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

A better table saw fence for Makita MLT100|FREE PLANS

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

One of the disadvantages 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 table saw fence, but in the end, we are makers so this is a problem that can be easily solved.

In this blog, I will show you step by step how I improved the table saw fence for this Makita MLT100 and hope to inspire you to do the same for your table saw, which brand it is. 

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

If you do not have a table saw yet and you are considering buying one, be sure to check out the review video I made. In it, I honestly describe the advantages and disadvantages of this table saw.

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To improve this fence, I worked in 2 steps .

After my first update, and after some months of working with this new fence, 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.
The clamping system was also updated in that same video.

Watch the videos here

Before we start building

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!

Building the fence step by step​

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 this better table saw fence.

Let’s go!

Step 1 | Preparation

Start cutting all the pieces to the correct width.

Set the fence to the correct widths as indicated on the free 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.

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

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 table saw fence​

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

To let the new fence 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.

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

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.

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

Because I did not want screws in the 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 end result is nicely finished 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 table saw fence 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.

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

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

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

Step 4 | Assembling the outside of the fence ​

Start by removing the knobs on the original 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 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.

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

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 table saw fence firmer, you can now screw a reinforcement block between the two sides at the bottom. 
This way the side cannot tilt when pressure is applied 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 the table saw against my outfeed table.

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

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

Table saw fence upgrade​

After working with my new table saw fence 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 table saw against the outfeed table.

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

 

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

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

The holes can be much larger than the screws, so you can adjust the clamp. In that way the table saw fence fits optimally on the table saw.

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

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

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

Place the table saw fence on the table saw but do not clamp it yet.

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

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

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

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 table saw fence, I attached a t-track rail on the outside.

In order to make a slot in your table saw fence,  detach this side from the table saw fence 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 table saw fence 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 table saw fence.

Upgrade 3 | Making a push stick organizer​

Because I would always have my push stick at hand when working with my table saw, I made this push stick holder. 
I can attach this to the table saw fence 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 fence. 
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 table saw fence. 
You can do the same with your jigs.

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

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2 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

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