You tell me: How many months (or years) did it take you to set up that
new saw when you had to step back and take another picture after
putting in each table-wing bolt and using your digital torque wrench to
seat it within +/- 3 atto-Newton meters of torque?
(Ha, I bet you only used the *old* standard of +/- 3
FEMTO-Newton-meters of torque on the table wing bolts! Better get back
out there and bring that up to spec, Feynman!)
It always cracks me up when guys seem think they can *spend* their way
Not to knock your work, dude, it all looks very nice, but you don't
need a Powermatic cabinet saw -- or $150 table saw tuning jigs -- to
make bird feeders or coffee tables.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy them if you want them and can
afford them, but you shouldn't tell others that they need a $150 tool
when a $60 tool will do the same thing. Yes, maybe your $150 tool will
do it to greater precision, but in woodworking there comes a point when
further precision is unnecessary, and spending your days chasing it --
instead of cutting the goldarn wood -- becomes counterproductive.
Two thousandths of an inch! For crying out loud, I guarantee you that a
piece of wood will MOVE more than that with each breath of air that you
breathe on it. The blood pumping through the capillaries of your hand
holding the wood against the fence will move the wood more than that
with every heartbeat.
That's just it Jones. It doesn't do the same thing. That's what you seem
to be missing here with your rant.
I obviously insulted you with your "tool" recommendation. Maybe it works
'great' for 'you'.
I'm not sure than why you recommended the tool you did if precision is
Read my review about the TS-aligner. It's not all about high precision.
It's about speed of set-up. Precision is a bonus that comes along for the
Couldn't resist. Some of you old farts will remember...
My love must be a kind of blind love
I can't see anyone but you.
Are the stars out tonight?
I don't know if it's cloudy or bright
I Only Have Eyes For You, Dear.
The moon maybe high
but I can't see a thing in the sky,
'Cause I Only Have Eyes For You.
I don't know if we're in a garden,
or on a crowded avenue.
You are here
So am I
Maybe millions of people go by,
but they all disappear from view.
And I Only Have Eyes For You.
And a free slam at the dorker of your choice if you can tell me the name
of the doo-wop group.
doowop shoo bop,
I have a hunch either your blade is not parallel with the miter slot or the
fence is not parallel with the blade.
Here's how you can fix that for WAY LESS than the prices of some of the
tools recommended by others. Get yourself an adequate dial indicator
(Harbor Freight has them). Cut a square end on piece of narrow hardwood and
screw the housing of the dial indicator to it (it would be better of you
bevel the hardwood so the indicator plunger touches near the bottom of your
Clamp the assembly to your miter gauge (if necessary, shim the miter gauge
guide bar so it doesn't drift in the slot).
Raise the blade to full height and mark a tooth with a marker. Check the
blade by measuring the marked tooth nearest the front of the table, rotate
the blade so the marked tooth is at the back and measure again. If the
difference is more than .002-.003, adjust the blade to be parallel with the
After aligning the blade, reclamp the dial indicator rig in the miter gauge
so it will reach the fence (you can position the fence fairly close to the
blade). Measure the fence along its full length from the front of the table
to the back. It should vary no more than .005 and the back should be the
longest measurement so the work piece won't bind when being cut.
For around $20 and a little work, you should see an improvement.
Yep..that's exactly it.. for contractor type saws.. need to loosen trunion
bolts and move it around. For cabinet type saws.. loosen top and slide it
around. Loosen a very little and move in tiny increments. Remember.. we're
talking about .001" here.
On your fence hopefully you have some parallel to slot adjustments and also
perpendicular to table adjustments.
You might also want to look at the flatness of the top.
Also.. add in a homemade splitter if you need to remove the blade guard /
stock splitter. Get a chunk of 1/8" wide metal, cut a hole then slot in the
bottom to slip down onto the bolt that holds the blade guard inplace. Cut
the metal off about 1" above the table. You can make one that sticks 1/4"
and 2" if you want for thos times when you cut grooves. It's not as good as
a riving knive, but pretty close... and can significantly reduce kickback.
If you can picture all this then you have the info.. if not.. like I said,
see Kelly Mehler's books... I got one starting out and it's worth it.
I should have added:
You can check for any bow in your fence with a dial indicator, too. Do the
setup for the fence test as I described above then check the fence along its
entire length. It should should not vary in flatness more than a couple
thousandths from front to back. If both ends are very close in measurement
and the middle has a deflection (one way or the other) of more than
.003-.004, you should find some way to flatten the fence.
One way is to add an auxiliary face using birch ply or melamine laminated
MDF. You may have to shim it (either on both ends or in the middle) to
remove the bow.
If you add an aux fence, you'll have to reset the zero point on your rails.
That's an error of 20 thousandths, or about 10 times the recommended amount.
I'm surprised you don't get some binding or kick-back.
Just think about this for a moment and sketch it out on paper. You'll see
what's happening. The rear of the blade is farther away from the fence than
the front by more than 1/8 of an inch. As you push the workpiece thru, the
kerf will guide it away from the fence because the back of the blade is
farther away. That would explain the initial condition you described.
Do a much more precise blade and fence alignment and your problem should go
A couple of THOUSANDTHS?
That's about HALF as thick as a sheet of Xerox paper.
Or about a quarter the thickness of a mote of sawdust.
Or one-eighth as thick as a fleck of rust.
Or -- well, you get the idea.
If your TS fence has no more than a couple THOUSANDTHS of an inch of
bow/bend/slop/whatever along its entire length, it must never have been
used, and you must have bought it through NASA.
Sorry to weigh in so late on this topic. Hope my comments will help
you to sort things out.
There are two classic symptoms of poor blade/fence alignment:
1. Burning on the good side of the cut. This occurs when the wood
gets pinched between the rear of the blade and the fence.
2. Wood wandering away from the fence during the cut. This occurs
when the wood follows the lead of the blade rather than the fence. If
you constrain the wood so that it doesn't wander (i.e. feather board),
then there can be burning on the waste side of the cut.
This isn't a technique or a fence flatness issue. You've got classic
symptom #2. Your blade and/or fence are misaligned. The distance
between them at the trailing edge of the blade is greater than at the
leading edge. They should both be parallel to the miter slot (the
reference for blade and fence alignment).
Some people can use the subjective methods ("feel the rub", "hear the
scrape") to detect and correct blade/fence misalignment. I'm not one
of them and based on your current circumstances I would guess that you
aren't either. So, the advice from Garage Woodworks is good. Get
yourself a dial indicator jig. You can make a simple "dial indicator
on a stick":
and use it with your miter gauge. Or, if you want more functionality
and versatility then you can buy a commercially made jig.
I see Jones has mentioned the "SuperBar" product. I bought one of
these last year for competitive analysis. You can see my review here:
This falls short of a dial indicator on a stick on two counts:
1. It's a lot more expensive. You can get a decent (comparable) dial
indicator for less than $20 and the rest (a stick and a wood screw) is
probably sitting in your shop right now. That puts it at less than
half the cost of a SuperBar.
2. It's not as easily adjusted. You can slide a stick against the
miter gauge and position the dial indicator exactly where you want
it. The SuperBar does not allow you to change the position of the
dial indicator. You either bring the object to the dial indicator or
add stylus extensions to the end of the plunger. See the review for
There are lots of other jigs on the market, I suggest you judge them
by the same standard: the cost and versatility of a dial indicator on
a stick. Most won't fair so well. If you are going to spend money on
a dial indicator jig, get one that has features and functionality that
exceeds that of a jig that will take you less than 10 minutes to make
and cost you less than $20.
Contrary to what was said, there is no accuracy difference between a
SuperBar, a TS-Aligner Jr., or a dial indicator on a stick. One might
be easier to use or more versatile but they all use a 0.001"/div dial
indicator. Allusions to "NASA" and "ten-thousandths of an inch" are
absurd. Don't get fooled by such nonsense or discouraged by demeaning
statements about the quality or craftsmanship of your woodworking
(i.e. "Do you ever *cut* any wood? Or just play with calipers and
micrometers and polish the fence?"). This says more about the critic
than it does about you.
I see Swingman has recommended a TS-Aligner Jr. (thanks!). But, as I
have seen several times now, he recommends getting it with the highest
cost dial indicator you can afford. Actually, this goes contrary to
what I generally recommend. You should get the lowest cost dial
indicator that will suit your needs. Let me explain...
1. There is no significant accuracy difference between the lowest cost
"made in China" dial indicator and the highest cost domestic brand.
They all provide accuracy that exceeds the application (woodworking
machinery alignment) by a good margin (5x). You will not be dealing
in ten-thousandths of an inch and any attempt to do so would be
extremely futile and frustrating.
2. The big differences that you see as move up to the higher cost dial
indicators is in durability and sensitivity. The lowest cost model
has simple brass gears and brass bushing bearings. The high-end
models have hardened steel gear trains, shock-proof movements, and
jeweled bearings. They are made for the rigors of industrial use.
3. I added some new dial indicators to the lineup with 0.0005"/div
accuracy when I introduced the SawStop version of TS-Aligner Jr. The
only reason I did this was to satisfy the recommendation in the
SawStop User's Manual. The best I can figure is that they want to
follow the Metrologist's 10x rule of thumb. I've been in this
business for 17 years and have done a lot of testing. I have yet to
see any tangible benefit for reducing alignment error to less than
0.005". I think a 0.001"/div indicator is an excellent and low cost
If you are a home shop user, and you take good care of your tools,
then the low cost Chinese indicator will work great and serve you for
many years. If you run a commercial shop and need tools that can
survive industrial abuse, then it would be wise to buy something
This is what I told Swingman when he called to order his Jr. He ended
up following my advice by purchasing the MHC (Chinese) dial
indicator. But, if he now feels that he should have purchased a high-
end indicator then I would be happy to make the exchange for him.
Personally, it doesn't matter to me. I pretty much break even on dial
That should pretty much cover most of it. Let me know if you have any
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