Made one myself using a piece of 4/4 oak 2" wide. I took the time to set
the blade heights VERY precisely in 1/8 increments with my dial indicator
and then cut slots from 1" to 1/8.
Now I can set the blade height dead accurately in seconds. Cost me
nada...except for an hour of my time.
I did, in fact, check the results with the dial indicator. But before that
I marked the spindle center line on the insert, locked the dial indicator at
the desired height and rocked the blade back and forth under it so that it
just ticked the bottom. Like I said, I set the blade heights VERY
Well some of us on here are smarter than many newbie posters. I am not
accusing you of this, but you would fall in the group of the few that have
taken every step to insure accurate height with each adjustment setting.
The biggest problem I see with using a height gauge over simply measuring
test cuts is insuring that the "tallest" tooth is "clocked" to 12:00 o'clock
in the highest position. If you are not using the tallest tooth at exactly
12:00 o'clock the results will give you a slightly deeper cut tan expected.
Considering that, which one is the tallest tooth?
If you set up using the gauge and happen to be using a tooth with a very
slight chip, it may not produce the results you expect. I would still
always make a test cut to verify the correct depth if depth has to be exact.
AND naturally if you are using a test cut to insure accuracy you are taking
an unnecessary first step using a set up depth gauge except to get you
started somewhere in the ball park, IMHO.
Any way, thanks for sharing the tip.
Thanks Leon. I use a homemade jig to set
blade height, and then just because I'm
worried about the jig, I take a test cut
anyway. Normally it's off by some
amount, and sometimes that amount is
I always figured there was slop in the
jig, and there probably is, but now I
realize there are other factors. Just
another good reason to take a test cut.
I've made/tried many "height gauges" down through the years and still the
most convenient for 'pre-test cut' setup is the ubiquitous 6" ruler in an
apron pocket; followed closely by brass setup blocks similar to machinist'
1-2-3 blocks, which are my personal favorites for blade/bit _height_
adjustment, particularly for non-through cuts on both the TS and router.
AAMOF, the 1/4" setup block/bar pretty much resides in a top shop apron
The blocks are also good for setting precise, small 'fence to blade'
distance when you have a dado stack in a left tilting TS and can't use the
fence's rule, and they can be used in combination for quick and precise
I have at least three sets of these things in various places in the shop ...
all the other "height gauges" are pretty much ignored/unused after the
initial "good idea" rubs off and proves otherwise in practice. :)
I've only got one set of blocks, from Lee Valley, but after three
years I'm still surprised at how much use they get. Blade height,
fence distance, marking, checking.
I'm also surprised that after this long I still have the complete set!
That's unusual for me. :-)
on most table saws the spindle center line moves front-to-back as the
blade height is adjusted. a few table saws have a straight up and down
motion for height adjustment but most of them travel in an arc.
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