Verification of Table Saw Tuning

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Forum topic by Paul Pomerleau posted 01-14-2011 12:46 AM 1439 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 2660 days

01-14-2011 12:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

I inherited my dads Craftsman 10” table saw many years ago where it was kept in the garage and never touched.
I have since moved it indoors where I proceeded to polish and clean it, and after much reading about table saws I noticed that it was way out of adjustment.
So I finally located the manual on line and proceeded to tune it.
I adjusted the trunnions, the blade angle, fence and such using squares and gauges that I recently picked up.
To me everything looks good but I remember reading somewhere that you can do something called a 3-cut or 5-cut test using a scrap piece of wood that would truly tell you if it is perfectly tuned or not.
Has anyone heard of this or know how to do this?
Is there another way to test for accuracy after tuning?
I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed. I am new to this site and was not able to locate any info on this.
Thank you

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

6 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3140 days

#1 posted 01-14-2011 12:55 AM

The Five-Cut Method will test your crosscut sled or miter gauge.

In truth … if you aligned your saw correctly, then … the measurements should prove it worked.

Your miter slots should be parallel to your blade.
Your blade should be parallel to your fence (the same tooth … located at the FRONT of the insert, and then rotated around to the BACK of the insert).

Your 90deg setting should prove 90 degrees to the table.

If you do this, then your saw should cut true and square !

More (good) info … from a LumberJock:

-- -- Neil

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3035 days

#2 posted 01-14-2011 01:33 AM

The “four cut test” is simply setting your fence for a reasonably wide cut (6” – 7”), cutting a piece of wood (plywood works well), rotating the wood 90* and cutting again, rotate and cut, rotate and cut. Measure the diagonals. If they’re the same, your saw is cutting square.

With a bit more work, yuu can really make that saw run well. Get some machined pulleys, and a link belt. You won’t believe the difference they make.

I used a Craftsman TS for over 20 years and gave it a real serious tune up after about ten years. The tune up turned a marginal saw into a really good saw. I finally stepped up to a cabinet saw two years ago, but I really wish I had enough room to keep the old Craftsman, too. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 2660 days

#3 posted 01-14-2011 01:51 AM

Oh I see, it’s all dependent on the miter gauge.
I don’t think I would trust the miter gauge that I have.
So, the next project for me is to make a good table saw sled.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View Loren's profile


10266 posts in 3614 days

#4 posted 01-14-2011 02:44 AM

Ripping is less demanding of accuracy on a TS. The real test
is squaring.

Patternmakers have a test that’s easy to do. Take a board that’s
as wide as is handy, straighten one edge and rip the other
exactly parallel. Then crosscut the board with your crosscut
jig (miter gage). Put the cut board against a verified straight
edge and flip half over. The gap you see is double the
inaccuracy of your jig.

The 5-cut test is more of a panel-saw thing because it exposes
tiny errors in accuracy over a 4 foot or bigger edge.

It’s worth replacing the trunnion bolts with grade 5 bolts.

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Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 2660 days

#5 posted 01-14-2011 04:04 AM

Thanks everyone, this is exactly the info that I was looking for.
This site is amazing… Information quickly and accurately, it’s great.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 2660 days

#6 posted 01-14-2011 05:16 AM

@ GarageWoodWorks:
I never seen this done before.
I immediately went to my table saw and tried it.
My miter gauge was way off.
I adjusted it as you showed and now it is perfect.
Thanks again.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

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