Not long ago I had made a simple side fence for my jigsaw that allows me to make straight cuts in wood boards. Now I’m going to improve that jigsaw fence to make it easier to use, and I also want it to allow me to cut larger boards. And I want to make it look more nice, too.
In this video without comments we see how to make the jigsaw fence.
And here, this time with comments, we see how I made a longer jigsaw fence for precise straight cuts and how I solved some problem.
How to make clamping knobs
The clamping knobs allow to press and clamp the wood to be cut. Like this the jigsaw fence also works as a clamping vice.
To make them I use some wooden knobs. And I found some insert nuts that fit well in the knobs. And in those insert nuts I can insert an 8mm threaded rod.
I started by cutting some pieces of threaded rod to the length I needed (the part I want to stick out of the knobs plus the length that goes inside the knob). I put the insert nut and a locknut in the threaded rod, and I spread epoxy glue on the insert nut and on the end of the rod that goes inside the knob.
With the help of the locknut I insert the insert nut into the knob. I release the locknut (in this case that locknut comes off easily when unscrewing it) and with a new locknut on the end of the rod I insert the threaded rod well inside the knob (without tightening it too much, lest it break the wooden knob).
How to tighten and release a locknut
A locknut consists of tightening one nut against another so that the other does not loosen. Both are locked and will not turn until we release the locknut.
In this project first I used a locknut to insert the insert nut into the knob. And as I said, then I tighten a locknut on the end of the rod by pressing one hex nut against another. This allowed me to use a wrench to drive the threaded rod further into the knob.
To release the locknut I use two wrenches to turn them clockwise away from each other. A little twist and they are already released. In the case of the insert nut, it was tight enough inside the wood. And that is why with a single wrench I was able to loosen the hexagonal nut that was working as a locknut.
I made two clamping knobs and then I decided to make another two a little longer, lest one day I want to cut a thick board and the first ones that I made fall short.
How to prepare the straight wood fence
I know that many people prefer to use metallic fences, but I like to use wood. In the workshop I had a piece of chestnut wood strip that was very straight, and it served me perfectly to make this side fence for straight cuts with the jigsaw.
I have to drill a couple of holes on each end of this wooden strip. This will allow me to clamp perfectly boards of different widths. To make straight and vertical holes I use a drill stand.
And since the threaded rod of the knobs is 8mm, I use a 9mm drill bit here. This ensures that the wooden rod fits well into the holes without getting stuck. I tried 8mm holes, but the rod gets too stuck and makes it hard to move this wooden fence up and down.
Drill and insert nuts in the workbench top
This side fence for the jigsaw is intended to work in a fixed position on my work table. That’s why I have to drill holes in the tabletop so I can insert some insert nuts.
And since I’m going to use this jigsaw fence in conjunction with my jigsaw jig with bearings , I need the fence to stick out a bit over the edge of the table. This ensures that the bottom part with bearings does not hit the edge of the table top.
First I clamp the wood fence in the position I want it on top of the workbench. And with the 9mm drill bit that I used to drill the wood strip, I mark where to drill the table top.
The holes for the threaded inserts are made with a 12mm drill bit. The insert nuts fit easily into these holes, but it is also easy for them to fit slightly crooked. Not a big deal, as by inserting the threaded rod of a clamping knob, I could push the knob to straighten the nuts.
And here is my fence that will help to cut straight with the jigsaw. Remember that it is not only a simple lateral fence, but also works as a clamp for the pieces of wood that we want to cut.
In the picture above we can see how the clamping knobs work when clamping the boards between the workbench and the fence.
This time this fence looks more nice than my first version of this jigsaw fence (which you can find on this blog and on my YouTube channel).
How to improve the accuracy of straight cuts
Okay, we have a side fence. But can we really use it to make precise straight cuts on wooden boards? Well yes. Keep reading :).
Now the trick to make accurate cuts is to cut a thin piece of plywood to the exact width between this fence and the edge of the jig saw blade. This will be the adjustment plate to make the super precise cuts.
I put a sacrificial piece of wood securely clamped with this fence that we just made, I put a 4mm thick plywood sheet on top with the edge against the wood fence, and I use the jigsaw to cut the strip that I need, the adjustment plate.
How to use the jigsaw fence for straight cuts with the jigsaw
First: as I said, I use this fence in conjunction with my jigsaw jig with bearings for perfect vertical cuts with the jigsaw. And this is important because it is useless to have a super precise cut on the top of the board if the vertical cut is crooked.
I draw the cutting line on the wood board that I want to cut, and let’s see how to make a precise cut.
Then, to cut accurately, I use the fence to press just a little the board to be cut. And I use the adjustment plate (the 4mm strip of plywood that I have just cut) to fine tune the position of the cutting line relative to the edge of the fence.
When the board I want to cut is in the correct position with the cutting line on the edge of the adjustment plate, I can finish clamping the board by tightening the clamping knobs.
It is important to take into account if the cutting line belongs to the piece that I need or not, since we may need to place the cutting line outside or inside the edge of the adjustment plate.
When we are sure that we have the board exactly where we want it to be, we take away the adjustment plate and we can make the cut with the jigsaw .
I put the edge of the jigsaw shoe, or in this case and better said the edge of the jig that is attached to the metallic base, against the fence. And making sure that it does not separate, I slide it against the wood fence until I finish the cut in the wood board.
And here we can see how with these two jigsaw jigs working together I can make a perfect and precise straight cut, both along the length of the wood and vertically. Also note that the top of the board is not chipped because the jig attached to the jigsaw base also helps to prevent chipping .