Install new measurement tape on DW746 table saw

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Forum topic by jgt1942 posted 07-14-2016 09:02 AM 1448 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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203 posts in 2037 days

07-14-2016 09:02 AM

I’ve ordered from Oregon Rule Co > a new tape (actually two tapes, one right-left and left-right, PN FMN-Y050L-TC) tapes for my DW746. Normally the tape has a white background but for an extra $5 they made it yellow. Total cost was $25.30

I’m replacing the existing tape with a tape that has both metric and imperial measurements. I’m in the process of converting all of my woodworking measurements to metric mainly because it is MUCH easier to use and eliminates a lot of dumb math errors.

Any suggestions for correctly installing it? I’m mainly concerned with the alignment on the rail which is a 2” diameter pipe.

I know that I need to ensure the rail is clean and plan to use Acetone to clean off the wax I have applied to the rail.
I’m also assuming I do need to remove the existing tape and clean off the adhesive with Acetone.

-- JohnT

7 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1069 days

#1 posted 07-14-2016 03:19 PM


A few thoughts come to mind.

I agree that removing the existing measuring is a good idea, especially if the old and new measuring tapes are of differing sizes. Removing the old measuring tape eliminates any future concerns about whether the old tape may release. It will leave a cleaner look, reduce the chances of catching an edge of the new measuring tape that could cause some damage to the tape, and eliminate the requirement for exactly aligning the new tape over the old tape.

In order to precisely place the new tape over the footprint of the old tape a few witness marks could be helpful. A scratch awl could be used to make a few light but indelible marks along the length of the existing measuring tape before the existing tape is removed. The scratch marks need to be deep enough to remain visible after the old tape is removed and the rail cleaned; marks from a pencil, pen, or Sharpie would disappear with solvent cleaning. Also a mark at the zero point of the existing tape could help get the new tape started at the right place. The zero point of the new tape can then be aligned with the zero witness mark and the marks along the length of the tape could help keep the tape align down the length of the rail.

Scratching up the rail may not be something you want to do. Perhaps some old fashioned masking tape could be used. Painters tape would probably release from the rail before the new measuring tape is applied.

Washing the rail with acetone should remove the wax. However, one washing is perhaps not enough. The capacity of an amount of acetone on a rag to dissolve wax will diminish until no more wax can be dissolved. Also acetone on the rag containing dissolved wax can re-deposit on the rail. When the acetone flashes off, some wax can be re-deposited. Therefore, plenty of acetone and fresh rags or paper towels would be my approach to cleaning wax from the rail. Since it will probably be difficult to know when all the wax is gone, I would err on the side of overdoing of this step of the project.

I have had some success removing adhesive residue mechanically, which would reduce the amount of solvent needed. Adhesive residue can be mechanically removed by pressing old measuring tape’s adhesive’s back onto the adhesive residue left on the rail. When the old tape is then lifted, a little adhesive residue sticks to the old tape. Repeating the press and lift steps will oftentimes succeed in removing at least some of, if not all, the adhesive residue.

I have never enjoyed success using acetone to remove adhesive residue. The best product I have found is Professional Strength Goof Off, available at the hardware store or home centers. One small container may be enough, but liberal amounts are required so buying two cans just could save a trip to the store. Goof Off is a good general purpose solvent when acetone fails, so the unused amount can also be used elsewhere.

I can foresee two approaches for installing the new measuring tape. The first is get the tape started, peel of the adhesive protective backing from the entire length of measuring tape, stretch the tape and stick it to the rail. To my mind this method should work, but in practice I find two problems. First is that for some reason the tape never sets down onto the surface in a straight line. The second problem is wrinkles and bubbles can develop as the tape is pressed into place.

The second approach is to get the new tape started and then remove only a few inches of the adhesive backing at a time, pressing the tape in position a little at a time. I seem to have a little more control and am better able to get the tape exactly where I want it with this second approach and with fewer wrinkles and bubbles.

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203 posts in 2037 days

#2 posted 07-14-2016 09:05 PM

BTW I ordered from Oregon Rule because when I talked to them they convinced me they had a product that would work. Previously I did talk to FastCap and Starrett and both stated their steel rules would NOT work on the 2” diameter pipe because the bend was too drastic.

However that being said I did prefer the FastCap, for me it was easier to read than the Starrett.

When I receive my Oregon Rule tape I’ll post a picture.

-- JohnT

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203 posts in 2037 days

#3 posted 07-14-2016 09:07 PM

I just saw a great video which has several good ideas, see

-- JohnT

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203 posts in 2037 days

#4 posted 07-15-2016 06:05 AM

Today I received my tapes from Oregon Rule

Now to get the tape on my DW746 front rail.

-- JohnT

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203 posts in 2037 days

#5 posted 07-15-2016 06:52 AM

After watching the video I reference above and reading emails from my DeWalt contact, Chris at Oregon Rule and reading the above comments I thought I was ready to go.

After watching the video I decided I needed to make a jig to ensure I’d get the tape on straight.
First Attempt:
Because I have a 2” dia. pipe for the front rail I thought I needed a jig that would sit on the curved surface. After a few attempts with the tablesaw I decided to set my Incra Miter at 65 degrees, installed a 6.5” saw blade (the 10” blade produced a cut much too flat) in the table saw, clamped a piece of wood between the miter and the bland and made a cut.
Following is the jig setup to make the cut

Following is the cut on a short piece of wood just as a test.

Following is the final piece. The bottom left I’ve made the final cut the top right is pending the final cut.

At this time I had a 70” long jig that I could sit on the rail and provide a straight line or so I thought.
As I attempted to clamp the strip to the pipe I kept encountering issues and made several attempts to get everything correct but I was not making a lot of forward progress. It then dawned on me that I could cut a rectangular piece of wood and clamp from the back side of the table. (like DUD!!!)

2nd attempt:
I made several very small cuts on the rectangular strip of wood so I could creep up on the actual size needed. Following is the strip clamped to the saw.

WOW this was MUCH easier than my original attempt with the curved strip. The clamps will not be in the way to apply the Oregon Rule tape, for the right side I will start about 18” from the left side of the saw and apply the left-to-right tape. On the far right the new tape will end about 4 or 5 inches from the end of the rail. After the right side has been applied to the rail I’ll add another clamp near the zero mark, remove the far left clamp and apply the right-to-left tape on the left side.

After testing the fit of the strip and confirming that all was OK, I removed the strip and cleaned the rail with Acetone (this is what Oregon Rule suggested) and then re-clamped the strip double checking to ensure the edge of the alignment strip is on the edge of the existing tape. The best method I have found for cleaning with Acetone is to pull 12-18” off of my paper towel roll, fold it several times creating something about 3×5”. Soak an area, clean, open the fold to expose a clean towel and continue doing such until the area is cleaned. Also as I expose a new area on the towel I often resoak the area on the towel. Basically I’m ensuring I’m not just moving the dirt/glue from one area to another area. Also because the Acetone evaporates quickly it is necessary to apply more Acetone.

My contact at DeWalt suggested just applying the new tape directly on top of the old tape. I also double checked and ensured that the front fence face would clear the tape as I moved it across the rail, there is a LOT of room.

At this point I ran out of steam and decided that I would wait until tomorrow to actually apply the two tapes.

-- JohnT

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203 posts in 2037 days

#6 posted 07-16-2016 04:48 AM

OK the project has been completed.
Today in less than 10 minutes I applied the two Oregon Rule Metric/Fractional tapes to the 2” front rail on my DW746. As you can see in the following I applied the new tape on top of the existing tape.

I took care to properly align the zero starting point for both tapes. The straight edge I clamped made it super easy to keep the tape straight. In that I applied the new tape on top of the existing tape I could have used the existing tape as my guide. OH well lessons learned.

After I applied the tape, I removed the clamps and straight edge, I set the fence and made a sample cut at 3” Then using my digital caliper I measure. DARN it was off by 0.0245 inches. Well I surely can live with that!

Much thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

-- JohnT

View splintergroup's profile


2313 posts in 1371 days

#7 posted 07-16-2016 02:10 PM

Fine job! These projects that you only get one shot at doing it right are real stress builders. I like the planning and dry runs you did before committing!

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