I Have A Dilemma Squaring My Table Saw Blade

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Targa posted 09-10-2013 07:34 PM 7046 views 1 time favorited 81 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Targa's profile


118 posts in 1765 days

09-10-2013 07:34 PM

As a woodworking newbie, I’m trying to insure my free craftsman table saw (Model# 113.298240) is worth investing in upgrades such as a aftermarket fence, link belt, possibly machined pulleys and all the other things you discover you really need once you become more experienced.

For anyone who read a couple of my earlier postings know I worked to make certain my saw blade was parallel to the miter slots which I was able to do with the help of fellow LumberJocks.

Now I have a dilemma which involves making certain the blade is square to the table.

The problem involves when I crosscut a piece of wood with the blade adjusted to 90 degrees to the table using a metal square. ( its not a expensive precision square) When I match the two pieces together after the cut, the cut line on the top surface of the wood matches perfect with a nice tight line. If I turn the pieces over, the bottom surface matches perfectly as well.

The problem lies when I turn over one half of the cut pieces and match it to the other half and there’s a slight gap. When I check each cut end with the square I can see daylight where its not square.

So I adjusted the angle of the blade until the cuts matched up perfectly. However, when I checked the relationship of the blade to the table its not square any longer. You can see a slight gap.

There’s obviously something wrong but I’m not sure what could be causing this. Maybe the scrap wood I’m cutting isn’t flat although I used a few different short scrap boards and the results were the same.

I also wonder if this is really a non-issue since I only plan to primarily rip wood with this saw.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions regarding this problem.

Thank you

-- Dom

81 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2996 days

#1 posted 09-10-2013 08:21 PM

Get a good square. Does not have to be large for machine set-up but it must be accurate.
I like the little Japanese square they sell at Woodcraft.
Another inexpensive option is an extruded aluminum Empire speed square from HD. Not the plastic one, but the blue aluminum model made by Empire.
My final plan C, is to use good machined, 30×60 x 90 degree or 45×90 degree drafting triangles.
Metal is better, but the plastic drafting tools are accurate; just not a durable.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5705 posts in 2838 days

#2 posted 09-10-2013 08:28 PM

1+ a good square will help with setting the blade angle. However most Craftsman saws have bigger issues than that. Fence alignment can be a bear. Hopefully one day you can get a tablesaw with a T-square type fence.

Good luck with your setup!

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

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3586 days

#3 posted 09-10-2013 08:40 PM

It’s very possible that the blade alignment changes with the set angle. This is a common problem with contractor saws.

I have a story that I can send you that tells how I dealt with that problem on my saw as well as how to set the alignment and measurement techniques. Send my your email address in a PM and I’ll forward the document to you.

-- Joe

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1777 days

#4 posted 09-10-2013 08:45 PM

Is that the saw where you set the fence to the blade with a ruler then hammer the front an back to be parallel to the miter slot, then recheck to the blade and start over? I had one of those. The best thing I did for that saw was to built a “T-Square” style fence. After that the problems were minimized. I did keep using it and won several prizes at shows with the work I did on it.

On your blade squaring issue, it seems that one of your parameters is a bit off and which one is the issue. I would start with flat stock that has been planed or machined. Once that variable is out, next check your square by drawing the line, flipping the square and drawing another line. If the lines are in the same mark, the square is “square”. Last I would check the Craftsman table to see if it is flat. Get a straightedge and lay it on the table at various angles, looking for light underneath. If the table is not flat, it can be re-ground, but it is not cost effective to do so.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2710 days

#5 posted 09-10-2013 08:45 PM

You have a free TS in the Craftsman brand. And you say you have a “slight” gap on crosscuts. Sorry to tell you my opinion but I think that’s why we also own miter saws (and jointers for that matter). My Delta TS is tuned to cut a true rip but I never use it to cut a perfect precision crosscut (off to the miter saw for those if it matters).

View knotscott's profile


8056 posts in 3401 days

#6 posted 09-10-2013 08:46 PM

”The problem involves when I crosscut a piece of wood with the blade adjusted to 90 degrees to the table using a metal square.”

To be clear…are you using a standard table saw miter gauge to guide the crosscut? If so, make sure the miter gauge is calibrated for a true 90°, and not just set at an uncalibrated number that says “90”. If not, does that mean your actually trying to guide the crosscut with a metal square? (yikes).


-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2512 days

#7 posted 09-10-2013 08:51 PM

Check your square for square…..
Place it on a a large flat surface, resting one edge against a known good straight edge.
Mark a line along the longitudinal piece.
Now flip the square 180° (like the page of a book).
Mark another line.
If those two lines are exactly square to each other, the square is square.
If not, either adjust the square or chuck it and buy a new one that is square.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Targa's profile


118 posts in 1765 days

#8 posted 09-11-2013 12:20 AM

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. Since I received so many responses so quickly I’m going to make a series of comments intended to answer some of the questions that were raised.

1. I will follow the advice of crank49, hydro, knotscott and Dallas and not only check my square, table surface for flatness but purchase a high quality square and triangle

2. I’ll PM you Joe with my email address to get your story which I’m sure will be helpful

3. Knotscott, I may be a woodworking newbie, but I’m not crazy or careless enough to push wood through the blade using a metal square

4. I did check that my miter gauge was set to 90 degrees using the same low cost square that I used to check the blade. I may be wrong, but even if the mitre gauge was set to say 5 degrees when I crosscut, I’d have the same problem I described in my posting. It wouldn’t accentuate or minimize the result.

5. I’d like to make this table saw work for me because that will allow me money to purchase a jointer, planer, bandsaw, 12” sliding miter saw or radial arm saw and other misc things like a router/router table, etc

I’ll report back my findings after a thorough check of my square and table flatness

Thanks again and if anyone thinks of something else to check that could be causing this problem please let me know.

-- Dom

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2715 days

#9 posted 09-11-2013 12:54 AM

I am a big fan of the Wixey digital angle gauge to square my blade to the table. I get more consistent results than when I used to use a drafting square. Probably due to the limitations of my eyesight and the parallax factor when viewing the blade/square interface.

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

View JADobson's profile


1070 posts in 2136 days

#10 posted 09-11-2013 02:09 AM

Targa, I don’t think that Knotscott is telling you to use the square to push the wood but rather to use the square to set your crosscut guide to 90 rather than relying upon the 90 written on the guide.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1777 days

#11 posted 09-11-2013 12:22 PM


If you are using the miter gage to crosscut, may I suggest building a “crosscut sled” to do those 90 degree cuts? I have been using these for a long time and they are more accurate, and safer than the miter gage.

To make one you need a piece of ½” or so Baltic Birch plywood (try Lowes or HD) a runner to fit the saw table slot, and a backer strip. Make the runner to fit snug but not tight in the table slot and attach it at 90 degrees to the sled (it does not have to be perfect here). The backer strip has three holes, with the two left holes elongated slightly to provide adjustment, and the base is relieved with a small cut to provide dust clearance.

Once the sled and runner move freely on the table attach the backer and make a test cut. Check for square, and repeat until the cut is a perfect 90 degrees. Mark the sled board, remove the backer and glue it down to your mark. Last, I glue some 150 grit sandpaper to the backer strip so that the stock does not slide when being cut. Here is what it looks like:

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 1921 days

#12 posted 09-11-2013 02:01 PM

You should get a 4” machinist square as suggested. I picked up a Groz at Woodcraft for a reasonable price and it’s dead on but you can probably fix this issue without one. After you have the blade set to give you perfect alignment on your test pieces adjust the pointer on the bevel scale to zero. Even if the blade has a little twist or the table isn’t flat you will have a reliable indicator for your blade tilt. I’m guessing this a contractor saw and you’d have to access to the trunnion mounts on the bottom side of the table to shim one side to bring the blade into true alignment, not a fun thing to do and if the problem is twist in the casting it won’t help much anyway. I’d find the sweet spot adjust the blade bevel gauge and go with it.

View LKJR's profile


5 posts in 1744 days

#13 posted 09-11-2013 02:55 PM

I would second the sled, I found even with my cabinet saw the metal miter gauge handle cranked down that after a couple months it would be off slightly just from handling.

View dschlic1's profile


433 posts in 1995 days

#14 posted 09-11-2013 06:23 PM

A quick question: are you trying to align the saw blade square in the vertical direction with the table top, or trying to square up the miter gauge.

For alignment of the saw blade with the table top, the gap in the wood will be between the top of the wood as your cut it to the bottom of the wood.

For alignment of the crosscut with the miter gauge, the gap is between the start of the cut (front of the wood) and the end of the cut.

Alignment procedures for these two cases differ.

View MrFid's profile


876 posts in 1929 days

#15 posted 09-11-2013 06:31 PM

I’ll add to the crosscut sled idea. I almost never crosscut without it anymore. Check out Marc Spagnuolo’s cross cut sled video (about 20 mins if I recall). He takes you through adjusting it to dead square. Mine is awesome.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

showing 1 through 15 of 81 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