George Vondriska

Tips to Calibrate a Table Saw Fence

George Vondriska
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Duration:   3  mins

If you rely on your table saw fence as much as I do, you’re going to love this tip. It provides a very accurate way to make sure that the cursor on your table saw fence points to a number that agrees with the size of cut you’re actually making. Yep, we’re going to help you calibrate a table saw fence.

What’s involved?

No measuring between the blade and fence with this technique. We’re going to be WAY more accurate than that. Everything is outlined in the video, but here’s the skinny. You make a cut, measure the cut, and move the cursor on your fence accordingly. In order to know how much to move the cursor, you need to measure accurately. We recommend you use digital calipers for this; the most accurate approach to calibrate a table saw fence.

How often do I have calibrate a table saw fence?

Theoretically, each blade you use may have a slightly different kerf, which means you should recalibrate every time you change blades. However, in most cases, the kerf difference is so tiny from blade to blade it’s negligible, and there’s no need to recalibrate with every blade change. If you’re not sure, do a test cut and double check with your calipers.

More about table saws

There’s more to correctly using your table saw than simply calibrating the fence. An important part of safety and good performance lies in knowing how to parallel a table saw fence. We’ve got that covered, too. Want general guidelines on safe and proper use of a table saw? No sweat. We’ve got lots more videos on how to use a table saw.

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3 Responses to “Tips to Calibrate a Table Saw Fence”

  1. bobbg

    you think under 1 tenth of a thou is close enough the first try? Ok point i'd like to make, each blade has a differnt kerf size, we set up a fence on the right side of the blade, however the left side of the blade never changes because the arbor's back washer dosn't move no matter how thick the blade is. so why not get the largest thickest blade you have install it in the saw set the fence fine adjustments to the tape measure, then pair shims with each blade to get the same right side reference point off the left side arbor washer. you should almost never ahve to change the cut width after changing a blade unless the fence wears down. You would still want to inspect parts for proper size. But this is a great shortcut if your doing a lot of blade changes and you want the tape diled in all the time. Another trick is a 2 tape fence system. I think this is where the INCRA's Table saw fence shines over a biesemeyer type fence. I just would not spend that much money twice for 2 table saw because I think your just nit picking hairs unecessarly with wood. Even after you cut it 6 months later its going to change sizes anyway. You have to take that into account with what you make or its just going to blow out if your using most hardwoods. Most the stuff I did was MDF However I'm starting to make stuff out of hardwood now. Lets say you set up the fence with a thin kerf blade, then did your final pass with a thick kerf blade a shim between the part and fence to set the fence then remove it to make the cut a few playing cards might make up the difference. But one point to make lets say your joining 30 1" x 3" wide strips and you need a finnish glue up to land squar at 90" wide that off just a tad is going to make you fall off your mark enough to be seen because that last board could be 1/2" short and you will not be able to fix it in some woods because the grain won't match or its a differnt type of wood side by side. Trust me I've made these types of mistakes in highschool who hasn't. in 59 years you make a lot of mistakes, the trick is how to hide them so no one knows but you. Were not woodworkers were mistake hiders the better you can hide one the better woodworker you are.

  2. Raymond Heichelbech

    Don't understand "depending on cursor width cut width could change'. The way table saws and blades are designed (unless your buying really bad junk) the blades mount to saw leaving the same dimension from fence to blade edge regardless of kerf width on blade. The only time this would matter is moving fence to short side of saw. Of course you mileage might be different depending saw and blades.

  3. Bobbg

    Brand new Jet table saw, installing the tape on the fence, eyeballing the position .0002" first try yes I used my 6" sterret calipers on 4" and I hadn't even watched this yet. I think with 7 years of machining I got things covered.

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