A couple of months ago, on another forum, a writer asked about bandsaw fences–what folks used, were commercial ones any good, did others make their own? Etc.
Well, 20-25 years ago I made up one out of plywood that was good enough to get into Fine Woodworking. Since then — 7 years ago? — I’ve made a new one that’s slightly improved.
This fence is made from 8020® aluminum extrusions. If you don’t know about 8020, you should check them out.
The fence rides on two 1″sq rails, gliding along on UHMW-PE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) “bearings”. It’s 4″ tall and the length of the table plus a little bit.
The fence glide(bearing) has a turn knob for locking the fence in place. On the right is a smaller glide that I use as a stop. It’s especially handy when I need to make very small adjustments in the fence-to-blade distance using shim stock, or if I need to move the fence and then return to the previous setting. The main glide is 4″ long to match the width of the fence. It has two bolts going into the fence that can be loosened to allow adjustment for “Drift” (the tendancy of the blade to track/cut away from the desired cutting path).
Between the glide & fence is a wood shim to fill the space from the rail to the table top.
The far end of the fence has a lockdown too to prevent it from flexing out of alignment.
One of the things I like about this fence is the ability to bolt auxiliary fences to the main fence. This next picture shows a simple fence that allows me to bring down the blade guides when I cut thin narrow stock. (I know, the pic shows the blade arm up high….)
I have several auxiliary fences that are very simple in nature. Because they bolt to the fence, I don’t have to mess with clamps to hold them in place.
Here I’m using a stop to limit my length of cut.
Next pic shows the back bracing. I needed to shim the braces slightly to get the fence to sit perpendicular to the table.
This fence wasn’t cheap to make. With labor included, I probably spent $500 to build it — not too cost effective I suppose. Excluding my labor, then we get the price down to around $150. The UHMW glides were the most expensive parts.
Now, here’s what I want to build when I get a little (a LOT) of extra money:
All I need is some programing skills and knowledge about Servos/stepper motors.
The 8020.net site has “8020 Stuff”, a series of booklets that show a variety of projects made by users.