How to Calibrate a Table Saw Fence

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Bruce Kieffer is a professional furniture maker who always wants his tools to be as accurate as possible. In this clip, he demonstrates his woodworking technique for calibrating his table saw fence so you can make dead-on cuts every time. A WoodWorker Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.

Discussion
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14 Responses to “How to Calibrate a Table Saw Fence”
  1. Gordon Patnude

    I watched the entire video and was really impressed with the technique. Cutting his ripped piece into 5 segments multiplies any error by a factor of 5, which will make it more obvious on the tape when the total width is measured. IMHO, however, he reset the vernier incorrectly, moving it to the outside of the line on the tape which he will have to include each time he sets the fence for any new cut. This may introduce errors when setting measurements other than the major fractions on the tape. Personally, I want the vernier line smack on top of the mark on the tape. Your dominant eye will always reign supreme when reading the vernier, and no other correction will be necessary.

    Not promoting the product, but my Incra TS III system is pretty dang accurate and consistent to 1/32″ with a lot less fussing around, although I do routinely calibrate it before beginning a new project.

    Reply
  2. jeherndonjr@gmail.com

    Just curious why hid didn’t remove his gards and run the fence up against the blade and then set “0” on the scale. Each time you change a blade this zero calibration should be done. That’s how I do it and it seems pretty accurate.

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Thank you for your comment.
      We think that could work, as long as you have a delicate touch and make sure you’re “kissing” the blade, and not distorting its position at all.

      Reply
  3. Martin Camp

    Dude,
    I think your Video Editor goofed…
    1. You set your fence to 2″.
    2. You cut your strip.
    3. You chopped and measured the 5 pieces, and they came out to exactly perfect at 10″.
    4. So WHY did you have to move the marker at all after that?

    Reply
      • Martin Camp

        Sorry sir you are wrong. He says here @ 0:45… “…. I’m going to set my fence; the indicator, right on 2 inches…”. And then shows that being done.

        Reply
        • Craig Pyne

          Martin, at 1:55 he says he will move the indicator to exactly 2″. I think the method of setting the blade and indicator is good, but the execution of the video leaves questions and error.

          Reply
          • Martin Camp

            Yes indeed, and that was the reason for my original post…. to correct the video – to eliminate the confusion presented. Cheers!

      • Jerry

        Yes, but, he said at about 0:48 in the video that he set the indicator on exactly 2″ and then at about 2:08 said he set the indicator to exactly 2″ again. He never used his tape to set the fence at all. I know what he was trying to do but, OOPs

        Reply
  4. Craig Pyne

    Although I understand this technique, and that he adjusted the marker to set over the 2″ mark on his ruler. It would be nice to see what do, if when measuring the 5 pieces of wood, it doesn’t come out to exactly 10″? How do you proceed to set the fence correctly?

    Reply
    • Martin Camp

      Yep I was wondering the same thing… just trial-and-error maybe?

      If so what is the point of the video? Actually, I was wondering if he was going to address tweaking the fence if it isn’t parallel to the blade, or maybe that ‘controversial’ topic of leaving the blade a tad “un-parallel” in the back.

      Reply
      • Keith Mealy

        My comment too. What if it’s 10 3/8″ with the five? My thought was that if you cut 4 pieces, you’d have a better chance of getting the adjustment, i.e., in my example, you’d adjust 1/4 of the difference, 3/32″ that is likely to be on your scale, while 1/5 or 3/40″ is not. But that said, I do the fence kissing the blade teeth and never had a problem. Also part of the problem I saw was with the parallax on the camera not being straight on, the cursor’s hairline never seemed to line up “exactly” with the 2″ mark.

        Reply
  5. Glenn E. Bindley

    Good Morning Bruce Kieffer; I am need of some Clarification : 1st question: Why would you rip a 2″ between the Blade and the Fence? 2nd question: Is what does 24″ divided by 5 pieces Equate to? What do you do if it’s out of Calibration? How do your fix the Problem?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Thanks for your question. I will answer inline.
      1st question: Why would you rip a 2″ between the Blade and the Fence?
      (WWGOA) It is an even increment and there is plenty of space between the fence and the blade guard. Makes for an easy cut and easy math.
      2nd question: Is what does 24″ divided by 5 pieces Equate to?
      (WWGOA) The 24″ length doesn’t have to be divided exactly equally. Just eyeball estimate is fine. It is the width that matters here, and that was already established by the rip cut.
      What do you do if it’s out of Calibration? How do your fix the Problem?
      (WWGOA) Bruce demonstrated this in the video. You simply calculate the total width of the 5 pieces, divide by 5 and set the fence gauge to that increment. If it comes out to anything other than exactdly 2″ the first time, I would repeat the test after you’ve calibrated to make sure that it comes out to 2″. if it doesn’t, make the additional small adjustment and try again.

      -Paul

      Reply

Tags: bruce kieffer, Free Videos, table saw fence calibration, woodworkers guild of america