Steps for aligning ones tools?

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Forum topic by rhybeka posted 05-17-2013 11:52 PM 863 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3911 posts in 3089 days

05-17-2013 11:52 PM

Ok, so I wasn’t quite sure which forum this post should go in, so if it needs moved (Martin, MsDebbieP,etc) feel free to do so. I’m in the process of tuning my new to me bandsaw and tablesaw and wanted to make sure out of all the information I’ve gleaned from here and books, etc that I’m heading down the right path. I’m trying to KISS and not overwhelm myself – yet at the same time make safe, straight cuts. So I guess my question is, how does one verify their miter slots are square so aligning the table saw blade to that would make it a 90 degree cut? is it just assumed or a manufacturer standard to make them straight on the table? (I’m assuming this is the case) I have the basic tools, save for a dial indicator I picked up from HF last weekend that I was/am intending on mounting to a jig of some kind that will ride in my miter slot to check for blade squareness. I think I’ve got my steps in a row?

1. make sure miter slots are square
2. make sure blade is parallel with miter slots
3. adjust splitter/pawls as necessary

I tried adjusting my small bandsaw table to be level just by using the adjustment and well that is a whole other post I’m guessing. :)


-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

4 replies so far

View LoydMoore's profile


105 posts in 1924 days

#1 posted 05-18-2013 12:21 AM

Probably not till Monday but it will happen.

-- Loyd, San Angelo, TX

View toolie's profile


2120 posts in 2596 days

#2 posted 05-18-2013 01:19 AM

i have no idea what is being referred to it item 1 (“make sure miter slots are square”). if a TS’s miter slots aren’t square (90°) to the edges of the table, i’ve got to think that’s not going to help with a saw’s alignment. as far as relying on a manufacturer to set up a tool for proper operation before it gets to the user, that’s not a good assumption. the only manufacturer that i’ve seen receive consistent comments about out of the box alignment is sawstop. but those are higher end tools.

i do the following:

A) align blade to miter slot (choose one miter slot, either left or right, and reference all adjustments relative to that miter slot). use the same blade tooth when checking this alignment.

B) align fence to the selected miter slot.

C) align splitter/riving knife relative to blade.

D) verify fence face is 90° relative to the table.

E) back blade bevel stops out so they DO NOT contact the trunions. they almost always get clogged with sawdust and are eventually useless. i rely on a wixey angle cube to set angles and verify 90° blade setting relative to table.

F) check coplanarity of motor pulley to arbor pulleys. also, verify that the pulley key way set screws are tightened appropriately. surprising how much a loose and/or misaligned pulley an adversely affect a saw’s performance.

if a test cut after these steps doesn’t check out, verify the arbor and arbor flange do not have excessive run out.

there are several ways to accomplish these alignments, and expensive tools aren’t required. i prefer to use an indicator gauge mounted to a miter gauge so i can estimate how critical the required adjustments need to be (the one in my pics was $5 on clearance from rockler). here’s my blade/fence alignment set up (th ezeros indicate that the gauge’s plunger doesn’t move at all from the infeed side of the blade to the outfeed side of the blade):

if that’s still not clear, here are a few sites that review the topic in greater detail:

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View rhybeka's profile


3911 posts in 3089 days

#3 posted 05-19-2013 07:00 PM

Thanks Toolie :) that’s what I was looking for. Homework took precedence over being in the shop today (that and it’s pretty warm out) so I’ll be giving it a go this week.

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10276 posts in 3615 days

#4 posted 05-19-2013 07:05 PM

I’ve never used a dial indicator. I use an ice pick I hold
against the miter gauge. I mark a saw tooth with
a magic marker and adjust until the tip of the icepick
is equidistant fore and aft on that tooth. It’s close
enough for woodworking.

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