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DIY cross-cut fence for table saw

Updated on January 29, 2010

Pictures of the cross-cut fence

The fence is five inches of MDF, about three feet long.
The fence is five inches of MDF, about three feet long.
Perpendicular?  Bingo!
Perpendicular? Bingo!
Using an outfeed support and a 2'x3' sheet of MDF makes a surprisingly stable support that's easy to bring flush with the table.
Using an outfeed support and a 2'x3' sheet of MDF makes a surprisingly stable support that's easy to bring flush with the table.
This outfeed support even has a wiggly top, but still supports the MDF sheet well.  Nevertheless, a fixed table is in the cards.
This outfeed support even has a wiggly top, but still supports the MDF sheet well. Nevertheless, a fixed table is in the cards.
My original fence was the piddly padouk board you see glued to the MDF.  I planed it to make up for the ever-so-slight inaccuracy of Delta's stock mitre gauge.
My original fence was the piddly padouk board you see glued to the MDF. I planed it to make up for the ever-so-slight inaccuracy of Delta's stock mitre gauge.
The padouk is screwed to the gauge and held with two machine bolts, so the fence is removable.  But MDF and padouk are joined forever with wood glue.
The padouk is screwed to the gauge and held with two machine bolts, so the fence is removable. But MDF and padouk are joined forever with wood glue.

Cross cuts on the table saw? Make a fence!

I wanted to make cross-cuts on my table saw, as well as a bunch of dadoes.  I pulled out the stock mitre gauge that came with my Delta, and slid it into the track.  After a few test cuts, I noticed they weren't coming out square.  Also, I couldn't hold my work steady enough.  Every once in a while, the work would slip -  sometimes just a little - and my cross-cut would be curved. 

So I built a fence out of a scrap piece of padouk.  It was about 18 inches long, and four inches high.  What a mistake!  Even though I joined and planed the padouk before mounting it, by the time I'd fixed it to the mitre gauge (with machine bolts and nuts) and worked with it for a few days, it had warped again. 

Plus, I still couldn't get my work from sliding off the fence every once in a while. 

There was another problem: the mitre gauge that came with my Delta isn't really 90 degrees at the 90 degree stop, and is not adjustable.

So I crafted a real solution:  A big fence of 3/4" MDF, six inches high and three feet long.  To get rid of the angle problem, I planed the original padouk fence again, but this time on a bias to make up for the error in the mitre gauge.  Then I mounted the padouk and glued the MDF to it, sealing the heads of the bolts in glue between the two boards, and the whole assembly removable from the gauge via the two machine nuts on the back.

Adding side support

With such a long fence, I was now able to cut long boards.  But my fence hung over the edge of the table, applying rotational force to the mitre gauge.  That couldn't be good.

With every intention to build a side table to support my work and my fence, I wanted support immediately, so I grabbed a cheap adjustable feed support and the other half of my 4x8 MDF sheet.  Amazingly this setup worked pretty well.  It was easy to set to the table height, and it's pretty dang stable.

Now that's a fast fence and support workaround!

:)

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