better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

How to make a Makita table saw fence upgrade for better results | FREE PLANS MLT100

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When I bought my Makita table saw, the MLT100 model, I was besides some cons, actually very satisfied. 
It is a very affordable power tool with a lot of positive features, but unfortunately also a negative feature.

One of the Makita mlt100 table saw problems was the weak table saw fence, a part that is crucial when you want to do some fine woodworking. 

You can complain about this weak Makita saw guide, but in the end, we are makers, so this is a problem that can be easily solved.

That is exactly what you will discover in this article.
I will show you how to upgrade the original guide, and to help you even more building it, I have free plans available for you.

Note: 

I’m still working with this Makita MLT100 and want to keep you informed.
Come back regularly to see what Makita MLT100 table saw problems I experience.
If you have the same Makita MLT100 problems, maybe you can fix them thanks to the video or blog post I will link below.

Make better cuts, upgrade your table saw fence​

In this blog, I will show you step by step how to make a Makita table saw fence upgrade for the MLT100 model.
But the guide upgrade idea I make in this blog can not only be used on the Makita table saw.
This design can also be used for all types of brands.
I hope to inspire you to make your own saw guide, which brand it is. 

To help you, I have downloadable table saw fence plans in this blog down below.

If you do not have a power tool saw yet, and you are considering buying one, be sure to check out this article.
You can discover a lot of tips to find the perfect one that fits your needs.

Of course, this power tool is nothing without a good saw blade.
That is why I wrote this article that helps you find the saw blade you need for your projects.

If you want to take this saw to the next level, and get the most out of this power tool, you can make lots of jigs for all kind of cuts.
I have a lot of Articles on this website that can inspire you, some of them even has free plans to help you build them.
Go check out the blog section on top of this page after reading this article. 

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To improve my own guide, I did this in 2 steps.

After my first update, and after some months of working with this new guide, there were a few things I wanted to see differently.

For example, in the second update, I installed a T-track rail on which I can mount my push stick organizer, but also other jigs.
Also, I made an update on the clamping system.
You can all see his in the video you can watch below.
After watching, you can go on reading this article to see all details you need to build this guide yourself.

Watch the videos & learn how to make a table saw fence

What do you need to make a table saw fence?

To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

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How to make a table saw fence?

Now that we have gone through the list of what we all need for this project, I will explain step by step how to make a Makita saw guide upgrade.

Let’s go!

Step 1 | Preparation

Start cutting all the pieces to the correct width.

Set the guide to the correct widths as indicated on the free table saw fence plans that you can download on this page.

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Now cut the parts to the correct length.

Since all parts must be the same length, you can attach them together with painter’s tape and cut to the correct length with the miter saw.
By sawing the different parts at the same time, they are all perfectly the same length.

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Tip:
Be sure to watch my video how I improved my budget miter saw with 3 simple adjustments: 3 Miter saw improvements I should have done before.

Step 2 | Making the top of the DIY table saw fence

The top of the guide is also the part that ensures that the new guide can be attached to the original one.

To let the new guide fit on the original one, measure the distance from the side to the center of the slot in the original fence.
You can transfer this distance to the new part.

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You can now drill a hole at the marked location.

First, drill a hole with the same depth of a washer and a nut with a speed drill or Forstner bit.
In this way, the washer and nut will be countersunk during mounting.

After drilling the larger hole, drill a hole completely through the wood. 
Use a drill with the same diameter as the bolt.

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Because I did not want screws in the DIY table saw fence on the side that faces the saw blade, I used pocket holes. 
I made these pocket holes at the bottom of this part. 
That way the pocket holes will be invisible in the end result and dust cannot collect in the pocket holes.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

If you consider buying a pocket hole system, I can recommend this Pocket hole R3 Jr starter package from Kreg. 

It is not a big investment, and you can do a lot of projects with this system.
I’m happy to have this in my workshop.

Step 3 | Assembling the inside of the fence​

To assemble the side, start by attaching the top part in the right place.

Place the bolts in the groove of the original Makita table saw guide and slide the part with the drilled holes over the bolts. 
Place the washer and nut and tighten.

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Attach the side to the top part by temporarily clamping it.

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Now detach the parts from the original guide and screw the two parts together via the pocket holes at the bottom.

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Step 4 | Assembling the outside of the fence ​

Start by removing the knobs on the original Makita table saw fence and replace them with regular nuts.

The knobs are too large and can get in the way if you want to use attachable parts in the future.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

Reinstall the already built parts on the original Makita table saw fence.

Mark the position of the bolts and transfer this to the new side to be made. 
Also, measure the height of the bolts and mark the center point in this way.

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With a Forstner bit, you can now drill the holes. 
You will always be able to loosen or tighten the nuts through these holes. 

To determine the size of the holes, it is best to look at the size of the tools you will use to tighten the nuts.

Attach this side by simply screwing it on.

First, mark the correct height with a pencil and pre-drill with a drill bit just smaller than the diameter of the screw.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

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Step 5 | Reinforcement and clamping system​

To make your new DIY table saw fence upgrade firmer, you can now screw a reinforcement block between the two sides at the bottom. 
This way, the side cannot tilt when you apply pressure to it.

I attached the block invisibly by using pocket holes and screws.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

I’m not going to discuss the clamping system I made in the first video here. 

The first system that I used for this had the disadvantage that the block always got in the way when I placed this sawing machine against my out feed table.

The second version I made is a lot better, and I will discuss it in more detail in the Makita Table saw fence upgrade, upgrade 1 clamping system, section down below.

I attached the block invisibly by using pocket holes and screws.

DIY Table saw fence upgrade

After working with my new guide for some months I noticed that there was room for improvement. 
The upgrades I will discuss down below are also the upgrades you could see in the second video.

Upgrade 1 | Clamping system

The clamping system I made in the first video could be better.
The block I used was too big and always got in the way when I wanted to place the saw against the out feed table.

That is why I replaced the wooden block with an L-shaped piece of metal.

 

The metal I used for this is about 20 cm (7.87”) long.

To attach this metal part to the DIY table saw fence, drill two holes at the same width as the sides of the guide.

The holes can be much larger than the screws, so you can adjust the clamp.
In that way, the new guide fits optimally on the table-top.

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Now attach this metal clamp to the bottom of the DIY table saw fence with screws and washers. 
Do not tighten yet so that you can later adjust the clamping system.

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Place the new guide on the table-top, but do not clamp it yet.

Now go to the metal clamp and push it against the table-top.
Now screw it tightly.

When you tighten the guide, this metal clamp will press against the table-top.
Like that, the DIY table saw fence can no longer move.

Mission accomplished! 
You have now converted the weak table saw guide into a sturdy and reliable one.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

Upgrade 2 | Installing a T-track​

To clamp some jigs and my push stick organizer to the DIY table saw fence upgrade, I attached a t-track rail on the outside.

In order to make a slot in your guide, detach this side from the guide, so you could make a slot in it where the T-track fits in.

To make this slot easily you can use my homemade Kerfmaker idea. 

First, you measure the thickness of the saw blade, and then you set the thickness of the slot you want to make.
In this case, the width of the T-track.

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better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

By setting the Kerfmaker along the guide, you can make perfect slots.

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Afterward, you can update the slot with a chisel and mount the T-track with screws.

Once the T-track is installed, you can assemble the Makita table saw fence.

Upgrade 3 | Making a push stick organizer​

Because I would always have my push stick at hand when making cuts with this saw, I made this push stick holder. 
I can attach this to the table saw guide via the T-track.

For this, you need to make a box of plywood in which your push stick fits.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

At the back, you need to place two hexagon wood bolts at the same height as the T-track of the table saw guide. 
Like that, you can easily attach the push stick holder and move or detach it if necessary.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

In the same way, I have adapted other jigs, such as my feather board, so that they are very easy to mount on this DIY table saw fence. 
You can do the same with your jigs.

better-table-saw-fence-makita-mlt100-free-plans

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4 Comments

  1. The problem with this fence, although an excellent idea, is that it renders the front width scale obsolete by an amount of the thickness of the plywood used.

    1. Hi Martin.

      That is correct. But I must say I do not trust that scale on the table saw and always measure the distance from the saw blade before I make a cut.
      That way I don’t experience this problem.
      I can suggest you can always use self-adhesive measure tape after you build this fence to be able to use the scale again.

      Thank you for writing me a comment, that is much appreciated.
      Greetings

    2. The scale on the front of the saw can be looser and moved from underneath via a few bolts to accommodate the upgrade. I do however also not use it and also prefer to manually measure twice and cut once, (or the other way around when in a hurry)

      1. Hahaha, “or the other way around” made me laugh.
        I never use that scale because it’s not as accurate as measuring yourself.
        Thanks for leaving a comment.
        Regards, Christophe

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