Thoughts on cutting down tablesaw fence rails?

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Forum topic by totalrewind posted 11-21-2013 10:52 PM 1081 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 2235 days

11-21-2013 10:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I’m currently restoring a heavy old Rockwell 10 tablesaw. The thing is my shop is very small and even now that its on wheels that ts is wanting to be in the way of everything. I realize most people who need to economize on space build a router table into the right side wing, but I was wondering about cutting it off entirely—both left and right wings.

I saw a thing somewhere (that I can’t find now, so if anyone knows the link, please share) where somebody did this and inserted a slug+setscrew in the pipe so they could re-attach the cut off ends when they needed them. I’m thinking… that would be the best of both worlds!

The main technical problem I’m having is that the Rockwell fence rail has rack+pinion gears on the bottom and the ruler measurements are embossed into the metal on top.

So I guess I have several questions:
1) Has anybody tried this and what did you think?
2) Are you in favor/against this idea and why?
3) Any thoughts on how I could do this in such a way as to not frag up the teeth/ruler mentioned above?
4) Other ways to do this in such a way that it is un-doable?

What do you think?

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4 replies so far

View b2rtch's profile


4851 posts in 3011 days

#1 posted 11-21-2013 11:14 PM

This is not something to do as you need your table top as large as possible for support when cutting large pieces. A table top is never too large.
If you cut your rails then you cannot go back.
In my opinion that would be a very bad idea (to be polite, not polite would be:this is a very stupid idea)

-- Bert

View PaulDoug's profile


1508 posts in 1666 days

#2 posted 11-21-2013 11:25 PM

On the other hand, when space is at a premium sometime tough choices have to be made. There are ways of supporting large pieces, admittedly not as nice as just having the space for a huge table top layout. I am in a small shop. My saw came with 52” rails. I cut them back to 32”. I also use to have a nice outfeed table hanging on the back of my saw. I have recently removed it and am making a work bench of the height of my TS so if I need an outfeed table I can roll it behind the saw and use it. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Oh, here’s my stupid sign!

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2596 days

#3 posted 11-22-2013 12:56 AM

If the rails are constantly in your way, I’d advise you to move forward with cutting them.I’d definitely try to keep them as long as possible though. I think you’ll regret cutting them flush with table. But hey, if that’s what it takes to make it work for YOU…..then that’s what you should do.

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1866 days

#4 posted 11-22-2013 01:01 AM

On my Rockwell 10” contractors saw, the grads and the rack teeth do not go the full length. That is the point where I cut the rails.
I intend on making slugs at some point to be able to re-attach the rails for when the added length is needed.
But, to make a nice job, and have no bump where the rails join, I will have to clean the bores of the rails with a light lathe cut. That is, to make the bore perfectly round and concentric for the joining slugs, on all 4pieces.
The slugs and retaining screw locations will also have to be accurately done.

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