Introduction: Bandsaw Featherboard and Point Fence
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This is all you need:
except for 3/4" plywood or printer filament.
Step 1: Cut to Overall Dimensions
I start by dimensioning a piece of ¾” thick baltic birch plywood to 6 1/8” by 5 ½”, first on the table saw and second on the miter saw. The final height of the tool is 6”, the extra 1/8” accounts for the kerf of the miter saw when it is cut in half later
Step 2: 1/2 Circle Round Over
On one of the longer sides of the workpiece I round a half circle at the disk sander. Ignore the single dado in the picture, I got a bit ahead of myself. If you do not have a disc sander this could be done with a file and sand paper, or even a hand plane, it would just take a bit longer.
Step 3: Drill 1/2 Through Holes
I drill a 5/16” hole ½” back from the edge of the rounded side, and two ¼” holes separated by about 1 ¼” towards the center of the tool (exact location not critical). All three of these holes should penetrate more than half way through the center of the workpiece so that the holes can be continued one the two halves are separated. The center holes are for the bolts that join the two halves together, and the hole towards the edge is for the shaft that holds the point fence bearings.
Step 4: Separate Halves
Next I cut directly down the center of the long edge of the workpiece. These two halves can be used together as one piece when a tall feather board is needed (on the band saw) or separately when the extra height is only in the way (on the table saw for example).
Step 5: Cut Dados for Bearings
Next I cut 3 dados into the rounded edge of each piece. The dado width is 5/16”, and the for spacing put one dado in the middle with about 1” of wood between each dado. The dado depth should be about 1” (a little less is ok, but should be at least 7/8”). These dados will hold the bearings that make up the low friction point fence.
Step 6: Cut Featherboard Feathers
Next I use the bandsaw to cut 2 feathers on each side in the opposite side from the rounded edge. The depth of the feathers should be about 1 ½” to 1 ¾”, and 3/32” thick. For the separation between the feathers just use whatever the kerf of your bandsaw blade ends up being, this isn’t a critical dimension. After forming the 2 feathers on each side remove the material in the center between the feathers, so they have room to bend inward when in use.
Step 7: Recess Bolts
On one side of one of the two pieces (which will become the bottom of the tool) drill out the ¼” center holes 1/8” deep with a 7/16” drill bit. Then heat the head one of the connecting bolts from the Magswitch kit and tap it in with a hammer until it burn a hex shape and is flush with the surface. You could do this with a chisel, but fire is faster.
Step 8: Chamfer Feathers
Put a chamfer on each side of the feathers with the two halves of the tool joined by the bolts and thumb nuts. This could be accomplished by an angled cut on the table saw prior to cutting the feathers if you don’t have a disk sander or preferer the table saw operation. The depth of the chamfer should be such that it just touches the inside edge of each inside feather.
Step 9: Separate Feathers
Separate the feathers into three equal sections on the band saw. This helps when the featherboard is used on a workpiece that is not as tall as the full height of the feathers, as it keeps the featherbaord from twisting and putting too much force on only the top of the workpiece, and none on the rest.
Step 10: Dimension Bases
Next dimension 2 base pieces, each 2” by 3” with a 40 mm hole drilled directly in the center. If you do not have a 40mm drill bit a 1 5/8” bit will work fine. These holes will hold the magnets that secure the tool to a metal (non aluminum or stainless steel) table top.
Step 11: Drill Holes for Base Dowel Joints
Drill two 5/16” holes through the bottom of the center body of the tool, each 1 ¼” for the center. Then use dowel locating pins in these holes to transfer the locations to the two base pieces. Two 5/16” dowels will be centered in these holes to hold both of the base pieces.
Step 12: Glue Up Base Pieces
After drilling 5/16” holes in each of the base pieces where the dowel pins marked them, insert two 5/16” dowels in the holes in the body of the tool with glue, and glue/clamp both base pieces to the body of the tool. It is important that the bottom surface of the tool be flat, so use some clamp to apply vertical pressure as well to press the two base pieces against a flat surface.
Step 13: Install Bearings and Bearing Shaft
Install the bearings and bearing shafts in all 6 of the dado slots. If the fit is too tight and the tool is at risk of splitting, stop and either sand out the 5/16” shaft hole or drill it out with an 8 mm bit. The fit should be snug enough that the shaft will not come loose, but not so tight that the tool will crack when the shaft is driven in.
Step 14: Install Magnets
Place the two magnets from the Magswitch kit into the large base holes, and mark the screw locations with a small drill bit. Then drill pilot holes for the screws with a 3/32” bit, and screw the magnets into place.
Step 15: Sand and Finish
Lastly, take the tool apart and sand to you desired grit, and apply finish. This tool is not ready to use, thanks for following along.