How to tune a table saw blade is one of the most asked questions by beginners into woodworking. Here we will discuss how we can tune, align, and square a table saw blade.
Table saws are great machines with so many uses. They can cut material to size before it’s milled or planed.
They’re perfect for ripping and crosscutting boards to prepare them to be joined to make a table top, bookshelf, or cabinet!
But if you don’t know how to tune a table saw, it can quickly turn into a dangerous tool.
Today we’re going to show you how easy this process is and how much safer your machine will be when you change the blade height adjustment screws!
So let’s get started!
How to Tune a Table Saw
- Make sure your blade is properly balanced and aligned in the machine. Inspect your blade or the cutting guide for signs of wear or damage.
- With a blade aligned in the table saw, lower it to its lowest position by pushing down on the handle and turning it counterclockwise to lock. This step isn’t necessary on some models, but if you’re unsure, continue with your next step.
- Now adjust how much tension is on each screw by turning them clockwise or counterclockwise as desired (depending on which way you want to lower/raise the blade).
- Using the sawing guide, place the blade high enough so that the top of your workpiece will clear the blade. However, this is not necessary for every project. If you have a miter gauge, make sure it is mounted on the guide and aligned with your saw before adjusting the height.
- Now lower the saw to its lowest position and adjust how much gap exists between your workpiece and blade (shown in green below). You can use a tape measure (I used a scrap piece of wood) or simply eyeball it if you’re comfortable enough. If you’re not sure what measurement to use, simply reference your manual to get that information.
- Once you have your measurement, turn the screw (shown in red above) clockwise to lower the blade or counterclockwise to raise it.
- Check your setting and repeat until the setting on your indicator matches up with the measurement you took earlier. Also make sure that no part of your workpiece extends past your saw table and is overhanging anywhere.
- Now secure your miter gauge with its magnetic strip and make sure it’s aligned with your saw table before cutting a test piece of material. You can also use a wood strip and cut it to see how the blade height affects your cut.
NOTE: Please be careful, always make sure that no part of your body is ever in front of the blade! Accidents can happen very quickly, especially with power tools!
Now you are ready to fully tune your table saw for safer cuts and more accurate projects!
Keep your workflow efficient by buying the best table saw blades in the market and maintain them with a precision file or angle grinder and always wear safety goggles when operating this machine. Make sure your hands never extend in front of the machine or above the table during any cutting operation.
Should tuning and re-tuning a table saw blade still prove not that helpful, you may want to learn how to change the blade on a table saw, as well as get a brand new one.
How to Tune a Table Saw Video
How to Align a Table Saw Blade
A table saw is a workhorse in most workshops, and the primary use for this tool is to cut straight, accurate, and repeatable cuts. It’s important to maintain accuracy because even small errors can become exaggerated when cutting large boards. The table saw blade should be both perpendicular and parallel to the rip fence so that there are no gaps or offset between the blade edge and the rip fence.
In order to achieve this consistency on either a contractor saw or cabinet saw, you will need to use a four-square alignment system – usually made of wood with squares glued onto it – which involves measuring from side-to-side across the top of one ruler square (perpendicularly) with another ruler square (parallel). This method is good for accuracy at 90 degrees but doesn’t check for 45-degree alignment.
For general work, you do not need to adjust the table saw blade every time you change projects. You should only need to adjust it whenever you notice that the cutoffs are not completely square or when changing blades or if a blade changes tension.
Note: For a cabinet saw, this process should be done with the motor off and the saw unplugged. The following steps also assume your table is exactly 90 degrees to the left side of your saw blade. Adjustments can also be made if your saw is not 90 degrees to the left side of the blade – please see instructions at end of article if needed.
Note: Each adjustment must be checked and re-checked before moving on to the next section. The goal is to have everything aligned at the end of the process.
Note: The following steps also assume your table is exactly 90 degrees to the left side of your saw blade.
1. Use a four-square system (or equivalent) to check perpendicularity from left side (see photo): This checks alignment from left side and indicates if table is square with respect to rip fence and miter gauge and miter slots.
Use a piece of wood or metal that has been squared (like a ruler) and place it on the table parallel to the blade (edge). The right side edge of this square should be lined up with the left side edge of the miter slot. Slide your ruler until it is also parallel to the rip fence. The edge of this ruler should now be lined up with your second ruler, placed across the top gap of your four-square system.
2. Using a straight edge and measuring from a line on either side of the miter slot, place this line on top of one end of the table saw blade as shown in photo above (parallel to miter slot). Repeat this step for the second end of the blade (parallel to miter slot).
3. Adjust blade: Move one end of the saw blade until your two straight edge lines are lined up as shown in photo (parallel on both ends; perpendicular to miter slots). You should have equal amounts of space between your two straight edge lines. If you need to adjust blade anymore, repeat steps 2 – 4.
Note: Using a T-square that is squared to fit snugly in both rulers, place it on top of one end of the saw board and check left-to-right and right-to-left parallelism. Adjust blade as needed.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for the other side of the saw blade.
5. Using a tape measure, you can check that your saw is square with respect to a straight line on either side of the miter slots: Place your line on one end of the miter slot as shown in photo above (parallel to miter slot). Then, place your tape measure from this line down perpendicular to this slot and make a mark across the table saw blade at both ends. Move this line up perpendicular to the first marked line and along another edge of the saw board until you can see that there are equal amounts of space between your two lines.
6. Adjust blade: Move one end of the saw blade until your two taped lines are lined up as shown on photo (parallel on both ends; perpendicular to miter slots). You should have equal amounts of space between your two taped lines. If you need to adjust blade anymore, repeat steps 2 – 6.
7. Repeat steps 2 – 6 for the other side of the saw blade.
8. Remove measuring tape and repeat step 5.
9. Re-check steps 2 – 8 to make sure that all lines are still lined up. Make any adjustments as needed to fix problems if necessary.
10. Optional: After completing the above steps, you can check the angle of your blade with a protractor (see photos below). Place one end of your protractor (or ruler) at your marking line on one side of the saw blade; place the other end of your protractor (or ruler) at your marking line on the other side of the saw blade. Your blade should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
After doing all those – you’re done!
How to Align a Table Saw Blade Video
How to Square a Table Saw Blade
The problem with squaring a table saw blade is that there are multiple ways to do it – most methods require measuring twice or having an accurate die-saw or square to do the work, but none of them are all that hard.
Our method for squaring a tablesaw blade is to use simple math to do this operation on your own; it is much simpler and faster than most methods, and there are no errors or discrepancies left over from this method that could require additional work to fix them when you finish squaring your table saw blade on your own, which means you’ll be able to get back to cutting wood faster!
To do this we need only four measurements:
1. Measure the distance between the blade and table at the same time on each side of the saw blade.
2. Measure the distance from any corner on one side to a corner at 12 o’clock-position on the other side of your table saw board.
3. Measure from any corner on one side of your board to a corner at 6 o’clock-position on other side of your board, excluding point measured in step 2 above.
4. Measure from any corner on one side of your board to a corner at 3 o’clock-position on other side of your board, excluding point measured in step 3 above.
Now you’re done!
How to Square a Table Saw Blade Video
How to Use a Dial Indicator
Table saws come in many different styles and brands with one thing in common: The pointer or dial indicator helps you to set precise heights for your cuts. The dial indicator has calibrated screws that indicate distance from the edge of the table to lower part of your workpiece as well as how much tension each screw has. You will need to consult your manual for verification.
Using a dial indicator is easy, here are some basic steps on how to use one:
1. The dial indicator comes with a ¼” mounting stud as standard. You can however fit it on any hole or you can make some other stud or whatever you want to do. But for this example we are going to put the ¼” stud on the table and secure it with the thumb screw.
2. The dial indicator is a very sensitive instrument and it can measure even the slightest movement. For this reason we are going to place one end of the dial indicator on the table and the other end will be placed over the blade. Also note that some blades will have a flat machined surface for you to set your dial indicator, while some other blades won’t have such a surface so you need to make one yourself.
3. After setting up your dial indicator, you need to adjust it so it does not move as you move your blade back and forth. To do this just tighten up the thumbscrew on the side of your dial indicator until no more movement is observed.
4. After you have done these few steps, now it is time to position the dial indicator over the blade and check that no further movement is required.
5. If the dial indicator shows that your blade does need more movement, then you need to remove the thumbscrew on the side of your dial indicator and move only finger one of your two fingers on each side toward or away from each other; slowly but as accurately as possible, you’ll have to try and match up this movement with your sawblade movement. Sometimes it may take some time until you get them right, but in most cases you can move only one finger from a side while keeping your other finger still in place.
6. After you have done this, if none of your adjustment was necessary then you can remove the dial indicator and place it back on something more steady until it does not move.
7. After doing this, remember to check again and if necessary adjust your dial indicator again to see if there is still any movement from the blade.
Now you got your Dial Indicator tuned up properly!
How to Use a Dial Indicator Video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is the method of tuning jobsite table saws the same?
Can you tune a Riving Knife?
Can you tune a Table Saw Blade Guard?
Can you tune a Table Saw Miter Gauge?
How to Tune a Table Saw
This ends our How To Guide of How to Tune a Table Saw.
We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional Woodworking projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.
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