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Thread: Reduce the lenght of Table Saw Fence?

  1. #1
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    Oct 2007
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    Reduce the lenght of Table Saw Fence?

    Like most of us, Im always trying to make more space in my shop. When I purchased my table saw many years ago the 52 fence was a huge asset. Now that I use my track saw to break down sheet goods it seems like a waste of space. I dont think that I have cut anything wider than 26 in a few years.

    Im thinking that it is time to shorten the fence to 30 32. Has anyone shortened their fence and wish they hadnt? Any other issues that I should be thinking of?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Frank, when you say reduce the length of the fence, I’m assuming you mean the tubes and not the fence itself?
    I have read of people cutting the tubes to save space and of people listing them in the Classifieds forum to trade for shorter tubes. I don’t see a down side other than the work involved.
    I have a 52” capacity Unisaw and have thought about going shorter but I know as soon as I do, I will need it..
    Please help support the Creek.

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  3. #3
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    I had a saw with a 52" fence, sold it & got a saw with a 36" fence. It's very nice to have that extra room & I haven't missed the capacity at all.

  4. #4
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    I wasn't very clear at all. You are correct, cutting the tubes, not the actual fence.

    I have a friend with a great home machine shop who has offered to cut the metal for me so I only have to make a smaller extension table.

  5. #5
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    There have been a number of threads over time about doing this and the consensus has pretty much been positive. I effectively removed 16" off my slider's fence capacity for the exact same reason you cite...better space utilization. ~30-36" is generally more than adequate for most operations that one would use a table saw fence, IMHO, even without a track saw available.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    As others have, I did the same thing with my cabinet saw....Rod

  7. #7
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    Oct 2005
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    Camas, Wa
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    I miss my 52" fence because it gave me more room to put stuff.

  8. #8
    Frank,
    Rather than shorten that 52" fence, I just use the extra length as another work surface. I wouldnt be without it in my shop.

    FWIW,
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  9. #9
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    I cut my rail to 28" to fit a space and haven't missed the extra length. Of course my table saw needs to be mobile.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Falk View Post
    I miss my 52" fence because it gave me more room to put stuff.
    As humorous as this clearly is...there's a major truth to it, too. I'm sure there is no actual study about it, but strongly suspect that there is a very healthy percentage of woodworkers who continually store stuff on the extended right side tables of their saws and easily get away with it because they never actually use that space for cutting anything.

    Now Fred makes a good point. The alternative to shortening is to build an additional workstation into that space for a router or other potential "under table" function, such as a spindle sander if that helps optimize space.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    As others have mentioned, this surface plays two roles. It is rip capacity or stock support when required; it is where my material sets post one operation while waiting for the next. Think of cutting bridle joints or tenons. First operation - make cut, set blank to the right, make cut set blank to the right, etc. Second operation - take blank from the right and make second cut, take blank from the right and make second cut, etc.

    That's all well and good but, if you find yourself not using that space you could certainly change front rail and tube. I have only cut down a rail and tube once and regretted it a few years later (man the price on those things goes up when you're not looking) so, since then I have swapped back and forth a couple of times. This will gain and lose value depending on where you are on your path. My next shop move will be my last so whatever I decide for layout there will stick. If you are at this point, lop them off.
    She said How many woodworking tools do you need?
    I said Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    My saw has 52" rails and I would really miss the length. I do use the entire table top sometimes for things other than sawing at times. for example, we just had our kitchen cabinets refaced, but that did not include the shelves in the cabinets. They left enough laminate for me to do it myself, and I used the saw table as a work surface. It made it easy.

    That said, if you happen to have a PM66 with the long rails, perhaps we can work out a trade. A previous owner of my saw cut some of the left side off (about a foot or so) to accommodate a slider. I'd like to get that back.


    Wayne

  13. #13
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    Wayne, I don't have a PM66. I have a Sawstop Pro model.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Drackman View Post
    Like most of us, Im always trying to make more space in my shop. When I purchased my table saw many years ago the 52 fence was a huge asset. Now that I use my track saw to break down sheet goods it seems like a waste of space. I dont think that I have cut anything wider than 26 in a few years.

    Im thinking that it is time to shorten the fence to 30 32. Has anyone shortened their fence and wish they hadnt? Any other issues that I should be thinking of?

    Thanks
    Same here, so I purchased the shorter rails from Powermatic and made a new table for the shorter length. Now, if I get into another situation where I have more room, I can switch back to the 52" rails.

  15. #15
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    Jan 2008
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    I wouldn't miss the extra width for the table saw very much; however,
    1. I replaced the original extension table with a router table and really appreciate the saw table's extra space on the end of the router table, both as outfeed support for longer moldings and also for short-term staging of multiple parts.
    2. I still have the 52" for those reasonably frequent jobs where it's easier than setting up to use a track saw.

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