I just spent the last few hours making adjustments to my table saw. I forgot how tedious that can be, especially when you expect results of .001” or less. I had to make some adjustments to my trunion because the blade was not parallel to the mitre slot. I also made adjustment to the table saw fence in order to make it parallel with the mitre slot. Using a dial indicator, I was able to achieve acceptable levels of parallel. For all the time I spent, the blade is still about .005” out of parallel with the mitre slot. To me that’s a significant amount. On crosscuts that may not seem too bad but if the cut is off .005” at the cut then it may be .015” out of square on the other end of the piece. That .015” can haunt you through out the entire project, at least it does me. Maybe it’s just me but when I make something I set the bar extremely high. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t. For me this means making sure that my machines can perform to my expectations. I fear that this may be an exercise in futility.
You see, when I make a cut on my table saw I check to make sure that the cut is either parallel or square. I’m sure that you do as well. When I hold a piece of material up to the light and I see light under the blade of my square I become unsettled. I suppose what I’m after is a cut that is absolutley square or absolutley parallel. Again, this may be an exercise in futility. I realize that precision is gained by obtaining quality tools, but how much money must one spend before a quality tool can be obtained.
When I first became interested in wood working I had a Clarke portable contractors saw. Needless to say I didn’t expect a whole lot from such a machine. From there I upgraded to a ShopSmith Mark V Model 500. Precision increased to a certain extent but I still wasn’t happy. I now own a Delta 10” contractor’s table saw Model 36-979 that is equipped with a Delta Unifence system. With this saw I am able to achieve much more precise cuts. WhenI bought it I paid $329, MSRP is $500. You can see a picture of it if you look at my shop pictures.
I am curious to know, if I were to spend a couple thousand dollars on a table saw would there be an exponential increase in precision? What are the elements that make a table saw a “good” table saw? Should I expect as much precision as I do from my equipment?
I am interested in your thoughts on this matter. What do you expect out of your machines? What levels of precision do you strive for? How do you achieve your expected level of precision?
Thanks for reading.
-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"