I have the same problem, and I would bet that as the piece leaves the back
of the saw blade, the loer corner of the piece has blade marks. If that is
what you are saying, I will bet a donut that the rear of your fence is
closer to the blade that the front, as is mine. I am ordering a new fenc
with adjustability to cure mine. If I pass wood through on a sled, and not
use the fence, it never does this.
This is dead on. If you're seeing blade marks like this, it's
definitely that your fence is too close to the plane of the cut at the
back of the table.
Get Kelly Mehler's _The Table Saw Book_. It has a lot of great info
about tuning up a saw, and diagnosing problems like this. He
advocates actually toeing the fence *away* from the blade as much as
1/64" since the fence pushing the kerf closed can cause not just blade
marks but kickbacks as well. Of course, you don't want to go too far
the other way, as that'll result in cuts not square.
Thomas, based on your postings I'm guessing you're putting together a
home shop for the first time. I did this myself about eighteen months
ago, including purchasing a number of machines I'd never even used,
before. Maybe my experience can help you a little bit. If I'm wrong,
maybe it'll help someone else.
As far as I can tell, for no machine does any manufacturer sell you a
*machine*. They sell you a kit. You have to put it together, and
that includes setting it up properly. Unfortunately, they don't give
you a lot of information about how to do that. If your previous
experience was in someone else's shop, or, worse yet, if your view of
woodworking comes from watching television shows (as mine did), you
probably don't have an appreciation for how darn fiddly these things
are, and how much setup they require. Even better, you now get to set
up all of these machines while not actually knowing how to use them,
so you'll not know whether the problem is one of technique or setup.
Based on my experience, as a rule of thumb, it's probably the setup.
In general, these machines need to be set up to *at least* 1/64"
tolerances. And that's a bear minimum, you really want to do more
like 1/128" or better if you can. The problem is that seemingly
insignificant errors compound over the length of an eight foot board
to cause things to not work properly. Don't expect that, when you
uncrate a machine, it'll basically work. Maybe it will, maybe it
won't, but you need to check it. The only machine in my shop that
didn't require significant fiddling to get satisfactory results out of
was my DeWalt planer.
You need to buy a basic set of machinist's setup tools. First, you
need a dial indicator. This is *not* a plastic ruler with caliper
arms on it and a dial readout which you get at Home Depot for $9.95,
as I thought it was ;). This is a dial with a spring-loaded feeler
which tells you exactly how far away something is. You can get one,
with a much needed magnetic base to hold it steady, from Lee Valley:
Second, you need a set of feeler gauges that go down to at least .007"
(which is 1/128). Lee Valley has a good set for $11.50.
Third, you need a straight edge. Again, this is not just a ruler (as
I thought it was) but a milled piece of metal which is straight across
its length to a very fine tolerance. You can use this to check if
tables are flat, and to verify that your jointer infeed and outfeed
tables are coplanar.
Finally, to set up the table saw properly, you probably want a gizmo
that will let you put your dial indicator in the miter slot so you can
measure how well your slot is aligned with the blade and the fence. A
lot of people swear by the TS-Aligner at www.ts-aligner.com, and I
know the manufacturer posts here. I bought a similar product from
Woodcraft (and read about TS Aligner like the next day, of course).
With these tools you now have some hope of actually setting the tools
up. Don't assume that just because the manufacturer says something is
adjusted at the factory that it's still correct when you get it. I
spent the first month of my new shop trying to get my Delta jointer to
work. My wife started referring to my new hobby of "fiddling with the
jointer." It turned out the outfeed table was not in the same plane
as the infeed table, but I didn't know that until I bought a real
Best of luck with your machines...
Thanks for the lengthy message. :)
Yes I'm putting together a home shop. Been working at it for the last
four years, little by little, until recently when I've been adding a new
piece of machinery every few months. While I agree with you that
machines likely don't come out of the box set up perfectly, I've found
that most of them are set up well enough to be used until one gets picky. :)
When I set up the table saw a few years ago, I went through the set up
process listed in the manual, checking the blade alignment against the
mitre slot and table top. Things looked good at the time based on the
tools I had, an engineering square for 90 degrees and one of those
"squares with a sliding stop" to check the distance of the blade from
the mitre slot. The manual shows a picture of someone using it to set up
the saw. While I regularly check the blade being square to the table
top, I haven't checked the blade alignment with the mitre slot. Probably
I bought a set of digital calipers from Woodcraft a while ago. The one I
bought only goes down to hundreths instead of thousandths and while that
issue didnt matter much when I got the calipers it's annoying now as 5
thousandths of an inch makes a big difference to me these days. A new
set of calipers is already on the list of necessities. My point is that
part of the issue is that as I develop my skill set I'm expecting better
results from me and the tools so what might not have mattered earlier is
starting to make a difference.
I use an Incra TSIIIa system which is aligned with the mitre slot
instead of the blade so I'll have to read the manual to see if I can
readjust the fence to the blade. I'd prefer realigning the blade to the
mitre gage but that sounds like a pain. I'll check alignment of the
Thanks for the suggestions and the book recommendation. I'll look for it
Of course there are dial calipers that read thousandths. I'm only guessing
here, but I think the point was that if you have a set of calipers that only
reads hundredths, at least with an analog set you can estimate the
Right. I get it. I made a decimal to fraction excel spreadsheet the
other night as the CAD utility I have spits out dimensions in decimals.
So I was thinking concrete as in things have to be .0625 etc. You're
right with an analog you could at least see that it's not exact and an
estimate. When I use the digital I can sort of tell as well by how hard
I have to push the caliper together to get it down 1/100th of an inch.
The next set will be analog measuring to 1000ths.
FWIW, there is a handy little .gif conversion chart on my website, jigs and
fixtures page, that can be printed out and posted in various places in your
shop. Just save it to your harddrive and go from there.
On Fri, 08 Aug 2003 11:25:40 -0400, Thomas Mitchell
A good place to get decent quality calipers would be any
shooting/reloading catalog, like Sinclair International
(www.sinclairintl.com) or Midway (www.midwayusa.com). A decent set of
steel calipers can be had for $20-30. I didn't know they *made*
calipers that went less than thousandths (i.e. hundredths, 64ths) until
I started woodworking. A *nice* set of digital calipers from Mitutoyo
or Starrett will set you back ~$150, but are well worth it if you use
them regularly. My digital Mitutoyo 6" calipers are accurate to a
thousandth, and indicate down to 5/10,000th. The 1" digital Mitutoyo
micrometer goes down to 0.0001". Life starts getting interesting when
you are trying to maintain those kind of clearances!
Point of all this: Don't sell digital calipers short because of one
crappy pair. Get a good set from a reputable dealer, and you will
probably love them.
I know more than enough *nix to do some very destructive things,
and not nearly enough to do very many useful things.
I believe the way it works is (this is the way it works on my saw),
you align the blade to the mitre gauge, then you align the fence to
the mitre gauge.
By the way, there are other ways to do it than purchasing the TS
Aligner, but they're a bit more "fiddly." I think an experienced
craftsman can use them because he knows how a tablesaw *should* feel,
and knows when it's not quite right and needs some adjustment. I
didn't, so I found that equipment to be very helpful to at least get
things set up the first time.
Oh, one other tip from my experimentation - don't test your setups on
softwood. There are problems that don't show up with softwood that do
show up with hardwood. I thought I had my TS setup fine with pine, but
found problems as soon as I cut my first piece of maple.
After much debate with a friend here at work, I'm going to align the
fence with the blade. If the fence can be aligned with the mitre slot,
it can be aligned with the blade. I was thinking of doing that from the
start but decided to follow directions for a change. I may even follow
someone's suggestion and have the backside of the fence taper out
slightly from the blade. Just seems it would be the easiest way to get
things into alignment. From what I understand about the table saw I'd
have to loosen some bolts and then try to move the blade into the
correct position and then retighten the bolts. Seems to me that
tightening the bolts would throw everything off again, at least in my
case it would.
I hear you about the pine... that's why I tried four woods last night.
Brett A. Thomas wrote:
That was part of the debate. I primarily work with pieces under 6" width
and use the mitre saw for crosscutting. I seldom use the mitre gauge on
the ts. If the need arose, the current cut isn't bad enough to worry
about. I'd just have to sand the saw marks out of the wood. :)
If you have a saw of any quality, you should be able to adjust the
fence, itself, without moving the motor around. Moving the motor the
teeny tiny amounts we're talking here is going to be a terrible
excercise in frustration (although sometimes necessary on some saws).
Generally I think it's more difficult to align the blade and miter
slot on most saws, which is why you get those two dead even, and then
align the fence to the miter slot (which, since it is dead even to the
blade, is equivilant to aligning to the blade, and easier since you
can simply check the fence at the begining and end of the slot).
I have my fence out a little bit from my blade and think it makes
cutting very easy. But remember we're talking just a tiny tiny amount
out - absolutely no more than 1/64". Too much is as bad as not enough
in this case.
Set your fence to the blade DEAD parallel. Not slight outward drift to the
outside of the blade. No more than 1 /64 away from the rear of the blade.
Use a GOOD miter gage and u should have no problems.
Looks identical to the one Lee Valley sells. Can you let me know how
well it works? Thanks for the link to the DeWalt video. I agree with
you. I bet DeWalt has a lot of stuff on the site, but it's hard to get
to it at times.
I set my Blade dead parallel to the mitre slot and then set the
fence dead parallel to the same miter slot in order to reference
point I use the tool post holder in the Starrett Dial indicator set
to do this with. The holder is 3/4"x 3/8" x 6" and will fit in the
miter guage slot of my table saw perfectly.
I did have to use a flat mill bastard file in the miter slot the first
time I used it to clean up some machining marks in order to get the
holder to slide in the groove, but now it slides smoothly and is very
accurate. I can get my saw blade to within .001" or better parallel of
the miter slot and do the same with the fence. I takes a little patience
but the quality of the cut is worth it when it is all done and you know
your saw is dead on. Of course a WWII is also in the saw. :-)
If you look in http://www.mcmaster.com/ and enter the following
part numbers in the search box you can come up with the tools I use
for setting up my machines.
Part # 20725A67 is a magnetic base $116.00
Part # 2217A11 is the Dial Indicator set $153.43
firstname.lastname@example.org (Brett A. Thomas) wrote in
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