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Thread: Best measuring tool for miter slot/blade/fence alignment?

  1. #1

    Best measuring tool for miter slot/blade/fence alignment?

    I've got the above-pictured plastic tool with which I'm not too impressed. I think it's too flexible to give consistent results. I get the gage to move by applying even light pressure to the unit as I slide it to and fro.

    So, I'm thinking of something like this:

    The Woodpecker's unit is on sale, so I'm wondering...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    Personally I am pretty impressed by Woodpecker.

    Heck, I bought a T square (TS-12-2) in Las Vegas. Didn't need it, haven't used it but it is just so pretty and well made. Maybe I should buy a second one to actually use.

    I'm a Creeker, yes I m.
    I fries my bacon in a wooden pan.

  3. #3
    I have been wondering the same thing. Incra also sells one called A-Line-It System that seems to have a few more uses.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by don kellog View Post
    I have been wondering the same thing. Incra also sells one called A-Line-It System that seems to have a few more uses.

    I have that one and its easy to use and seems pretty acurate and not so touchy.

  5. #5
    How do you guys with the A-Line-It system make sure that the bar is exactly 90 degrees to the miter slot?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron Reddy View Post
    How do you guys with the A-Line-It system make sure that the bar is exactly 90 degrees to the miter slot?
    Made my own with a HF dial gauge and a strip of wood. Just to check the blade and the fence, but I would think you don't need the bar to be 90 degrees... as long as the gauge is mounted solid and there is no play IN the mitre slot, the reading should tell if the blade and fence are properly parallel...

    What I don't know if how to use this sort of setup to determine if the miter is 90 degrees... right now I use a framing square, but I am not too happy with that process, and I am not too happy with my miter gauge... need to find an alternative.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    There is a guy here that taught shop for many years. He has the ultimate tool for this.

    You take a 3/4"x3/4"x 12 piece of hardwood.....start a brass wood screw into one end of it.

    Clamp it to your miter gauge.

    Mark one tooth on your blade.

    Adjust the screw in or out to make contact with that tooth.

    Rotate the blade to the other (forward or rear) position and slide the tool and miter gauge there and check it the same fit as position 1.

    Cheap and uses the miter gauge for the setup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Snowflake, AZ
    Take a look at what this guy did. Not that anyone needs this sort of precsion but, it's an interesting use of TWO dial indicators.
    Life is too short for cheap tools

  9. #9
    For about the same money as the woodpecker setup I'd vote or the TS-Aligner Jr Lite. It's based on the screw / indicator on a stick principle and VERY well executed.

    This will also measure angles (+/- 0.057 deg) based on simple trig.

    It will replace the Woodpeck gauge & a Wixey box.

    This guys it pretty nice to. I used the same basic concept (except used screws at the bottom) to build mine. I have a few Starett indicators in a drawer and have been thinking about sending one off to be calibrated with a TS Aligner. If all it did was give you a straight line it seems over priced but to me the angle measurement is what you are paying for.

    These guys FTW on how many indicator you can put on a device:
    Last edited by brian c miller; 02-03-2010 at 2:11 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Rochester, NY
    You can get within a gnat's eyelash with simple devices like these....spend the savings on a better saw blade!

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Southport, NC
    Here is the low cost way. It will give you the same level of accuracy as a high dollar tool. After all, how often will you have to make or check these adjustments?

    Make 3/4 x 3/4 x 12" hardwood stick. Drill a hole somewhat centered in one end and insert a brass #8 x 1" round head fine thread machine screw about half way. UNPLUG THE SAW. Raise the blade completely up. Clamp this board in your miter gauge (if you determine that there is some slop in your slot to miter gauge, use a playing card to take up the slop) so the screw head just about touches the blade at the front. Now rotate the blade by hand and determine which tooth is the closest. Adjust the screw in or out until it just touches this tooth. Mark this tooth

    The same adjustment gauge can be used to set the fence parallel to the miter slot. Slide the miter gauge to the front of the table and move the fence over to the screw head and insert a playing card between the screw head and the fence just so you can move the card as it touches both the fence and the screw head. Now move the miter gauge to the back of the table and see if you have the same feel when you insert the card.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    I don’t like the Woodpecker’s system from a metrology standpoint. The dowel rod is actually riding on the chamfer and not the slot. Who’s to say that they are the same? Parallelism to the blade and fence should be gauged from the slot wall.
    I have shown the best (most accurate) method, IMO, in this thread; There are links to inexpensive Grizzly surface gages further down in the thread.
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    Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves.
    - Carl Sagan

  13. #13

    I can't find that "travel" indicator. The one with the bearing on the end. Grizzly doesn't seem to carry it.

    I like the idea of the bearing to keep the extended probe from bending.

    Good point about the gage running on the chamfer!

    Last edited by Cameron Reddy; 02-03-2010 at 3:13 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Louisville, KY

    A-Line-It System

    Quote Originally Posted by don kellog View Post
    I have been wondering the same thing. Incra also sells one called A-Line-It System that seems to have a few more uses.

    I have this very set up and I love it. I've had to use the heck out of it lately to get my table saw tweaked in. I have blade less than .001 front to back, no run out on the arbor and the fence is less than .001 front to back in the same direction as the blade. It sets very steady in the miter track and when you go to move it you do not see it move on the dial when you grab it. They make a larger one, but the smaller one is all I've ever needed. BTW I also use it to set my router fence straight when I need it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Phoenix AZ
    If I understand your objection correctly.... The Woodpeckers gauge's dowel rod does not register against the chamfer. There are two smaller rods that rest in the groove, registered against the sidewalls. The dowel rod then rests in the space between the two smaller rods.

    I do not have the gauge, but have seen it in person.

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