A tall table saw fence can help you get the most out of a smaller saw. A tall fence makes it much easier to re-saw larger pieces, and makes them more stable. It also gives you a larger and heavier fence to bear weight against when cutting.
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I re-saw my own wood for acoustic guitar making. Having only a small bench top table saw, I knew that I needed to do something to help the saw perform better. The existing fence was very short, and this made keeping the wood standing up straight very difficult.
Re-sawing boards for acoustic guitars is not difficult, even on a smaller saw. The addition of a taller fence makes all the difference. I added a piece of MDF that was much taller than the fence that came with the saw. This made sawing the 9″ tall pieces far easier, and the cuts were more accurate. If you are thinking about sawing you own blanks in the shop, a tall table saw fence can make it a much easier activity.
The fence will be different depending on the type of saw you have. For my Ryobi saw, the fence already had a few holes that I could use to attach a piece of wood with bolts. If your fence does not have holes, you can easily drill them.
Cut a piece of 3/4″ MDF to the same length as your fence, and 8″ to 10″ tall. Then, bolt the piece to the fence. Make sure that the bottom edge is well jointed. It is important that the fence remain at 90 degrees to the table top of the saw. A well jointed edge will do just that, and the fence will stand up straight.
Pay attention to the heads of the bolts on the tall table saw fence so that they don’t interfere with the normal operation of the saw.
Also, be sure to sink the heads of the bolts beneath the surface. The heads will be on the same side that the wood passes through. If they are sticking out, they can snag the piece as it goes through the saw.
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I used a Forstner bit to make a large enough recess to fit the head of the blot. Then, I made sure it was deep enough that the head did not stick out past the face of the board. On the other side, use nuts that can secure the wood to the fence. It does not matter the size, just drill a hole that will allow the bolts to pass through the fence and the board easily.
This setup has made re-sawing much easier for me in the shop. I use push sticks for all my flat cutting, so I never remove the tall fence. My re-sawing is now much better, because the fence keeps the wood perfectly straight, and the cuts come out cleaner.
One thing to note is that the addition of this piece will throw off the measurements of the fence. Most saws have a ruler guide for the width of the cut. Adding the wood piece will require you to add the thickness of the board to all of your measurements. However, most woodworkers check the distance with a ruler anyway, so for me this has not changed my process at all.
For more about making tools jigs for guitar making, take a look at my Guitar Making section, and you will find many more tips, jigs, and tools for making excellent guitars.
If you have any questions on my tall table saw fence, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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