Table saws function as the shop workhorses, but in theory they are only built for one purpose: to spin a saw blade. However, one thing that a table saw is not able to do by itself is position material for straightness, squareness and dimensional accuracy. This is where a fence or guide comes in handy.

It’s important to consider how much you are producing when choosing a fence. Are you making 10 parts a day or are you making 100 parts a day?

Also decide if you want the freedom of switching between fractions and decimals. If so, then an automated fence is a good way to go. The same goes for cutlist capacity. If you continually work with the same dimensions and want to keep track of parts cut, there are models available that can do just this.

There are two fence types used most commonly. The first is a T-Square type fence. This has a 3-point locking system to maintain its squareness and holding position. The fence system is square in shape and allows for the easy attachment of jigs and fixtures. It also has easily replaceable surfaces on both sides of the fence made from material found in most shops.

The second type of fence is commonly found on sliding table saws. The fence slides back and forth, allowing the miter gauge to make cuts on the right side of the blade without fear of material kickback. It also has the ability to lay flat for a lower profile, useful when cutting thin material.

After-market micro adjusters are also available. These give you the ability to adjust your fence with the turn of a knob. Digital readouts are another option that take the guesswork out of reading tape measures on the fence scale.

Source: TigerStop (Mike Arnott author.) For more information call (360) 254-0661 or visit

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