Table Saw Setup and Tune-up
Setting up and tuning up a table saw are the first steps to getting it working correctly. No matter how high end your table saw it needs to be aligned properly when you’re setting it up and then checked regularly. A table saw will only work accurately when the blade, fence and miter gauge are correctly aligned.
Tools to Setup a Table Saw
Some people use rulers and screws to align their saws, others use high precision measuring tools such as dial indicators. The more accurate your alignment at the setting up stage, the lower the risk of poor cuts and possible injury. You need a combination of stationary tools like squares, triangles, feeler gauges and screws or calibration tools – both methods work. The cheapest alternative is a block of wood and a brass screw while the fancier calibration tools are upwards of a $100 on sale. Run out is measured most accurately with a dial indicator.
Setup and Align the Table Saw
When setting up the table saw the first step to get rid of all the dust from the saw and table and align the blade and table. The run outs of both blade and arbor need to be adjusted so they are within acceptable parameters. For reliable crosscuts, the blade has to be parallel to the miter slots. The next step is squaring the crosscutting device to the blade.
Miter slots control the wood as it moves across the blade and therefore the blade, fence and miter gauge need to be aligned precisely with miter slots.
The arbor, flange washer, and blade can be affected by any dust or debris that gets lodged in them. Once all three components are clean measure the run out from the arbor to ensure the deviation is within acceptable parameters. If the deviation exceeds 0.002” contact customer support at the manufacturer.
Most blades have a little run out that has no impact on cutting performance. Generally, the blade should be perfectly parallel to the miter slot but an error less than 0.003” is tolerable. Owners’ manuals describe how to adjust blades to increase parallelism and it is wise to get it right the first time since the adjustment holds for a long period.
Fence alignment is important because a fault here can cause burning, splintered edges, and kickbacks. Pressure against the blade can also increase degradation of the blade as the teeth are rapidly dulled. A fence is normally placed parallel to the miter slot but a minute angling of the fence away from the blade at the back results in smoother movement of the wood as it passes through. Experienced woodworkers choose to angle the fence by 0.001” to 0.003” in the rear.
Centering the Splitter
The splitter should be exactly aligned with the blade and most manuals clearly explain how to align the splitter.
The Final Polish
Once the adjustments and alignments are complete clean the table saw and the table. Then, before you are ready to get started the table needs to be waxed. The wax ensures that the wood slides easily over the surface and it keeps the table from excessive wear and tears.
Follow up Sessions – Tune-up your Saw
The table saw needs to be tuned up regularly to make sure the various components are correctly aligned. In some cases if the blade has shifted even minutely there will be burn marks visible on the wood or the blade may take an extra bite out of the end of each piece of wood. In a tune up, the place to start is the blade as it must be kept sharp, clean and flat. Next, align the blade and fence and ensure the miter gauge does not need adjustment. Replace rubber belts as needed and keep an eye on the safety mechanisms and saw away.