Articles - Fence Extension
09/29/2003
I do a lot of 4'x8' plywood sheet cutting. The typical process is to rip the large, unwieldy sheet down the middle to make two 2'x8' sheets which are easier to handle by one person. Then the next step is to cut those sheets into the strips or boards I need for the project. The problem with this and other rip cuts is that you need to line the 8-foot edge up with about 10 inches of table saw fence before the wood touches the blade. Once you start cutting there really isn't any more adjusting possible. The odds of getting that right while man-handling this beast are pretty small. The solution was to make the fence longer.I do a lot of 4'x8' plywood sheet cutting. The typical process is to rip the large, unwieldy sheet down the middle to make two 2'x8' sheets which are easier to handle by one person. Then the next step is to cut those sheets into the strips or boards I need for the project. The problem with this and other rip cuts is that you need to line the 8-foot edge up with about 10 inches of table saw fence before the wood touches the blade. Once you start cutting there really isn't any more adjusting possible. The odds of getting that right while man-handling this beast are pretty small. The solution was to make the fence longer. A top-view of the fence extension is shown in the next diagram. The grey rectangle represents the table saw's fence. The fence extension was made from left-over 3/4" thick Oak plywood. One board is 8 feet long and the other two are 3 feet long. The three pieces make up an I-frame (as can be seen in the diagram's inset).
Fence Extension
Construction was relatively trivial, with the boards attached to each other with wood glue and screws. The hard part was to accurately measure the width of the table saw's fence, and then cut the center board of the fence extension to the appropriate width.
Fence Extension
The fence extension also needs to be able to be installed quickly and put away with taking up the minimum amount of floor space. As can be seen in the photos, I used clamps to attach a temporary piece of left-over plywood to make sure the fence extension is perfectly in line with the table saw's fence. Two clamps are used in the front to clamp it to the fence guide. Two clamps are used in the back (as can be seen in the next photo) to provide the counter balance.
Fence Extension