I'm often making "slots" in wood, sometimes it is for jigs, but other times it is in the construction of a piece of furniture or some other woodworking accessory. I can often cut these on my router, but it requires a bit more work because I often need to set up a temporary fence either on my existing router table, of a temporary fence that consists of a straight board clamped to the wood I am cutting. For me, it's almost always faster to cut slots in wood using my table saw, and simply make 2 cuts the remove the inner core and now I have a perfectly straight slot.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/dA7d-X_hKRU
I find that many times I need to make more than one slot, especially if I am making jigs so it's pretty common for me to need to move the table saw fence back and forth, depending on the cuts ...
To make slots on a table saw, all you really need are start and stop blocks. As I show in the video, this can usually be done with scraps of wood and either clamped to the table saw fence, or you use a wooden hand screw clamp, which works, but the handles can get in the way, and it's sometimes not as secure as is required.
The other issue I find with make-shift stop blocks is when moving them back and forth on the table saw, the blocks often catch up in the mitre slots and probably the biggest reason to make stop blocks for a table saw fence is the fact that very often you are measuring the stop and start of a cut - - - THEN moving the fence back and forth, and sometimes trying to keep a stop block in exactly the same position AFTER you have moved the fence back and now trying to clamp it in that same position can mean the block may move slightly, which may not be a problem for some cuts, but for others it can be critical.
Making Saddle Clamp Stop Blocks is easy, but to do a good job there are a few things that you might want to do watch for.
First of all, you will want your clamps to be a tiny bit higher than the level of the table saw deck, this is so the clamps can be moved back and forth across the miter slots without them catching.
The second thing to consider is how the clamps will be sliding back and forth across the top of your fence. In my case, my fence is aluminum, which means it's softer than steel so moving things back and for across the top of it will, over time mar the finish, but even more concerning is that it will begin to scar the finish making it harder for other jigs to move back and forth and I just wanted to avoid all of those issues, which is why I selected a long, 1/4" bold that has NO THREAD across where it will slide back and forth on the top of the fence.
Installing bolts with hexagon heads is the easiest, but if you have access to longer bolts with T-shaped heads, that will work as well.
For hexagon shaped heads, first drill a hole with a Forstner bit that will barely allow the head of the bolt to fit in, after the Forstner bit hole is drilled, the through hole for the bolt shank can be drilled. To fasten the bolt in, first do a dry fit with the bolt to make sure it fits in snugly and is not too loose, then line the inside of the forstner bit hole with a bead of CA glue (I use medium thickness for this), then spritz the underside of the bolt head with accelerator and place the bolt in place. Once the bolt head is seated, check to see if there is a small amount of gap between the head the whole rim, if there is, fill this with CA glue as well and spritz as well. This method works very well for securing bolts, I will take a LOT of effort to break that bolt head loose so it should hold firmly for this application.
To purchase FRESH - CA glue, in whatever thicknesses you prefer, go to the Starbond secure website and make sure to refrigerate all opened and unopened CA glues, this will help them last longer, up to 18 months.
The third thing to consider is what mechanism you will use that will hold these clamps securely. I decided to try the thin version of the anti-skid material and simply used some very shallow staples in my stapler to attach it. The staples sit below the thickness of the fabric so will not affect the grip, and the anti-skid material grips the sides, front and back so firmly that the clamps take an enormous amount of pressure even budge them, much more than what they are designed for, a simple "wood stop", so I am satisfied that the anti-skid material, stapled on exceeds the strength I need.
Once the clamps are finished and checked, I finally get a chance to test them and they work just great. I can adjust the clamps up an down my fence, they slide easily when not clamped in place and they when they are loose on the fence or when they are clamped firmly, I can still move the fence with the clamps attached, back and forth across the top of my table saw and they don't catch in the miter slots, and so another addition to my jig shelf ... Saddle Clamps for my table saw.
Copyright Colin Knecht