Installing a Table Saw Fence – Fix a Cracked Board Yourself

The use of a table saw fences is becoming more common with woodworking machines as more techniques can be executed from a standing position. Ripsaws, cross cutters, band saws, table saws and jigsaws are some of the most popular woodworking machines in the market today. However, one thing that all these machines have in common is that they can only do certain tasks well if they have an effective fence around them. If you want your table saw to perform to its fullest potential, you need to know how to keep it away from injury.

How do you maintain table saw fences? A saw fence helps to greatly enhance your efficiency as it locks in the workpiece in position for proper straight cuts. It also lets you dictate the size of the cut that you’re making. For the best use of your table saw, increase your versatility and enhance your cutting capabilities at the table by making an additional fence.

One of the major causes of kickback is the angle of the saw’s teeth. When the teeth are angled down too much, the angle is not deep enough to effectively cut through a thick piece of wood or thick gauge of stock. With kickback, the material simply bounces back into the throat of the machine, usually causing severe damage. You can prevent this from happening to you by setting the fence angle to about 45 degrees. This will help prevent the blade from penetrating far into the material and will keep the blade from hitting you in the face.

Another common cause of kickback is plywood being cut too close to the edge. The plywood often separates from the wood as it passes over the sharp edge, creating a “chink” in the material. If this happens to your table saw fence, this is easy to repair. There are two ways to fix this: either chip out the chipped area and re-line the piece with new plywood or you can shave off the excess plywood and reposition the fence so it is now properly lined up.

A third cause of kickback is when a piece of plywood is cut too flat. When the edges of the piece of wood are not perfectly straight to each other and lie closer together than they should be, it causes a “hook” in the material. The “hook” is a weak point in the material and when it is struck by the table saw blade, the edge of the blade will penetrate the edge of the plywood, which causes the material to vibrate. The vibration causes the crooked board to fly away from the user as the angle of the blade cuts the wood.

To repair the crooked board, you’ll need to take your new straight edge, which you used for the previous DIY attempt, and run a bead of silicone caulk around the outside edge of the piece of plywood, then insert a long, narrow, straightedge between the two pieces of plywood, starting on one edge. You should be able to see where the long edge goes. Run the screws through the bead of silicone and into the straight edge. Tighten these screws down, keeping them nearly in-tact so the screw doesn’t come out and become lost.

Now you’re ready to install your own straight edge! Install your cutting blade into the saw’s “throat”, or teeth, by sliding it into the slot between the teeth. Make sure your blade is lined up before proceeding, or you’ll have a lot of extra ends floating around. Start with one end of the blade, and slowly but surely slide the other end of the blade into the same slot. Your newly-installed straight edge is ready for use! Here’s a written tutorial that comes in very helpful, as well as a photo tutorial:

This DIY project is so easy that you can even do it yourself on your day off. If you haven’t tried to cut your own wood with a table saw fence before, you will be surprised at how easy this project is. There is no special skill needed to fix this project, just common sense and a bit of patience. And you can get great results! The crooked board is gone, the fence is perfectly straight and you can see that your new straight edge does a great job at its job.

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