Table Saw Blade Won't Say At Set Height

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Forum topic by IndianaJohn posted 04-22-2012 05:07 PM 15207 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2326 days

04-22-2012 05:07 PM

So I’m really stumped. When I turn my table saw on, the blade starts to slowly retract downward. The blade height adjustment knob also spins while this is happening. I’ve looked and looked for a solution to this problem, but whenever I type in “table saw blade retracts,” the only results I get back are about SawStop.

Does anyone have any idea what would cause this?


20 replies so far

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

#1 posted 04-22-2012 05:15 PM

#1 What kind of saw?
On my table saw, the height adjustment wheel has a knob that screws on to hold the wheel in place. It also acts as a lock so you can’t turn the wheel. Does yours have that? Also look just above the adjustment wheel. Mine has a lock there as well.

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10382 posts in 3644 days

#2 posted 04-22-2012 05:37 PM

You either aren’t enagaging the height lock knob/lever,
or the knob/lever is missing, messed up, or broken.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4002 days

#3 posted 04-22-2012 05:40 PM

Put you a wood clamp on the height adjustment wheel.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3684 days

#4 posted 04-22-2012 05:44 PM

Ditto : )

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

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2980 days

#5 posted 04-22-2012 11:43 PM

I’m going to assume that you have a contractors table saw that this is happening to.
First look underneath the saw at your gears and be sure that the small worm gears are free of sawdust and resin pitch or any other debris. If they are clogged this will cause the gears to slip. Next check the small worm gears to see if there is any play in them. They should be solidly in place, if they move even slightly on the shaft look for the set screw to tighten them up. You may need to move the position of the set screw on the shaft for the set screw to seat properly. While you are there check to be sure all set screws and bolts are at their proper tightness. In most cases this type of maintenance should restore your saw back to proper working order.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3741 days

#6 posted 04-23-2012 10:27 PM

The shaft that raises and lowers the blade also should have a pin in it, that engages with a slot in the wheel that raises and lowers the blade. If this pin isn’t engaged in the slot, the locking mechanism won’t work.

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3240 days

#7 posted 04-24-2012 09:07 PM

When adjusting blade height, you always crank the blade UP to the required depth of cut; NEVER crank Down to set depth. When you crank down, a small amount of backlash in the screw threads will cause the blade to creep downward. It’s usually measured in the thousands, but I don’t know if that’s your problem. Could be the saw is worn out and backlash is excessive.

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4764 posts in 3240 days

#8 posted 04-25-2012 07:13 PM

The elevating mechanism on a table saw is a worm gear drive which is a one way drive. the worm moves the rack, but the opposite is not true. If it creeps excessively, the bearings that support the worm may be worn, causing excessive motion. When you turn the crank and stop, how much does the handwheel move in the opposite direction. It should be very little, certainly no more than 5°. Much more than that would indicate bad bearings and/or a worn rack and/or worm gear.

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2805 days

#9 posted 04-25-2012 08:20 PM

Indiana John, you could shorten this thread and get a fast precise answer if you would add one key ingrediant to your post: WHAT SAW IS IT ?

View DS's profile


2917 posts in 2417 days

#10 posted 04-25-2012 09:47 PM

”I’ve looked and looked for a solution to this problem, but whenever I type in “table saw blade retracts,” the only results I get back are about SawStop.”

Try typing the following;

table saw blade retracts -SawStop

This eliminates all results with “SawStop” in them.

As for what causes the blade to retract, I’m with MrRon. Raise the blade UP to the set height.

You could also check your gears don’t have loose fittings holding them.
My saw has a lock for both height and angle settings, so not an issue.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View IndianaJohn's profile


21 posts in 2326 days

#11 posted 04-27-2012 05:54 PM

All -

I apologize for not responding; I’ve been pretty busy. I really appreciate all your advice and help.

First, I have a Tradesman BT2500W2 table saw. It’s probably literally the cheapest table saw on the market. I paid $40 for it two years ago – new. Unfortunately, I do not have the money to upgrade so I’m trying to keep this one alive for as long as possible.


Second, the table saw manual talks about tightening four hex screws on the blade raising and lowering mechanism. To me, this seems like the most obvious source of the problem because these hex screws make it harder or easier to raise or lower the blade. Unfortunately, I have to tighten these hex screws so tight that I have to use an extreme amount of force to raise or lower the blade before the blade will stop lowering on its own. In other words, if I adjust these hex screws so that I can raise and lower the blade with ease, the blade will not stay at the set height, but will slowly retract as the saw runs. After doing this, I think I may be barking up the wrong tree by messing with these hex screws.

From the manual

Pictures of these hex screws.

All the gears are clean of resin or pitch. I cannot see any wear or chips in the worm gear either.

Any other ideas? I think my next step is probably going to be to make my own height adjustment locking mechanism. I haven’t really thought this through too much yet, but think I would probably have to make a new adjustment wheel. I would put some sort of set screw on the new wheel which could lock into the body of the saw itself.

Again, thanks VERY MUCH for all the help!

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3380 days

#12 posted 04-27-2012 08:42 PM

Just use a wedge jammed in behind the wheel to keep it from moving. We have six table saws at work counting the jobsite one and one of them has the same problem you are having.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2672 days

#13 posted 04-28-2012 02:52 AM

After setting the blade to the desired height, use a pair of locking pliers (Vise Grips) and clamp them on the lowest part of the adjustment wheel. the weight will prevent turning. Poor people have poor ways….right?

View mark4345's profile


71 posts in 2419 days

#14 posted 04-28-2012 03:24 AM

It could be the pin that holds the worm gear to the shaft has sheared off. This happened to me on my contractors saw and the blade would drop i could also pull it up without using the height adjustment knob. My fix was to put a finish nail in there and bend both ends so it would not fall out making a Z shape. the 2 bends fit right between the teeth as the worm gear turns, and it works good as new

View Karl's profile


2 posts in 2836 days

#15 posted 10-06-2014 04:07 PM

I’m guessing this isn’t an issue anymore, but I just had the same problem. SawStop told me to remove the blade, crank the arbor assembly up as far as it will go, push the assembly down all the way, and then grab the arbor and yank the assembly up hard and fast. You should hear a click, which is the assembly resetting. Worked for me.

-- Karl, Capitol Hill

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