Introduction: Auxiliary Aluminum T-track Fence for Your Table Saw for Under $50
This Instructable shows how to make an inexpensive auxiliary rip fence for your table saw. My primary purpose in building this fence was to add an aluminum t-track fence to the original equipment rip fence. The auxiliary fence can then be used to connect various clamping devices, jigs, or sacrificial fences to either side of the rip fence for various projects that I want to make.
My original desire for this type of fence began when I came across the Very Super Cool tools website, but these types of fences are quite expensive and require a Beisemeyer style table saw (which I don't have).
Then I came across Bob Van Dyke's video for Multi-Use Tablesaw Rip Fence (Fine Woodworking #231), and I thought that I might be able to modify his design for my purposes.
I then found out that Rockler has a 36" length of multi-track aluminum available for $25, and that's when I decided to try to build this auxiliary fence for my portable 10" Delta table saw.
One of the really nice features about this auxiliary fence is that you can disassemble it to make modifications (e.g., add more mounting holes, etc.). The original design was glued together making disassembly impossible.
Step 1: Materials & Equipment
To build this fence, you will need the following:
1) Sturdy 3/4" plywood or hardwood (I used some oak plywood)
2) Rockler 2-1/4" Multi Track, 36 inch (Item # 35605) - $25
3) 2 Toggle clamps - $16 (I used 20301 Horizontal Quick-Release Toggle Clamp on Amazon)
4) Misc. pronged T-nuts & screws (I used 1/4-20 & 10-32)
5) 5/16-18 coupling nuts to extend clamping depth
6) 1-1/4" Kreg screws for securing 3/4" plywood pieces
1) Table saw
2) Kreg pocket screw jig
3) Drill press or drill
Step 2: Measure, Cut, & Glue Top Pieces
Measure your existing table saw fence and width (mine is 27" long by 2" wide).
Then cut two pieces of high quality plywood or hardwood to the length of your fence. Make the width to be your fence width plus 1/4" (the excess will be trimmed down later).
Check to see that both pieces are the same size and the apply wood glue liberally and glue the two pieces together and clamp them and squeeze the glue out. Wipe as much of the excess glue off as you can.
Let the glued pieces dry overnight.
After the glue has dried, scrape any excess glue off from each side (a sharp chisel or knife is handy for this).
Then run each side of the glued assembly through your table saw and take just a little bit (1/32" or so) off of each side to clean up the glued edges.
Note: If you want to use this auxiliary fence on more than one fence, be sure to measure the dimensions of all of your fences and choose the dimensions of your largest fence as your reference dimensions.
Step 3: Make Right Side
I chose to make the right side so that when the top piece was attached the top would be flush with it and the bottom of the top piece would clear the fence by about 1/8". Since my table saw fence is 2" tall, this meant that I cut the right side fence to be 2" + 1-1/2" + 1/8" tall = 2-5/8" tall x 27" long.
I decided to round the outside edges some, so I used a 1/4" round bit and my table saw extension router table (see separate instructable) to round the edges. Of course, you don't need to round the edges if you don't want to.
There is no need to add any holes (for the toggle clamps) at this time as they will be added in a later step.
Step 4: Attach Top to Right Side
Use a Kreg pocket screw jig and drill 5 or 6 pocket holes across the top and bottom of the RIGHT side of the top piece. Do NOT drill the left side pocket holes at this time (the left side will be trimmed in a later step and the pocket screws may then be too long).
Very carefully align the top piece so that it is flush with the top edge of the right side, and then secure the top piece to the right side with pocket screws (you don't need to put all of them in yet - just enough to hold it securely).
Step 5: Make Left Side
Make the left side of the fence.
I made mine 1-1/4" taller (4-7/8" tall) than the right side (to allow room for adding some T-nuts at the top).
Round the edges, if desired.
Do not drill any holes at this time.
Step 6: Fit Check, Measure and Trim Top As Needed
Now take your top/right side and hold it firmly against the right side of the fence.
Temporarily hold the left side against the overhanging portion of the top.
Carefully check to see how much overhang there is on the left side, and how much you need to remove to give about 1/8" clearance.
Disassemble the top from the right side, and trim the LEFT side of the top piece as required.
Repeat until you have the desired 1/8" clearance.
Note: I don't have access to Bob Van Dyke's instructions so I don't know how much clearance he specified in his plans. 1/8" clearance seems to work for me, but you can adjust it to your needs as required.
Step 7: Drill Pocket Screw Holes for Left Side & Attach
Once you have the top at the desired width, then drill pocket screw holes across the top and bottom of the left side. Place a pencil mark for the location of each of the bottom pocket screw hole locations along the top of the left side of the top piece (this will be needed as a reference below).
Temporarily attach the left side to the top piece using Kreg screws.
Then place the auxiliary fence on your fence to ensure proper fit up.
If all fits as expected, proceed to drill access holes on the right side piece to allow you to install the Kreg screws for the left bottom of the top piece. I found that I had to drill about 1/4" below the bottom of the top piece (approx. 1-3/4" from the edge) and then angle my drill bit in the direction of the pocket screw holes. The goal is to allow free access of the Kreg driver bit through the right side to screw in the pocket screw on the bottom of the left side.
Temporarily attach a couple of pocket screws to the bottom left side.
Step 8: Locate Clamps, Drill Holes & Attach Clamps
With the auxiliary fence positioned on your fence, locate where you want to position the toggle clamps.
I located my clamps approx. 1" above the bottom and a few inches in from each side.
Mark the locations and drill holes.
I used a 1/4" drill bit for the mounting bolts for the toggle clamp and a 1" hole saw to cut the hole for the rubber clamp. You will need to expand the 1" hole some to allow clearance for the clamp to move up and down. You will also need to countersink the 1/4" mounting holes on the back side of the right side to make sure that the bolts do not touch the fence.
You will also need to add some length to the clamping screws so that they can reach through the 3/4" plywood to the fence. I used 5/8-18 couplers from Lowes to do this.
Step 9: Locate & Attach 1/4"-20 T-nuts for Left Side
At this point you will want to locate and attach the 1/4-20 T-nuts for the left side.
I used three across the top and two across the bottom.
These mounting holes will be used to mount sacrificial fences, etc. to the left side. These mounting holes are NOT for the aluminum track.
I used a 3/4" spade bit to countersink the mounting holes approx. 1/4" deep. I then placed a penny on the T-nuts and used a hammer to punch them into place.
Step 10: Locate, Drill, and Countersink Holes for T-track Extension
Then take the aluminum T-track and determine how many and what type of screws you are going to use to secure it to the auxiliary fence.
Make sure the screw heads will fit through the T-track.
I chose to use three 10-32 screws as the screw heads will barely fit through the T-track slots.
I spaced the holes about 9" apart and the carefully drilled and countersunk the holes in the T-track.
Make sure the mounting screw holes are countersunk enough so that the screws are as flush as possible and will not impeded the movement of any jig bolt heads that are moved across them. I just used the largest drill bit that would fit between the T-track slots and kept increasing the depth of the countersink until the bolt heads were flush or nearly so.
Step 11: Locate Holes in Left Side for T-track Extension and Attach 10-32 T-nuts
Position your T-track extension on the left side of your auxiliary fence and carefully mark on your fence where to drill the mounting holes.
Remove the left side fence and drill holes for the 10-32 T-nuts and countersink the back side (similar to the 1/4-20 T-nuts).
Remember that these are different T-nuts than the others.
Secure the 10-32 T-nuts by punching them into place.
Step 12: Assemble
Check to make sure that the aluminum T-track mounting screws will secure the T-track to the left fence without protruding past the back of the fence (I used 1" length screws).
If all is well, ensure that all Kreg pocket screws have been attached to the right side.
Then attach all Kreg pocket screws to the left side.
Then attach your T-track fence.
Then adjust your toggle clamps so that it holds the fence securely without slipping.
Adjust as necessary.
Enjoy your new tool!