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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Great notes on blade alignment. I got my Delta in December and found the blade needed no alignment right out of the box, so I got real lucky.
I mounted the swivel wheel on the left as you suggested and promptly moved it to the right side after trying to maneuver the saw around. With the wheel on the left, it's like trying to push a shopping cart from the front. Putting it on the right makes the saw much more maneuverable because the pivot point is more towards the center of the whole thing.
Do you have any advice on how to align the riving knife? The manual is useless. I try to adjust the set screws but then when tightening it down, everything moves again. I've attempted it several times and always it seems to be too tight on the fence side, and squeezes the wood 'Im trying to push thru the blade. Any comments and help will be appreciated.
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Dale,

The riving knife can be a bit frustrating at times. As you described, you think you are aligning it but it seems to shift when you tighten the "locking" screws. This happens when everything gets too loose and the knife is free to move around on its' own.

Start by removing the knife and laying it on the flat cast iron table. Make sure it is flat. It is not uncommon for people to unknowingly bend the knife when installing/removing it. If you find it is not flat, just put it in a vice and tweak it back. It is not difficult to put it straight again.

Like with blade alignment, just crack the appropriate locking screw loose and then turn the adjusting screw in the direction you need the knife to move. In one direction you will find that you are moving further away from the locking screw. Turning the other direction you find you are moving towards it and the screw gets hard to turn. The trick is keep the locking screw close and to not let the knife flop around. Do this for each direction you want the knife to move - left/right and vertical. Small increments at a time and the knife should come in.

Hope this helps.

Terry
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
That was it; I was loosening the locking screws too much. Just cracking them and making the adjustment worked. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Glad I could help Dale. Have fun and be safe

Terry
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
I must say this was an amazingly accurate instructional guide to blade alignment. I wasnt so lucky and the saw i recieved was giving me burn marks on the side of the wood i was cutting. after measuring blade distance i realized that my blade was off .27 mm. i got it to within .2mm on my caliper and no more burn marks.

I contacted Delta prior to scrolling threw all the links on this review and they emailed me the "Official" blade alignment PDF . Looks almost identical to the one Tinman has. Thought i would pass it along.

36-725 Blade to Miter Slot Parallel Adjustment
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Blue,

My procedure IS identical to the Delta procedure EXCEPT it goes further if you need more adjustment. The official Delta procedure should work for the majority of blade alignment issues. However their procedure leaves you stumped if you your blade is out more than the norm which can happen from time to time. This procedure also is great if for any reason you have to replace/work on the motor.

Have fun and be safe

Terry
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
All,
I just purchased this saw. Everything looked good (following the standard manual) but when I put stock through the backside of the blade on the left nibbles the wood. I aligned the blade according to this procedure and it SEEMED to get better. I then changed blades and it seems to be bad again - not sure if the original blade had some runout or what, but I'm going to look at this again tomorrow night.

My question is order of operations. If one sets the positive stops and sqaures the fence to the blade and you adjust the blade, those adjustments will be off again, yes? Then again…the miter slot is the reference for both the blade and the fence.

Now that I think of it, my indicator for blade tilt on the front of the machine is off, bigtime. I made the blade square and adjusted the positive stop, but I cannot get adjust the little needle to get to 0. Then when I went to 45 deg I had to move it again, but I can get it on 45 here. So as it sits, at 0 deg, the needle reads like -3 deg. Not a big issues because I usually check before I cut, but it irritates me (being a perfectionist Engineer by trade).
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Andrew,

I use the tilt scale as just a rough idea as to what the tilt actually is. Even if the scale lines up correctly, the thickness of the lines and the parallax you get trying to set it will never get you to where you want to be.
I use drafting triangles which are very accurate to set the 90 and 45 degree angles and 30 / 60 degree angles and a Wixey gauge. I do not use the built-in stops, because like you, a fraction of a degree off is unacceptable to me, and you will always be off if you use those. Unless you are doing construction work, forget them.
Set the blade at 90 degrees, set it parallel to the miter slot, then adjust the fence to it and you should be good to go.

Dale
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Andrew,

Ditto on everything Dale said. I just want to emphasize one thing he said so you don't skim over and miss it. Set the blade and the fence parallel to the miter slot - either one. Do not, as you stated you did, set the fence parallel to the blade. Everything will constantly be out and you'll keep looking for solutions to an improper setup. The only things you set to the blade are the riving knife and the miter gage (90-degrees). The miter slots are parallel. Use them for reference on everything.

Terry
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Anyone have this saw and having runout issues? I'm not sure yet if its the blade or arbor - I'm leaning towards blade because I think it got worse after I went from a Marples to a Diablo…
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Andrew,

I have heard of only one person who had a bad arbor - factory issue. Pull off your insert plate and raise the blade all the way. BTW never do anything super tight on a table saw. When you raise the blade and hit the stop, back it off just slightly. The lock on the raising wheel will hold it wherever you set it. Make sure the blade is at 90-degrees to the table. All bets are off if the blade is not at 90. Use a good square. Inexpensive combo squares are notorious for being inconsistent. Now that the blade is up and square to the table, hold the blade and move it left/right - pulling/pushing on the arbor. Of course you may feel a very slight movement but you should not feel a noticeable "clunk". You'll know a bad arbor when you find one. Pick up a cheap circle saw and do this. Now that's a bad arbor.

Spin the blade by hand. Bend down and look straight at it. Does it wobble? Put a piece of wood on the miter gauge. Move the miter gauge to the front of the blade and slide the wood until it just touches the teeth. Spin the blade by hand. Is it consistent or does it wobble? Take note of left/center/right teeth on the blade and do not confuse this with wobble. All of the left protruding teeth should just scrape the wood. If it wobbles, did you over tighten the arbor nut? Blades are getting thinner and thinner and can be warped by over tightening. When changing the blade, tighten the arbor nut to just snug and then about 1/8 to 1/4 turn more. The blade rotates in the direction to tighten the arbor nut should the blade bind at all. It will not loosen and come off by itself. It can only tighten more. If it wobbles, loosen the arbor nut and retighten correctly.

Repeat using the piece of wood after resetting the arbor nut. If it did not wobble - DO NOT let go of the wood. Slide the miter gauge to the back of the blade until the same point on the wood touches the teeth. Does it touch the teeth as it did in the front? Is it tighter? Is there a gap? If yes, then your blade is out of alignment no matter what your gauges say. It is that simple. The proof is in the stock and not the gauges.

Terry
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Terry:
I was looking for reviews on this saw and found your articles here. They are very well written and informative. This has helped me a lot on choosing a saw.

Two very minor things I noticed in this post is something you probably overlooked while proof reading. The sentence… "The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 0.010 (254 mm) blade"... may be one. I think what you meant to say was… "and requires a 10" (254mm) blade".

The other place I noticed says… " Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/10 of an inch." ...1/10 of an inch would be 100 thousandths, so you may have meant "1/10 of 1/10 of an inch" or maybe "1/100th of an inch.

Don't know that it's important but it just caught my attention for some reason. I guess I was so caught up in your exactness in explaining everything that these two things just stuck out to me.

If I'm mistaken (and I often am) just ignore this post as another one of my mistakes :) ...and thanks again for all the work you have done concerning this product. I know it takes a lot of time to do something this well.

Connortn
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Connortn,

Thanks for the comments/corrections. On your first catch (0.010 dia blade): I did indeed mean to say 10-inches. I have corrected that. Thanks.

On the recommendation of Delta to adjust only if the blade is out more than 0.010: step 3 of their procedure states 0.010 inches. 10/1000 does indeed equal 1/100 of an inch and not 1/10th. Thanks again (I have no idea what I was thinking here). To screw up fractions is forgivable but how do I screw up decimals? Oh well, that's why we have you around.

Thanks again. The corrections have been made.

Terry
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Tinman you've been a savior as I shopped for the saw and put it together. New to this site. Wanted to share my list of things that I got wrong / things for a newbie to look out for:

1) Fence rail alignment tool is almost useless. The fence went from 1/8" above table at front end to bottomed-out on the back. This made the fence clamp weakly. Lowering the front rail and raising the back rail took a long time. A combo square worked better.

2) Riving blade was set to lower position for shipment (they don't tell you this) which made the blade guard non-parallel and the pawl catch when the blade was lowered. The instructions are confusing-but basically you need to raise the riving blade to the top setting for the pawl and blade guard to work. The lower setting, for shipment, is just for non-through cuts.

3) blade was way out of alignment with the miter but just follow Tinman / delta's PPT guide!

4) Steel wings: instructions say 4 bolts, but they do give you all six bolts for all six holes.

5) There are seven bolts to attach the fence guide to the front rail. 2 go in through the power switch on the left. I can't fathom how they put this so poorly in the instructions.

6) there's enough slop in the otherwise solid seeming miter gauge. I guess no one here uses the stock ones though. I don't understand why they didn't put one of those t-track tensioners on the back of the gauge. Has anyone found a way to make the stock gauge work better, maybe to turn into a sled?

I'm shocked at how many ways there are to get this installation wrong / poorly calibrated. But the machine is fantastic for the price!

One question: is it normal for the fence to have some wobble on the back when pressed laterally there? I doesn't move from a rip, only when I put direct, strong pressure on the back end. But it would be nice if it was truly locked down, for peace of mind.

Ben
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
So I got my blade parallel to the miter slot, but only @ 90 degrees. When I adjust my table saw to 45 degrees the back of the blade is a good 1/16 in almost 1/8 in off from the front.

Any suggestions for a fix would be appreciated.
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Similar to Trevor's comment…

I thought my saw was aligned pretty good and had had pretty good luck with most of my cuts after my initial setup… Until today i was cutting some MDF insert blanks for my drill press table and discovered the pieces dragging on the back edge of the blade. Dang.

Well after copious measurement and diagnosis i determined that the blade is actually moving left as it goes up and right as it goes down. Between 1 1/2" and 3 5/8" the front shifts +1mm and the rear +2mm. And therein lies the rub. Literally. Thats a first eyeball on the measurement, it might be a little less but its the general idea.

So i had of course aligned with the blade fairly high up where the alignment differences would be most notable, but therefore now my alignment goes out down low as i hadnt thought to check it at a very low point… (And yes i know at the extreme top/bottom of travel the unit shifts a bit when it hits the stops so I avoid those spots and this is not counting or describing that bit of movement).

Would love any input or ideas from somebody who really knows the machine. my worst fear is that my bad luck means the machine got dropped in the box at some point and bent the riser tubes a bit so the motor is "sliding" right as it goes down on angled tubes. Perhaps i take the covers off and remove both tubes (supporting the motor of course!!) and see if they maybe arent seated fully and squarely?
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Awesome stuff. Super detailed.

Rookie question: Can you have the fence rails installed while aligning? Or do I need to uninstall the fence rails before attacking this alignment project?

I should have checked the alignment before putting the whole thing together…. But… Like I said…. Rookie.
 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
Rookie question: Can you have the fence rails installed while aligning? Or do I need to uninstall the fence rails before attacking this alignment project?
Absolutely not. In fact I think maybe best that the whole saw is together and you align blade last so none of the other bolting and banging around knocks things off. You can align at any time fairly easily. It's a fussy process, as I just finished re-doing last night, but not hard, if that makes sense.

Couple fresh-off-the-pitch thoughts… Couple minor ones before then a more complicated one…

Final alignment tweaks

I found that when tightening the rear support bolts, the back-edge of the blade moved away from the motor (not using left/right since you are working from the back of the saw most of the time that might be confusing) as I tightened them, and therefore I needed to set the back-edge of the blade a hair extra 'towards the motor' before snugging them up to get it as good as I could. When I got it right the 'over compensation' just disappeared when they were tight and the blade was perfect.

General tightening of major fasteners

While I was under there I did hit all the significant bolts with a quick wrench. A number of them were not terribly tight. This includes most significantly the angle-saddles with the big torx bolts that affix to the underside of the table, but also the clamp bolts at the bottom of the riser tubes. I wish I had done this when the saw was new. Obviously take care as if you strip one of these it would be a hellish thing to deal with properly but it does seem that there isn't 100% QC in the Chinese factory where these are put together.

Blade lower guard

As part of the project below I pulled the lower blade guard, and discovered that the little internal light strip that sits inside was quite mangled. Clearly some little offcut bits that fell through the very-not-zero-clearance throat plate got thrown down there with some force and banged around a bit… What worries me is that that strip eventually gets bent up into the blade by a scrap and then somehow is thrown out itself and becomes a horrifyingly dangerous flying knife. I will attach a pic below… in that pic I had 'fixed' the bends a bit but hadn't done my final 'mod tweaks' to it…

I am still thinking about this myself and am considering removing it entirely. It is there for 2 purposes I think - one is vacuum shaping, and the other is to keep thrown off cuts from flying around further and to direct them down the chute if possible. I am leaving it for now because I think the 'direct shrapnel out the back not out the top' is a safety benefit I am leaving it for now but before re-fixing the part, I did bend those rear corner edges back away from the blade a bit more and hoping for the best.

Blade 'sliding' when lowered…

Now… regarding the issue that I reference above where the blade "slides" sideways as you raise/lower the motor but worse also seeing misalignment at the bottom of travel vs the top. I think there are two things operating here…

One is an overall design flaw in the unit caused by the lack rigidity in various parts, most likely those riser tubes. Either that or my risers are slightly bent due to shipping impacts but I doubt that is the case having now examined the assembly in detail. As you lower the motor it increases its moment on those tubes and at the bottom I think it's weight is able to deflect the tubes slightly to one side (towards the angle-trunnion-shaft side). This probably also then causes a slight angle defect which you then can of course tune-out with the angle-trunnion, but you need to think about when you are going to extreme low positions (also explains some cut-defects I have had that I could not formerly understand when the blade continued to measure square and true at the 'top position' where it is easiest and theoretically most accurate to set…. unless it indeed changes as it lowers… which it does…)

But in addition to any 'symmetrical deflection' tendency, you can imagine that both tubes would have the tendency when loosened for adjustment (or over time with vibration perhaps) with the motor in the lowest positions, to want to angle away from the motor due to the center of gravity being far to one side. You can easily imagine that when you have loosened the tubes the weight is going to want to push them off-square / off-true-vertical at the bottom. And of course for alignment to reach the bolts - you must have the motor at the bottom of the travel and are therefore maximizing the force in that direction as you have them loose or are about to tighten.

Here's the extra rub: to some degree the bottom of the front riser tube is located left/right by the angle-trunnion shaft, so it can't really wander very far… but the rear tube has no such locator. So it can wander in the anti-motor direction further, resulting in a not only a 'slide' but a 'twist' as the motor is lowered, and explaining how your top alignment might be perfect, but then the bottom alignment suddenly appears well out, which was what I witnessed.

My solution to this was fairly simple… support the entire motor / chassis assembly lightly while doing the alignments. This is a slightly tricky balance as you want to take up some of the weight of the motor and chassis - but - without putting undo upwards pressure on it, even actually without taking ALL the weight off so that enough weight is still 'settling' the parts in the locations that they will normally 'sag' to. Picture also below…

My process is now in a nutshell, this:
1. Disassemble per other documentation
2. Support bottom cross-member of frame very lightly from below (again - not trying to take all weight up)
3. Loosen both tubes and set alignment both at top and bottom, iterating back and forth until both are true
4. Retighten and remove support and re-check (typically will be slightly off now again as weight settles a bit)
5. Very lightly support again and fine-tune with rear tube only as needed. Iterate 4/5 until satisfied.

By doing this I was able to reduce the 'slide' notably although not entirely, and seem to have alignment at both top and bottom of the travel.

Few further…

My thoughts on design improvements, not that it matters… at the very least if the angle-trunnion-shaft was attached between the 2 tubes you wouldn't have an ability to 'twist' and any 'slide' would stay relatively symmetrical. In fact it might eliminate the slide to a great degree as already it's locating point is forward of the front tube. That would be a significant improvement. A true better design might have the riser tubes shifted to the side in the middle of the motors mass so there would be no angular moment, or, the side-location from the angle-trunnion-shaft would be much more robust so that it truly held the entire chassis square to the table as the weight is lowered and applies more and more force.



 

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Delta 36-725 Table Saw Blade Alignment Procedure

The Delta 36-725 table saw is a great tool designed and priced for the amateur woodworker and suitable for a professional shop where a less powerful motor is acceptable. I call saws like this Cadillac's for Harry Homeowner. The two most often asked questions about the Delta 36-725 table saw are the best blades to use and how to properly align the blade. Understand that I am certainly not a woodworking expert nor an authority on table saws or blades. I am a retired engineer and have been an amateur woodworker for many years. I wrote a review and a follow-up review of this saw and I have answered all questions to the best of my ability. These are my thoughts and my methods written so as to focus on the first time owners of table saws and those less experienced.

For reference, here are the links to the original and follow up reviews

Review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3822

Follow-up review
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3881

Blades Selection

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions about the best saw blades. My approach is quite simple. I don't get into the debates. I am retired so I have outlived blades like my Forrests. I simply can't afford the price tag and the expense of sharpening. I'm in the less than $50 blade market now. I use them up and throw them away. I was using the Diablo blades for a long time but changed to the Irwin Marples series on the recommendation of Knotscott. The Diablo series is a fine blade but I feel I get finer cuts with little or no sanding and less chips thrown in my face with the Irwin Marples. Note that this is the Irwin Marples series and not simply the Irwin brand. I gave up on all Irwin blades years ago until Knotscott's review of the Marples urged me to give it a try. I use a 50T combo for general work and a 22T for ripping. I have an 80T on my miter saw. I confess that I do not always change to the ripping blade as often as I should but I get fine cuts with the 50T on 3/4 or thinner softwood stock. I'm retired. I get to be lazy when I want.

In my opinion Knotscott is the Guru, the Grand Poobah of saw blades and table saws. I know that writing in such a way that dummies like me can understand it is difficult and time consuming. Thanks for all you do Scott. His ABC's of Table Saws and Tips for Picking Saw Blades weigh heavily in my decisions and I encourage all to read them both. Here are the links.

ABC's Of Table Saws
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/8790-the-abc-s-of-table-saws

Tips for Picking Saw Blades
http://www.woodworkingchat.com/blogs/tips-for-picking-table-saw-blades/4919-tips-for-picking-saw-blades

The riving knife on the Delta 36-725 states that it is 0.087" (2.2 mm) and requires a 10" (254 mm) blade. It also says the blade must have a 0.100 (2.6 mm) kerf and a 0.073 (1.85 mm) body thickness. What the Devil does all that mean? Well, if you read Knotscott's writing on saw blades you'll understand it. But, even then the reality is you may still not have ALL that information when you go blade shopping. For example, some blades (like my Marples) only say it's a 254 mm blade. I have seen some with all the details but the ones I have only say 254 mm. What can I say? The blades work fine. I have friends using other blades with no other information and they work fine. Today's fad is thin kerf blades. Delta made a decision to have a middle of the road riving knife. It's slightly more than a really thin blade but works fine with standard and (what do I call it) slightly thin or just a bit skinny blades. If you want a Twiggy blade (look her up youngsters) then you can buy a thin kerf riving knife. If you're a newbie, I recommend you just run what you brung. Build your woodworking skills and don't worry about fads. You'll know when you think you've outgrown a standard blade. Hell, I'm still happy with the old style. But then again I'm old and shy away from new stuff especially thin blades that make me worry about things like blade flex.

Blade selection is a personal choice based on your skills, the type/thickness of the stock you're cutting and your financial capabilities. I can only recommend that you buy the best of what you can afford to own and maintain. I also suggest that you know the area you live in. Are there reasonably priced people that can sharpen your expensive saw blades? I'll add to that by asking if they can sharpen them correctly? The last of my Forrest blades went in the trash after the chainsaw sharpener in my area was done with them. Any new saw blade, including the one that came with the saw, will do the job. Get the best you can and keep them sharp and clean. If you're financially unable to buy finer expensive blades then buy cheaper. Keep them clean and they'll give good service for longer than you would expect.

Checking Blade Alignment

There are a lot of fancy gadgets on the market to measure blade alignment. These range from complete jigs/fixtures to dial gauges. I used a dial gauge to align the blade on this saw ONLY because I wrote the reviews and people wanted to talk thousandths of an inch. Frankly, I don't normally get into such things. I only need to know if the blade is close enough or out too much. If it's in it's in. If it's out I adjust and don't care what the measurement used to be. I want it less and I don't care how much less. I'm going to adjust and the "too much" measurement is going away. Table saws were around hundreds of years before dial gauges were. Now, I'm not bashing any tools or anyone. Do it the way you want - the way you feel confident and comfortable. But for those who don't own such fixtures or dial gauges - don't get your knickers in a twist. You can bring your blade into alignment without them. You can use a ruler, an adjustable square or even a stick. In is in and out is out. I'm going to describe my simple, old-fashioned way. There should be no problem for those with fixtures or dial gauges to interpret the methods accordingly.

Begin by raising the blade all the way up. Make sure the blade is perpendicular/square to the cast iron table.

Now you can use the miter gauge with a small ruler or piece of wood. Just make sure the miter gauge is square to the blade. Another way (my preference) is to use a combination square riding against the inside (blade side) of one of the slots in the cast iron table. Which slot is not important. The right slot is closer, but by convention the left slot is typically used. I think it is easier to hold something steady with my left hand and rotate the blade with my right so I use the left slot. Maybe a lefty will think otherwise.

Use a felt marker to mark a tooth on the forward edge of the blade. Which tooth does not matter but I have my preference. Teeth alternate left, right, and flat. I look for a flat tooth because it is easier for me to slip a feeler gauge (dollar bill) in without hanging on a sharp point. More on that later.

Move the ruler or stick on the miter gauge until it just touches the marked tooth. Don't push. It's a feel thing. Just touch the tooth. Hold the ruler/stick firmly and don't let it move. If you are using an adjustable square in a miter slot, then extend the ruler blade to just touch the tooth. Lock the blade in the square head. Double check that it did not move when you locked it down and still just touches the blade.

Rotate the blade so the same tooth is at the back of the saw. Slide the miter gauge/adjustable square to the back of the blade. Note that you may have to rotate the blade slightly to get past any angled teeth now in the front of the blade. Check that the same tooth touches the ruler/stick. If it does then your blade is in alignment.

The following assumes you are measuring from the left of the blade. If there is a gap then the blade is towed in. The fence is typically used to the right of the blade. Used here, towed in means the blade is not square and the back is angled towards the fence. If the marked tooth wants to push the ruler/stick away then the blade is not aligned and it is towed out (away from the fence). If this happens then rotate the tooth back to the front and measure the gap there.

It is important to understand what happens when a blade is not aligned. We'll talk about how much is too much in a moment. Simply put, the front of the blade will begin a cut and start a kerf but the angled back of the blade will nibble away at one side or the other of the kerf (slot cut in the wood). Within reason this is not a dangerous situation. The nibbling will cause some extra saw marks that may increase the need for sanding. This can become dangerous if the angle of the blade is too much - especially if it is towed in towards the fence. This can cause the wood to bind and the trailing teeth can bite the wood and throw it back at you. I call this a George Washington - where you get wood-in-teeth. A few things figure into whether the trailing teeth (rotating upwards) will bite into the wood. The tooth count, angle of the teeth, the feed rate, etc. The focus is that there is a point where an improperly aligned blade can be dangerous. Slightly out of alignment is typically not a dangerous situation. Yes, there are factors that can kick the wood back at you that have nothing to do with blade alignment. A twist in the grain or feeding the stock too fast are a couple of examples. But a poorly aligned blade is a built in hazard that can and should be corrected.

Now, how much is too much? Delta does not recommend performing a blade alignment unless the blade is more than 10-thousandths out. I can't argue with the safety factor here. I don't personally operate my saw if it is out that much. Maybe not for safety but for a finer finished cut. Remember, I'm retired and get to be lazy. I don't like sanding any more than I have to and the nibbling rear teeth will leave more saw marks. I use a dollar bill as a feeler gauge. I was taught that years ago and it has always worked well for me. For the "I speak in thousandths" fans out there, a dollar bill is about 4-thousandths of an inch thick. If the dollar bill passes through the gap between the ruler/stick then I align the blade. If it does not pass then the blade is less than 4-thousandths out and I leave it alone. You can use feeler gauges to measure the exact width of the gap if you wish. Tow in - measure the gap at the rear. Tow out - measure at the front. You can also make note of the measurement on the ruler touching the tooth and extend it through the gap to touch the tooth. The difference is the width of the gap.

When I wrote the reviews of this saw I felt a certain ownership of the questions asked. That meant that I did more to this saw, including trying different methods than I normally would. This includes using a dial gauge and developing my own blade alignment method. My saw's blade alignment is dead on zero. I've intentionally knocked it out several times and realigned it using different methods. I am confident that the blade can be brought to zero. It's just a question of "does it have to be zero?" My personal opinion is NO it does not have to be zero. Mine is zero only because of my testing and proving my alignment method to myself. Otherwise anything less than 4-thousandths would have been good enough for me - without knowing the actual measurement. I also do not think that more than 4-thousandths is too much. The dollar bill gage is simply what I was taught by my grandfather who built cabinets for new homes - back when they didn't come from a big box store. I don't perceive a safety issue with Delta's recommendation to not align the blade if it is less than 10-thousandths out. I just don't like sanding so I keep mine at 4-thousandths or less.

Blade Alignment Comments

This process is the method I use to align the blade on the Delta 36-725 table saw. It is simple and straightforward if the methods are followed. I cannot emphasize enough that you must know the difference between just cracking screws/bolts loose and loosening them 2, 3 or more turns. Loosening the screws too much can result in the motor assembly unexpectedly dropping. This can cause damage to the saw and/or injury to you. Have patience. Follow the steps. Do no more than is necessary for your purposes. Enjoy your saw and work safely.

Of course I have to add my disclaimer. I'm an amateur. This is the way I do it. You accept all responsibility and risk if you follow this procedure.

For those of you old school types out there, the trunnions can be used to adjust the blade alignment if the blade is out only a couple of thousandths of an inch but this method is simpler. 6-thousandths or less seems to be the norm for this saw. Most woodworkers would not bother to adjust the blade with this variance. However, manufacturing variances do occur and you can experience more blade deviation that does mandate adjustment.

Delta has published a set of Power Point slides that show how to adjust the blade alignment using only the rearmost motor riser tube clamps.

The Power Point slides can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29106827/Delta%20Contractors%20Saw%2036-725%20Blade%20Alignment.pptx

For those who have trouble viewing the slides, a free Power Point viewer is available from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6

There are some points that need to be addressed about the Delta slides/procedure. Firstly, Delta is not recommending that any alignment be done unless the blade is out more than 10-thousandths of an inch. That is 1/100 of an inch. For the measuring tape impaired, that is less than 1/64 of an inch (16-thousandths). 1/64 of an inch is one half the little tick mark on the tape (1/32). Sorry for the fun I'm having but so many have asked me for help cuz the blade is out "1/16 of an inch". Then they get their calculator and tell me that's 63-thousandths. When we get into how he measured the guy tells me that it is ½ of the little tick mark and insists that 1/16 is one half of 1/32. We were all newbies once and we do all understand. But that does not mean we can't have a laugh.

Personally, I feel that 10-thousandths is not dangerous and exceeds the capabilities of most newbies anyway. Yes, it leaves a minor bit more saw marks but does not pose a serious kickback hazard. My point is not to raise a debate over the minimum allowable blade alignment. My only point is to advise Newbies to think about if they really feel they have to adjust the blade. Don't obsess over what others insist on. You will do over time and you will learn over time. Concentrate on building your personal skills and don't get wrapped up in debates. Most experienced saw owners would find 10-thousandths to exceed what they are willing to live with. Again, not a debate - just a thought for newbies.

Back to Delta. Why would Delta recommend such a thing? I cannot be sure, of course, but my experiences make me feel that they are simply protecting themselves. Even frivolous lawsuits cost big bucks. I have helped many people put their saws back together because they read a short blog somewhere on the Internet and charged ahead. Oops! They dropped the motor because they didn't know what the screws were and loosened them too much. Yes my writings can be wordy but I try to take the time to explain. After all, I'm not writing for those who already know. In all but one dropped motor case, each one of them blamed the stupid saw. Yep, the saw is stupid. It does not give one thought about what you do. People like this have made Delta, and people like me, leery about how much help to give - hence my disclaimer about not being responsible for anything at all. Look in the mirror for someone to blame if you drop the motor.

The next thing to note about the Delta procedure is that it is only half - the back half - of the alignment capabilities of this saw. You can get your saw well within 10-thousandths of an inch using the Delta method. But why only the back half? Because the safety set screw is on the front riser tube. This is where you can drop the motor if you are not careful. Delta is simply protecting themselves (my opinion). I can't say that I blame them in today's world. They can't give an amateur class disclaimer.

Blade Alignment Procedure

Make sure the power switch is in the off position and unplug the saw.

Lower the saw motor at least halfway down. This makes it easier to see and work in the tight spaces.

Remove the back panel of the saw.

You may loosen the wing nut on the dust chute and lower it if you wish. I personally don't find it to be in the way.

Note that raising and lowering the motor will not affect your adjustments unless you really loosen the screws and have everything free swinging. Again, this is dangerous. Just crack them loose. They will be snug enough to raise and lower the motor without issue.

Look at the rear motor riser tube. That's the silver tube the motor rides up and down on. Follow the tube up towards the table and see the two hex screws that lock the tube in the clamping collar. Using the 3/16-inch hex wrench that came with the saw (the one you used for the rails, etc.) crack both screws loose.

Now raise the motor up and bump or twist it in the direction you want it to go in order to zero it in. It may be easier for you to bump/twist the motor if it is lowered about half way. Do so if it works for you. Then raise it up to check the alignment.

Note that you should take care not to pull down on the motor when you twist. Don't add extra weight or extra forces in directions you don't want to go. Focus on just twisting/bumping horizontally.

Let's face it, you don't have a calibrated bump/twist tool at the end of your arm. It's a bit of trial and error to get the blade dialed in, especially the first time you do it. Have patience and keep tweaking until the blade alignment is satisfactory to you. Bump, check, bump, check. You'll get it. Or, you'll get what the saw is capable of with the procedure so far.

Lower the motor and retighten the clamping screws by snugging from one to the other until they are both tight. Do not tighten one completely and then the other. This can throw your alignment off a bit.

Up to this point, there are no differences from the Delta procedure. Most saws can be dialed in using only the rear riser tube clamp. I encourage you to try this first, as there is no danger of dropping the motor. This is all the adjustment you need unless your blade is really out of alignment. If you just can't get the blade aligned and need more adjustment then continue on. Remember my amateur status disclaimer. You are responsible and no one else if you continue on.

Look again at the rear riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Notice that there is a screw hole in the middle of the collar but no screw in it. If you look at the Delta Power Point slides you may note that this screw hole is not visible. It is always hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) by the motor position or text boxes.

Now look at the front riser tube and follow it up to the locking collar. Everything is the same as the rear EXCEPT that there is a screw in the hole centered in the collar. This is a safety set screw. It seats in a groove in the front riser tube and keeps the motor from dropping. Call this the danger screw. The groove in the tube is shallow. You WILL drop the motor if you loosen this screw too much or loosen the collar clamping screws too much.

Lower the motor about halfway down. Crack the rear then the front riser tube clamp screws loose. Now crack the safety set screw loose. Remember that this screw holds the motor. Just crack it loose.

Now bump/twist the motor in the direction you want it to go. Raise the motor and check the alignment. Check, bump, check until the blade is aligned.

You can throw your alignment off by tightening one screw completely at a time. Retighten the collar clamping screws by snugging from one to the other, front to back, until all four are tight. It's cramped in there. Make sure you don't knock your motor/blade out of alignment with your arm. Now retighten the safety set screw.

Now stop holding your breath. Sometimes you get lucky and the blade lines right up. Sometimes you spend the better part of an hour. As many times as I've done this I can give the motor a twist and a love tap and bring it right in. I've read so many short statements (with no explanations or cautions) from people who claim to align the blade in 5 minutes. Bull. They must have gotten very lucky on one bump and only be talking about the alignment. They must be leaving out the back panel, going from back to front to raise/lower the blade, etc. Figure on an hour and be happy when it is less.

Sit back and have a beer. Everything is harder the first time. Think about how easy it will be if you have to do it again. Or better, if your buddy buys a saw and you just zip through it and get to show off.
I want to add my "thank you" to many that you have already received. I just purchased my first table saw, the Delta 36-725, and found your review and set up information on this table saw invaluable. You should receive a nice commission from Delta for the number of 36-725 saws that have been sold based upon your excellent review! I'm still tweaking the rails/fence and have not made my first cut on the saw yet, but I would not be this far along with the assembly without your knowledgeable comments. Thank you so much for sharing your information, and for sharing it in such an entertaining way! Very much appreciated Tinman!
 
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