What saw blade aligning dial indicator to get?

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Forum topic by steffen707 posted 02-20-2012 03:31 PM 12680 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View steffen707's profile


149 posts in 2498 days

02-20-2012 03:31 PM

I’m in the market for a dial indicator. I see a lot of guys like the in-line-industries for their PALS kit, and also their “align it basic or delux dial indicators” The basic being $80 and the delux is like $145.

I looked at rockler and could only find the Betterly UNA-GAUGE but its $200 and this generic looking one for $70.

And then there are guys out there that just get a dial indicator and mount it to a board,

Woodpeckers makes one for $80 on incra’s website, probably cheaper elsewhere.

And finally i found the ts-aligner jr which is $134 from this guy

I’m just starting out in wood working but a quality tool will last forever, I don’t know which route to go.


-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.

43 replies so far

View rkober's profile


137 posts in 2498 days

#1 posted 02-20-2012 03:56 PM

My $.02 – buy a good quality dial indicator and build you own jigs. I had the same question a few weeks ago myself. However I already owned a good Starrett indicator from my metal shop so it made my decision easier. With that being said I built a jig I can clamp to my miter and it worked fine. I mounted mine horizontal (face up) so the reference point was closer to the table though. I just couldn’t get excited about spending money on a tool that I would only use occasionally. However a good dial indicator can be used often so I like a good one.

-- Ray - Spokane, WA - “Most people don’t recognize opportunity because it’s usually disguised as hard work.” - Unknown

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3203 days

#2 posted 02-20-2012 04:19 PM

I would use my dial test indicator rather than a dial indicator.

It is not as versatile of a tool but it is made for that type of measurement.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View jaydubya's profile


183 posts in 3017 days

#3 posted 02-20-2012 04:36 PM

Harbor freight. 10 bucks

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 02-20-2012 04:48 PM

Buy a dial indicator with a magnetic base. You will use it for a lot of things besides setting up the table saw. You will not regret having one every time you need one. You can build your own adaptions of the ready made tools. The magnetic base can also be made with the rare earth magnets, but I really like the ease of set up with the store bought magnet and posts for it.

-- Mel,

View KenBry's profile


484 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 02-20-2012 05:55 PM

Buy a dial indicator with a magnetic base.

I agree 100%

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2782 days

#6 posted 02-20-2012 06:00 PM

+1 on harbor freight.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3247 days

#7 posted 02-20-2012 06:14 PM

The only drawback to using a digital indicator is that it takes batteries – just like a digital pair of calipers – if you can swing a “dial” rather than a digital you will NEVER have to spend money on batteries—I have a pair of digital calipers and it seems like every time I really need to use them I have dead batteries !!! just my two cents worth.

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2582 days

#8 posted 02-20-2012 06:28 PM

I took the cheap route per the suggestion of Tool & Die associate.
The reasons are:
  1. Cost.
  2. Frequency of use.
  3. Measuring differential

Your cheaper instruments is fully capable of repeating the measurements. So HF will do.
Now, say If you are interest in shaving off 0.01 where high precision & accuracy counts then, I wouldn’t trust the cheap stuff.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3766 days

#9 posted 02-20-2012 08:18 PM

I think analog is easier to use than digital, and it doesn’t need batteries as mentioned above. I’d also vote for one with 1 inch travel so you can use it for other stuff. IMO a HF is good enough for most hobby woodworkers.

-- Joe

View Bill1225's profile


125 posts in 2604 days

#10 posted 02-20-2012 09:49 PM

i use a homemade jig and a general brand dial indicator that cost me $14.99 at sear hardware and it works great.

View steffen707's profile


149 posts in 2498 days

#11 posted 02-20-2012 09:54 PM

yeah, I knew I shoulda just bought that dial indicator when I was at harbor freight, LOL

Gotta drive 60 miles round trip to buy one now. :p

-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2517 days

#12 posted 02-20-2012 09:59 PM

Good place to save some money, you will not use a cheap one enough to wear it out. A Starrett is great if you work in a production setting, if you are reaching for the indicator 3 times a day. But the one from Harbor freight is 98 percent as accurate, and will outlast you. Unless you drop it.

The fixture is easy, if you build your own, you may even learn a little about jigs along the way. And there are other things you can do with it- I figured out my DP table was off a bit, using a dial indicator. Get the magnet base- it isn’t that much more money, and is also very useful.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View TryAgain's profile


9 posts in 3352 days

#13 posted 02-22-2012 12:22 AM

This will suit your needs just fine for $30 plus shipping …

The following photo shows how I configured and used it for my own TS blade-to-miter slot alignment. The included magnetic base is surprisingly powerful … the base/rod/indicator assembly does not move when the magnetic base is placed on the vertical face of my miter gage so the fore/aft blade tip measurements are accurate.


-- Tom

View revanson11's profile


111 posts in 2538 days

#14 posted 02-22-2012 01:27 AM

You might want to take a look at these guys. I liked what I got from them and I think they are reasonably priced.

-- Randy, Central MN

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3893 days

#15 posted 02-22-2012 01:41 AM

I liked my HF indicator so much , I bought a second one !!
They go on sale often as well as the magnetic bases :)

All I’ll ever need precision-wise : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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