Introduction: Make It - Adjustable Router Fence


I decided to upgrade my old "temporary" router fence with some better materials and improved functions. I find it useful for me to build a temporary version of certain shop fixtures to work out the bugs in everyday situations. Once I think I've got a proper design locked down, I scrap the temp version (usually made from cheaper materials) and build a nice version.

I urge you to check out the build video to see the whole thing come together. Links to all the products I used in this build can be found in the video description and plans are available on my website.

Step 1: Clean Your Shop, Cut Your Wood and Then Cut It Again

Start with a clean shop. A clean shop is a happy shop

I cut the pieces of plywood that I needed for the fence from smaller scraps I had laying around my shop. I used 1/2" and 3/4" Baltic Birch plywood, but any stable material is suitable. The only reason I used a piece of 3/4" plywood instead of using only 1/2" plywood was to accommodate the T-Track I planned on using. You'll see this in a future step. If you don't plan to use the T-Track, the entire thing can be made from 1/2" material.

Once I had the pieces cut to final dimensions, I began to mark and cut the alignment grooves in the bottom panel. I did this by making multiple cuts on the table saw. (I assume if you're reading this, you have a router mounted in a table. You could use the router for these cuts, but since your router might not be usable until this project is done, I tried to avoid and router work that would need a router fence. Hope that makes sense...)

To mark the cuts and confirm a tight fit, I used scraps of actual plywood so there would be no doubt the pieces would fit together snuggly.

I had to do a little chisel work on the inside cuts since my ATG table saw blade leaves small ridges.

Step 2: Preparing the Front.

The front part of the fixed portion of the fence needs som attention now. It needs 4 slots cut that allow for the adjustability movement and a cut-out in the center for various sizes of router bits to fit. I drilled 8, 1/4" holes according to the build plans and then moved the piece over to the router. I used a 1/4" router bit to connect each hole to its partner creating 4 slots that were slightly larger than 1/4".

At the table saw, I did the first few cuts that will allow me to remove the center section. I made multiple passes to open up the cuts so I could move back over to the router and finish up. I stopped the cut before the waste piece broke completely free, snapped it off, and then finished the cut. This prevents the scrap piece from getting violently knocked around by the router.

Step 3: Cutting the Angled Supports

I dry fit the router fence together, mark the high side and the low side of the untrimmed center supports, connect the two lines to show my angle and cut them down to size on the table saw. Marking and cutting prevents the headache of having to calculate angles.

Once everything was fitting nicely, I glued and clamped it together making sure everything was square before letting it cure. The grooves in the bottom piece make this very easy.

Step 4: The Adjustable Front Panels.

I marked the holes according to the build plans and drilled holes that don't go all the way through the wood. I chamfered the edge before driving in the 1/4" - 20 threaded inserts. These are readily available online for cheap and can be reused if the front panels ever need to be replaced. There are links to everything in the video description on YouTube. I've provided a link to the video in the first and last step of this instructable.

Step 5: Dust Collection Chamber

I trimmed a piece to fit tightly between the two center supports on the fence base. Then, using a piece of scrap from the angled center supports, I set the angle on my table saw. I cut an angle into the piece I just trimmed, flipped it over and cut the other side. This left me a piece with parallel angles on each side. Once I had the piece fitting nicely, I marked center and drilled out a hole to match the size of fitting on my shop vac. The size of this hole will vary so cut it to fit your tools.

I could then glue the piece in place. It was a snug enough fit that I didn't need clamps.

With the chamber formed, I could hook up the shop vac and use a top bearing router bit to remove the material inside to chamber to complete this step.

Step 6: Assembly and T-Track Installation

I used 1/4 - 20 thumb screws with a washer to attach the adjustable front panels to the base. To attach the T-Track, I predrilled the holes and installed it using small screws.

Step 7: Use, Enjoy, Breathe Easy!

This fence was designed to clamp onto an existing fence, but it could be modified to work on any number of router table setups. You can see in the pictures just how easy it is to fit wide bit and very skinny bits. The ability to get the front panels as close as you can to the bits is the key to good dust collection. It focuses all the suction directly at the area being cut so the dust has minimal chance to become airborne. The dust collection is second to none in my opinion.

The T-Track allows for accessories to be added like a flip stop for repeated cuts or feather boards for helping to guide your work piece. I used T-Track that matched my table saw so I can swap the flip stop from one to the other.

I urge you to check out the build video to see the whole thing come together. Links to all the products I used in this build can be found in the video description and plans are available on my website.

Build a Tool Contest 2017

Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017