The only way that you will be able to enjoy the use of the table saw is when it is properly aligned. When it is aligned, it does not only ensure that the cuts are accurate, but will also ensure that you have the utmost safety. One of the safety measures that you can take is ensuring that is always aligned before you can commence making any cuts. One of the most crucial things is to ensure that the accurate cuts are going hand in hand with your safety. With this in mind, you will always have the tool aligned.
TuneUp of the Table Saw:
You may have come up the phrase, tune-up. This is a process where every bit of the tool is checked to ensure that it is up to standard. Everything including the miter gauge, square, flush and even the blade should be aligned. While you may not need to align every piece of the saw every single time, it is important to check and ensure that all the parts are working properly. Alignment goes beyond the process of just ensuring that you will have straight cuts.
If you are not sure on how to align the table saw, here is a simple guide to the alignment of the main parts and accessories:
This is the right place to start, because if the blade is not aligned, then it means that you will not achieve accurate cuts and there is a risk to your personal safety. The first thing is to ensure that the blade is at the right angle to the table surface and this is simply done by holding the triangle perpendicular and vertical to the blade at 90 degrees. The feeler gauge will also be used to ensure that there is no space from the top all the way to the bottom.
You should also check the stops to establish if they are in the right place, or need some adjustment. If you need to adjust the stops, the best option would be to refer to the manual. This will mainly entail the process of adjusting the bolt and screw. Most top rated table saws have stable stops that are designed to stay true for a long time. There are models that would go for years without any adjustment of the blade and the stops. However, this does not mean that you should not check.
If you intend to make crosscuts that are accurate, then you need to align the miter slots, accordingly. The blade and miter slots need to be absolutely accurate. While this may appear like a minor adjustment, ignoring this could really affect the outcome of the cuts. If you want to check the alignment of the miter slots, here are the steps that you can use:
- Having the blade set at 0 degrees, at a vertical angle, pick a tooth, preferably one that leans towards the miter slot being tested.
- Push the tooth as far as you can and set your stock in the miter gauge as if you are doing a crosscut at 0 degrees. Bring the scrap income to slight contact with the tooth.
- Rotate the tooth to the back part of the blade, then slide the miter gauge to the respective stock and check the contact that the stock makes with the tooth.
In most cases, the miter slots will be on the table saw surface and as such, in order to adjust them, you would need to adjust the surface of the table. While the process can be time consuming, it is essential for the purposes of adjusting the miter slots and align the tool.
The rip fence is one of the parts that need the frequent alignment as it keeps moving so as to accommodate the stock. The general rule of the thumb is to ensure that the rip fence is always parallel to the blade. Failure to do this will result in kickback, which can be quite dangerous. Ensure that the fence is properly aligned at all times, as when it is misaligned it will pinch the workpiece against the blade and can then grab it and could throw it at you. There are different ways of aligning the rip fence, with the easiest option being in reference to miter slots.
In order to do this, you need to place fitting scraps on the front and back side of the slot and then slide your rip fence against the slot. To check for any gaps, you should use the feeler gauge. If the rip fence needs adjustment, you will just need to loosen the bolts and touch it with a mallet, then place the bolts back. However, the manufacturer can provide detailed explanations on how to adjust the fence. Since the fence is the safest way to guide your piece, you need to ensure that it is always aligned.
Just like, the fence, the miter gauge is also a guide for making precise cuts using table saws. When the miter gauge s aligned properly, then you can be sure of accurate cuts. The first step is ensuring that the gauge is aligned at the various stops. A square tool is one of the best options to check if your miter gauge is aligned properly. Once you have adjusted the miter gauge, you should check it again. If the main stop is certainly aligned, you need to set the dial on the miter gauge at zero degrees. This is a sure way of ensuring that all the angles cuts you will make are accurate.
The anti-kickback features are one of the safety measures that you should be keen on. You should ensure that the riving knife and splitter lines up with the blade evenly. If at any point the anti-kickback features are not aligned, this will cause them to have the reverse effect, which can damage, your workpiece, table saw and cause serious injuries. When they anti-kickback features are not set, they tend to prevent the stock from moving the right direction.
Fortunately, the feature is set to be mounted to your blade mount so as to keep the features flush to the blade. You should also ensure that the anti-kickback pawls are sharp and working as required. The main task would be to sharpen these regularly and as such, you would need to adjust the riving knives or splitters.
When you have gone through the whole process of alignment and all the parts are working as required, you should check it all over again. You should work from the blade and move to the other accessories that support the functionality of the tool. Whether you are the professional woodworker or a beginner, the alignment of the table saw is essential and should be taken with utmost seriousness. At the end of it all, you will be happy to achieve precise cuts, without compromising on your safety.