Table Saw Height

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Forum topic by spunwood posted 03-25-2011 03:42 PM 2196 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1202 posts in 2861 days

03-25-2011 03:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw milling

What tricks do you use to accurately set the height of your blade?


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

25 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#1 posted 03-25-2011 03:49 PM

I assume you are talking about non-through cuts, because otherwise it’s just not that critical.

I have a small aluminum stepped gauge with incremental height variations, but there are any number of gauges, both analog and digital, on the market. If you don’t want to spend any money at all, you can always just use scrap and sneak up on the height you want by raising/lowering the blade, making a test cut, and measuring the result with a ruler.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3099 days

#2 posted 03-25-2011 03:51 PM

I have a digital height gauge, but seldom use it. Usually, you can use another piece of wood to help you set the height such as when you are cutting a rabbet, you can lay down the wood that will set into the rabbet to get a critical height measurement just right.

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#3 posted 03-25-2011 04:00 PM

I generally use set up bars to set the blade height but here is a project posted by Chunky that I have been meaning to try out. It is probably way more precise that is usually needed but it is a neat looking jig that will allow precise repeatability.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3022 days

#4 posted 03-25-2011 04:44 PM

I always use a scrap test piece. Even when I set my fence, its worth a scrap before ruining the original.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2862 days

#5 posted 03-25-2011 05:47 PM

All correct… but I’ll assume your trying to get the blade height for through cuts. Like stated, it’s not that critical, but there is a “right-on” height to lessen the tear-out and to allow your saw to work at it’s best. If you raise your blade as high as it goes and cut a 3/4 inch board, you will have tear-out (chips hanging off your cut board. If you set your blade just so the teeth peak out, your blade will collect pith, dull faster, and the saw will work harder then it needs too.

I set my blade height just so the gully (u shape in front of the teeth) is just sneaking out from the wood. The gully is designed to remove the sawdust out of the cut. With this setting, the blade is working at it’s peak performance.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#6 posted 03-25-2011 06:29 PM

Bernie, I do it the same as you because that’s the way I was taught, and it makes sense to me. But I’ve seen people make arguments for different blade heights, so who knows?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3759 days

#7 posted 03-25-2011 08:17 PM

Most well-used saws like mine have a bit of backlash in the height adjustment. Ever notice that dead spot when you go from lift to lower? Next time I have the old saw apart, I’ll put in some Belleville washers which will take some of the slack out. If cutting dadoes or non-through cuts, I’ll make my final adjustment in the lift direction, lock the adjusting wheel, and then put a vise-grip on the adjuster wheel in the 6 o’clock position to further prevent the wheel from creeping. Now we’ll hear from other people who might do the opposite, hehehe.

-- 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 Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3183 days

#8 posted 03-25-2011 08:31 PM

Yeah, I feel more safe when I don’t raise it too high. But you will get tear-out if it’s too low. I agree with Bernie.

For non-through cuts, I normally sneak up on the measure with multiple passes and use a digital caliper for depth measurement.

-- jay,

View bandit571's profile


20233 posts in 2708 days

#9 posted 03-25-2011 09:15 PM

For non-through cuts, I set a combo square to the height i need. With a tooth at top dead center, and the blade over that tooth, I raise the blade until the tooth just touches the square. Blade of the square is in contact with the table top, body contacts the saw blade’s tooth.

I do have one of those metal height guages, just don’t use it much. Much quicker with the square trick. I also set the fence on my saw, using that same square.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2861 days

#10 posted 03-25-2011 11:37 PM

Wow, thanks for all the responses. One of the toughest jobs for me is figuring out which tooth to use and where it should be (when exactly it is at max height.

Charlie—I too have been using scrap wood, but was wondering if there was a more precises way, but than again maybe measuring cut height by making a cut is the precise way.

Scott- I think that jig is well beyond the precision I am seeking

Poopiekat- I have noticed that and it is a pain.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View bandit571's profile


20233 posts in 2708 days

#11 posted 03-25-2011 11:51 PM

I find the center of the arbor, and mark that on the insert. I can then line up a tooth with that center-line. That gives me the top of center for that blade. When I get the blade height close, I can wiggle the blade back, and forth to confirm the height.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2861 days

#12 posted 03-26-2011 12:28 AM


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View pintodeluxe's profile


5705 posts in 2838 days

#13 posted 03-26-2011 12:58 AM

I like a 6”combination square for setting my combination blade to cut grooves for door frames.
For through cuts I set the blade so that half of the gullet is exposed, unless it is plywood or melamine in which case I expose about an inch of blade for an extra clean cut.
best of luck

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3918 days

#14 posted 03-26-2011 05:16 AM

I do it Canadian chips method, scrap first, check, adjust…....repeat if needed.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3114 days

#15 posted 03-26-2011 12:01 PM

I made this jig for it:
It is fast to make and works really fine.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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