Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DIY Rip Fence Alignment Jig

In a previous post and video I built a homemade DIY table saw rip fence.  That build went well and I'm pretty happy with the result.  One of the questions I've been asked about it is how do I align the fence to the blade. 

I got into a habit a long time ago about checking the alignment of the rip fence.  The factory rip fence did not lock down parallel and after experiencing kick back I decided I needed to figure out a quick alignment technique that I could do every single time I used the fence.

I thought about a combination square, however it does not sit flat across the table top. It is not designed to.
Also, I have a tendency to not keep it flush against a work surface, in this case the miter slot.  I do not know why I struggle with that but I do know that I want to eliminate that potential.  On my old rip fence that came with the saw it has a slightly rounded over edge on the bottom.

This might be to provide a relief for any dust that would accumulate in the area and causing a problem with the cut or it may just be the way Ryobi designed it for no reason.

It allowed the ruler of the combination square to sit slightly underneath the fence and would throw off the reading because obviously the fence is not locked down when I'm trying to align it.

Finally, I have a 34" rip capacity on my homemade DIY table saw workstation and my combination square is 12".

 I'm no mathematician but I think I would be short in that equation.

So the way that I have used for years is, I measure the width of the cut I want to make and slide my rip fence of to the end of the tape measure but I would take note of the reading at one of the miter slots.  I would then move to the front and back of the saw and match the measurement from the miter slot.  I do a walk through of the process in this weeks video. 

However, everyone knows that there is a jig for everything and this one only takes about 15 minutes to do so lets get to it.

The first step is to gather the parts.

1.  wooden yard stick (I found mine in the paint section)
2.  scrap piece of wood about 4 or 5 inches long
3.  thumb screw
4.  threaded insert
5.  couple screws

I thought about using a self adhesive measuring tape but when I got a load of the price on those I immediately went with the $.98 option.  The thumb screw and threaded insert cost about a $1.50 for the two and the screws were free by digging around the misc. screw bin in my garage.

The scrap piece of wood is a 3/4 inch thick furring strip that I cut down from a 2x4 from a previous project.  I left it long so I could keep a comfortable distance between my fingers and the blade while cutting the daddo.  Yeah...(cough, cough)...thats what I did...Yeah.  Ok, so I didn't do that, but hind site is 20/20 and arm chair quarterbacks are never in short supply.

So what would have been better would be to cut the daddo on a longer than needed piece of scrap then cut it down to the desired length.  Finally, make the rip cut to separate the two pieces.  Then flip them around so the daddo is on the inside and assemble.

That being said, instead of restarting the project and making the video look like I do nothing wrong ever.  I thought it would be good for you to see that sometimes you will not do everything according to best practices.  The ability to work around a perceived mistake is an asset in woodworking or any diy project that you might ever take on.

For the rip cut I took the depth of my miter guage and added that to the depth of the wooden yard stick.  This measurement came out to 5/8".  I then set my rip fence for a 5/8" cut using the old measure three points meathod.

Then I cut the scrap to length.  I should have waited to do this.

The depth of the daddo will be the depth of the wooden yard stick.  So I set the blade height accordingly.

This was a small issue.  I simply used a clamp to hold the workpiece in place as I made my cuts.

Next was to set the threaded insert.  It proved to be a challenge to get it to set straight as it wanted to start to angle.  That probably had to do with the fact that I used my porter cable drill as opposed to the drill press to bore the hole for the insert.  I was probably off angle which made it difficult to thread the insert.  I found if I put the insert and the thumbscrew together, then thread the insert into the workpiece it was a lot easier to keep it straight.

Placing the wooden yard stick in its spot in one of the pieces then placing the other on top I secure the two together with screws.

To use the jig I merely set the distance I require for the rip cut.  Place it in the miter slot.  Slide the rip fence up to it.  Then slide the jig along the miter slot ensuring that the fence is against the end at all spots.

If you have not checked out the video yet, you can find it at the top of this post.  Be sure to visit my youtube channel.  You can like, subscribe and happy DIY'ing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for the post. You don't have to argue anymore with the threaded insert ! That "screw slot" is not to drive it in; it is inserted first to help make the threads in the wood. (My lesson was here)


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