Adjusting miter gauges

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Forum topic by Praki posted 08-30-2009 05:31 AM 4866 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Praki's profile


201 posts in 4172 days

08-30-2009 05:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

I just found out that the stock miter gauge which came with my Delta 36-980 table saw is not aligned perfectly to 90 degrees. I thought there might be some way to adjust it but nothing obvious. The manual simply states that, the gauge has positive stops at 90, 45, 30 and 60 degrees. Can this be fixed or do I junk it and spring for an adjustable one? If so, recommendations please!


-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

18 replies so far

View Paul C.'s profile

Paul C.

154 posts in 3420 days

#1 posted 08-30-2009 08:19 AM

I don’t mean to sound facetious, but I fixed my delta mitre gauge by replacing it with an Osbourne eb3.

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3573 days

#2 posted 08-30-2009 10:12 AM

I am not familiar with that particular miter gauge but most have a screw (or some type of adjustable fastener) on/at the stop that can be used to fine-tune the setting. If the gauge does not have something like that, I would opt to toss it and get a better one. If you need to get one, see the link below for my review of the Incra 1000SE which is very popular and currently is my only miter gauge on my table saws.

Incra Review

-- Tom Hintz,

View 45acpbuilder's profile


49 posts in 3387 days

#3 posted 08-30-2009 11:57 AM

Praki, go to “” and read how he does it. He has a dial indicator holder for sale but you can use the same technique with a home made holder and align everything on your table saw to .oo1! I have two miter guages – one set to 90 deg that never gets moved and another for angles. I just looked up your saw and it’s advertised as having adjustable stops on the miter guage. If it doesn’t have adjustments to fit the miter bar to the table slot, I’d get a different one that does. Look at Grizzly’s “cast iron” miter guage and you’ll see how everyone does this.

-- M1911BLDR

View niki's profile


426 posts in 4255 days

#4 posted 08-30-2009 03:15 PM

You can adjust it to 90° and 45° with this “Lo-Tech” method…






Of course if you have the digital angle guage like the “Wixey”, you could set it to any angle…


View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3453 days

#5 posted 08-30-2009 03:56 PM

I have the manual for this Table Saw and the Miter Gauge that comes with it has a notch and a spring actuated detente. BTW if you do not have the manual you can download it from here:,36-978%2036-979.pdf

have you checked with a machinist square that the bar that go onto the miter slot is 90 Deg to the fence?

If it is, then the problem is that your miter slot is not parallel to the blade and you will have to adjust it by loosening the 4 screws that fix the Trunions to the table top using a mallet or/and a 2×4 lever to correct the problem, better yet get and install a PALS Contractors Table Saw Alignment System.
Either Rockler or Woodcraft carry them you can see what it is all about here:

Also while at it if you want a better miter fence look at the fine miter gauges offered by Incra they start at around $65.00

View Praki's profile


201 posts in 4172 days

#6 posted 08-30-2009 05:25 PM

Thanks guys.

pcott – I will take a look at Osborne eb3.

Tom – Incra would be one of the choices if I decide to toss this one.

45acpbuilder – thanks for the pointer. I will take another look and see if I have the right manual.

Niki – thanks for the pictures and the ideas. My miter gauge has notches and detente which makes it impossible to fine tune the angle. I was thinking of attaching a piece of hardwood with a shim at one end.

Jerry – the miter slot is parallel to the saw blade. It’s the miter fence that is not exactly at 90 degrees to the miter bar. Unless I find a way to adjust the stops (which 45acpbuilder said it is), I may have to buy a replacement miter gauge.

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View jussdandy's profile


157 posts in 3382 days

#7 posted 08-30-2009 06:12 PM

I still have my stock Delta, it makes a good paper weight, I use a Kreg precission miter fence, I use it on my unisaw and my router table both, not saying it the best but its what I got and it works great.

-- Randy I have the right to remain silent, just not the ability ; )

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3405 days

#8 posted 08-30-2009 06:22 PM

Stock miter gauges tend to be inaccurate in my opinion, even if you get them trued up I’ve found they are easy to knock out of square, not that that is a big deal you just have to keep double checking them while using them. I have a Incra 1000 SE now which I like, I still double check it as I’m using it, but have found it doesn’t move, it is also allot easier to fine tune to an exact angle with the vernier cursor. I haven’t had a chance to you use any of the other aftermarket gauges out there, but I think they would also be easier to adjust and keep adjusted then the one that comes with the most table saws.

-- Mike

View niki's profile


426 posts in 4255 days

#9 posted 08-30-2009 07:48 PM

“My miter gauge has notches and detente which makes it impossible to fine tune the angle.”

Well, in this case you can align the Miter gauge Fence to the Slot using big triangle…


For the clarity, I’ll use the plywood home made triangle

Fill with your finger the closer side…

And the far side…

Or, you can make a runner that fits perfectly but extends above the table

And adjust the fence to 90°…


View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3760 days

#10 posted 08-30-2009 07:56 PM

Hi the half circular strip with the degrees marked on it should be movable hence the two locking nuts on the top of it surely its just a matter of slackening ,then fine tuning this and retightening it.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Praki's profile


201 posts in 4172 days

#11 posted 08-31-2009 03:57 AM

Niki – thanks. Those triangles look awesome. My plastic triangles look … plasticky in comparison :)

Sctosman – you are right indeed. After I looked at some miter gauges and almost bought the Incra, I decided to take one last look at my miter gauge. I found the screws attaching the plates but I managed to strip them. At least, now I know it is adjustable and the tough task is to remove the stripped out screws and adjust it.

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3851 days

#12 posted 08-31-2009 06:59 AM

I was going to buy a spendy Incra, but then I though I have a digital angle gauge, why not just use it? :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View 45acpbuilder's profile


49 posts in 3387 days

#13 posted 08-31-2009 12:27 PM

All good ideas, but I still suggest using the method described at tablesawalignment. His method eliminates all possibilities of your squares not being true and “shake, rattle and roll” in the fit between the miter bar and miter slot effecting the final adjustments. If you’re going to spend the time to square things up, why not adjust to the BEST possible level? Machinist squares and dial indicators are available for little money and once you have them, they can verify ALL of your adjustments. I even use them to verify my Wixey, which I found to be .1 degree off. Now that I know that, I can compensate easily.

-- M1911BLDR

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3736 days

#14 posted 08-31-2009 12:42 PM

After fighting miter gauge alignment for years, I finally broke down an bought an Osborne a few months ago.

Problem solved. It was aligned when I got it, and it stays aligned (it is adjustable in the unlikely event it ever needs adjusting). Plus it has many other features.

The bottom line is do you want to cut wood, or spend all your time fighting the machine and its “stuff?”

PS: (I do check alignment ever so often with a TS Aligner Jr. as described at tablesawalignment.)

-- Joe

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 3639 days

#15 posted 09-01-2009 03:53 AM

If your going to toss the old gauge at least save the bar for future jigs, etc. The handle might even be handy one something else. Just a thought from someone who’s been alleged to be tight with a penny. Best of luck, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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