For a set of bookshelfs I decided to slice up a 4*8 sheet of cabinet grade plywood.

First I broke down what would form the sides I intended the shelves to be 6 inches deep for DVDs and 45 inches tall.

Using a 48x27 inch sheet cut out of the larger board I routed out the dados and rabbets while a single sheet so I was sure every thing would line up. I set my table saw to 6 inches and started cutting me sides blissfully confident that my rip fence would let me make consistent sides and shelves.

what I got was a set of oddly bowed and tapered boards.

I think what happened is I was applying too much side pressure against the fence causing the cheap fence on my contractors saw to flex out on the rear of the saw.

I know my fence is normally straight and I also know I can push the back about 1/2 an inch

What can I do to mitigate this? Can I clamp the rear of the fence safely?

  • 1
    a photo of your setup might be helpful in getting suggestions.
    – Ashlar
    Mar 6, 2016 at 23:48
  • 1
    Sounds to me like you have diagnosed the problem and found a solution - good work.
    – Ast Pace
    Mar 7, 2016 at 5:56
  • 1
    Yes, clamp the back of the fence, but be very sure that the distance from the sawblade to the fence is equal across the entire length of the sawblade. (Or possibly a tiny bit larger -- like, 1mm -- at the back of the blade... that's personal preference. Never closer, or you'll produce kickback.) Mar 7, 2016 at 15:00
  • Fancier fences do clamp both front and back when you lock them down. But AD's caveat is a good one.
    – keshlam
    Mar 7, 2016 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


My dad had a crappy old fence on his old table saw. When accuracy was important we used a straight edge, (usually a board) and clamped it to the table. It was a major pain to measure, clamp, and then adjust because we moved it tightening down the clamp.

But what I'm getting at is as long as the clamp does not interfere with the path of the wood passed the blade and fence, using a clamp to keep your fence from moving shouldn't be a big deal. Of course you'll want to make sure that the far end isn't closer to the blade than the back end (or you'll bind the blade!) and you might want a clamp on both ends, just in case by having the far side clamped the near side doesn't start moving (and binding the blade!).

  • Thanks, working on part 2 of this bookcase this weekend I am hoping to actually be able to cut a straight board on the first pass this time. Mar 8, 2016 at 10:35

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