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Thread: Table Saw Fence

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    Cool Table Saw Fence

    I have a Ridgid 3650 table saw and have been having some kick back problems. I have tried realigning the fence but the problem doesn’t go away. While at the Ottawa wood show I went to the table saw tune-up seminar and afterwards it was suggested that I should consider a new fence (the intimation was that the existing fence was not very good). The person giving the seminar also sells Red Line Fence Systems. What are your thoughts on the quality of the Ridgid fence should I replace it? I would also appreciate any comments on the Red Line Fence System or other suggestions on replacements.
    Bruce

  2. #2
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    I don't have experice with either of the fences, but am wondering if there might be a different issue. If the blade is parallel to the table and the fence is parallel to the blade, you shouldn't be seeing kickbacks for the most part.

    I guess I'd like to know a bit more about what types of wood you are cutting? Are you ripping or cross-cutting when the kickbacks occur? Do you use a splitter or blade guard with a splitter? Is the blade new and what type (brand and tooth count) is it? Perhaps we can narrow down what is happening when the issue occurs to see if it is the fence.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    I've got the TS3650, and although I did replace my factory fence with an Incra fence, I think the seminar speaker you talked to is blowing smoke up your backside. There's nothing wrong at all with the Ridgid fence IMHO.

    You mentioned that you tried to realign the fence. What method did you use to do it? I suspect we can help you get it aligned. As Darren mentioned, it may not have anything to do with the fence itself.
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  4. #4
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    I have the same saw. The fence was fine. Yes, I also replaced mine, but not because there was anything really wrong with the old one (I wanted the repeatability the incra gave me).

    You do need to make sure it's properly adjusted. What are you using to true it up? Until you get the blade, miter slot, and fence alinged, no aftermarket fence will be useful!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
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    The Ridgid fence is very similar to an after-market one I bought on purpose for my previous saw. My dad is still using it and it is fine. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get a nicer fence if that's what you want. It just means that your current one is probably not your problem.

    If your blade and fence are parallel, your splitter is aligned correctly, etc. Kickbacks should be almost non-existent. Now, ripping boards that have not had the face jointed flat, wet lumber and lumber that releases a lot of stress . . . that'll do it. We all try to learn to avoid or safely work around these things.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 12-15-2008 at 08:09 PM.
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  6. #6
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    The fact that the show booth was hawking the Red Line fence should automatically flag a little BS alert!

    I'm not sure how the Red Line is different than the Accusquare, but other than the nifty accessories, I doubt it's much of an improvement over the Ridgid fence. While I'm not a big fan of the Ridgid aluminum fence, it is at least well executed for that type design and offers support at both ends, and is functional. I tend to prefer the strength and simplicity of the front locking t-square designs like the Biese. A t-square design benefits from the strength of steel to minimize deflection. The Accusquare is an aluminum t-square that's not as strong as the steel versions. It's a nice upgrade from many of the old Emerson Craftsman fences, but IMO would be more of a lateral move compared to the Ridgid. It's always a matter of preference, but I'd look at a minimum of something like the Delta T2 if I were making that upgrade....Vega, Biese, HTC, Incra, Jointech, etc, are all excellent choices, though more costly.
    Got Wood?

  7. #7
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    Start with the basics. What is and what causes kickback?

    In a nut shell the wood gets on top of the blade and the teeth grab the part and throws it at you. So what is allowing the blade to lift the part?

    Two things come to my mind. Make sure your fence is parallel to the blade or slightly wider at the back of the blade. If the distance is smaller at the back then the part may be pushed against the blade lifting the wood.

    The other thing maybe your not holding the part down/allowing it lift up. Or leaving a part trapped between the fence and blade and not pushing it through.

    I don't think you need a new fence unless that one is damaged.

    Hope that helps.
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  8. #8
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    Was going to wait to hear back from you Bruce, but everyone here is covering most of the issues with kickback. Wood pinching the blade on the back side is also a cause, this is where the splitter would help if that was the case. Let us know if any suggestions help though.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    Nov 2008
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    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    re Table saw fence

    Wow, Great response!
    Nice to know I don't have to spend $250+ on a new fence!
    To answer some of the questions:
    I was ripping 1" maple when the first and most dangerous kickbacks occurred (luckily I only have a rather large bruise on my stomach to show for it and I now stand to the left when ripping). When ripping 2" thick ash the board tries to lift and because I haven't been using the guard and splitter it jams the blade and trips the breaker (to prevent this I have been using small wedges in the saw cut behind the blade.
    My blade is a Freud Fusion 40 Tooth combination type, it has been sharpened and it’s clean.
    in order to adjust the fence parallel to the mitre slot I set a steel scale set in the mitre slot at the front, move the fence up to it, tightening it, move the scale to the rear and check for gaps and readjust as necessary until there is no gap (front or rear). For the blade I use an adjustable square in the slot set it so it is touching a front tooth then move it to a rear tooth and adjust the trunnion until both teeth just touch the end of the square. I guess both methods are not perfect, I probably should buy one of those alignment tools with the dial indicator to do it properly (A-line-it).
    As a newbie any suggestions on use and set up of the table saw and fence alignment would be greatly appreciated.
    Bruce

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Moffitt View Post
    ...I probably should buy one of those alignment tools with the dial indicator to do it properly (A-line-it).
    As a newbie any suggestions on use and set up of the table saw and fence alignment would be greatly appreciated.
    Your method is very sound, and you don't need a hundred dollar alignment tool. Your method is plenty good enough. You're probably within a couple thousandths of perfect, and regardless of their hype, that's about what the expensive tools do too.

    Two comments: The above comments presume that you used the same miter slot to align bot the blade and the fence. (Sometimes the two miter slots aren't exactly parallel.)

    Also, when aligning the blade, it's best to use the same tooth at the front and back. Mark one tooth with a magic marker, then align using that tooth at the front and then rotate the blade and use that same tooth to check the alignment at the rear. Repeat several times. Note that you shouldn't move the blade with your hand. You may slightly tweak it. Instead, use your hand on the belt to move the blade. (You did unplug the saw before beginning this alignment, didn't you?)
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

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