|Project by The Box Whisperer||posted 215 days ago||2305 views||11 times favorited||11 comments|
Some time ago I was given my late grandfathers old benchtop table saw. He passed away over 20 years ago, and it was a little worse for wear. The insert plate wes all bent up, the guard and splitter were archaic and there was no fence to speak of. In this state, I couldnt use it but I refused to see it end up in a landfill, I knew if I took it eventually the right idea would come to me.
Ive also been struggling for a while with my current table saw. It works well, but it’s a contractor saw and I find it and its 10 inch blade a little big for a lot of the boxes I make. Quite often the piece of wood Im cutting is smaller then a deck of cards, and I find myself doing a lot of 1/4” and 1/8” rips. Even with all of the safety tools in place the 10” blade seems a little overkill. Ive been looking at mini tablesaws, but then I came across the plans for this jig.
The original plans for this jig came from shopnotes issue 105. This was my first time ever building a jig on a set of plans rather then in my head as I went and based on what I had on hand. It was nice to have a shopping list, a cut list and a set of plans. That being said, I of course had to modify the plans to fit my saw and added a few upgrades I thought of.
Rather then building it as a small jig for a large table saw, I decided that this would be a dedicated top for the old benchtop saw. I dropped the blade down to a Freud 6 1/2” 40t. The fence adjusts in 2 ways. Fro larger adjustments, there are notches cut every 1/2” along the base. The fence uses hardwood keys to lock in. THe original plans had this as a small jig with only 4 notches, but I put as many as I could fit, giving me a max rip width of a little over 7” The beauty of the fence is the sliding taper. Once you have it locked in to a notch, the fence slides along the taper, so that when you move it forward or backward it also moves away or towards the fence in very slight amounts. The original plans called for the hairline indicator and ruler, but instead of gluing the ruler down I mounted it on countersunk magnets, so that it can be moved, The ratio of the fence movement is that for every inch you push it forward, it moves away from the fence 1/8” The original plans called for hardwood runners but I used low friction plastic, and where the fence meets the base I put some low friction tape. It slides very smoothly. The fence itself has a replaceable hardboard face, which is the exact same as the zero clearance insert in the table. This way I can cut blanks, and have just one template for both parts.
The featherboard is designed to saddle the blade, providing hold down for both the cut piece and the waste, both in front of and behind the blade. I would only every use a featherboard of this style as a hold down, never pushing perpendicular to the blade. As it is, I use a microjig gripper for most cuts so will likely only use the feathrboard when the microjig is not the right choice.
The original plans did have a miter sled, but I beefed mine up quite a bit. A large walnut fence has more magnets countersunk to hold another ruler, and the stop block has a hairline indicator. This way it’s easy to zero off the stop, set your ruler and youre good to go. I almost mounted t-track to the front of the fence, but decided I wanted to be able to adjust the stop without having to reach in front, so I skipped the t-track and went with a saddle style stop block. I designed the hold down to hold both the cut piece and the waste, creating a zero clearance hold down of sorts. I do expect this to get chewed up so I made a spare.
All in all this was the most ambitious jig project to date for me, so I named it the USS Fencerprise. It should make things safer for a lot of the small work I do, and it brings new life into my grandfathers old saw. Next time I need to rip 1/64th off a 1×1 piece of 1/4” hardwood, this jig will “make it so”
Hope you enjoy and as always, any and all feedback is welcome.
-- The Box Whisperer