I was getting ready to order the MasterGage SB-1 SuperBar from Amazon
for $69.00, when I looked at the reviews and found that it is a cheaply
made plastic device that many were not too impressed with. What should I
use to calibrate my tablesaw? I hear of some of you folks getting
readings to the thousandths of a inch. Can someone point me to exactly
what I need to accomplish this?
Wood magazine did, sometime this summer I believe. I don't know the
exact issue, but Mastergauge came out tops, with TS-aligner second.
Mastergauge is a bit expensive, but I bought one and it has paid for
On 23 Jan 2004 14:38:12 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org
( email@example.com) wrote:
FWIW, I align my tools with a Starrett combination square, a sharpie,
and some feeler gauges.
For instance, to do a miter slot to blade check, I do the following:
1. Mark a tooth with the Sharpie.
2. With the square's black edge sitting in the slot, adjust the square
blade until it hits the tooth.
3. Rotate the same tooth to the back, slide the square down, and check
the distance between the same tooth and the end of the square blade
with the feeler gauges. If the tooth is closer and hits the square,
readjust the square blade, rotate the saw blade forward, and measure
4. Adjust the table / trunion and measure again.
Can the expensive jigs get more accurate? Maybe. <G> All I know is
that I learned this technique at a local school, it's in several
books, and seems damn close enough for precision woodworking. None of
the pros I've ever dealt with bother with anything else.
If I ever figure out I'm missing something, I'd be more than willing
to drop big bucks on special jigs. I have not seen evidence that
those jigs improve the _cut_, except for folks who don't know how to
do the same alignment with tools they already own.
Starrett doesn't make inexpensive products either. Their combination
square can set you back a chunk of change too. For the extra money
on the TS-Aligner Junior Deluxe - the full name of the tool in
question - you get a) convenience b) a well thought out, very well
made measuring and set up tool that you can use for a host of other
set ups. It also comes with instructions for how to use it for
various set up work - providing info on how to for those of us who
who don't or didn't have the benefit of a knowledgable mentor.
One advantage it has over the method you described is that, with
the dial gauge, you can see the effect (or is it affect) of the
adjustment you're making as you make it. A square and feeler
And checking run out on the arbor or on a drill press or ...
But I agree that there are lots of expensive super deluxe whip-zam
devices on the market that most have no real need for.
I'd like to point out that the combination square doesn't even have to
be a GOOD one. <G> Just about any combination square that holds it's
blade tight will do fine, it dosen't have to be square. In fact, you
can perform the same technique with two wood scraps and two screws.
In truth, even the feeler gauges are optional. If you don't have a
Sharpie, a dot of masking tape, nail polish, or pencil will also work.
All you're trying to do is ensure that the miter slot is parallel to
the blade. You do this by ensuring that one tooth is the same
distance from the slot at the front of the blade's rotation, and again
at the back.
FWIW, I touch my $65 Starrett square every time I make a 90 or 45
degree mark, every time I adjust the cutting height of a tool, every
time I set a blade or fence back to 90, etc...
While a high-end blade alignment tool will probably do a wonderful
job, how often will you really use it?
I feel that these devices, as accurate as they are, are often over
hyped by magazines and at woodworking shows. They seem to be a boon
for someone who is actually comparing out of the box specs, as a
reviewer would need to do. The reviewer would also need to provide
actual numbers for comparison, which I really don't need.
If anyone wishes to explain to me what I'm missing, I'm all ears! <G>
Speaking of TS-Ajr...
We haven't heard from Ed B. since shortly after that long running
accuracy "discussion" with Steve Strickland, the puzzle and telescope
man. I wonder if they both just keeled over after that... both spent,
out of breath, legs wobbly and weakened.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
Ed had a brief walk on/guest appearance here after WOOD
Magazine published the comparison of the different machinery
alignment aids. I remember him being his "usual self".
Later I saw a letter to the editor at WOOD from Ed. The
tone of that letter was way professional and not like the Ed
we've come to know and love.
Or maybe neither has been able to chew through their straps.
Just say (tmPL), my idea of Hell would be to spend eternity
sharing a room with those two.
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