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Posted on what are the shims between the table saw top and cabinet?

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3165 posts in 3136 days

#1 posted 08-04-2015 02:24 AM

OK, here is a simple primer on table alignment.

If you are lucky, the shims have dust or something on them to indicate where they came from. There should be one, possibly two stacks of shims. This is because a plane is determined by three points (like in Geometry class). The fact that machinery typically uses 4 points makes it a little different.

Lay a true straightedge on your table, and make sure it is flat in many directions, just like a board.

If your table top is flat (your requirements may differ; mine is within .004” in any direction- it is an old cast iron thing), then the shimming will be easy.

Place the top on and try to rock it. If it rocks, shim the corners that have clearance. Again, hopefully the shims fell off in some order of stuck-together.

If the shims managed to get de-stacked, you will have to play with them a little. That means that you may have to tighten the bolts and check flatness a few times until you figure out where the shims should be, and change them around. Alignment is an iterative process. I’ve aligned lathe beds to within a few thousandths over 18 feet in the past. One of those exercises required waiting until the right time of day to allow for thermal expansion. It took days to get that lathe within tolerance.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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