When you begin your woodworking journey, chances are you’ll be using basic tools, such as circular saws, to make your desired cuts. As your skills develop, however, so will your tool needs. As you move on to ever more advanced projects, you’ll need increasingly sophisticated equipment to realize your visions. A table saw will probably be an early purchase for an intermediate or advanced woodworker, but it requires a table saw fence guide to truly get the best results.
You don’t need to be an expert to work with a saw fence guide, though. Just keep these five easy tricks in mind, and you’ll be creating professional quality, perfectly crafted items on a regular basis.
1. Check for Proper Alignment, Every Single Time
Having a correctly aligned table saw is an absolutely crucial part of any project. Even a slightly misaligned cut can completely ruin a project and waste a great deal of expensive materials. More importantly, an improperly aligned table saw fence guide can render the task unsafe for workers. Checking to make sure that everything is properly aligned should be a regular part of the setup of the machinery, and it should be done each and every time that work is being performed.
You will need a few tools to double-check the alignment of your table saw and surrounding equipment. What you need should be commonly found in a standard woodworker’s tool kit. A precision triangle will help you ensure that the blade is at an exact right angle, while a simple screwdriver can tighten any loose screws on the saw blade.
Other basic safety protocols should always be followed. The material being cut should always remain flat against the table. You should never start the saw if there’s anything touching the blade, and you shouldn’t use your hands to push materials into the saw blade. In most cases, using a block will do the job in a much safer manner.
2. Take Your Time With the Process
If you’re using your saw fence to cut material for commercial purposes, you may be tempted to go as quickly as possible since, of course, time is money. You have to get the project done on time and with minimal labor hours, so it stands to reason you’ll want to get the job done as fast as you can.
However, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing to be gained by rushing the task. If you do, you stand to make errors that could ultimately end up costing you much more time—and therefore money—in the long run. Rushing through a project is never a good idea so take your time with every step of the process.
If you have the right equipment, you won’t need to rush. A properly set-up, aligned, and calibrated table saw fence guide means that you won’t lose a lot of time trying to get everything exactly right. You’ll simply set the material where it needs to go and begin cutting. This means that you can take your time with the other steps of the process. Lifting the material and pushing it through the saw should be done slowly and with great care.
3. Double-Check All Your Measurements
A saw fence guide helps you to ensure maximum accuracy when making cuts, but the machinery will only ever cut to the specifications you set. That means if you make an error, you’ll end up with perfectly cut material that is potentially the wrong size. It sounds obvious, but a lot of waste is caused by workers failing to double-check their measurements before beginning their cuts.
It helps to keep detailed notes on the project you’re doing so that if you walk away from the project to take a break or for the end of the workday, you can return to it and remember exactly what you were doing before. Double-check these notes each time to avoid costly errors. It’s even better if you have a saw fence guide that’s programmable. A TigerStop fence and accompanying software, for example, can hold thousands of programmed cuts, which can reduce your errors to a completely negligible amount.
4. Upgrade Your Fence As Soon As Possible
When you buy a table saw, it probably comes with a basic table saw fence guide, which might do just fine for the amateur woodworker who doesn’t utilize the equipment all that often. However, if you’re starting to ramp up your projects, it’s likely that your basic factory-installed saw fence guide simply won’t cut it—no pun intended—for very long.
As soon as you can, upgrade to a better-quality saw fence guide. Opt for the highest quality one you can afford since a top-quality fence guide will last you for many years and might be just what you need to take your work from a one-person operation to an industrial-sized, moneymaking enterprise.
5. Take Advantage of Modern Technology
If there’s a theme of this article, it’s that errors in the woodworking process can prove to be quite costly. Wasted material means wasted time and money, which can seriously derail a building project at best and lead to catastrophic problems at worst. You can avoid the vast majority of these errors by taking advantage of modern technology.
An item such as a TigerStop table saw fence guide can bring a new level of accuracy to your projects, taking the guesswork out of alignment and keeping track of every detail of your project. It has an incredible capacity for different projects, meaning you can work on multiple projects at a time or simply get a massive project done in record time while keeping everyone working on the project safe as you do so.
With an accuracy of +/- 0.003 inches, and the ability to convert decimals to fractions with ease, this type of equipment will take your projects to the next level.