Bandsaw Fence Palmer AK
Big Lake, AK
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm
Our fence shines where commercial models fall short.
by Richard Tendick
Every bandsaw deserves a good fence. After all, a bandsaw is capable of doing much more than cutting curves. With a well-designed fence, you can accurately resaw boards into thinner pieces, rip warped rough lumber without worrying about kickback and precisely cut tenons, half-lap joints and even dovetail joints.
Commercially made bandsaw fences for 14-in. saws are quite good, but many miss the boat on one crucial feature: You can’t easily adjust for blade drift (see “Setup for Accurate, Straight Cuts,” below). Without that adjustment, it’s very difficult to make a long, straight cut with a guaranteed square edge.
My fence is a cinch to adjust for drift. This doesn’t make it more complicated to build, however. I’ve used standard hardware (about $25), plus some Baltic birch plywood. I’ve also designed three optional attachments that add even more versatility (see “3 More Fence Configurations,” below).
3 More Fence Configurations
If you’ve only got one or two boards to resaw and accuracy isn’t critical, add the round-nose attachment. It clamps right on to the standard fence. Position the nose directly opposite the front of the blade, draw a line down the board and saw away. Stay on the line by pivoting the board on the nose as needed (Fig. B, below).
A tall fence helps you make a truly vertical cut on a wide board or any board with a roughsawn bottom edge. Tip: Use a featherboard whenever you’re resawing. Then you only have to push in one direction: forward (Fig. C, below).
We all know a bandsaw’s blade guard should be set close to the workpiece. But that’s not possible when you rip narrow pieces because most fences get in the way. Adding this low subfence makes narrow cuts a lot safer (Fig. D, below).
Saw the Clamp Block
1. Mill the clamp block (A, Fig. A, below) to final thickness and width, but leave it 12 in. long. Drill holes for three threaded inserts (Fig. E, below).
2. Make the clamp’s dovetail slot in three steps (Fig. B). Tilt the tablesaw blade to 10 degrees and make Cut 1. Install a 5/8-in. dado blade for Cut 2. Remove the remaining waste with a chisel. Trim the dovetail to length with Cut 3. Cut the clamp block to final length. Save the long offcut for later use.
3. Predrill and install four screws to strengthen the dovetail. Without the screws, the fence could break if you overtighten the clamp.
4. Install the threaded inserts flush to the surface.
Make the Rails
5. Mill the front and back rails (B and C) to final dimensions. Tilt the saw blade to 10 degrees and cut the dovetail angle on the front rail (Fig. F, Cut 1, below). Return the blade to 90 degrees to cut the remaining section of the dovetail (Fig. F, Cut 2).