Checking for the alignment problem

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Forum topic by KPW posted 11-07-2012 02:31 PM 2118 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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226 posts in 2874 days

11-07-2012 02:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I recently took the plunge on the Craftsman 21883 table saw. I’m hoping I got one of the good ones. Can anyone give me a description of how to check for the alignment problem? I want to check for it before I completely assemble the saw in case I need to take it back. Thanks all.

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

11 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3476 days

#1 posted 11-07-2012 04:04 PM

The problem is not that simple.

Oh how I wish it was a matter of finding the blade is not parallel to the miter slot and then just “tweak” it a little.

As anyone who has this saw will tell you, it does no good to “tweak” it.

Because the alignment changes as the blade is raised and lowered. Set it perfectly correct for one height and then next time you use it at a different height it is different.

And, going back to the original height does not necessarily mean it will realign back to where you had it either.
I just keep the damn thing at 2” and live with it. I hate this saw.

View knotscott's profile


8332 posts in 3881 days

#2 posted 11-07-2012 04:34 PM

Basic alignment is normal required setup for any saw. Some of the early models of the 21833, Ridgid R4512, and Grizzly G0715P, that all use nearly identical mechanisms under the hood, suffered from an issue that was tought to resolve….once aligned, the alignment would shift at different blade heights. These issues have supposedly been fixed in more recent versions. To see if your saw has the issue, check the blade alignment against a reference like the miter slot, change blade height, and check the alignment again. If it’s significantly different, there’s an issue. If not, then you can take the time to adjust the alignment dead on, and set the saw up for use.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View toolie's profile


2168 posts in 3134 days

#3 posted 11-07-2012 04:59 PM

whatever possessed you to purchase the 21833 over the r4512? the ridgid offers a better guaranty (3 years vs one year), if you can find a HD that honors the harbor freight “20% off any single item” coupon, it’s $400 plus tax out the door and the r4512 is eligible for registration with ridgid’s LSA (lifetime service agreement ), free parts and labor for life.

just wondering about the thought process since the two saws are exactly the same.

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

View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3618 days

#4 posted 11-07-2012 05:05 PM

When checking the alignment, be sure you do not do it with the blade all the way up, and be sure to back off the 90 and 45 degree tilt stops. When you have the blade crank all the way up against the stop, it will rack slightly, causing the measurement to be off.

This is not unique to this saw though. Even more expensive saws can do the same thing. Here is a quote from the Sawstop PCS manual:

“When setting the tilt angle and blade elevation, be sure to back the handwheels off slightly after reaching the limit stops. As with all table saws, pulling the handwheels tight against the limit stops can cause a slight twisting of the trunnion assembly and lead to inaccurate alignment measurements.”

Once I figured out the right way to set the alignment, I haven’t had any problems. I use the saw at blade heights from 1/8 inch to probably 2-1/2 inches, and never had a bad cut that I can trace to an alignment problem. I have had the saw for three years this month, and it has probably been over two years since I have had to change the alignment of the blade to the miter slot.

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556 posts in 3618 days

#5 posted 11-07-2012 05:08 PM

Toolie has a good point. When I bought my 21833, the 4512 was still months away from being announced. If I’d had the choice, I would have gotten the Ridgid just for the better warranty. But by the time the 4512 came out, I was already well past the return period with Sears.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2754 days

#6 posted 11-07-2012 05:35 PM

This is super easy to check for (R4512 owner). The alignment problem is introduced when changing blade height.

1 – crank the blade 3/4 or all the way up
2 – put a straight edge right against the blade. Use the flat part of the blade behind but very close to the teeth so you have good contact
3 – attempt to lower the blade. The slightest pressure on the adjustment wheel will trigger this condition. If the blade moves into or away from your straight edge, you have the alignment issue.


View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 3299 days

#7 posted 11-08-2012 01:39 AM

View Sylvain's profile


880 posts in 3005 days

#8 posted 11-08-2012 04:36 PM

Have also a look here :
you might have to do this first :

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2754 days

#9 posted 11-08-2012 04:43 PM

Those are all good tips for aligning you saw after you confirm it is not defective, but if the test I posted above fails, there is nothing you can do to correct the alignment issue (short of returning it for a non-defective saw)


View Sylvain's profile


880 posts in 3005 days

#10 posted 11-08-2012 08:59 PM

IMHO, I would think that the symptoms described by lumberjoe are caused by a (geometric) blade plane which is not perpendicular to the height adjustement axle.
This can be caused by
- a wobble problem
- a blade axle which is not parallel to the height adjustement axle.

I would say you must first verify that you don’t have a wobble problem e.g. that
- your blade is flat and
- the seating of the blade is ok (see the second link hereabove).

If you don’t have a wobble problem, then the part with the two boring for the height adjustement axle and the blade axle is not correctly machined (the two boring are not paralell [or the part bent under tension]) and the simplest cure for that (if you still want to keep the saw) is to get a well machined replacement part.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2754 days

#11 posted 11-08-2012 09:10 PM

You are probably correct Sylvain. This issue has been discussed HUNDREDS of times for these saws (the craftsman, the R4512, and I think there are a few other clones). Google “R4512 alignment issue” or do a search here and you will see what I mean. It is a manufacturing defect that does not develop over time. It is present right out of the box. People have tried everything under the sun to get it fixed. In my countless hours of research before I bought the saw, I never came across anyone who was successful. Fortunately I got a good one, if not it was prepared to take it back and spring a few hundred more for a Grizzly. The way the saw comes packaged, this check can actually be done before assembly and even in the store’s parking lot.

Recent (the past 7 or 8 months anyway) examples of this saw have been pretty good. There are a lot of examples of people here and on other forums getting a “good” saw on the first try.


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