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Thread: Table Saw Alignment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    68

    Table Saw Alignment

    Hey all,

    I am getting more comfortable using my new table saw in my shop. I bought a used Steel City 3HP last year, and finally got around to getting it all setup and dialed in.

    My order of operations of dialing in has been:

    Miter > blade
    Blade > fence
    Square up fence to 90
    Align fence tape measure marker

    My question (which I know will be opinion based) is what do YOU consider close enough? Right now my miter and fence are within a thousandth of an inch according to my dial indicator.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    153
    If my math is right, being out by 0.001 from the blade to the fence, it means your actual angle is like 89.99 (assuming a 10" blade), and also means you're looking at about 1/100 inches over an 8 foot rip. I think most would agree that's well below what's meaningful for woodworking.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,587
    I understand that 1/1000 of an inch is the minimum the human eye can see as no being the same. So you are plenty close enough. I have read 0.003 is fine.
    Bill D

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Lafayette, CA
    Posts
    724
    Depending on what you’re building, if you’re willing to true up the last thou with a hand plane, your power tool is more than sufficiently set up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    14,331
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winter View Post
    Hey all,

    I am getting more comfortable using my new table saw in my shop. I bought a used Steel City 3HP last year, and finally got around to getting it all setup and dialed in.

    My order of operations of dialing in has been:

    Miter > blade
    Blade > fence
    Square up fence to 90
    Align fence tape measure marker

    My question (which I know will be opinion based) is what do YOU consider close enough? Right now my miter and fence are within a thousandth of an inch according to my dial indicator.
    When I align my older Craftsman cast iron table saw, I align the blade to the left miter slot. Then I align the fence to the same miter slot with the dial indicator mounted on my miter gauge. I have eliminated the side to side play of the miter bar in the miter slot to less than 0.0005 with some UHMW tape applied to the side of the miter bar. I can generally get my blade within 0.001 or less using the same spot on the blade plate for blade alignment. I can also get my fence within 0.001 when checked at the front and rear of the table, though there are a couple of variations in the face of the fence that are greater than that.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    21,816
    Blog Entries
    1
    I just helped my SIL this morning setup a used saw he bought. For a cabinet mounted trunnion machine I align the left slot (table) to the blade at 90 degrees and at 45 degrees before I put the wings and fence rails on. I then set the wings level and adjust the fence parallel with the same left slot. Original Biesemeyer Commercial fences are set perpendicular to the table via aligning the font rail / tube pair that the fence rides on. I shoot for .001" on everything but the fence face. Depending on the material there can be irregularities of .005" or more along the length. I shoot for averages .
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    670
    This reminds me that I need to realign my table saw as well. I was ripping stock the other day and the wood was coming away from the fence as I was cutting. I bought the saw used and never trued it up. It's time. Can't think of the number but it's a very nice Rigid with cast iron wings and a fantastic fence. It's a little underpowered but that never bothered me.

  8. #8
    Another vote for aligning both the blade and fence to the miter slot. Choosing a single reference point reduces the margin of error.

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