$5 Incremental Fence

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Blog entry by SPalm posted 01-31-2011 04:25 AM 44733 reads 41 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I used threaded rod as a rack to make a fence positioner. This is the same basic concept I had used earlier for a stop block which supplies 1 click every 1/32 of an inch. The threaded rod does not turn, other than a half turn for micro-adjusting. I still consider this a prototype, so I used bolts for construction which allowed me to try different options. I am in the process of reworking the router wing on my tablesaw, and this will be part of it. The whole assembly locks into place in one of the miter slots on the table saw.

I built a double action lever clamp to push the two threaded rods together. It ended up being really easy to build and supplies a lot of locking pressure, while also snapping closed. I applied the same wingnut knob contraption to turn the micro adjuster as in the stop block. I used dowels this time to capture the rod in its groove which runs the length of the positioner. The dowel nearest the wingnuts is threaded; the one near the fence is not.

Here is a pic with the top plate removed and the clamp locked. The ruler is in a shallow dado, held in place with round magnets.

Here the clamp is open.

Again the clamp is open with the top plate removed. The small threaded rod is captured and glued into a small groove in the pressure plate. It is size 10-32.

And it will also work as a positioner for the table saw fence. The new router wing will have a way to lock the assembly into place.

So far it looks pretty good. I am in the process of trying to make the bar slide easier by using Teflon tape. It also seems a bit overbuilt. There are a lot of arguments in my brain to make it strong vs nimble, slide easy vs lock tight, pretty vs practical, and on and on…

Comments and suggestions are welcome,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

25 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4395 days

#1 posted 01-31-2011 04:49 AM

Steve: A great design. Nice looking positioner.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View JL7's profile


8661 posts in 2960 days

#2 posted 01-31-2011 05:10 AM

Wow – nicely done Steve – very clean design. Maybe add a little piece of Plexiglass on front of the top cover for a hairline indicator? You could also pick up a set of Incra templates if you get into the joinery thing…...

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3184 days

#3 posted 01-31-2011 05:21 AM

As always your mind is always coming up with something cool. Great build! I take one when the kinks are worked out LOL Hope all is well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View j_olsen's profile


155 posts in 3166 days

#4 posted 01-31-2011 05:26 AM

Nice job Steve!!
Just a thought on the slippery part—have you thought about using UHMW for the positioner arm?
You can get 3/4” x 4” x 48” fairly cheap on Amazon—just a thought

-- Jeff - Bell Buckle, TN

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3877 days

#5 posted 01-31-2011 05:38 AM

Thanks guys. I have a piece of UHMW, but I don’t want it to be so slippery as to not lock in place. Hence the tape only on the top and bottom, and not the sides. But i can talk myself in circles on this, it’s driving me batty.

I was really concerned about the pressure being strong enough, so I even have a different pressure plate with rubber erasers sandwiched in the middle to absorb the pressure. It seemed too excessive, and the clamp seems to work as a lock on its own.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 4195 days

#6 posted 01-31-2011 06:26 AM

You did it again Steve this is awsome. I just droped some coins for a new Incra positioner for my router table. But I have got to try making one of these bad boys for my TS as soon as my current project is completed. how do you like the new lift you got?

-- Billp

View ETwoodworks's profile


92 posts in 2688 days

#7 posted 01-31-2011 06:37 AM

Wow thats the fence i have dreamt about for my router table. It works just like a click rule the device I use to measure because i am mostly blind.

-- Building quality in a throw away world.

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 2938 days

#8 posted 01-31-2011 06:53 AM

That´s cool Steve, and indeed it looks pretty good.
Other than the clamp, is mdf made?.

-- Back home. Fernando

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3869 days

#9 posted 01-31-2011 07:02 AM

Rad :)

-- Happy woodworking!

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2793 days

#10 posted 01-31-2011 07:28 AM

Steve, that is a wonderful thing-a-ma-jig. Make that yet another wonderful one. Your mind is a fine place and I admire your work. That said I’m not able to figure out how any of these precision jigs could help me do anything that I can’t do now. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. At any rate, I can appreciate the ingenuity and workmanship.

Well done.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Joe Lyddon's profile (online now)

Joe Lyddon

10095 posts in 4047 days

#11 posted 01-31-2011 09:14 AM

Sure looks good, Steve…

I don’t understand the value of that folding clamp in the middle of it… What does it do?

Thank you…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3065 days

#12 posted 01-31-2011 12:12 PM

It’s quite an engineering feat Steve. It’s like Incra jig meets Woodgears. To lock it you could always mount a lever type hold down clamp to press on the top plate or drill a hole to allow the clamp to press directly on to the slider, still I really like it it’s got a lot of good features…..Look out incra!

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3877 days

#13 posted 01-31-2011 03:39 PM

Thanks again everyone. Still a work in progress. I laid in bed last night thinking of improvements.

JL7: As far as the Plexiglas hair line indicator, yes one would be great. If you google ‘Bar Magnifier’ you will see what my brain is thinking.

Billp: I have the new router lift, but am chicken to route the recess to mount it. Why don’t they make it easier to do that? Those 1.5 inch radius corners are a bugger.

Paul: True, this type of positioner is not needed for lots of routing and that is why I want it removable. I will just use my TS fence for those. But like Incra, it really does have it’s advantages for certain types of operations. Things like being able to come back a week later and precisely put the fence where it was last time. And also operations that use a precise increment like stepping over for multiple dados or dovetails.

Joe: The folding clamp locks the bar in place by pressing the small threaded rod against the long threaded rod. The concept is to make it click into one of the 1/32 inch threads, thus creating a know position.

Trevor: I actually have tried several different clamping techniques. Using a standard red handle locking clamp through a hole in the top was one of them, but that does not force the two rods together, so I nixed it. The main problem is to make the rods disappear and slide easy when you don’t want them, and make them proud and locked when you do want them. But please, keep the ideas comming.

I am now thinking that having the locking plate running in its own little miter slot (like a crosscut sled) will keep it in place better. Not allowing this plate to wiggle seems key to me.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3974 days

#14 posted 01-31-2011 03:40 PM

You know, that’s pretty nice work, coming from a guy that’s not a rocket surgeon.

Really great job, Steve.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3031 days

#15 posted 01-31-2011 05:16 PM

Excellent work, as always, Steve. You have made some serious progress here.

Unfortunately version 2.0 of my circle cutting jig is all but finished. It uses a traditional approach to micro-adjust with a single threaded rod and captive nut. Perhaps I could adapt the double thread method for version 3.0.

Must have taken some serious time to plan this fence and flawless craftsmanship too. Always a pleasure to see one of your projects. Please keep them coming.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

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