Table saw aligned…

10 May

After much procrastination I finally tackled the issue at hand in my shop. I fixed the alignment of the table saw blade to the cast iron tables.

My table saw was a demo model from a store so I didn’t have the privilege of putting it together. It was fully assembled when I bought it, and fully assembled when it got delivered. Frankly I was daunted by aligning my saw because I wasn’t familiar with how the parts were attached. Also I didn’t have a dial gauge- which most sources say is a must for such a task.

Now my tools need tools?! I want to keep my money- for now, thanks.

Thankfully my table saw’s owner’s manual had an alternative method for checking the alignment of the blade. Instead of using a dial gauge, I could simply use a combo square. So I did. As for being daunted by the unfamiliar- in principal it was simpler than I’d thought- as is the case most times that I’m dreading tackling the unknown.

I also found an excellent article on the topic of table saw tune ups that can be found here. What I love about this particular article is that it uses low-tech methods and tools to check alignment.

I used this method from the article…

Block of wood with screw in one end, clamped to miter gauge. Just as accurate as…

And this method from my owners manual- that way I was doubly certain of my alignment!

Combo square registering off of a miter slot. I marked one tooth of the blade with a sharpie. And checked it at both the front and back of the throat plate.

It turned out my blade was about 1/32″ off from the front to the back! No wonder I’d been having such a tough time.

I then began the process of loosening the nuts and adjusting the alignment.

On my saw I had two nuts up front that were easy to access.

Far left.

Far right- well that was fast. Almost there!

But then in the back I had to open an access panel to get at the right rear nut. The left rear nut was even more difficult,  I had to open the motor door AND tilt the saw blade 30 degrees! I thought this would be the fastest part of the process but it took up a good chunk of time. I had to roll the saw out from it’s home to get access to the right rear panel, and get down on the floor with a flashlight to spot the elusive rear nuts. They also happened to be over tightened, and I couldn’t get good leverage from my cramped positions- ugh!

Inside the motor access with the blade tilted 30 degrees- oh THERE’s the darn thing. Far left.

Far right, through an access panel. Wish these had been on the outside perimeter of the saw like the front ones were.

When they were finally loosened, my saw has adjustment screws to finely nudge the table in the desired direction. In the tune up article I mentioned above- it says that for most saws you partially loosen the bolts and tap the table with a  dead blow hammer until it’s aligned, then re-tighten the nuts.

I had to tilt my blade back to 90 degrees to test my progress and then once I had my final setting tilt it back to 30 degrees to tighten the nut .

I also slightly improved the flushitude of my cast iron extensions. But I gave up shortly after landing a solid dead blow to my finger. The nail didn’t turn blue- so I’m good. But ouch. I’ll try not to let my finger get between a dead blow hammer and unforgiving cast iron in the future… looking under the table as I hammered would have helped I think.

I’m psyched. Now that my saw is ready for action I’m keen to move forward with some projects that have been cooling on the back burner.

I’ll post updates on those soon!

Another post on projects from woodworking school will follow in the coming days.

Thanks for reading!

Happy woodworking.

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2 Responses to “Table saw aligned…”

  1. ChrisHasFlair May 10, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    Samantha,

    A dial indicator is good, a dial test indicator, which has a lever instead of a plunger to take measurements, is easier to use to check runout of the arbor flange (not what you were doing, but a useful bit of knowledge, I think).

    I was impressed by how many adjustments were covered in the SawStop Industrial manual. I also liked the bolts to finely adjust the blade-to-table parallelism.

    Chris

    • Warped Boards May 10, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Huh, I’m not sure I’ve seen a dial test indicator- just did a google image search and it doesn’t look familiar. When I do buy a dial indicator or dial test indicator I’ll likely have a few questions for you!

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