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Thread: Cutting Down Cabinet Table Saw fence rails

  1. #1

    Cutting Down Cabinet Table Saw fence rails

    I am downsizing into a smaller workshop. I currently have a 3hp cabinet tablesaw and it is takes up too large of a footprint. Has anyone ever cut the fence rails shorter almost flush with the cast iron top to save space? Cutting them flush will reduce the rip capacity greatly to about 12"-14", but I have a festool tracksaw for wider rip cuts. I am trying to avoid downgrading to a jobsite saw, so I though I would post this and see what others think of the idea. Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Coastal Southern Maine
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    261
    I asked this question a few months ago and many memebers responded that they did without any issues.

  3. #3
    Thanks, I am looking to shorten the fence guide tube and rails more than most. Guide rails cut flush with the table-saw cast-iron top will limit the rip capacity to 14" wide rip cuts. Not sure if I would be better suited to trade the cabinet saw for a jobsite that is more compact with greater rip capacity.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    USVI
    Posts
    120
    Solely my opinion but I would cut the rails if you really need to save the space. Job site saws are inferior in every functional way compared to what you already have. Plus any jigs/sleds you may have most likely won’t work on a saw with different slot locations and less table in front and behind the blade. I have a really super nice rigid I wanna body slam into a dumpster if you wanna trade way down lol.

  5. #5
    Agree with NOT going to a smaller jobsite saw...

    Assuming you have extension wings on both sides of the blade, you might consider removing the extension on the left, to give you more room to keep longer rails on the right side. Or vice-versa.

    Depending on your wings, you might be able to move the left one over to the end of the right extension. Same size saw top overall, but more rip room on the right... Vice versa might apply here too...

    Andy

  6. #6
    Alternately, any metal supply place would have plenty of appropriate sized drops to fab up a mini rail of sorts. I would and have just cut what I had. But, if needing the original rail might ever be a possibility.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Central MA
    Posts
    1,307
    I’ve been where you are and cut my rails but I’d recommend cutting them so that you can rip 24” and try to live with that before you go further. 24” gives you the ability to still make standard cabinets if you ever want or need to.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    6,588
    I had to cut down the rails on my General for two reasons. First to allow the use of a Mast-R-Slide, and second because I have a small shop, and it didn't fit anyway.
    Cut the rails to fit your needs. Save the waste, because they make excellent jigs.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #9
    I cut the rails on my sawstop to 24” for the same reason as you. I am happy with the decision.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southwest IA
    Posts
    138
    Just another though for the guys cutting down your fence rails. You can have a competent welder move the fence to the right side of the T-square making an L square. It would increase your rip on the one side at the expense of the other.

    Don

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Virginia
    Posts
    830
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    Alternately, any metal supply place would have plenty of appropriate sized drops to fab up a mini rail of sorts. I would and have just cut what I had. But, if needing the original rail might ever be a possibility.
    +1

    I would try to save the original rails intact, if only for resale value. Then again, I make stuff out of metal, too, so making up some new ones wouldn't be an issue.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    639
    I can't say every saw is the same but I know my powermatic needs to have the L angle notched for the miter gauge. Just cutting them shouldn't be hard but to make the notch for someone who's not a metal worker might be more involved than they might think. Nothing a 4 1/2" grinder with a cut off wheel can't handle.

  13. #13
    Thanks for all the feedback! I will try to fab up some shorter rails and try that in case I ever upgrade the saw.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    35
    Depending on the saw I would try to save the original rails. Go to Very Super Cool Tools. They give detail instructions on how to make your own rails. http://vsctools.com/

    I made a set for a General 650 that the fellow cut the rails down to fit his shop. Because of this I got the saw for $600.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, ca.
    Posts
    269
    Cutting the rails flush will not allow the fence to lock down near the edge of the table. The "t" part of the fence will not have any surface to bear against when you lock down the fence. You would loose 3 to 4 more inches of rip capacity.
    Bill

    " You are a square peg in a square hole, and we need to twist you to make you fit. " My boss

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