How do I adjust the blade on my table saw to be square?

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Forum topic by AngieO posted 07-29-2012 02:52 AM 16371 views 2 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1267 posts in 2748 days

07-29-2012 02:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question table saw fence squaring

So, I got my table saw from my friend last week. I have been crazy busy this past week and plus we’ve had lots of rain and when it wasn’t raining it was too hot to be outside. I got out early this morning to beat the heat. I worked on building a crss cut sled. When I was ripping a board for a runner I checked the board I was cutting and found the board to be off. . How do I adjust either the fence or the blade?

26 replies so far

View Zinderin's profile


94 posts in 2733 days

#1 posted 07-29-2012 03:11 AM

It is the angle of the blade to your saw table … make sure the table is straight (now twisted, bowed, etc). Best way to do that is with a metal straight edge you trust or a long level with a true edge (you don’t care if the table is level, you’re checking for straight).

Once you know your table is straight then you need to get a good square and go to work on making sure your blade is aligned 90 degrees with your table … it should just be a matter of tuning in your bevel control.

Every saw is slightly different, so you need to refer to your manual from there.

Hope that helps.

View japanesewoodworker's profile


75 posts in 3653 days

#2 posted 07-29-2012 03:25 AM

I would look under the “table” to see if all the ‘fasteners’ are tight.

Then raise the blade ‘as-high-as-it-will-go’.

Take a carpenter’s square and make sure the miter slot is “square” to the blade. If it is NOT then loosen the fasteners and adjust to the “carpenters’ square.

This ‘should’ help. If not correct everything that is “bad” with your table saw.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3699 days

#3 posted 07-29-2012 03:45 AM

The above suggestions are vague unless you are familiar with square, perpendicular and parallel, as it pertains to machine tools.
Square to the table means 90 degrees (straight up) that the saw blade stands to the table. In order to accomplish that, you need a machinist’s square or a good carpenters square, to set on the table and sight the square to the side of the blade, not having the carbide teeth interfere with the square.
The gauge reference for having the sawblade parallel to the fence is the slot for the miter fence. This is stationary and cannot be changed.
First adjust the fence to the slot by…...........
Oh never mind. It gets crazy from here.
If you want to come up to Libertyville, IL (ain’t that far from you), my wife and I will have lunch waiting and I’ll have a quick class on squaring power tools.

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2983 days

#4 posted 07-29-2012 03:47 AM

This is a one step at a time thing. All of the comments above are part of the process. Did you find the cut not parallel, or not square ? There will be set screws you can adjust to set the fence parallel if the width varied, but you need to perform the steps noted above first. If you don’t have a manual you can probably download one.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3669 days

#5 posted 07-29-2012 03:59 AM

The first thing you need to check (and maybe adjust) is if the blade (at full height) is parallel with the miter slot. On a saw with two miter slots, I use the right one as my base reference. Sometimes, the miter slots aren’t parallel with one another.

If adjustment is needed, you’ll need to move the trunnion to dial it in. Your owners manual should tell you how to do that, but it usually involves loosening four bolts, adjusting the trunnion and blade, then tightening the bolts. Take your time with the tightening – the trunnion sometimes wants to move a bit as the bolts tighten up.

After that, you need to get your blade perpendicular to the table. Raise your blade to full height and use a good square. I usually use a draftsmans triangle.

The last adjustment sets the fence parallel to the blade. Again, see your owners manual. Some folks like to leave the fence a few thousandths wider at the back of the blade so the workpiece doesn’t bind up as it passes between the blade and fence. I shoot for dead on parallel, but never leave the fence closer at the back than the front. I use a 24” level for this part. Having 24” between my measuring points shows errors more easily than only having 10” between them.

When all that is done, you’re saw should be dialed in just right.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2748 days

#6 posted 07-29-2012 04:53 AM

First things first. Tomorrow I will try and download a manual. I need to replace the blade so when I do that I will try some of the suggestions above.

The board I cut was about 6” wide. I Cut about 1/2” off. Then I took the board and put that cut edge on the fence, adjusted my fence and cut another 1/2” off. The board was about 14” long and I measured the width of it on both ends. It was almost 3/16” off. I thought that was pretty significant.

I got the table from a friend. He lives an hour away or I’d have him come over and check it out and help me out. I had to take the blade guard off. I was going to while I made my cc sled but I also had to because the rear of it was closer to the fence and it was causing the wood not to push through easily and was leaving burn marks on the wood. It’s just a cheap blade. No carbide and maybe 40 tooth (???). I bought some new blades.

I also have used a square and the blade is square (90 degrees) to the table itself.

Thanks for the tips so far. LOL… and Jim….don’t tempt me. I love visiting workshops and hanging out. You learn so much.

Here’s a pic of my table saw.

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2983 days

#7 posted 07-29-2012 05:33 AM

Downloading the manual should be the best way. I’ve had one of these Craftsman potables like allot of people and usually you have to loosen the trunnion bolts with an allen/hex key which the manual will say is at the front and back of the motor just beneath the table top. Of course it’s not always that simple. These trunnions which hold the motor assembly to the table have two bolts on each of them located on each side (front/back of table) that you adjust to move the blade left or right in order to align the blade with the miter slot and then the fence to the miter slot. Definitely read the manual and good luck.

View Joshuah's profile


152 posts in 3294 days

#8 posted 07-29-2012 05:34 AM

First thing I did when I got my new table saw I went onto the woodwhisperer. He has a great video on how to set up a new TS. A good watch and time well worth it.

-- -Joshuah

View boxcarmarty's profile (online now)


17281 posts in 2961 days

#9 posted 07-30-2012 02:30 AM

Angie, That fence should have an adjustment on the far side to parallel it with the blade. Make sure it is true so you don’t have any resistance that could cause a kickback. Also it looks like you have the splitter on there. Make sure it is true as well. After adjusting those, recut your board and check it…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2983 days

#10 posted 07-30-2012 03:38 AM

3/16” on a 14” cut is more than significant. You said you were cutting a runner. Do you mean for the miter gauge slot? I urge you, if it’s within your budget to use an Incra adjustable miter runner, or something like it,you should do it. I used a wood runner on a couple of jigs, & everytime the weather was humid or damp, I could’nt use the thing because the runner expanded. If you can swing it, that miter slot runner (not wood) will save you a lot of frustration. Good luck to you.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 3279 days

#11 posted 07-30-2012 07:16 AM

I agree that wood runners have their problems with humidity, but to me Incra wants too much money. You can make runners out of plastic or metal, and they won’t have the swelling problems that wood does.

If you don’t have someone nearby to cut them for you, Rockler used to sell plastic (UHMW) already cut. They may still, I don’t know they closed the store near me and I like to deal with real stores not the internet.

If you can source the plastic, you can trim it to width on your router table. Put the fence the required distance behind the cutter, and push the piece from left to right so you are not “climb cutting”. Use push sticks to keep your fingers safe.

It’s hard to use your tools if your fingers aren’t attached

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3215 days

#12 posted 07-30-2012 07:57 AM

View toolie's profile


2178 posts in 3229 days

#13 posted 07-30-2012 08:02 PM

eddie….....i just can’t take that guy charlie whatever-his-name-is and that “awe shucks” down home good ole boy act of his. and joshuah, if you’re talikng about the cabinet saw tune up on the WW website, that saw has very little in common with the direct drive saw of the OP. in terms of principles, try this video series:

i have one of the saws like the OP’s that i use for onsite work when friends need a hand. i learned long ago not to trust any one else’s tools but my own. it can be made serviceable but the method of performing the adjustments has little in common with a traditional contractor, hybrid or cabinet saw.

IMHO, the OP should learn what types of adjustments are critical to the safe and accuarate operation of her saw and then consult the owners manual for how to effect those adjustments. good luck.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2748 days

#14 posted 08-02-2012 03:07 AM

I posted this on another thread as well but I thought I’d share it here too. I finally got my TS adjusted. Easier than i anticipated. DH got home and put my new blade on. Did some test cuts and it’s great!

So here’s a new question for you. The TS cuts SOOOOOOO much better. Not just straight… but just cuts through the wood so nice. It’s great. I thought the old blade was maybe really old and not very many teeth. But when I took it off it said it was an Irwin and 80T. But it doesn’t have any carbide on it.

Here’s what it looked like….

So… is this blade ready for the garbage dump or does it need to be cleaned up and sharpened?

View higtron's profile


253 posts in 3278 days

#15 posted 08-02-2012 03:11 AM


-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

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