Question re: leveling Cast Iron Wings on Table Saw

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Forum topic by dalec posted 03-26-2009 11:46 PM 3217 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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612 posts in 4086 days

03-26-2009 11:46 PM

In am installing cast iron wings on my new table saw and have a question about leveling. I do not have a precision straight edge, but initially put the wings on being sure the mating surfaces were aligned, but found using 48” straight edge (one bought from one of the big box stores years ago), that I can see the outer edges of both wings are higher than the inside edges and the saw table.

My first attempt to fix it, was to place a thin strip of blue tape near the top edge of the mating surfaces to bring the outside surface down. To my surprise it was too much. So I thought I would just remove only to find the outside surface is high again.

I have been thinking of resorting to using aluminum foil, which is thinner (or at least seems so) than blue tape to bring the outside wing surfaces down. Here is my question: Does anyone have another other tricks that I might try? Or do I just go with making sure the mating surfaces are aligned?



8 replies so far

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 03-26-2009 11:56 PM

I used my Stabila 4’ level as a straight edge… are right, the wings are very sensitive to any “spacer” you place in between. I played with different kinds of paper, until both wings were perfectly alined with the center section.

-- 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 dalec's profile


612 posts in 4086 days

#2 posted 03-27-2009 12:44 AM


Thanks for the reply. I think I will collect some thin material for a new start in the morning.


View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4185 days

#3 posted 03-27-2009 01:01 AM

Foil would work great! It will only compress so far and it won’t deteriorate over time.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4086 days

#4 posted 03-27-2009 01:07 AM


I hope the foil works. It is definitely thinner than the blue tape, but now I have to experiment with a single thickness or double or ???



View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4086 days

#5 posted 03-27-2009 03:31 AM

Decided to give the aluminum foil a try before dinner. I ended up placing a single thickness of regular duty foil. Amazingly, the single thickness brought the wing much closer to level. I remember when I was a summer worker in a mill when the millwrights would use shims on generators. Those shims in some instances were as thin as gold leaf. That one layer of aluminum foil had a much greater affect than I would have guessed in the leveling process.

I am done with this part for now. Once the saw is up and running, I will see if I need to revisit this.

Thanks Moai and GaryK for your support.


View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

48 posts in 3582 days

#6 posted 03-27-2009 10:34 AM

Just out of interest, Dale, how big was the initial gap?

-- The Complete Tablesaw -

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 4110 days

#7 posted 03-27-2009 03:13 PM

Foil is what I used when I did mine. It’s usually only a few thousandths of an inch thick. Just use multiple folds until you get the wings level.

You may find that the wings are not milled perfectly flat – especially at the outside edges there may be a slight rise. Not too much you can do about that except for having them surface lapped by a machinist – depends how picky you want to be about this. If this is the case with your wings you might want to actually put in more foil to drop the wings slightly at the outside so that their outer edges are level with the main table. Others may have a better solution.

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3846 days

#8 posted 03-27-2009 03:35 PM

It is indeed interesting how small those differences are- when I just installed my wings, I checked the level with my eye and was alarmed as it seemed there were “HUGE” gaps….

I then went to the store and bought a set of feeler gauges just cause I was curious to see how severe those gaps were… 1 gap was ~0.0015” and the other was 0.0004, I was able to get them better, but my point is that sometimes, those gaps are still within margin, and might not be as huge as you might think. just some food for thought.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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