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Forum topic by A10GAC posted 11-11-2010 04:18 AM 5223 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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191 posts in 3102 days

11-11-2010 04:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw square

Here’s the question: What is an acceptable amount of depression in a tablesaw top before it starts interfering with your ability to cut square?

I am (at a minimum) the third owner of this particular Craftsman 10” tablesaw (model 113.298720); I got it from my father, who bought it used from someone else, who may or may not have been the original owner. The motor & wiring were in good shape, so I’ve cleaned up the rust on the table and wings (all cast iron) and decided that I would make a router table to replace the right wing. When I put the straight edge on the table to level the extension I noticed that the table drops about a 1/16-3/64” between the two miter slots. The only things I can think of are: either the weight of the trunnion assembly has caused the top to sag over the years or perhaps the previous owners used to lift the saw by the wings and bent the top?

Bottom line is that I would hate to waste time trying to align everything only to find out that nothing will cut right because of the top.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

12 replies so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3165 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 11-11-2010 04:29 AM

WOW! I’d grind that bad boy to a gnat’s eyelash, personally. I have a cheapo Ryobi (the one of sawstop lawsuit fame) that’s better than 1/64th, but that’s not good enough for small projects. That’s why I’m making my own top (dead flat) for my router that can be clamped to the table saw.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Matt 's profile


212 posts in 3773 days

#2 posted 11-11-2010 05:08 AM

That isn’t awful unless you are a perfectionist. There is ways however to fix it. Rip a stock that you intend to use in a project and use the jointer and its fence to get that rip square. It can affect thicker stock also.

-- Hold on! Let me get the board stretcher!

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2866 days

#3 posted 11-11-2010 05:18 AM

Having a machine shop plane/grind it will probably be over $100. The good thing about doing that is that you can tune it up when you put it back together. That would make it safer to use and worth having. My $50 Craftsman Contractor Saw was like that too. You could pitch kitchen matches under a straight edge laid across it. 3/16”. I advise you not to try to flatten it by hand, it was a miserable task. If the saw has sentimental value, find a machine shop, if not use it to make a coffee table or sell it.

If I was an expert ,I would have brought a straight edge with me before I bought it. -Jack

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2832 days

#4 posted 11-11-2010 05:59 AM

Not likely that it is fatigue,(its cast iron right?). I would say that unless your building guided missles, that 1/16 will be of no consequence to you. You should have never put a straight edge on it because now you wont be able to sleep. I have owned quite a few table saws through the years and don t recall one that had dips more than the thickness of a business card. But 3/32 may be pushing the envelope. What are you using for a straight edge?

View traupmann's profile


124 posts in 2810 days

#5 posted 11-11-2010 07:12 AM

A10GAC—IrreverentJack said it quite well, but I believe he means to use it as a coffee table, not use it to make a coffee table. We don’t know what your future desires are for using this treasure. If it is to do simple carpentry work, like rip down a 2×6 or something. It’ll be OK to use, but if you intend to do serious cutting, get it fixed correctly. Blanchard grind the top. Season it with a good protectant, some like oil, some like wax, I prefer silicon spray. Replace the worn bearings (that top likely got worn from use). Reset the stops. Make a great cabinet to set it on, add a sliding table, a stationary table and extend the length, and you will have a tool you can depend on.

You are only going to use construction language throughout the day and night every time you depend on that treasure if you don’t fix it. Bad tools make bad parts. Good tools don’t make good parts, but they are essential to that desire.

-- chas -- looking for Serta sponsorship to go Pro...

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3096 days

#6 posted 11-11-2010 07:29 AM

The acceptable amount of depression depends on what you’re cutting. If your cross cutting 2×4s for a wall then it’s probobly well within tolerences. If your cutting sides for a small keepsake box with dovetail joints then it’s probobly no where near as flat as it needs to be.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2866 days

#7 posted 11-11-2010 05:35 PM

If there is a 1/8” dip between the miter slots the dip is probably greater side to side. Your miter gauge might scrape on each end because it can’t sit flat on the table (mine did). If there is a dip front to back too none of your cuts will be accurate and the saw is dangerous (kick-back hurts). Using this saw will, at best, discourage you from doing more woodworking.

So, if it’s not an heirloom, $150 to flatten it, $150+ for a fence and $40+ for a good switch and new wiring before you start to tune and align it, my “expert” 20-20 hindsight says sell it and buy something better or use it as a coffee table.

I managed to get mine relatively flat (side to side and front to back is good with a couple of small areas of depression <.003”). The plan is put this on it. It’s embarrassing to say how much effort it took to accomplish this by hand(think-lipstick on a moose). Once again, it’s silly and I don’t recommend doing it. -Jack

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3102 days

#8 posted 11-11-2010 05:38 PM

Square is really more of a concept than an actuality in my shop right now…but…I’m working on that. The truck just (4 days ago) dropped off a Rigid 61/8” jointer which is actually what spawned the router table project. The saw itself was a freebie from Dad, so that’s why I didn’t bring a straight edge with me when I picked it up. I’ve been trying to guestimate the date on the saw, and if the date code is the first 4 digits of the serial number (7247) it’s about 38 years old. I’m not expecting it to be within a .001” but the amount of light coming under the edge surprised me.

I have a 4’ aluminum straight edge and a machinist’s ruler that I used to measure the depression. The first 8” in front of the blade is just over 1/16” low, but not quite 3/32”. It’s actualy a pretty even concave from the inside edge of one miter slot to the inside edge of the other which is why I thought the top might have sagged.

I was originally going to build a crosscut sled as a work around to the sag but then I realized that it wouldn’t correct the rip functions. I’ve been reading as many restoration posts as I can find trying to get an idea of what’s usable and what is beyond saving. It was Dad’s saw, but he bought it used, and it isn’t a family heirloom so, there’s no real sentimental value. I just thought it would be cool to clean up an older saw, kind of like having an old pick up. Sure, it may not have A/C or power steering, but it has those cool vent windows in the driver & passenger doors and none of the new trucks do.

Cabmaker: I’m not building guided missles…but I like to keep my options open. :-)

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View knotscott's profile


8056 posts in 3399 days

#9 posted 11-11-2010 06:44 PM

The proof is in the cut. Depending on where the deviation is located, a saw can still cut well with a fairly large deviation in the top. I wouldn’t worry much about measuring the size of the deviation in the top. Get the alignment as close as you can get it, then make some test cuts and see how close the cuts are…that’s what matters.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3153 days

#10 posted 11-11-2010 08:39 PM

Boy there’s re a lot of opinions – Here’s mine – 1/16” is a lot imo, but does it interfere with your work? Since I don’t know how big or long the warp is I can’t say. Boards might overlap it and be fine. So try this – try making 1×1 1/2”” rails out of a 1×6”. Start with a truly square, flat board. Try ripping this board into square rails. If it can at least rip square then it does its main function. If you can’t even get a parallel, square edge because of the warp then I’d say you have a problem.

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3102 days

#11 posted 11-11-2010 09:04 PM

The deviation runs left to right between the miter slots as you look at the saw. (perpendicular to the blade) I’ve got a couple of 1×6’s in the shop, so I’m going to spend the time, adjust it, and then try a few cuts. If it rips within reason, I’ll build a sled to handle the crosscuts. If not, I guess I’ll be in the market for a new saw. Really, the last thing I need is to be dodging kickbacks.

Thanks for the time guys, I appreciate the inputs.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3102 days

#12 posted 11-13-2010 03:38 AM

Update: A friend of mine & I spent a couple hours with the saw this morning….we measured, adjusted, cut, measured again, tweaked, cut, measured again, cut, made a bunch of sawdust, some firewood, and were finally rewarded with a board that had 90* edges.

So the good news is: It looks like it might be accurate enough to build a few projects, so I get to keep my saw…the bad news is: Now, I can’t convince my wife that I “need” a new saw.

Off to work on the crosscut sled now…thanks again for all the replies.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

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