LumberJocks

Checking for table saw blade straightness

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 594 days ago 1424 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 726 days


594 days ago

I’m trying to make sure the blade on my table saw is accurate in the 0 degree (straight) position in relation to the table. It came pretty straight but it looked a little off to me.

So I recently got the Wixey digital angle gauge (the 365 model). And I’ve had one of these 6” engineer’s squares for some time: http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=32601&cat=1,42936,42941

I’m trying to figure out which one to trust. The square and the Wixey result in different blade tilts.

The problem with the square is that it’s hard to get it 100% straight on the blade and table. That is, the narrow blade portion of the square doesn’t want to stay in place while I’m eyeballing it with a light.

The problem with the Wixey is that it seems to jump around a lot. I just laid it on the table and zeroed it and the numbers on it went crazy for a while. Sometimes they wouldn’t settle down at all. I’d hit the “zero” button and it would zero out. Then it would end saying 25 degrees, even though it hadn’t been moved a millimeter on the table.

I’ve used a straight edge on the table and the cast iron table is flat, so I trust the table.

But I don’t know which (or either) of these instruments to trust. I also have an Empire aluminum try square and an Empire 12 inch combo square and a Swanson 16 inch combo square. I haven’t used those, figuring they would be less accurate than the digital gauge or the engineer’s square.

So which would you trust?


51 replies so far

View gawthrrw's profile

gawthrrw

187 posts in 1080 days


#1 posted 594 days ago

I just bought the wixey myself. Before that I was using a Starrett combination square. I havnt had the problems you are having as far as the wixey numbers moving around on you. Might be a dud. To check mine though I cut two strips of lumber than turned one around to match up to the other and looked at the seam on the end grain. if you do it on something flat like your tablesaw it will show you any variations.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 726 days


#2 posted 593 days ago

I’ve read on this site that the Wixey can act funny in cold temperature, which it certainly is here. I know the batteries I put in there are fresh. The manual for the thing basically says changing the batteries is the solution to every problem it can have.

View gawthrrw's profile

gawthrrw

187 posts in 1080 days


#3 posted 593 days ago

lol, of course right? Well, if that doesnt fix it I would return it for another one. Im in MI and work in an unheated shop most of the time and I have had no trouble with mine. I really like it for my jointer fence as well. I have noticed much tighter joints in my work by making sure my stock is perfectly square.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 726 days


#4 posted 593 days ago

When you place yours on the saw or jointer table, how long does it take before the reading stabilizes? Or after you zero it out the first time?

I read that these things are kind of hit and miss. It makes me wish I’d bought the Harbor Freight one.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

907 posts in 658 days


#5 posted 593 days ago

Seems unlikely, but digital meters may also be driven crazy by nearby magnetic sources, such as motor windings. You could try taking it inside a warm room, and see if it settles down.

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1074 posts in 765 days


#6 posted 593 days ago

I have to engage the “Zero” button a full second or a tad longer to get it to zero, then its dead on at 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees compared to drafting triangles. The cut or jointed edges meat nicely. Ensure the gauge doesn’t touch or engage a blade tooth. Also the counter balance washer on the saw probably has a routed grove that the nut passes through to tighten the blade to the arbor. I learned after several missed cuts that it has to be “FULLY” engaged to get the blade really true. So maybe its the blade installation v.s. Wixey that is not truthful.

But, when you have finished with its use Please take the battery out. If put in storage in the “Off” position according to Wixey tech support some tend to continue to search for “Zero” and run the battery down, so the next time you intend to use it you’ll find no power.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2026 days


#7 posted 593 days ago

you say it right: ” in relation to the table”!!
That device is measuring the blade in relation with gravity BUT NEVER with your table saw, unless Isaac Newton is around your shop to level the machine 0.000000000 degreees.

Not even in large shops I have seen large table saws dead level in relation with space. remember we live in a planet that moves!

Best is, grab a certified square and simply check your blade IN RELATION with the machine top. that simple!!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1731 days


#8 posted 593 days ago

Francisco

I believe he zero’s it out on the table first, then checks the blade for 90 degrees. Therefore the saw doesn’t need to be level.
I would stick with the precision square. I trust it over a digital device. Close enough for woodworking.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View Richard's profile

Richard

400 posts in 1324 days


#9 posted 593 days ago

I have one of those digital doodad’s and it’s jumpy, but seems to be reliable once it stops freaking out. But I double check it against my square. If I were getting conflicting results I would be inclined to believe my engineer’s square.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 726 days


#10 posted 593 days ago

jim C is correct. I zero out the gauge when it’s sitting on the table. Then stick it to the blade. The same button is used to switch it off as to zero it. So if I hold down the zero button for long it switches off. So I have to do a quick zeroing.

I’ve tightened the hell out of the nut that secures the blade to the saw. And yes, the arbor has washers (one on each side of the blade).

Has anyone heard of cold temperatures affecting the Wixey? I’d read somewhere that somebody said that might be an issue.

Thanks.

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

564 posts in 1010 days


#11 posted 593 days ago

Battery performances are impacted by temperature (low and high end).
You might try a new battery to see if it helps. Low voltage /power make electronics do funy things.

I have one of those Wixey and I love mine. I don’t use a square on my TS, Jointer, BS…... I am happy with mine.

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

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 726 days


#12 posted 593 days ago

I’ve tried several sets of fresh batteries. Same behavior. I wonder if I’m using the thing wrong somehow.

View DannyB's profile

DannyB

46 posts in 2054 days


#13 posted 593 days ago

They definitely do have a minimum temperature (though I can’t remember if they use a fluid or not).

I had one that started jumping around after about a year, and emailed Barry, and he replaced it no questions asked.
Just asked for my address and sent a new one. Didn’t even ask for the broken one back.

His guess was a loose connection.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10737 posts in 1323 days


#14 posted 593 days ago

I wouldn’t “tighten the Hell” out of the nut that holds the blade. Excessive tightening can damage the arbor and/or the arbor nut. I just snug mine up as they will tend to tighten as you run the saw. As far as the Wixey, I must have gotten their best cause mine works great (and I don’t have the battery longevity that others report). Mine is over a year old and still on the original battery. I’d try a new battery in yours and if that didn’t fix it, I’d return it and get another. Those batteries are the same as the ones in most garage door remotes and readily available (WalMart). I trust my Wixey much more than my drafting square and my old eyes to read it!Once you get your blade set to 90 degrees, make sure to recheck it after you have locked the adjustment knob!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3710 posts in 2000 days


#15 posted 593 days ago

I use a precision square to make my blade normal to the top but I make sure that I am squaring on flat part of the blade. I need to check mine periodically because on my old saw the angle adjustment is connected to the sheet metal body of the saw and does tend to creep.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

showing 1 through 15 of 51 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase