence, and your rip cuts will be misaligned. You may need to remove the rip fence for various applications, but you will be using other jigs to hold the work pieces. All the table saws come with a factory-installed rip fence. However, some people make a table saw rip fence, or you might need to alter the rip fence for some specific tasks.
This article will discuss how you can make a DIY rip fence for your table saw. We have kept the process simple so that even beginner woodworkers and hobbyists can make a rip fence for their table saws.
How to Make a Rip Fence for a Table Saw
Making a rip fence for your table saw is not very difficult but complex. Beginners, homeowners and DIYers can have some problems during the process. You always have the option of buying an aftermarket rip fence system to increase your tool’s ripping capacity and make it more versatile.
With the right equipment, tools, and knowledge, you can make a rip fence for your table saw in 2-3 hours. We will walk you through the entire process and outline the tools you will need for the project. Please go through all the directions before you start the project and arrange all the tools/supplies beforehand.
- Wooden board (Width: 2-inches, length: according to the size of the table)
- Plywood (Width: 1-inch, length: equal to wooden board)
- Aluminum profile
- Power drill
- Wood screws (15 millimeters for aluminum profile)
- T-nuts: 2
- Carriage bolts (1.5 inches: 2, 3-inch: 1)
- Wood chisel
- Measuring tape
- Measuring scales (L-shaped and straight)
- Clamps: 2
- Wood glue
- Carbide blade
- Safety Gear (eyeglasses, face mask, hearing protection)
Time Needed: 2-3 hours
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Readying the Aluminum Profile: Ensure you take appropriate safety precautions during the project and don’t let kids wander around the work area. It is best to work in a well-illuminated workspace as this project focuses on tiny details for a faultless execution.
Now get down to work. The first step is to prepare the aluminum profile as a slider. The aluminum profile will act as a rail for sliding the rip fence. The length of the profile will be equal to the table’s side where the fence will go. You will need to make two passes in the aluminum profile so that you have a 9-millimeter groove in the middle of the rail. You will need a carbide blade for making a groove in the aluminum rail with the table saw.
Once you are done with the groove, drill holes in the aluminum profile. You can use your drill with an aluminum drilling bit for making holes without any worries. If you have a wise, it will be great for holding the aluminum rail. The recommended distance for drilling the holes is two inches apart. A standard-sized table will need 5-6 holes in the aluminum profile. After drilling the holes, clamp the rail on the table and make sure that they are at the same height. Now extend the holes in the table as well. Remove the aluminum profile and then drill the holes further to secure the profile in the wood. Clamp the profile back and use your power drill to secure it with 15-millimeter wood screws.
Preparing the Slider: The next step is to prepare the slider. It is the part that will slide the rip fence in the rail, and then you can lock it down at the required point. To prepare the slider, you will need two wood pieces measuring 1 x 1 x 6 inches.
Keep one piece on the rail and mark its center for making a groove. Draw a straight line across the length of the piece and drill three equally apart holes. You will need to drill the holes all the way through on this piece. Place this piece over the other one and mark three holes on this piece right over the holes on the already drilled piece. You can use your drill to make guide holes in the second piece.
Now remove the other piece and drill the center hole all the way through and side holes halfway through the wood. Place this piece at the side and grab the first piece and place T-nut holders on the side holes and hammer them slightly, so they settle down a bit. You will now need to remove 3-millimeter wood for adjusting the head of T-nuts in the piece. Secure the nuts with your hand and check by joining both pieces together to confirm that they are closing without any gaps.
Take the pieces apart and remove the nut heads. Glue both pieces and clamp them to let the glue dry. Now you will have one block of wood (two pieces glued together). You will need to secure the piece together by drilling in a 15-millimeter wood screw in the box. The purpose of sizing the T-nuts in the wood boxes was to use them as a slide and lock mechanism along the rail.
This step involves a couple of tasks on the aluminum rail as well. Grab your carriage bolts. You will need to grind the carriage bolt heads a bit to give them a square-like shape. The two 1.5 inch bolts will go in the side holes of the box, and the 3-inch carriage bolt will go in the center hole. The tail of the large bolt will act as an attachment point for the fence lock, and the heads of the small carriage bolts will fix in the opening of the aluminum profile.
Do you ever think about what wonders you can do with the right guidance and tools?
Preparing the Fence: Glue the wooden board for a fence with the plywood sheet and hold it down with clamps. Once the glue dries, use screws to secure it further. The purpose of attaching the plywood sheet is to get maximum stability and control while working the fence. The appropriate distance for fixing the screws is 2-inches apart, and use 15-millimeter wood screws for best results.
Finalizing the Fence: Place the fence on the table and use the L-shaped square to confirm that it is perpendicular to the blade. The success of the whole process depends on achieving a perfect square here, so take your time and double-check everything. Attach the fence lock to the edge of the bolt on the slider. Use four 25 millimeter screws to attach the fence to the slider top. Use a straight scale to confirm that the rip fence is parallel against the blade. Turn on your saw and test run the fence with a piece of scrap wood. Don’t forget to check the locking mechanism. Check the cut piece alignment with a square. If the trimmed sides are all right, you are on your way to nirvana.
Remove the 4 screws, glue the fence to the slider top and clamp it down. Let the glue dry, and then screw it back.
Final Test Run: It is now time to test run the system. Remove all the scrap wood and wear safety gear for working with a table saw. Test the fence by cutting some wood on different measurements.
Limitations of a DIY Rip Fence
- A DIY fence doesn’t have a luxury of a factory-installed measurement guide. You will have to install a measuring tape on the table or use a separate.
- A DIY rip fence is a basic version of the company-fitted rip fence. It will not provide all the features that are present in a rip fence. You can go for an aftermarket rip fence system. It is easy to use and can enhance your tool’s ripping capacity.