Table Saw Setup for a Cabinet Saw

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The table saw is the heart of most woodworking shops. Is your table saw setup correctly? If not, it could be inaccurate, provide poor cut quality and, most importantly, be unsafe. This class will take you through the steps required to make sure your cabinet saw is correctly aligned.

Supplies You’ll Need

You’ll need a few supplies in order to check your saw. A felt tip marker, in order mark a distinct contact point on the blade. To make the check you can use a 1/4″ dowel, sharpened to a point, or a dial indicator. You can pick up dial indicators for table saw set up from woodworking specialty stores. The goal is to make the table saw blade parallel to the miter gauge slot. After that we’ll make the fence parallel to the slot, making the fence parallel to the blade.

Marking the Blade Using a Miter Guage

Make sure the saw is unplugged. Mark one distinct point on the face of the blade using the felt tip. Miter gauges can be slightly sloppy in the slot. If this is the case on your saw make sure you always keep the miter gauge bar on one side of the slot or the other.With the miter gauge held to one side of the slot kiss the sharpened tip of the dowel against the X you made on the blade. The dowel should barely rub. Spin the blade so the X is at the back and move the dowel to the X again. The blade should touch in the back, the same as it does in the front. Repeat the process, starting at the back of the blade. If you have do not have the same contact at both positions you’ll need to make a correction to your saw.

The Dial Indicator

The dial indicator allows you to precisely measure the relationship between the blade and the miter gauge slot during your table saw setup. Allow it to touch the X at the front and back of the blade, measuring any difference. If the difference exceeds .003 you’ll need to make a correction.

The Blade Mechanism

On cabinet saws the blade mechanism is fixed to the cabinet, not to the top, as it would be with a contractor or portable table saw setup. To make a correction you’ll need to loosen the bolts that hold the top to the base. Leave one bolt snug so the position of the top doesn’t get away from you. Once the bolts are loose tap the table top with a dead blow mallet to change its position. Once you’ve made a change tighten the bolts and check the blade position again. Repeat as necessary until the relationship between the slot and blade is correct.

Setting the Fence

Once the blade/slot relationship is correct you can set the fence. Do this by positioning the face of the fence on the edge of the miter gauge slot, feeling it with your finger. If the face doesn’t align with the miter gauge slot during your table saw setup, adjust it accordingly, depending on the fence style. When you’re done with your setup take the next step and start learning how to use a table saw for your newest project.

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