Make wide cuts in a small shop.
By Roy Smith
There’s not enough room in my garage shop for a tablesaw with a 52-in.-capacity rip fence. But no worries—I don’t need one! To make wide cuts, I simply install a shop-made extension that bridges my saw to the wall—and doubles its 30-in. rip capacity!
I made my extension by framing a piece of 3/4-in. mdf with rails on three sides. I covered the top of the extension—and the face of its fence—with plastic laminate.
I attached U-shaped mounting brackets to the wall and the saw. The extension simply drops in place (see Fig. A, below, and top photo, right). I had to drill holes through the saw wing to mount the saw bracket. A cleat on the bottom of the extension wing hooks into the saw bracket. The wall brackets’s wide “U” makes it a bit easier to jockey the tablesaw into position, because it allows a little wiggle room.
I routed grooves in the extension to recess the T-track and the adhesive-backed rules. To calibrate the rules, I set the extension’s fence parallel to the blade and made a test cut. The width of the test piece now indicated the fence’s distance from the blade, so I used its measurement to install the rules (middle photo, right). An L-shaped storage cleat mounted on the extension’s bottom allows storing the extension wing vertically (bottom photo, right).
The extension installs easily. Its front and back rails capture the saw bracket to minimize movement.
Use both rules to set the fence. The rules are calibrated so the fence is parallel to the blade when both measurements match.
The extension table stores on the wall. This flexibility frees shop space that would have been occupied by my saw if it had a super-wide-capacity rip fence.
Note: Product availability and prices are subject to change.
Rockler, rockler.com, 800-279-4441, 36033 Aluminum T-Track, 3/8” x 3/4” x 36”; 33965 1” T-Slot Bolt; 71514 2” T-Knob; 69116 Left-to-Right Self Adhesive Rule, 6’.
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker September 2007, issue #130.