I hate my Tablesaw a little less now

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Review by 47phord posted 09-02-2014 09:02 PM 5681 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
I hate my Tablesaw a little less now No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

First, some back-story: I’m the less-than proud owner of a Craftsman 21833 tablesaw and, for those of you who don’t know, it’s a TS that’s not known for being consistently precise (read: I spend a lot of time adjusting it). I had been using the old, cheap, method of a brass tack driven into a board that was then clamped to the miter gauge for aligning the blade to the table. It worked ok, but I never could seem to get it to where my joints were perfectly square and on my most recent build, I discovered that several pieces I had cut were in fact way off costing me $40 in wasted lumber; not to mention the fact that I was so frustrated I stayed out of the shop for a week.

That’s where the A-Line It comes in. I had heard of it before, but the $80 price tag had always soured me on getting one, as I figured the way I was doing it was good enough. Obviously it wasn’t. After the incident mentioned above, I decided to quit being so cheap and splurge. I spent an hour tweaking my saw, starting with the blade, then the fence, and finally the miter gauge. It turned out that half of my problem was my miter gauge was about .020” out of square when set at the 90 position, which of course meant that every adjustment I made using my old method was .020” off. Using a square and my eye, it looked perfect, so there you go. After all that, I ran a test piece through, and what do you know? It was dead-nuts on.

So, it’s a great tool for setting up your TS, and the included instructions also give direction on using it to set up a jointer (which I don’t own) and no doubt I’ll find other uses for it. I have two little complaints; one is the base is anodized aluminum, and they got the anodizing on a little thick because I had trouble getting some of the screws to move in their respective holes, and I don’t have a tap in that size to chase the threads with. The second and related gripe is because of that, I had difficulty getting the base adjusted so it sat tight and flush in my miter slots. Not a big deal, but still annoying.

In summation, this is a great, precise, albeit somewhat pricy, tool for setting up your various woodworking machines. Though when you think about it, after blowing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a TS, spending another eighty bucks to make sure it’s truly accurate is money well spent.

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 3084 days

10 comments so far

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3470 days

#1 posted 09-03-2014 02:29 PM

Before you spend another dime on set up tool check out Brian over at garagewoodworks. He is big on dial indicator jigs. Personally I use a plastic drafters/artists square to right my miter gauge. I did use Brian’s gauge to square the miter slot to the blade.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3333 days

#2 posted 09-03-2014 02:41 PM

I second jumbojack’s recommendation. I use a plastic drafting square set against the carbide teeth of the blade and the other side against the miter gauge.
Also like him I used the dial indicator, (mine is a 1970’s Sterrett thatI had recalibrated about 6 years ago when I was still doing diesel engine repair), to set the miter slot.

I learned that my miter gauge wasn’t very accurate so I kept an eye out on eBay for an Incra miter gauge.

Now I am as happy as a clam in the mud.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3522 days

#3 posted 09-03-2014 03:18 PM

When you guys are saying your miter gauges are not accurate, what are you saying. When you set the needle on the scale at zero or 90 deg was it not cutting true or what. I am not getting how your miter gauge is off. Educate me please.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3333 days

#4 posted 09-03-2014 03:55 PM

Grandpa, my old miter gauge when set on 90° was off by about 2°. I couldn’t take up that extra by moving the slot far enough. It also had about 1/64” of play between the sides of the slot and the sides of the miter bar. With the Incra V120 miter gauge I can widen the adjustment wheels to the slot and as far as I can tell the settings on the gauge are nearly perfect.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3522 days

#5 posted 09-03-2014 05:46 PM

I am thinking that on most if not all the gauges the pointer is adjustable. you set the slot in the table to be parallel to the blade then you adjust other components. Adjust the fence to the blade (parallel) and adjust the miter gauge to the blade (perpendicular). The bar and the slot are another matter. Some bars can be spread but I cannot get my mind around that. If I have slits in the bar with screws to spread them, then it would seem that the bar would be wavy. I could be wrong but I just don’t see this as a good thing. I was just wondering how a new miter gauge made the table saw more accurate. It was the bar that wasn’t accurate. The new bar fits the slot. The pointer should be adjustable so that should have been an easy fix. If your new gauge had an accurate pointer it would tell me that you had your saw set accurately or just like the other guys saw was set and the pointer was set to match. Am I correct with this thinking?

View Grumpymike's profile


2466 posts in 3162 days

#6 posted 09-04-2014 01:14 AM

Before you spend your allowance on a fancy new miter gauge, look around your shop, I’ll bet you either have a Wixley angle gauge or a Mayes angle finder. I have both in my shop … and use them.
Place the angle gauge on the saw table and zero it … now the table is true zero.
Pick up your miter gauge and set the face of the fence flat on the table with the tongue hanging over the edge pointing toward the floor.
You know that the table is zero … right? so place the angle finder on the side of the miter gauge tongue and set the miter gauge for a reading of 90 degrees. Wholla!! your miter gauge is a perfect 90 degrees to the miter slot plus or minus 1/10 of a degree.
Now, if your miter gauge wobbles in the slot, place it upside down on a solid surface (not the table saw) and use a center punch to tap a few dimples near the edge. Try it in the slot, if it is still loose add more dimples or make them bigger. If it is to tight, a bit of emery paper will do the trick … be ginger here, you want it tight and it will loosen with wear. Wax the slide!
With this 2 minute adjustment and your dial indicator you will be cutting square and true cuts to the 1/164th.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Grumpymike's profile


2466 posts in 3162 days

#7 posted 09-04-2014 01:18 AM

Oh by the way, I will accept 10% of the savings … ;)

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3850 days

#8 posted 09-05-2014 04:17 AM

I have the same saw and the same gauge. Did a fine job setting it up.

My miter was also loose. I used a strip if aluminum duct tape on each side and the took care of it

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2270 days

#9 posted 09-05-2014 01:38 PM

Spend a little more and get a calibration tool that self centers in the miter slot.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Matt (MWA Woodworks)'s profile

Matt (MWA Woodworks)

305 posts in 2459 days

#10 posted 09-06-2014 11:00 PM

timbertailor, have a link?

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks

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