How to Square a Table Saw Fence – 3 Proven Ways for Accuracy

Table saws are extremely useful for woodworking and home projects, yet accuracy and protection rest on the quality of the fence alignment towards the blade. To guarantee that cuts are precisely straight, a square table saw fence should be implemented—however, it may become misaligned over time. In this article, we will discuss how to square a table saw fence with three different approaches.

There are several methods on how to square a table saw fence, including using a combination square, with a Miter Gauge and indication gauge, and using a Tall DIY Runner. Different techniques have their own perks and drawbacks, yet they are all intended to guarantee that the fence is straight.

By taking the steps detailed in this article, woodworkers can master the skill of squaring their table saw fence and reap the rewards of using a precise and accurate tool. Experienced woodworkers or DIY enthusiasts alike can take advantage of this knowledge to keep their table saw fence properly squared. Read on to discover three strategies for achieving a perfectly square table saw fence.

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Understanding the concept of a square fence

What is a square Table saw fence?

A square fence is an upright rail that is connected to a table saw and used to maintain the position of the material being cut. This type of rip fence ensures that the blade is perpendicular to the saw table, guaranteeing accuracy and precision when performing cuts.

Why is it important to have a square table saw fence?

Having a fence parallel is essential for making accurate cuts, as it provides a consistent reference point for the workpiece. When the rip fence is not square, it can cause the workpiece to veer off course, resulting in cuts that are not straight or at the desired angle.

The use of a square table saw fence in woodworking is crucial for the safety and accuracy of the outcome. After all, it is the foundation upon which all cuts are based.

Without a perfectly level and even fence on which to guide saw blades or other cutting tools, it can lead to cuts that are out of alignment and potentially dangerous.

More information on how to use a table saw can be found in my main article how to use a table saw – easy starters guide for perfect cuts

An un-square fence can cause table saw kickback while cutting, which occurs when a tool being used encounters an unexpected obstruction in its path that causes an abrupt stop of the blade or tool. This sudden jolt can cause injury to an unsuspecting user by throwing them off balance and leading to cuts or bruises if they’re not protected with safety gear such as goggles.

Therefore, having a square table saw fence ensures safety and accuracy in woodworking, and should absolutely not be overlooked; it is essential for achieving proper results without risking any harm.

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Reasons for an un-square fence

Common causes for an un-square fence

Repeated movement and pressure caused by regular use and exposure to wear and tear over time can lead to a misalignment of fencing, taking away its squareness. If a table saw is used frequently or for heavy-duty projects, this phenomenon will be particularly apparent.

Another cause of a misshapen fence is incorrect installation. If the fence isn’t mounted according to the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines, it will be uneven and crooked. That’s why it’s essential to set up the fence properly for it to remain square.

Maintaining the secureness of the bolts and screws is critical for the longevity of a fence; if these pieces of hardware become loose, it can lead to the fence becoming misaligned and crooked. Regularly checking and tightening these pieces will help ensure the fence remains in good condition and stays squared.

In addition, exposure to humidity, shifting temperatures, and other environmental forces can lead to a misalignment of the fence on a table saw. To ensure that this does not occur, it’s essential to place the saw in an area where the environment is stable and away from any excessive moisture or temperature fluctuations.

To summarize, several elements can lead to a fence that is not perfectly square – such as regular usage and attrition, improper installation, loose components, and environmental conditions. It is necessary to keep the fence square for successful precise cuts and for extended tool durability.

The consequences of an un-square fence

A fence that is not a perfect square can cause the workpiece to deviate from the desired cut line, resulting in cuts that are crooked or at an incorrect angle. This not only reduces the quality of the finished product, but also adds to wasted time and resources due to needing to redo faulty cuts.

A fence that is not correctly aligned can lead to dangerous kickback during a cut, posing severe threats to the operator. When this happens, the workpiece is pushed back towards the user abruptly, which could possibly bring about serious harm. That is why I always advise using a push stick. It is essential to maintain a precise fence in order to make sure all cuts are safe and accurate.

Poorly aligned fences can make it hard to get consistent and accurate cuts, leading to dissatisfaction and frustration for those wanting precision in their work.

Finally, a fence that is not cut properly can cause frustration, time loss and result in many materials being wasted. This can be overwhelmingly aggravating for those who are pressed for time or are dealing with a large scale project.

To sum up, a fence that is not square can drastically affect the precision and quality of cuts, as well as the safety of the user. In addition, it may result in dissatisfaction and wasted materials; hence it is essential to make sure that the fence is kept in good condition for optimal results.

How to square a table saw fence

Tools required for checking squareness

To achieve precise cuts, it is vital to frequently assess the straightness of your table saw fence. This can be accomplished utilizing various techniques explained in earlier sections, such as using a combination square, miter guide or constructing your own runner. To apply these methods successfully, you will need to employ the correct tools.

Here is a list of tools needed to square a table saw fence:

Ensuring the perfect accuracy of your cuts and extending the life of your tools can be easily achieved by investing in high-quality tools for checking and adjusting the squareness of your table saw fence. This is highly recommended.

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How to square a table saw fence – method 1

The issue of the un-square table saw fence is easy to fix using a combination square. In this method, you will learn how to align a table saw fence using a combination square, ensuring that your cuts are accurate and precise every time. To align rip fences, you can use the following steps:

  1. Put a combination square in the miter slots and press it against the edge.
  2. Lock the fence next to the ruler.
  3. Slide the combination square along the track keeping it pressed against the edge of the miter track.
  4. If the fence moves away from the ruler or pushes the ruler away, adjust the fence’s alignment and try again.
  5. If you have trouble locking the fence down next to the ruler, try locking it down first then extend the ruler to the fence.
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Put a combination square in the miter slots and press it against the edge
Step 1: Put a combination square in the miter slots and press it against the edge
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Lock the fence next to the ruler
Step 2: Lock the fence next to the ruler
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Slide the combination square along the track
Step 3: Slide the combination square along the track
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - If the fence moves away from the ruler, adjust the fence's alignment and try again
Step 4: If the fence moves away from the ruler, adjust the fence’s alignment and try again
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - If you have trouble locking the fence down next to the ruler, try locking it down first then extend the ruler to the fence
If you have trouble locking the fence down next to the ruler, try locking it down first then extend the ruler to the fence

How to square a table saw fence – method 2

Aligning the Table Saw Fence with a Miter fence is a viable alternative to utilizing a combination square. This approach implements a miter guide, a tool regularly encountered in woodworking shops, and an indicator gauge to precisely line up the fence and guarantee precision when making cuts. To accomplish this task, the following steps are required:

  1. Use either a miter fence or a crosscut sled that does not have too much side-to-side play.
  2. Attach an indicator gauge (analog or digital) to the sled’s fence or clamp it to the miter guide using clamps, SPAC screws, or GRK screws.
  3. Clamp the fence down and zero the gauge.
  4. Slide the gauge along the fence and check if the gauge changes much.
  5. If there is too much play, adjust the alignment and try it again.
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Use either a miter fence or a crosscut sled that does not have too much side-to-side play
Step 1: Use either a miter fence or a crosscut sled that does not have too much side-to-side play
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Attach an indicator gauge (analog or digital) to the sled's fence
Step 2: Attach an indicator gauge (analog or digital) to the sled’s fence
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Clamp the fence down and zero the gauge
Step 3: Clamp the fence down and zero the gauge
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Slide the gauge along the fence and check if the gauge changes much
Step 5: Slide the gauge along the fence and check if the gauge changes much
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - If there is too much play, adjust the alignment and try it again
If there is too much play, adjust the alignment and try it again

How to square a table saw fence – method 3

Method 3 involves using a Tall DIY Runner. This method is an affordable and simple solution, suitable for DIY enthusiasts and woodworkers. The Tall DIY Runner ensures that the fence is aligned parallel to the blade and provides a consistent reference point for repeatable cuts. In this guide, we will explore how to align a table saw fence using a Tall DIY Runner.

  1. Cut a runner for the miter track that is taller than normal.
  2. Move the fence over to the runner and lock it down.
  3. Check for gaps at the end. If there is a gap, the fence is towed out.
  4. Put the fence on the other side and lock it down. Check for gaps again. If there is a gap, the fence is towed in.
  5. Adjust the fence’s alignment and try it again.
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Cut a runner for the miter track that is taller than normal
Step 1: Cut a runner for the miter track that is taller than normal
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Move the fence over to the runner and lock it down
Step 2: Move the fence over to the runner and lock it down
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Check for gaps at the end. If there is a gap, the fence is towed out
Step 3: Check for gaps at the end. If there is a gap, the fence is towed out
How to Square a Table Saw Fence - Step 4 Put the fence on the other side and lock it down. Check for gaps again
Step 4: Put the fence on the other side and lock it down. Check for gaps again

How frequently should you check the squareness of a table saw fence

To ensure accuracy and safety while operating a table saw, it is imperative to examine the fence regularly. The rate of inspection should be determined based on factors including usage frequency, type of projects being done, and the specific saw employed.

For those who make regular use of the saw, inspecting its squareness at least monthly is advised to prevent minor adjustments from becoming major issues. Even for those who use the saw less frequently, it is suggested to check its accuracy at least every couple of months.

Verifying the squareness of a table saw fence after every major activity is highly recommended. This will guarantee that no misalignments occurred during the project, negatively affecting the shape of the fence. To sum up, ensuring the accuracy and safety of your saw should involve regular inspections of its squareness.

Conclusion

A square table saw fence is an indispensable part of a table saw and guarantees precision when cutting. By having a square table saw fence, one can be secure while working with wood and evade hazardous kickback during cuts. Without it, the desired outcomes cannot be attained and frustration, along with wasted materials, become unavoidable.

In summary, squaring a table saw fence is an uncomplicated task that can be completed routinely thanks to the three approaches outlined in this article. To guarantee accuracy and safety, it should be checked and maintained regularly. Securing all hardware properly and protecting the fence from weather and other elements that may cause un-squareness is also essential. By adhering to these tips, woodworkers will reap the rewards of having a perfectly straight fence and be able to make precise cuts with effortlessness.

If you’re curious about the best side to place your table saw fence, my article, What Side of the Table Saw Should the Fence Be on can help. In it, you’ll find the advantages and disadvantages to each option: on the left of the blade or on the right.

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