how to measure height of table saw blade

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Forum topic by treesner posted 06-21-2016 06:13 AM 3576 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 1139 days

06-21-2016 06:13 AM

Is there any good techniques for measuring/setting the height of the table saw blade? i’m on a dewalt table saw which doesn’t have much fine tuning in the adjustment and my insert is not level with the table.

how do you find the highest point of the blade? do you put a mark on the table to reference off later?
how do you measure the height?

right now i set my miter gauge to the height i want rest the rule bar on the table and have the sliding handle part extend over the blade and i turn the blade and listen to hear if it’s skinny the miter gauge or not

31 replies so far

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1567 days

#1 posted 06-21-2016 12:05 PM

You bring up a good point here. I have seen lots of different approaches in youtube videos etc.

All of them tend to suffer from trying to line up a narrow measurement implement with the supposed zenith of one tooth on the blade. Many of them (like the Pixey digital height gauge I have) suffer from too small of a base that winds up completely or partially on the insert rather than the table itself. (which as you mentioned maybe different in height by a few thou.)

Seems to me what is needed here is a larger device that can sit flat on a significant portion of the table, and which presents a precisely offset large flat surface to hover over the blade. Having a larger surface parallel to the table and offset by the desired blade height should make it a lot easier to measure the blade height.

I haven’t ever seen such a device. Anybody?

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View jbay's profile


2751 posts in 1074 days

#2 posted 06-21-2016 12:56 PM

Just measure as close as you can eye with your tape, then make a test cut and measure the cut. Works every time.

Faster than going and getting a fancy gauge, setting it to zero, fiddling with it to get it set at height, then you have to make a cut and double check it anyway.

The test cut factors in any variables from your table saw flatness or throat plate/insert unevenness.

-- “Hanging onto resentment, is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” (Ann Landers)......

View waho6o9's profile


8484 posts in 2752 days

#3 posted 06-21-2016 01:12 PM

I like set up blocks and then check as jbay suggests.

View johnstoneb's profile


3036 posts in 2348 days

#4 posted 06-21-2016 01:13 PM

x 1Jbay.Your insert isn’t level with the table Your going to have to make test cuts after setting blade height and depending on size of piece being cut you could have different depths in the cut. You need to get insert aligned with table top

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Kazooman's profile


1215 posts in 2127 days

#5 posted 06-21-2016 01:32 PM

I was just going to say the same thing that Bruce posted but he beat me to it while I was downstairs checking the span of my Wixey depth gauge. It is the “Mini” gauge (horseshoe shaped) and it is not wide enough to span the insert opening. I actually use mine on the router table, not the table saw. Wixey does make another depth gauge (WR200) that has a flat base that rests on the table with an arm that extends out over the blade. That one would work for you, but it runs about $60.00.

The real solution to your problem is to get the insert aligned with the table. Another issue with the insert being below the table top surface is that narrow pieces that are only supported by the insert can catch on the edge of the top at the rear of the insert. That could be a safety problem.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5105 posts in 4135 days

#6 posted 06-21-2016 01:34 PM

Check your messages.


View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 2637 days

#7 posted 06-21-2016 01:35 PM

Test cut and calipers… Creep up on the exact height you want…. Test fit your test pieces.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


4923 posts in 887 days

#8 posted 06-21-2016 02:13 PM

always run a test cut then sneek up on it or down LOL

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View teejk02's profile


485 posts in 1300 days

#9 posted 06-21-2016 03:13 PM

Set-up blocks of the home-made variety. Longish scraps of wood that are either exact or that I have run through the planer to get them that way. Mark with a Sharpee and save them. I like the longer pieces because I find them easy to hold while I adjust the depth (highest tooth meets the top of the board).

View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1139 days

#10 posted 06-21-2016 03:57 PM

I like set up blocks and then check as jbay suggests.

- waho6o9

how do these work? do they run with the blade on the insert?

View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1139 days

#11 posted 06-21-2016 04:02 PM

this is my current method of using a square the issues i’m seeing is
-not a sturdy base, easy to rock back and forth (i wonder if a rectangular magnet would work in holding it up right)
-the measuring area is to wide so its hard to see where the blade is hitting

it’s nice that you can do your depth measurement on the wood, like if you wanted to find center on plywood and then just use that as the gauge.

edit found this attachment, not sure if they make one for my 4” double square

it would be nice if the end of the rule had measurement markings going vertically so you cold lay the ruler on the table not the insert

View xeddog's profile


207 posts in 3182 days

#12 posted 06-21-2016 04:29 PM

edit found this attachment, not sure if they make one for my 4” double square

This is the way I do t.


View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1628 days

#13 posted 06-21-2016 04:36 PM

Rotate your combo blade until a rip (flat top) tooth is visible. Bring it to TDC (top dead center) by eye. Get your height gauge out & zero to the ZCI near the blade. Slowly rotate the blade back & forth until you find the high point. Mark your ZCI. Lower the blade to a little below your desired setting and while watching the indicator slowly crank up to the final height. Lock the height crank.

You should be able to hit the nearest .001”.

The ZCI is normally set shy at the front and proud at the rear so that nothing catches during the feed.

-- Madmark -

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 1595 days

#14 posted 06-21-2016 04:54 PM

A tape measure usually does the trick for me. Nothing is going to get a reading right if your insert doesn’t fit properly, & isn’t level with the table. Start there, even if you have to make one that will fit, & is level.

-- Sawdust703

View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1139 days

#15 posted 06-21-2016 05:22 PM

found this article explaining the combination square technique

— measurement must be taken at the top of the blade arc, or Top Dead Center (TDC)
— view the blade and scale with your eyes level with the measuring point to not cause distortion
— Hold the 90-degree face of the square lightly on the saw blade teeth and the end of the blade level with the saws surface
— Slowly move the square and the teeth it rests on forward and backward while watching the end of the blade. You can see it rise and fall as the square goes over TDC
— adjust the saw blade height until the end of the combination square blade just touches the table surface. Rock the square and blade back and forth slightly and watch for light beneath the edge of the combination square blade
— When adjusted correctly the end of the square’s blade will stay on the table surface when you move the blade back and forth slightly but will lose contact with the teeth of the saw blade if moved farther
— Lock the saw’s height adjustment and recheck with the square to be sure it has not moved.
— After setting the blade height, make a cut in scrap material and use the combination square, still set to the saw blade height, to check that the cut is at the correct depth.

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