How to Tune Up Your Tablesaw
Make the shop workhorse run like a champ
Synopsis: Tablesaws are so sturdy and powerful that they seem not to need any special attention. But like any complex tool, they develop flaws that can erode performance. Keeping your saw clean, lubricated, and properly adjusted will make it safer, more accurate, and easier to use. If your tablesaw suffers from blade wobble, stiff adjustments, inaccurate cutting angles, jerky starts and loss of power, or if you simply want to head off those problems before they ever happen, follow Roland Johnson through this thorough tablesaw tune-up.
Ask woodworkers to name the busiest tool in their shop, and it’s a safe bet many will point to the tablesaw. A machine that can rip sheet goods down to size, cut boards to length, and create a variety of joints is bound to carry part of the workload in almost any project.
Yet in many woodshops, tablesaw maintenance consists of little more than changing blades, cleaning the tabletop, and squaring fences. Only when the blade-tilt or -raise mechanism starts to screech in protest does anything beneath the table get attention.
Our shop workhorse deserves better. A yearly inspection and tune-up should be a basic requirement; saws kept in damp or unheated conditions should be cleaned and lubricated more often. The comprehensive tune-up presented here is basically the same for all tablesaws. Check your owner’s manual for any details that might differ.
On most cabinet saws, removing the tabletop exposes the inner workings and makes a tune-up much easier.
First, unplug the saw, then remove the throat plate and the blade to avoid damaging the blade or yourself. Measure and record the distance from the left-hand miter slot to the blade. You’ll need this measurement to reassemble the saw accurately.
Now undo the bolts that hold the top to the base…