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Thread: Radial Arm Saw fence - new design

  1. #1

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    Peter Sanders's Tools

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design

    Radial Arm Saw fence

    After many years of cutting a new piece of MDF for a radial arm saw fence when the old one was too “cut up”, I implemented something new. (FYI, I purchased the RAS about 1977, when I built my second storey extension).

    I had purchased some aluminium extrusions that were part of a “clearance” when a local tool shop moved premises. These extrusions had been lying idle for a while. So, the next “cut up” time had arrived to fix the fence and this time, utilize the extrusions.

    My design used two different length extrusions, as shown in the image below.

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a_crop.jpg

    The new fence design used a “sandwich” of MDF-extrusion-MDF. This provided some useful benefits.

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-6-callouts.jpg

    Both the front piece of MDF (I suppose it could be called a sub-fence) and the aluminium extrusion could be moved and positioned separately. The extruded fence is held in the desired position with captive bolts and the sub-fence is held in place by cap screws. The piece of MDF at the back of the extrusion was the part of the fence that remained clamped to the table (and held the whole fence in place).

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-4-.jpg Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-5-callouts.jpg

    As a proponent of the RAS, I was willing to utilise its various settings including swinging the RAS arm to whatever degree my job required. (I had calibrated the saw, so I was happy to change and reset the saw angles without difficulty.

    As you can see in the image, the fence can be positioned to suit the angle being cut and the sub-fence could also be “closed” to allow the (MDF) sub-fence to be cut at the angle to which the arm was set, thus creating a zero clearance for the blade at that desired angle.

    The extrusion was never cut. The extrusion was only repositioned conveniently close to the blade to provide strengthening support to the MDF sub-fence.

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-2-.jpg

    The ability to reposition the sub-fence at any time allowed the sub-fence to be closed and re-cut for zero clearance when the saw is returned to its usual 90° position.

    I was never happy with the original thumbscrews - supplied with the saw - to clamp the fence in the table.

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-9-.jpg Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-8-.jpg

    When creating the new fence I decided to implement a better clamping method. I chose to use three “over-centre” clamps. These replaced the thumbscrews in the same position along the fence.

    These over centre (English spelling ) made it so much more convenient to reposition the fence. My table was replaced at the same time as the new fence. I made the table 6" deeper (front to back) as I would frequently rip wide boards (yes it is safe to do this - obviously with all due care as with all power tools). The blade guard is placed just above the boards being cut. For clarity only, the guard is moved up in the image.

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-n_a-3-.jpg

    So now I could move the fence very easily without those pesky thumbscrews

    This new clamping method was so much better.

  2. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Peter Sanders For This Useful Post:

    DrByte (03-04-2016), Jon (03-02-2016), kbalch (03-03-2016), Paul Jones (03-05-2016), PJs (03-05-2016), richardcrane (03-26-2016), rlm98253 (11-26-2017), Ron Woods (03-05-2016), Sleykin (08-03-2019), TomBrose (03-19-2016), Toolmaker51 (11-26-2017)

  3. #2
    Content Editor DIYer's Avatar
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    Thanks Peter! We've added your Radial Arm Saw Fence to our Fences category, as well as to your builder page: Peter Sanders' Homemade Tools. Your receipt:


  4. #3
    DrByte's Avatar
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    DrByte's Tools
    Like you, I totally embrace my RAS, my first (and most versatile) saw ever purchased. Your fence is a great addition. Might have to look for some alum extrusions similar to this!

  5. #4

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    Peter Sanders's Tools
    Hi

    Thank you for your comment. You could easily create something similar or better using one of the Kreg or Incra extrusions.

    Something like this perhaps...

    Kreg Heavy Duty Trak

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Peter Sanders For This Useful Post:

    Paul Jones (03-05-2016)

  7. #5
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    Hi Peter,

    Very nicely done, indeed! Your Radial Arm Saw Fence is the 'Tool of the Week'!

    You'll be receiving one of our official HomemadeTools.net T-shirts:

    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-black-shirt-front-actual-design.jpg Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-black-shirt-rear-actual-design.jpg
    Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-white-shirt-front-actual-design.jpg Radial Arm Saw fence - new design-white-shirt-rear-actual-design.jpg

    Just let me have your details (size, color choice, and mailing address) via PM and we'll get things processed directly.

    Congrats!

    Ken

  8. #6

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    Brendon's Tools
    Peter,
    Like the new fence set-up.
    I'm also a radial arm saw fan.
    There's only a few of us left I think.
    Regards,
    Brendon
    Visit my blog at www.waneyedgeworkshop.com

  9. #7

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    Peter Sanders's Tools
    Hi Brendon

    Thank you, yes there seem to be very few proponents of the RAS.

    I have a plan for my RAS. It has been dismantled for a while as I had to remove it and 27 drawers to install my new (to me) metal lathe. I'm in the process of extensions and renovations at the moment as soon as the time is available to resurrect the RAS, I'll put my plan into place and post the details here. Probably 6-8 weeks away.

    Regards

    Peter

  10. #8

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    Brendon's Tools
    Looking forward to seeing that Peter.
    Best Wishes
    Brendon
    Visit my blog at www.waneyedgeworkshop.com

  11. #9
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    Thank you for the idea. I recently purchased a new to me 12" Delta RAS and am in the process of building a table and fence for it. I do believe that your idea takes care of the fence part. Now just have to finish the table.

  12. #10
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    Ralphxyz's Tools
    Making a new table and fence has been on my list, but I didn't know what I wanted to do for the fence, now I know, Thanks!!

    Ralph

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