Tablesaw Micro Adjustment

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 06-01-2018 01:49 PM 3026 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Boys and Girls,

Soon after I purchased my contractors saw, I fitted it with a biesemeyer fence.
Whether it’s bad tuning, loose tolerances or just delicate hands, I found that my fists were growing bruises upon the bruises from banging the fence to make that “micro-adjustment” only to have to bang it back the other way caused I missed the spot. The fist was getting so bad that after a few painfull hours when I missed the mark, I kept forgetting to change direction. I’m sure there are a few people familiar with this saga.

Never being afraid to try new gadgets, I came across this Rockler micro-adjuster a few years ago,

It sort of worked OK but I was never overly satisfied with it… it’s redeeming grace was the fact that it was a helluva lot cheaper (about $18, I think) than anything I could make especially if I costed my time which is something a lot of people ignore.

Anyway it had 2 major faults,
1. Adjustable in only one direction.
2. Found the magnets not strong enough if I missed the sweet spot between fence lockdown and free movement.
3. It wasn’t a higher ranking, general purposed jig (OK, 3 faults).

Nevertheless I had a swag of those mag-switches that I knew would provide the holding grunt I needed without the use of super glue.

Now just to throw confusion into a turbulent saga, what I’m about to describe is a hybrid of two separate designs with an 18 month gap between the two.

Back then, I had just purchased a new wooden thread maker and was anxious justify the outlay and put it to work on a 1” bolt.

And a nut to use as a handle. I created a smaller nut to lock the large nut onto the thread.

The base simply consisted of 2 square mag switches held together by a piece of 42×19mm hardwood. The mag-switches had 2 bolt holes on each face for attachment hardware.
This meant that the base was actually a side attachment.

I created a faceplate with a 1” threaded hole (nut) to assist in anchoring the jig to the fence rail.

This faceplate was wider than the base so the nut hole could be offset so the screw would clear the mag-switches. This faceplate was bolted to the front of the first magnet without any need for glue.

What I then had to design was a means of attaching the screw to the actual fence. Initially I used these Rockler universal fence clamps (from Carba-tec)

(no pictures available of that design)…

But then discovered I could make use if the t-track on the side of my biesemeyer aluminium side plate.
While I could have used two different diameter forstner bits to make the attachment bracket, I chose to make it out of two pieces which made customisation and enhancement much easier,

I mounted the screw on my lathe and cut a “tenon” on the non-threaded end of the screw,

The screw had a long neck to permit straddling of the fence’s base,

Worked out the fit and drilled the fence bracket and attached in the t-track…

again my trusty tape measure proved to be better referred to as rusty, so I had to re-drill the hole…

after all a new hole was easier than new brackets.

It was then a case of moving the fence to within a +/- 50mm span of the desired length which I thought was acceptable manipulation limits. After all who want’s to screw for more than 100mm (... put your hands down).

Tried it out and this new jig permitted movement in either direction with the magnets providing sufficient anchorage. One of the beauties of this mag switch configuration was that you could turned off the polarity, move the fence with the jig attached and then turned the polarity back on for normal operation without having to remove the jig.

A quick lesson… sit up straight! There are basically 4 sizes of mag-switches… from left to right,

1. 65mm mag square.
2. 40mm mag square.
3. 40mm mag switch.
4. 30mm mag switch.
Many years ago (when I still had a paying job) I bought a whole swag of them when they were first released in Australia at a “toooo good to be true” price.

I chose the 40mm mag square but then I remember promising myself that if I ever re-made the jig I would use the 40mm mag switch,

as they were easy to interchange without the need for the attachment bolts.

The reason why I chose a wooden thread was,
1. I had a wooden threader.
2. Large guage acme bolts were $100+ in Australia (if you could find them).
3. I considered smaller metal bolts for such an operation poopsie.

Now having said that, metal threads would probably give a smoother movement though more gradual than wooden ones, however with the bi-directional movement, reversing an over extension of the mark with wood was simple.

Well lo and behold, a few months ago (about 18 months after the initial build) I accidentally dropped the jig (forgot to turn the mags on when parked sitting detached and idle). The faceplate broke through the “nut” recess and though the screw suffered a chip, it was insignificant for normal operations and didn’t need to be replaced.

After deciding to use the round mag switches, having to make a new faceplate required a new method to attach it to the base as it could not be done “through” the switch. I decided to use metal bolts with wooden threads. The pieces were attached using 60mm ¼” bolts. It was incredible how rigid the join was.

The 40mm round mag switches required a 40mm hole (DOH!). Unfortunately the switch in a round hole required 2 hand operation. One to hold the unit steady while the other was to turn the knob.
I added a small arc piece,

to give a square edge for one of the switch’s flat side to register against, permitting single handed operation.

Put it to the test and it performed beautifully. But in every silver lining there is a cloud. I now have 2 mag squares that are not as versatile as the others and I’m already planning another project using the round switches.

As a backup, I have made a faceplate for the square switches so I can use either as the screw is interchangeable.

For once I didn’t start with a SketchUp drawing but hit the workshop and started to string together a few ideas. When I ran out of string and couldn’t find my stash of rubbers (bands that is), with minimal rationalisation, I formulated the design that just happened to turn into this jig.

Now if you hate reading as much as I do, simply look at this video to save you reading the prattle above.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

13 comments so far

View Andre's profile


5250 posts in 3257 days

#1 posted 06-01-2018 04:27 PM

LOL! amazing, you have to win an award for dedication to accuracy! But I do need to get some of those magnetic holders.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View diggerdelaney's profile


543 posts in 5202 days

#2 posted 06-01-2018 05:00 PM

Great little jig. Like you I have the threader set for 1” which I brought last year for one reason and another have not been able to have a play with it, as well as building models and now the Monmouthshire waggon. Maybe one day soon.

-- Derek, Kent, UK,

View Dutchy's profile


4369 posts in 3620 days

#3 posted 06-01-2018 08:27 PM

Old and new together. A lot of work Ducky and I’m curious if you will use it a lot.


View therealSteveN's profile


9977 posts in 2026 days

#4 posted 06-01-2018 09:44 PM

Great job taming a Beis, I’ve always found them to be Brutish when it came to movement.

Thanks for posting and all the pics make it nice for someone to follow your lead.

This is one of the reasons I have favored the Vega fence for many years. The auto adjust and it’s safety options are world class, and they are micro, yet pretty repeatable.

Dutchy, there is hardly a time I use my TS’s and don’t tweak via the micro adjust on my Vega’s.

Andre, the name most heard about this type of magnetic holder is Mag Switch they sell them single, and in packages with finger boards, and other holding jigs. To be honest the magnets are awesome, the jigs can all easily be homemade. Biggest thing is SEARCH to buy, prices are all over the place for the same thing from different sellers.

-- Think safe, be safe

View robscastle's profile


8542 posts in 3656 days

#5 posted 06-01-2018 09:52 PM

Why is there a lace out of one of your tennis shoes tied around the 65mm mag switch?
Plus what sort of knot is that, looks like a clove hitch or may be a ski pole hitch.

Otherwise again a well constructed and documented project.
Does the video show any actual screwing being done?

I checked out all your industrial models work they are all very impressive as well.

What are you working on currently, ... not a lot of activity since 2016 apart from your “weekend” boat job.

BTW what did you do with them once they were finished?

-- Regards Rob

View robscastle's profile


8542 posts in 3656 days

#6 posted 06-01-2018 11:09 PM

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


9454 posts in 2272 days

#7 posted 06-02-2018 02:26 AM

... I do need to get some of those magnetic holders….

Thx tSN for the extra info in mag-switches. There are various types of magnetic “switches” available on the market, however, all my references to mag switches refer to the specific product/brand you have linked to.

Andre, the versatility of mag switches are limited to your inagination and the availablity of a steel base to anchor them to.
And if you don’t have an available “steel base”, make one… a fender washer screwed to some timber…

just ensure you countersink the washer, but more so the screw head,

..... favored the Vega fence for many years. The auto adjust…..
- therealSteveN

Thanks for the feed back and aditional info tSN. I’ve never heard of the Vega and after doing a Google their small WEB pictures made me little the wiser! Unfortunately, here in Australia we don’t have the availability of items you guys have and can only access them when we become aware of it and order from overseas….. however, our great Australian government may soon put a kabosh on that come 1 July this year (2018).

.... I have the threader set for 1”.....
- diggerdelaney

Thanks rc, for the Beall link.

diggerd, I was buying the “hand” threaders one at a time, but as I was increasing my diversity, I found that the Beall set was much (for low values of much) cheaper than buying them individually. The only down side is you need a trimmer (router too big) to operate, however, most people have one.

..... I m curious if you will use it a lot.
- Dutchy
Dutchy, like tSN I probably use it 99% of the time (unless the exact measurement is not critical). The only time I don’t use it is when I detach it from my fence (usually when I remove the fence) and just too lazy to put it back on… then all it takes is one or two fist bangs on the side of the fence and it goes straight back to use!

Why is there a lace out of one of your tennis shoes tied around the 65mm mag switch?
- robscastle

The missus’s version of the ball and chain. She turns the switch and all I can do is run around in small circles… BUT, I have the choice of clockwise or anti-clockwise!

I does have a 2nd. use though. I turn the magnet on and drag it around the workshop floor to pick up all those dropped pieces of hardware that are just out of reach ‘cause of my gut.

Does the video show any actual screwing being done?
- robscastle

Got censored.

What are you working on currently, ...

Psyching myself up to finishing my half-track (from T & J)... After much deliberation about timber/colour I decided on ebonized maple… Started toying around with the concept and kept chickening out and finding other trivial projects to keep me distracted. Why the hell do you think I write these long posts and replies? I have also been involved with projects for friends that I always keep forgetting to keep record of. Also spend a bit of time working on my Dave Stanton inspired bench top…. Oh yeah, just finished building a TV cabinet for the spa area… hmm, should see if I have enough happy snaps to post it. Coly Hrap… I have been a busy little chook… I need a holiday…

I am running out of excuses and will have a good drink on it and maybe re-start the other half next Monday.

..... apart from your “weekend” boat job.
BTW what did you do with them once they were finished?

If you are referring to the boat… it is no longer gathering dust… it’s the case that is gathering it…

right in front of something that used to be a bulging wallet!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4318 days

#8 posted 06-02-2018 01:05 PM

This is a wonderful fixture and will be a fine addition to your shop. It’s very creative.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 4140 days

#9 posted 06-02-2018 02:45 PM

Very very cool … Nice project … thank you !!!

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9603 posts in 2164 days

#10 posted 06-02-2018 04:03 PM

I did notice you had feed————-> on your feather board …. my question is how many vino before you turn it the wrong way LOL :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View crowie's profile


5445 posts in 3402 days

#11 posted 06-02-2018 11:13 PM

Another clever jig from one ingenious bloke…

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


9454 posts in 2272 days

#12 posted 06-03-2018 01:09 AM

…. my question is how many vino before you turn it the wrong way LOL :<))
GR8, it’s not the number of vinos but my body’s ability to process it… however, I’m in extensive training and working on it

Thanks all for your encouragement. Many will curse you as you have given me the incentive to continue, however, I will resolve to have a glass or two less before getting out of bed.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


9454 posts in 2272 days

#13 posted 06-04-2018 06:05 AM

Another clever jig from one ingenious bloke…
- crowie

Thanks crowie, I’ll have to take my 30 yo mobile brick phone out of mothballs to fit my new sized head.

Unfortunately the kudos goes to Mr. Rockler who sold me the original that didn’t cut the mustard. I’m not much at new ideas but like a good barramundi… I’ll grab the line and run with it… this duck has many genders!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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