The subject of table saw alignment comes up over and over again in forums because it’s a constant for every table saw user. Good, regular table saw alignment is crucial for proper table saw safety too, which is another reason I decided to write this post.
The title’s inspired by a forum post I found over on SawMill Creek by Mr. Howard Acheson (I used our woodworking forum search). He teaches woodworking and offers some great advice for folks seeking superior table saw accuracy (within .001 – .002) using only a 5 cent brass screw.
Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Acheson’s post (I added the numbers), followed by a link to his entire write up, followed by a TON of table saw alignment resources for you:
From SawMill Creek’s Howard Acheson:
1) Make 3/4 x 3/4 x 12″ hardwood stick.
2) Drill a hole somewhat centered in one end and insert a brass #8 x 1″ round head wood screw about half way.
3) UNPLUG THE SAW.
4) Raise the blade completely up.
5) Clamp this board in your miter gauge (if you determine that there is some slop in your slot to miter gauge, use a playing card to take up the slop) so the screw head just about touches the blade at the front.
6) Now rotate the blade by hand and determine which tooth is the closest.
7) Adjust the screw in or out until it just touches this tooth.
8) Mark this tooth.
9) Rotate the blade so the tooth is now at the back of the table and move the miter gauge/stick assembly to the back and see if it touches the marked tooth to the same extent.
10) If it doesn’t, adjust the trunnion (if a contractor saw) or the tabletop (if a cabinet saw) until it does.
My inspiration for this post actually started when I read TS Alignment – how good is good? in WoodNet.
And I also assembled this selection of Table Saw Alignment Resources for you:
Table Saw Basics – Part One
Table Saw Blade Alignment (I believe this shows a picture of the table saw blade alignment jig that Mr. Acheson’s describing above…)
Table Saw Alignment
Table Saw Alignment … continued (both from WoodShopDemos… TONS of great pictures!)
Table Saw Alignment (PDF) (also a forum excerpt)
Setting Up a Table Saw & Squaring Crosscut Devices (VERY thorough, and details some of the tools that you can use for alignment)
Table Saw Blade Alignment (This guide is from the WoodWeb – they collect great tips from woodworking forums)