not so confused anymore

I am the original poster.
As suggested, I went back to my table saw which is an old 10 inch Craftsman, on the order of about 30 years old. The rip fence is a sheet-metal affair with a "T"casting bolted on one end. I have always had trouble with this rip fence. This fence has an offset rod down through the center of it with a plastic roller on the far end for tightening it to the saw. The very end of this rod has a sqare forged in its end. I saw that this rod was 90 degrees our of position, which caused the roller to bind. Easy to fix. Then I trued up the fence with one of the crosscut slots in the table. The fence still bound a little, so I sprayed the tracks on the fence and the bars that they ride on with a flourocarbon based dry film lubricant. Worked great!
I am using a carbide tipped blade from China from Harbor Freight. But, I now get a rip cut that is almost smooth as glass. Just a touch with a hand sanding block with 220 garnet finishes off the cut edge just great.
I have a nice Stanley block hand plane that I never use. Had it for 30+ years, too. I do keep it sprayed with rust preventative and keep it stored wrapped up in a cloth in my tool box.
My hearty thanks to all who helped me. It's nice to get info from people who know more that I do about what they are doing.
But, I do turn out the nice piece now and then. Am now about halfway into making a six drawer jewlery box for my wife for Christmas. Much easier project with a better rip.
A Merry Christmas to all.
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