In part one, I added new tires to my bandsaw and fixed a problem which prevented tensioning the blade against the wheels. In this post I’ll build a new bandsaw fence.
ogic would dictate that a tune-up would be the next step in the renovation of my Jet JWBS-14DX bandsaw, but at this point I’d rather build something. So I am going straight to building a proper fence for it. To my knowledge, this saw was offered in three versions: the standard JWBS-14, the deluxe model JWBS-14DX which I own and then the previously unknown to me pro version, the JWBS-14DXPRO. I remember the deluxe model having heavier wheels among a few other upgrades. The professional version seems to add a fence only. All the cool bandsaws I see at Woodcraft have a fence meaning that non-fence models are nice, but a nice tall fence just completes the saw.
For my bandsaw fence, I could have purchased the Jet JRF-14R ($88.99 via eBay; it seems to be a discontinued item from Jet) designed as an accessory for this saw, or simply drive over to Woodcraft and buy a Kreg KMS7200 ($108.00), also a bolt on option. But I have blown through all my money for new tools which means a much less expensive shop made fence is the only doable option.
I remember seeing an article in Fine Woodworking titled “Make Your Own Bandsaw Fence“. I found the article online and downloaded it. This fence seems pretty straightforward to build using plywood, some star knobs and angle iron. It is a hefty looking accessory and in the article, author Patrick Sullivan implies the fence is inexpensive to make.
Jeff Does Metalworking
I am not a metal worker – at all. Fortunately this fence requires just basic metalworking skills. The fence rides on 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 1/8″ angle iron; a part the plan calls the front rail. I sourced a metal-cutting drill bit for the mounting holes and a new metal-cutting blade for my rarely used reciprocating saw. Mounting the front rail was pretty simple, but I left the rail long opting to cut it to length after the fence was finished and I could confirm the left to right travel requirements.
Next, time to begin building the fence itself. A key component is the hardwood runner which is an odd-shaped thing and includes a UHMW plastic insert. So this project includes metal working and cutting dense plastic.
I had to add two threaded inserts which I need more experience doing since the threads caused a distortion in the cherry I used; tearing occurred as the threads began to bite into the wood. Then I added a plywood part called the sliding table base.
With the base completed, time to move to the fence face and supporting parts. I should mention that all the wood for this project came from cut-offs and leftover material from earlier projects. I chose cherry for the hardwood runner not because I wanted a contrasting wood, it simply was the size I needed. Same for the ribs or backing supports for the fence face. Those are made of mahogany because the plan calls for one inch thick material. That they look good paired with birch plywood is just a bonus.
The Completed Fence
Somehow I view this project as being more difficult than say a typical furniture build. Making an accessory for a power tool can be some fussy business. I kept having to check the fit, make adjustments, check again, etc. Maybe part of this feeling comes from the special materials used or the fact that this fence was designed to work with a Delta bandsaw and mine is a Jet. I did have to make one minor adjustment to the hardwood runner to account for the thicker Jet band saw table. No matter, the fence is finished; it works and I like it.
By the way, the metal-cutting blade in my reciprocating saw made quick work of cutting the front rail to size. I don’t remember using this saw to cut metal other than nails; I normally use a hacksaw for metal work. But cutting the angle iron was like cutting butter.
I’ll have one more post in this series covering my attempt to remove the shake from my bandsaw. I have already viewed a few videos on the subject and have some adjustment I want to try. That will be next.
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