Making A Band Saw Fence for my Homemade Band Saw Homemade Machines & Jigs

Shortly after I finished building the band saw, I made a temporary fence to use until I had time to build a proper one. The temporary one was pretty basic: set with my measuring tape and held in place with a couple of clamps. Good in a pinch, but not very convenient.
I started building this new fence a while ago and have been doing it little by little, whenever I had the time. Since I don’t use the band saw every day, it wasn’t high on my priorities list. Of course, one of the reasons for not using the band saw more was the inconvenience of the temporary fence and I knew that with a better fence, the band saw would see more action.

To get started, I had to straighten and slightly rabbet the front edge of the top:

router band saw measuring tape

Using a clamped-on guide board and the router with a straight cutting bit, I did it in two passes.

The rabbet cut by the routers second pass is for the stick-on tape measure:

band saw
measiring tape on band saw

This will be the scale for accurate rip cuts. Where the corner comes off to access the blade, I cut the measuring tape. I did this with a sharp knife after it was stuck on in one piece.

The first part of the fence itself is the “T” that runs against the edge of the table. Here I’ve cut a recess in it on the band saw. The recess is for visibility of the scale and for the pointer that indicates the distance on the scale:

make a band saw fence
t nuts and wood

I used two 1/4″-20 bolts and t-nuts to hold the fence rail to the T. The holes are slightly over sized to make the fence rail angle adjustable.

As seen here, the fence rail has been grooved for a 1/4″ threaded rod that will clamp the fence to the table:

fence assembly

The rod runs through to the back of the table and a wing knob is used to tighten it. A piece of 3/4″ plywood has been added to the fence rail to create an “L” shape. This upright will support other fence parts, such as the high resaw attachment shown on the next page:

knob installed on fence
end of fence

The end has two screws driven in loosely hold it in place.


The pointer is made from sheet metal. I’m using some 8″ stove pipe that has been flattened to make it. Stove pipe is generally thicker than duct material and usually easily found at hardware stores and home centres for very little money.
The pointer needs to be adjustable, to accurately set the fence. A slot is formed by drilling three holes then reaming it out with the drill bit:

using stove pipe to make a pointer

It’s a good idea to make the slot first, before the metal is cut smaller. This makes the drilling operation quite a bit safer and easier.

I use tin snips to cut the pointer to shape:

tin snips cut the steel to make a pointer

The last 1/4″ of the tip was bent up with pliers and the pointer is bolted on:

installing pointer
fence pointer on band saw

This completes the basic structure of the fence. As it is now, it would be used for most all of the ripping tasks involving thinner stock. It’s design is to accommodate attachments and on the next page I show the high resaw fence.

To resaw wider stock, a high fence is needed. For this, a separate part is made that attaches to the main fence. It is made up of three pieces of 3/4″ thick plywood:

higher fence for band saw

The two thicknesses of plywood are equal to the width of the fence rail, so that the face will be flush with it once it’s installed.

The high fence clamps to the main fence using carriage bolts and wing knobs. The carriage bolts go through the face and here I’ve drilled a 1/4″ hole and a 3/4″ counterbore for the bolt:

forstner bit countersink
automotive body filler on wood

What I don’t want is holes in the face of the fence for material to get hung up on. I also want to fix the carriage bolts firmly, so they will not move or turn. To do this, I use auto body filler.

Mix it up and squeeze some under the bolt:

body filler on wood
hole filled with body filler

And completely cover it.

After it has set for a while, I shave off most of it with a sharp knife, then sand it flush and smooth:

body filler cut of and sanded smooth

The bolts go through to the back where two blocks are loosely screwed in place:

high band saw fence
high band saw fence

These clamp the high fence to the upright on the main fence holding it firmly. Notice that the high fence is not the same length as the main – there isn’t any need for it to be and it may actually be better if it is shorter. A couple of turns of the wing knobs and it can be removed in one piece – no loose parts to get lost.

The high fence installed:

high band saw fence
high band saw fence

And without:

band saw fence

The fence system is meant to offer some versatility in how the saw is used, by allowing different parts to be attached for different functions. This would be more of an asset on a saw that was designed for general purpose use (I’ll be building such a saw in the future…) but works well here and gives me a chance to try out my idea.
No doubt the saw will get a lot more use now.