LumberJocks

Tenon Jig for a cheapo Craftsman Table Saw #2: Squaring up the table

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by LegendInMyOwnMind posted 1165 days ago 1389 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Initial thoughts Part 2 of Tenon Jig for a cheapo Craftsman Table Saw series Part 3: Squaring up the fence to the blade »

The User Manual has a procedure for squaring up the blade to the miter slot. It also has a method for squaring up the fence to the blade.

I thought I’d take a square to the table to see just how far it is since I’ve never adjusted anything. I also noticed lately that when I do stuff on the saw the wood starts out against the fence but slowly creeps away. If I put pressure I am getting burns so the blade is probably out of alignment with the fence. But which is it? Is the blade out of alignment or the fence?

The miter slot comes to the rescue as the reference edge. Of course I didn’t follow the manual for how to realign yet, but I wanted to get a feel for how things line up. I took a square and here’s what I got:

#1 – The front edge of the saw is not a clean edge. It’s got multiple “layers” which make it hard to lay a square along it.

#2 – The back of the saw has a nice square edge without “layers”, but it’s not square to the miter slot. Makes me doubt the ability of the fence to actually work.

#3 – The front edge is square to the miter slot. It’s really square, which makes sense since that’s where the fence attaches. Well, sorta. The fence is on both sides… I think there’s more to the back of the fence.

#4 – Surprisingly, the blade is pretty square to the front of the saw.

#5 – Not surprisingly the fence is not and it’s further away at the back so that explains why wood creeps away from the fence as I push it through. It also explains why I use my miter saw to cut squares.

I realize I’m accumulating tolerances/inaccuracies by referencing to the front fence and not the miter slot but it seems like a table saw needs to be fence referenced for long cuts and to the miter slot for short cuts.

Now to follow the procedure for adjusting the fence…

-- Doug - When all you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.



4 comments so far

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1735 days


#1 posted 1165 days ago

It does not matter if the fence rail is square to the blade, only that the fence rail is straight. When the fence is adjusted to be parallel to the blade, the fence/rail angle will match the blade/rail angle.

Usually one starts by aligning the blade to be parallel to the miter slot. If they aren’t parallel it will affect every cut you make with anything that references the slot. That adjustement is usually done using a dial indicator (even a cheap one from Harbor Freight will work) to a tolerance of maybe +/- 0.010” or less. Less is better, but this adjustement is a PITA so get it as good as you can – whatever that is – and call it good enough.

The fence alignment is usually done second because it is affected by the blade/miter slot adjustments.

-- Greg D.

View LegendInMyOwnMind's profile

LegendInMyOwnMind

198 posts in 1185 days


#2 posted 1164 days ago

Greg – I appreciate the comments, Problem with using a dial indicator is that I can't put it into the miter slot due to the tabs.

-- Doug - When all you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

View LegendInMyOwnMind's profile

LegendInMyOwnMind

198 posts in 1185 days


#3 posted 1164 days ago

Greg – I agree that the miter should be squared first, but I think the fence to the blade is what is most important when trying to cut a long cut since I don’t use the miter at all for that. if it’s not square it moves off the fence or binds to the fence as it goes. The wood was burning and I got a rough cut before. Thoughts appreciated for sure.

-- Doug - When all you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1735 days


#4 posted 1164 days ago

I agree with that; when using the fence only the fence/blade alignment is important. Might also check that the fence is straight.

Getting a clean cut is more challenging with a lower-end saw. They have more vibration which makes everything worse. Using a thin kerf blade helps make the most of their limited power, but those vibrate more.

The best you can do is use a sharp, flat (i.e., relatively expensive) blade. Make sure the table top, extension wings, and infeed/outfeed support are such that the work slides smoothly all the way through the cut. You want to be able to focus all your attention to keeping the work against the fence; you can’t really afford spending effort keeping it from falling on the floor or forcing it smoothly over a rough spot. I rough cut to within 1/4” or less before making the final cut. And then I work very hard to keep the work against the fence. Sometimes push blocks can get a better grip on the surface of a large piece (especially melamine) than my hand, so I use those at times. I usually find I stand to the left of the blade (fence and work to the right of the blade) so I am pushing against the fence as I’m pushing the work through the blade. Then I try to manage the feed rate – slow enough to not load the saw more than necessary, but fast enough to minimize heat buildup and burning at any one spot. With my cabinet saw and an expensive blade I don’t usually get burning if the work stops momentarily while I’m making the cut, but with my previous contractor saw, particularly with a budget blade, I would always get a burn mark if the work stopped during the cut.

And it also hurts if the work is warped.

I find that it takes a lot of practice.

-- Greg D.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase