how can I straighten my rip fence?

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Forum topic by jp90 posted 02-06-2014 10:29 PM 1544 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1977 days

02-06-2014 10:29 PM

Well, with help from the forum and a PALS system, I finally got around to aligning my table saw to a much tighter tolerance. I used the block and screw method for a while, but recently bought a dial indicator. With it I was able to get the saw to within a .0015” tolerance from front to back pretty quickly (BIG praise for the PALS).

I then checked my rip fence. I have a powermatic 64A which has a plastic (cutting board material) fence face. Sliding the indicator along the fence, it seems to vary back and forth, primarily staying within a +/- .003” range. BUT, near the end of the saw, past the end of the cut area the fence veers towards the blade by about .010”.

So, how can I fix this? Is this worth worrying about? I’m guessing it is.


9 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5148 posts in 4198 days

#1 posted 02-06-2014 11:34 PM

Just my thoughts but, using extreme measurements for woodworking is an exercise in agony.
I do most of my stuff within the components of “does it fit”.
I find that most who measure to the nearest decimal waste a bunch of time and brain.
I’m finishing a presentation box, and trying to get all parts to the nearest would make me crazy.


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23 posts in 1977 days

#2 posted 02-06-2014 11:38 PM

Haha…Bill, that’s probably exactly what I needed to hear.

Honestly for my work, I KNOW a few thousands off, even 1/100th off is not an issue. And furthermore, I’ve only ever used cheap, never-aligned saws before. So yeah, I’m probably getting tunnel vision on the alignment thing when I should just get to work. I guess my only concern would be safety, not so much precision.

View CharlesA's profile


3358 posts in 2035 days

#3 posted 02-06-2014 11:44 PM

I’m in the camp of not trying to measure to the 1/1000 as well. However, the only thing I’d be concerned about is that the deflection toward the blade at the back of the saw is not enough to cause kickback (that’s generally how kickback happens—when the wood rotates counter-clockwise, catches the blade, and gets shot back toward the front). I doubt that much deflection would, but thought I’d point it out.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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23 posts in 1977 days

#4 posted 02-06-2014 11:58 PM

Charles, kickback was my concern as well. I’ve had it happen on a previous saw and I thought my arm was broken for about the first 30 seconds afterwards. So, yeah, I want to avoid that. I can probably adjust slightly so that the front and end of the fence are aligned, and the middle would be slightly out (away from the blade).

View jkress's profile


14 posts in 3282 days

#5 posted 02-07-2014 12:03 AM

You could always add a piece of hard maple similar to what Tommy MacDonald did. I think he also complained about the straightness of the plastic on the fence.

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2913 days

#6 posted 02-07-2014 12:45 AM

Hard maple board and some shim stock should help.

View Woodknack's profile


12464 posts in 2617 days

#7 posted 02-07-2014 03:04 AM

Glue a strip of sandpaper to your tablesaw top and sand it flat.

-- Rick M,

View knotscott's profile (online now)


8178 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 02-07-2014 10:06 AM

Shim it from behind the face, or flatten it on a jointer with a very light pass.

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

View jp90's profile


23 posts in 1977 days

#9 posted 02-07-2014 10:38 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Hopefully this weekend I’ll have time to try one or two of them out. I may try sanding the plastic first, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll use some maple.

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