Quick-Release Bandsaw Fence

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Introduction: Quick-Release Bandsaw Fence

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

Using a fence on a bandsaw is a great way to resaw boards. This method will reduce the amount of wood converted to sawdust compared to resawing with a table saw as well as offering a greater depth of cut. Commercially available bandsaw fences have many great features and are easy to set up. Fortunately for us, this fence can be made at a tenth the cost with easily accessible materials. Using a quick release toggle clamp and some scrap wood, this quick release bandsaw fence can be made in an hour or two.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

    Materials:

    Tools:

    • Bandsaw
    • Level
    • Table saw
    • Clamps
    • Hand Plane
    • Square

    Step 2: Attach Rails

    Insert a sharpened bolt (sharpened using a bench grinder) into the threads of your bandsaw table. Using a level or other straight edge, align rails cut to the size of the end of your bandsaw table. Press hard against the rail to mark the location of the bolt. Drill a clearance hole in the rail.

    Step 3: Repeat on the Other Side

    Attach the runner to the table through the clearance hole previously drilled. Repeat this process on the other side of the table to locate and drill the hole. Create and attach a runner for the back side of the bandsaw using this same process.

    Step 4: Attach Angle Catch

    Cut a 3/4 in. by 3/4 in. piece of plywood the length of the back runner. Cut a 10 degree angle off one of the laminated faces. Glue this rail in place. Depending on where the bolts are located, cutting out clearance around the clearance hole might be necessary.

    Step 5: Miter Gauge Slot

    Mark the location of the miter gauge slot and cut it out using either a bandsaw or table saw with multiple passes with a cross cut sled.

    Step 6: Fence

    I squared up two 2x4s and glued them together. This fence was roughly 6 inches longer than necessary. The excess wood will be removed in a later step.

    Step 7: Chamfer Edges

    Chamfer the edges of the fence using a block plane. This will keep the dust produced from the bandsaw from interfering with the use of the fence.

    Step 8: Attach Clamp

    Mark the location of the clamp base in the middle of the fence. Drill pilot holes and attach using 2 in. long screws.

    Step 9: Attach Catch

    Cut a matching 10 degree angle along another piece of plywood. This catch should be about 2 in. wide and 4-5 in. longer than your fence is wide.

    Set the depth of the rubber portion on the toggle clamp to its shallowest depth. This will give you maximum adjustment later on. Close the toggle clamp and hold the catch in place at the back of the bandsaw table. Mark the location of the back of the catch on the fence. Cut off excess wood from the fence using either the bandsaw or table saw.

    Attach the catch to the back side of the fence with one screw. Using a tri or combination square to ensure that the catch is square to the fence. Once in place, secure the catch with a second screw.

    Step 10: Sand, Finish, and Reinstall

    Remove the rails and fence for a final sanding and finish with water based polyurethane.

    Once dry, install the rails as before and attach the fence.

    Step 11: Setup and Use

    Use a tape measure or ruler behind the bandsaw to set the depth of cut. Remember to use push sticks to keep all fingers attached.

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      10 Discussions

      I never like to use wood screws into end grain. cancel the toggle clamp screwed to end grain.

      If you extend to rip fence beyond the edge of the band saw's table, you could screw the rip fence vertically to a wider horizontal board. Likewise on the far end of the rip guide. Make the screw holes larger than the screw shank to permit minor adjustment of angle to account for drift.

      Instead of using a toggle clamp, I suggest a pipe or bar clamp parallel to the rip fence and on left side. Clamp the wide horizontal boards against the edge of the saw table.

      Suggest the rip guide be much taller. Wide boards will tip against the short 2X4.

      I saw this (sorry, pun intended) design in ShopNotes (No. 16, July 1994, p. 28) -- the reason I remembered it is I happen to be making it today -- can't believe I stumbled upon this looking for another Instructable! :-) One issue, though: your design has a fixed angle, which doesn't allow for correcting for drift*. The ShopNotes version had a pair of screws driven into either end of the inside face of the back of the sliding "T". That way you can back out one screw or the other a wee bit to change the fence angle. There're issues with that design too, based on what the actual contact faces/points are, but no room to go into here. (That might seem finicky, but I'm resawing rather valuable, one-of-a-kind wood blocks (for knife handles) so getting the cut very straight is a big deal for me... ;-)

      *Although it's a hotly-debated topic and can have multiple causes, "drift" refers to the tendency of a bandsaw cut to wander at an angle. It can be tricky to get all the factors of setup - tension, guide height and placement among others - perfectly correct, and even then it can be just the blade tooth set or weld. It's often easier to just correct the fence angle to counter "drift".

      3 replies

      I must say I agree about what Corrandi "saw" in this design. A long fixed fence is a recipe (or should I say plan? LOL) for disaster. You need a NEW or extremely well maintained and sharpened WIDE blade AND enough tension to eventually ruin your rubber wheels (if you re-saw a lot). Commercial re-sawing gets away with fixed fences because they constantly replace/resharpen) blades and use tensions we'll never be able to reproduce.

      For a home hobbyist re-sawing the best way to get reproducible results is to use a pin type fence like a router table and follow a drawn line carefully adapting for drift. Of course, use a sharp wide blade with teeth set for re-sawing and lots of tension too.

      Yes, this debate IS too hot to handle and will never cool down LOL

      But, as a retired engineer who occasionally designed prototype production equipment. yours IS a nice design. In a "real world" or production design I probably would have used aluminum channel and angle stock to make things "appear" less bulky ...but then, we ARE woodworkers and have standards, right? ;-)

      Tim

      Thank you for your feedback! Adding adjustable screws to the fence looks like a reasonable solution to blade drift. However, to me it feels like putting a bandaid on the problem vs solving it (as you mentioned it is a hotly-debated topic). IMO if you are experiencing drift, you are probably using the wrong blade for resawing. You want a wide heavily tensioned blade with a low TPI. Matthias has a great article about it here: http://woodgears.ca/bandsaw/resaw.html

      To be fair, in the images shown above I do not have the correct blade on for resawing.

      EXCELLENT response. I had some other thoughts on how to further improve the angle adjustment (short answer: t-nuts w/ threaded-rod knobs) but that was, to extend your great metaphor, putting a band-aid on the band-aid. I've read Matthias' (praise be unto him) article (and vid) before and agree with his thinking. That said, both the Kreg and Carter fences have angle adjustments and their websites go into some depth about why and all the causes (a number of which are not addressed by Matthias). I have the right blade, tension and setup; I've gone to some lengths to get it all right, and I still find it helpful/expedient to do the ol' mark-a-line; test-resaw; adjust-fence-angle sequence. It may be a hackaround, but it's often actually faster than the "right" way. (Particularly if you need to regularly be swapping out different types of bandsaw blades and have to go into the whole blade-guide setup procedure every time.... >;-)

      If you are resawing wood:

      * You need a wide blade. 3/4inch minimum. 1.25" is better.

      * You need serious tension on the blade.

      Narrow blades can't tensioned as tight, and wander off by grain that isn't parallel or perpendicular to the cut.

      Blades that are unequally sharp, or unequally set on left and right teeth will pull to one side.

      Fence should be as tall as the board you are resawing.

      Rig way to apply pressure to keep the board firmly against the fence. This should apply pressure from top to bottom of the board.

      Verify that your fence doesn't deflect under pressure. There is a reason that commercial fences are often made of heavy castings.

      Looks like an easy to make project. Thanks! Can you post a picture from the back of the fence, or do you have a video of the build.

      2 replies

      I've added an image taken from behind the bandsaw in step 10. Hope that helps!

      Alcareyjr - pm me and I'll send you the instructions w/ diagram from ShopNotes.