What constitutes "out of alignment" for a table saw blade? 1/32"?

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Forum topic by MikeB posted 11-27-2010 08:11 AM 6115 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 2260 days

11-27-2010 08:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I bought a DeWalt DW744X table saw this summer. Though I had used circular saw for rough (read: amateur) carpentry, it was my first experience with a table saw. Moreover, since I never had any real life instruction, I really didn’t haven’t notion of what to expect from operating the tool. By that, I mean that I had no sense of the tactile feedback that informs you of the status of the operation, confirms that things are going as expected, and warns you when something might be about to go badly. This was a little intimidating as I had read extensively about kickback and was eager to avoid an early, painful tablesaw safety lesson.

I’ve used the saw a fair amount. When ripping, I’ve had a problem with blade burn on some woods. I’ve also had the saw bind on me a few times. Also, even on “clean” cuts, i.e., those with no burn or significant resistance, I get a second “grind” sound after the piece has been completely cut, but before the end of the piece has cleared the blade. It seems like the right side of the blade is bumping up against the wood as it exits past the blade.

To check the blade alignment, I removed the insert, took my Starrett combination square and placed the head against the opening into which the the insert is placed. It seemed like there was 1/32” difference between the front and the back, but it’s pretty tough to tell. Maybe it’s 1/32”; maybe it’s less; maybe it’s user error.

However, if there is a 1/32” difference, does that seem significant enough to constitute a blade being considered out of alignment? Would that be consistent with the second grinding sound I’ve been hearing and feeling?


8 replies so far

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2244 days

#1 posted 11-27-2010 08:21 AM

I think thats a fair amount… I mean for every 32”.. its off by an inch….

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View rcs47's profile


182 posts in 2547 days

#2 posted 11-27-2010 08:54 AM

I think 1/32” is a lot. But it may not be that far out from the miter slots/fence. I would hope the insert opening was parallel to the miter slots, but instead of assuming, measure from the miter slot because you need to use that part of the saw.

Place your combination square in the miter slot (like you did the inset) and lock the rule to one tooth the blade. When you check the other side of the blade, rotate the blade so you are checking to the same tooth (or gullets). I adjusted my table until it touched in both places.

Once you have the table set parallel to the blade using the miter slot, then you can adjust the fence so it is parallel to the miter slot. A fence being out of parallel with the blade can contribute to the burn.

If you Google “checking table saw alignment” you should find instructions for how to fix the alignment problems, plus see many people using special dial indicators to measure how far the blade is out of alignment. The dial indicators are great, but you can do everything with a combination square.

Good luck,

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2793 days

#3 posted 11-27-2010 02:04 PM

I prefer to get as close to 0.000” as possible. Even at 0.005”, I’d be attempting to get closer if I can.

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

View poopiekat's profile


4188 posts in 3152 days

#4 posted 11-27-2010 03:59 PM

I may have read the OP wrong, but I don’t see any point in aligning a sawblade to the edge of the insert opening. The sawblade must be absolutely parallel to the travel of the miter slot, to avoid burning or backcutting. Since the machine is used, you might also want to verify the straightness of the arbor, and the parallelism of your ripfence too since you’re experiencing bind on rip cuts. RCS47 is totally correct about this.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3179 days

#5 posted 11-27-2010 04:08 PM

poopiekat is 100 % correct. The blade must be parallel to the miter slots. My recommendation would be to purchase one of the dial indicator accessories that slide in the miter slot.

Once the blade/miter slot alignment has been made, the dial indicator can then be used to align your fence to the miter slot.

I love my Starrett combination square, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of usefulness in the above alignment proceedures.

With all this being said, you can still get burning on sensitive woods such as cherry and maple.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2492 days

#6 posted 11-27-2010 04:10 PM

1/32” is a lot and if the back edge is closer to the fence than the front edge, that is dangerous. Check the alignment of the saw blade to the table and check the alignment of the fence to the blade.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Camper's profile


232 posts in 2273 days

#7 posted 11-27-2010 06:04 PM

Hi, I would use an easy to build inexpensive jig such as this to measure the blade alignment. Though this is not that exact it will be able to detect a deflection as large as 1/32”.

But I have to say that before messing around with your trunnions, I would make sure that there are no user errors. I am an amateur (self-taught)like you and 99 out 100 times I had any problem with equipment it was user error. It is fairly difficult to learn good technique (at least for me), even though it sounds as simple as pushing a board along a fence. Especially at the end of a cut…

The binding of the blade and burns on some cuts can be a result of cupped warped wood or technique as well.

Good Luck

-- Tampa-FL

View MikeB's profile


18 posts in 2260 days

#8 posted 11-28-2010 01:58 AM

Wow, what a great set of replies! I’m not sure if the blade on the DW744X is adjustable though. I’m almost positive there aren’t any trunnions and I thought that there was a recall on earlier versions of the DW744 (sans ‘X’) that had a problem with blades being out of alignment. Tough to find info on it.

Thanks for the many great suggestions for getting a better idea of if, and how much, the blade might be out of alignment.


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