Precision measuring height of router bit or table saw blade, how ?

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Forum topic by Holbs posted 10-06-2014 12:29 AM 1604 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1347 posts in 1450 days

10-06-2014 12:29 AM

I pride myself on figuring things out by myself by luck, determination, research, and common sense…. with alot of help from LJ forums, of course :) Since I started in woodworking, I had on hand a bosch 1617evs combo kit and bosch 1180 router table and a bosch 4100 contractor saw. The router table inserts are flimsy plastic with no precision adjustment to make flush to .001”. The plastic ZCI inserts for my saw can be adjusted but flex with a finger touch of pressure. This makes measuring for precision fits a challenge. I went ahead and bought one of those wixey precision height tools and still have the same problems: my inserts. I assume my next priority it to make MDF table saw inserts such as NiteWalker did in his inserts. And then to tackle the router table itself. I do have a Incra Ultra RT in a box I sneakily won at an auction for $25, which will gladly finally force me to jump into the construction of a dedicated quality router table stand. I looked up router lifts and probably will go the infamous StumpyNubs one or WoodGears or even ShopNotes, as $700 for a router lift is well out of budget. Unsure about the router table insert, but I have time to look into that.
Basically.. my question is: how do you measure the height of your table saw blade or router bits? I can only assume, your inserts are quality made, not flimsy plastic ones. Maybe once I get the MDF table saw inserts and router table finished off, this question will be moot.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

10 replies so far

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1214 days

#1 posted 10-06-2014 12:48 AM

I picked up the JessEM Rout-R-Lift for $189 great lift.

I’m not sure I understand your question…

If you inserts are that flimsy, then you maybe doomed.
Have you tried laying a flat edge across the surface and measure from the straight edge to the tip of the blade and add in thickness of the straightedge? The straightedge would span the gap of the insert. If you used a 1/2” sheet of plywood and measured 2” to the tip of your blade then you would have a total of 2.5”. To get more precise measure the thickness of the straightedge exactly and add that to the measurement.

-- John, New Jersey

View MT_Stringer's profile


2820 posts in 2652 days

#2 posted 10-06-2014 01:00 AM

For basic settings, I use the Kreg set up bars. Is this what you are asking about? The bar spans the opening in the table saw. Same goes for the router table.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2111 days

#3 posted 10-06-2014 01:01 AM

I don’t measure the height of my router bits or saw blades. Rather, I scribe a line where I want the cut and raise the blade/bit to the scribe mark. THEN make a test cut on a piece of scrap to be sure.

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

View Holbs's profile


1347 posts in 1450 days

#4 posted 10-06-2014 01:36 AM

aha! now the 3 of you make sense. such a solution never occurred to me. laying a flat edge spanning the insert opening and then measuring or even a scribe line itself. so simple.
these are things that you do not see in videos or how-to’s because i guess it is assumed. but for a guy like me who has no mentor, no carpenter career… LJ’s and youtube are my sensie :)

Case101.. I now see amazon has the lift for $189. I am unsure what model I initially saw that was $700 (so assumed all lifts were in that price range). Gives me room to think, thanks.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1411 days

#5 posted 10-06-2014 01:54 AM

I use a height gauge, similar to this: which spans the router plate insert gap. I think I have the same router, table and saw as you. I ended up making plate inserts from delrin plastic which work very well – no need for a new table. On the saw I don’t have an issue, but you may be trying some things differently from how I do them. When needed I use the same gauge.

View JohnDi's profile


14 posts in 855 days

#6 posted 10-06-2014 09:31 AM

I’ve started using set up bars and find they make things a lot easier.
Also, the Wixey mini depth gauge that OSU55 linked to is on sale at Rockler right now for $14.99.
I just ordered one, should be here today.

View Tootles's profile


780 posts in 1923 days

#7 posted 10-06-2014 09:34 AM

I do similar to Gfadvm – but I generally go one step further. After confirming the setting on a scrap piece and before cutting my work pieces, I cut into another piece – my story board. That way, if I need to change the setup and then later set it up again, I am able to set it up exactly the same as before without having to measure anything.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 845 days

#8 posted 10-06-2014 01:00 PM

Woodpecker PRL V2 – make a test cut, measure, dial in difference exactly, done.

-- Brad, Texas,

View bonesbr549's profile


1137 posts in 2488 days

#9 posted 10-06-2014 01:56 PM

Well, IMO it depends on what you want to measure to. I have a woodpecker PRL, and can sneak up on a measurement by a thou. If you mean you want it set to a perfect 11/16”, then I run a test piece over it and check it with a good depth gauge like my good starrett square, or dial-caliper. Same with the TS. Now if it’s a nominal common measure like a 1/4”, 3/8”, or 1/2”, then I use my setup bars. There are expensive ones out there. For me I just went to lowes and bought a selection of motor shaft key ways, and keep them in a little baggie. They are great quick set up’s and accurate. So many way’s to skin that cat. Have a good one.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1446 days

#10 posted 10-07-2014 07:20 AM

Bonesbr: My cat hates that saying.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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