Jigs and techniques #3: Bandsaw resaw fence

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Blog entry by GregD posted 03-12-2011 05:16 AM 6415 reads 9 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Tenon Jig Measuring Stick Part 3 of Jigs and techniques series Part 4: Flexi-Sled Table Saw Sled »

As I was getting to the stage in my door project that required a lot of resawing, I started looking for information on how to do that. On the web and also in the classroom of my local Woodcraft store I saw tall shop-made fences used for resawing. So I decided to build one.

I selected 3/4” melamine for the fence. The melamine faces provide a relatively hard, slick surface for the fence face, and the particle board substrate does not have a propensity to warp. Unfortuantely, the stuff isn’t very stiff. So I decided to use a torsion-box design to provide stiffness. I decided to use pocket hole screws to hold it together.

My bandsaw has a 12” resaw capacity. I have on it a Kreg fence that is 3” tall. I thought it would be a good idea to split the difference and make one side of the fence 9” tall and the other side of the fence 6” tall. That would give me plenty of flexibility to match the height of the fence to the stock to be resawn.

Here is a picture showing the construction of the fence while it is still possible to see the internals.

The width of the spacers between the two fence match the width of the part of the Kreg fence that rides in the fence rail, so the final fence assembly will fit snugly over it as you can see in the next picture below.

Here is the final, assembled fence. I edge-banded the melamine to protect my hands from the sharp edges of the material and to protect the particle board from any moisture. Houston is hot much of the year and pretty much everything runs the risk of getting hit with a good-sized puddle of sweat. The edge banding is cheap, easy to install, and makes the final product look so much better also. I also used a flush trim bit in my router table and a hardboard template to put a 1/2” or so radius on all of the exposed corners.

This picture shows the outfeed end of the fence. I use a clamp to eliminate any wiggle on this end. The length of the bottom spacer was selected so the end of this part would land at the edge of the table.

One of the videos on resawing I found on the web demonstrated the use of a secondary fence to hold the work against the resaw fence. This secondary fence is an alternative to using finger boards, for example, but it requires that the work is planed to uniform thickness. It looked good to me so I made one. I made mine in two parts. One part consists of the fence, two sides, and a base, which bolts to a separate sub-base. This allows me to shim the sub-base as needed to make the fence exactly parallel to the resaw fence. I used dowells to reinforce the joints between the fence and the sides. The plywood sides have a slight bevel.

Originally this secondary fence was a bit taller and also had edge banding on the top of the melamine. When I first used it I discovered that I wanted the edge of the fence to be as close as possible to the front of the bandsaw blade so that it would keep the work up tight against the fence right up to the very last bit of the cut. To get it there it must clear the upper guide. Well, it wouldn’t so I sliced a bit off (changing the position of the upper guide would have required re-tuning the guide bearings because the upper guide does not track the sawblade).

This picture shows the final setup of the fences right before making a cut. The paper you see on the table to the left of the fence was used to shim the fence parallel to the blade. I thought I had everything square – the table square to the blade, and the fence sitting square also, but the fence and blade still weren’t quite parallel.

-- Greg D.

6 comments so far

View SteveMI's profile


1168 posts in 4542 days

#1 posted 03-12-2011 05:44 AM

How about some notes on how well it works for you and the types of resaw? Are you doing any thin cuts? Any issue with the wood being flat?

I have planned for something similar, but stacking couple layers of feather boards on the second fence to pressure the board against the tall fence. My thought was the wood not being flat enough, even after planing, to use two fixed fences like you have.


View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 4022 days

#2 posted 03-12-2011 07:16 AM

I like the fact that you thinking outside the box. Just because Rowbow ddn’t do it doesn’t mean it’s not going to work.If you look at my re-saw fence you would think there’s no way he’s going to get a flat and I can get it within a couple thousands of an inch.Hit it with my scraper plane or belt Sander and I’m done. I make all my own veneers up to 6 1/2 inches . 16th of an inch thick no never got to come up with anything new if you’re doing what everybody else does. Keep up the good work.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4485 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 12:57 PM

Great blog post and the pictures explain your idea.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5547 days

#4 posted 03-12-2011 05:09 PM

Thank you,
Very nice, I think this is something I’d like to make for my saw.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 4384 days

#5 posted 03-13-2011 01:43 AM

Steve -

I have done a bit of sawing with this setup. To date only about 6” wide boards. Once I had a bit of an issue with a board getting stuck between the two fences, but I don’t know if that was from inconsistent thickness or the secondary fence slipped a bit – I had it particularly tight for that cut. Before I saw the idea of the second fence I was planning on using featherboards. Now that I’ve tried it this way, I’m sold. With a little practice it is not difficult to get the secondary fence set so the work slides easily between the fences and yet has no significant play from side to side. As long as the side-to-side slop is less than the amount you intend to plane off the sawn surface to clean it up, it is good enough.

For my current project I am cutting 1/4” thick boards, but some of my early tests were thinner and I expect I could get close to Dandog’s results – 1/6” thickness on 6” wide boards. I usually run the sawn surfaces through the planer which is set up to remove about 1/64”, and when things go well that is all that is needed. I have noticed that at 1/4” thickness the flat-sawn boards I’m making will cup as often as not once they are cut, and even though the planer feed roller flattens that out a bit those usually require a bit more planing.

I am using Highland Woodworking's WoodSlicer blade I am sold on those now, also.

Dandog – I saw the basic idea on a video on the web somewhere. I’d like to give credit where it’s due, but I can’t find the video anymore.

-- Greg D.

View ivan's profile


44 posts in 4382 days

#6 posted 05-10-2011 01:46 AM

Thanks for your very clear photos and explanation. I am looking to build a tall fence for my 14” Jet and yours is right on!

-- Ivan, Bay Area, California

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