Ripping or crosscutting thin stock on table saw

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 11-30-2011 06:39 PM 2331 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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220 posts in 3301 days

11-30-2011 06:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: steeel city 35990 fence thin stock question

I am new to woodworking and just assembled my new Steel City 35990CS contractors saw. Everything is great so far except for one thing. The fence is the T Square type which is just a 2” square steel tube. As a result there is a gap of approximately 3/8” inch from the table to the bottom of the fence. My first project is using 1/4” thick stock, so it obviously slides into this gap. I either need to add phenolic sides to the fence to simulate an industrial fence or make a wood fixture to clamp to the fence.
I plan to do quite a bit of work with 1/4” or 3/8” thick stock. What would you suggest I do. Any help with material chioces and plans would be appreciated.
Yea I know I should have bought a better saw with a better fence. Did I saw I am new to woodworking…
Thanks for your help.

8 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3950 days

#1 posted 11-30-2011 06:43 PM

Most fences can be adjusted vertically. Personally, I like mine to ride ~1/16” above the table. Can you post a picture of your fence?

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View TheDane's profile


5865 posts in 4545 days

#2 posted 11-30-2011 06:48 PM

A wooden, sacrificial fence is never a bad idea.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View semi75's profile


78 posts in 3782 days

#3 posted 11-30-2011 06:51 PM

3/8 of an inch is very high off the table, I have seen some fences 1/8 above but at 3/8 above you might see if there is an adjustment.
You can also add an auxiliary fence clamped on to your current fence. Make sure the aux. fence is straight and it should help your issue. There should be quite a few pics out there of auxiliary fences to better describe what I’m talking about.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3853 days

#4 posted 11-30-2011 06:52 PM

Phenolic would work well.
So would high molecular weight polyethylene.
Or just MDF.
MDF covered on both sides with plastic laminate (like formica) is about bullet proof for this type work.
You mainly want something that is stable and smooth.

I’m surprised that the fence doesn’t come closer to the table than that, however.
Is it possible they left something out of you shipment? Like the sides for the fence?!
I looked at the manual for your saw and they clearly show faces on the fence in the manual.
But they do not list a part number in the parts list.!

View a1Jim's profile


118142 posts in 4459 days

#5 posted 11-30-2011 07:22 PM

Hi Mich
Like Gerry said you can add a sacrificial fence to keep from having thin material from sliding under the fence. There is another issue you need to address when ripping thin strips and that is that it is not safe to cut the thin strips between the blade and the fence because they can kick back at you like a bullet ,it’s much safer to let them fall off the outside of the blade. Here are a couple of ways to accomplish that kind of cut.


View knotscott's profile


8386 posts in 4258 days

#6 posted 11-30-2011 07:43 PM

Phenolic is a great material for fence faces. UHMW plastic, ply, mdf, mdo, and melamine will also work.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3459 days

#7 posted 11-30-2011 08:27 PM

+1 on adjusting the fence. Mine is about 1/16” above the surface of the tabletop.
Also, I rip laminate and 1/8” plexi a lot, so I use a strip of MDF as an auxiliary fence. I hold it on with the rockler fence clamps. Works great.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 3301 days

#8 posted 12-01-2011 12:20 AM

Thanks Guys, I looked at the fence and found a simple fix. I inadvertantly installed it where the back of the fence was not riding on the rail properly. (DUH) Once in place, it rides about 1/16” off the table. Even that is too much so I made a simple 90 degree sacrificial fence and clamped it to the factory fence. Problem solved.
Crank—thanks for the heads up about the factory fence. The pictures in my manual and don’t show phenolic sides to the fence. I’ll call the factory and see what they have to say.
Thanks for the quick responces.

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