Tune Your Tablesaw
A few key adjustments get your saw cutting smoothly
Most of my projects revolve around a tablesaw. When it’s working well, I can make accurate rips, crosscuts, and even coves. All are safe and efficient with a well-tuned saw. But a tablesaw needs regular maintenance; otherwise, using it is at best frustrating and at worst dangerous. If you run through three simple but crucial steps to tune your tablesaw, you’ll be back to accurate and safe woodworking in no time.
The goal of the tune-up is to make the blade, table slots, and fence parallel and square. All I need to set my cabinet saw are a reliable 12-in. combination square, a dial indicator, a socket wrench, and some brass shims.
The tune-up starts with the blade at exactly 90°. Raise the blade as high as it will go, set the square against it, and look for any light between the ruler and the blade. If you see some, the blade’s not square. Adjust it until it is.
Now that the blade is at 90°, you’ll adjust the tabletop so the miter-gauge slots are parallel to the blade. Put the square’s head against the left side of the right-hand slot and the ruler at the front of the blade. Carefully slide the ruler out toward the blade until it lightly rubs a tooth. If you’re using a rip blade, pick any tooth. If the blade’s a crosscut or combination, pick a rip tooth or a tooth angling to the right. Once the ruler slightly touches the tooth, lock the square at that setting.
Move the square and the same tooth to the back. As before, the head of the square should be against the left side of the right slot. If the slot is parallel to the blade, the tooth will touch the ruler the same amount. If the tooth doesn’t touch or it rubs too much, you’ll have to adjust the table.
On cabinet saws, the tabletop can be adjusted independently of the blade because the two aren’t connected. To adjust the tabletop, loosen three of the four bolts that attach the top to the cabinet. The fourth bolt will serve as the pivot point. Tap the top until the miter slot is parallel to the blade. Retighten the bolts.
For the full article, download the PDF below: