You can build this completely tricked-out router table fence
in an afternoon for about 50 bucks, using easily available
parts.Here’s what you get:
• Flexibility. Tall or short, it’s easy to swap between the faces
of this fence, so you always have the right one for the job.
• Adjustability. It’s a breeze to adjust the faces to surround the
bit and make a tear-out-limiting, zero-clearance fence.
• Interchangeable fences. The left and right faces can be
swapped. If you need a fresh end for a zero-clearance fence, just trade left for right. The faces are so easy to make, you can
have plenty of replacements ready to go.
• Offset outfeed fence. Use your router table as a jointer by
adding a simple shim to the outfeed fence.
• Dust collection. Just hook up to a standard 2-in. hose.
• Safety. The guard is easy to make and easy to use.
• Easy clamping. Two simple clamps hold the fence to the
table,making fence adjustments simple.Plus, you won’t have
any trouble clamping featherboards to this fence.
The fence we show here works for
router tables from 28- to 34-in. long. For
longer tables, simply cut the fence parts 4-in.
longer than the length of your table.
Tools and materials
The fence is made from medium-density fiberboard
(MDF).MDF is dense, hard and flat,which
makes it a great choice for this fence and other
shop-made jigs. It’s also darn heavy, at almost 100
pounds per 4x8-ft. sheet.You’ll need help handling
it. The fence requires about a half sheet, so you
could share a sheet with a fellow woodworker.
To make this fence you need a tablesaw and a
router table equipped with a carbide-tipped 1/4-in.
straight bit (see Sources, page 91). The routing
required to make the fence is simple. A straight
board clamped to the table is all it takes.You don’t
need to have a good router table fence already in
order to make one!
Build the fence
1. Rough-cut the MDF into manageable pieces, 1-in. larger
than the finished sizes.
2. Rip and crosscut a piece to 8 in. x 36 in. for the fence base
(A) and sub-face (B).
3. Use a hole saw to bore a 3-1/2-in.hole in the center of this
piece (Photo 3).
4. Rip a 4-in.-wide sub-face and 3-1/2-in.-wide base from this
piece, cutting through the hole.
5. Cut all interchangeable faces (C and D) to finished size.Take
advantage of your tablesaw setups to make extra faces.
6. Rout a 1/4-in. slot in the sub-face for the guard.
7. Rout slots in the interchangeable faces so they can slip over
8. Rout 1/4-in. slots in the sub-face for the carriage bolts.
9. Rout 1/4-in. slots in the base for the clamps. If the fence is
4-in. longer than your table, the slot length is 2-in.
10. Screw and glue the sub-face to the base using #8 x 1-1/2-
in.wood screws.Predrill for the screws so you don’t split the
11. Cut the corner blocks (E), being very careful to make
them square (Photo 1).
12. Screw and glue the corner blocks to the fence.The corner
blocks are small pieces, so use #8 x 1-1/4-in. screws to prevent
13. Bore 3/4-in.holes to a depth of 1/4 in. in the interchangeable
faces (for the carriage-bolt heads).
14. Bore 1/4-in.holes through the interchangeable faces (for the
15. Rout a 1/4-in. chamfer for dust relief on the bottom corner
of each interchangeable face.
16. Cut the polycarbonate guard to size using a fine-tooth
blade on the tablesaw or bandsaw.
17. Cut a 1-in. radius on the front corners of the guard using
a bandsaw or jigsaw. Use a felt-tip marker to lay out the
radius on the plastic.
18. Bore 1/4-in. x 2-in.-deep holes for the guard pins in the
19. Place the guard in its slot and use a felt-tip marker to
transfer the locations of the guard-pin holes to the guard.
20. Bore 1/4-in.holes in the guard. It’s best to use a twist bit on
21. Cut a piece of 1/4-in. plywood or hardboard for the dust
collection shroud.Don’t worry about beveling the edges to
match the corner blocks; you can fix that with caulk later.
22. Bore a 2-1/4-in. hole in the center of the dust collection
23. Screw and glue the dust collection shroud to the corner
blocks. Use silicone caulk to seal the dust collection box
where it doesn’t fit perfectly around the fence.
24. Bolt a pair of faces to the fence,hook up the dust collection,
clamp the fence to your table, and you’re ready to rout!
Fig. A: Exploded View