Craftsman 315 with an Align-a-Rip 24/12 fence problems? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-01-2017, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Craftsman 315 with an Align-a-Rip 24/12 fence problems?

Hi,


New to woodworking and bought my first tablesaw, a craftsman 315.228490 contractor saw. I'm wanting to build a closet for my soon to be born daughter so I decided to start sprucing up the table saw.



My problem is that I cannot get the fence to align properly to the miter slots. I've tried loosening the 4 bolts near the clamp and lining it up to the slot and then tightening the bolts (per the manual). It looks fine. But as soon as I move it and clamp it down again, the back end is more inward than the front. If I press the backend outward I can get it to align. I read on another forum that this fence is self-aligning and that the plastic parts that slide could be worn down. But I haven't had a chance to try that yet.
Don't have the budget to buy a new fence. So my questions are:
  • Are there any owners that have this same problems?
  • What are you guys doing to make sure you get good cuts for each set up?
  • Any methods that you guys use to make measuring for square (distance to blade on front and back of fence is same) fairly quick for each setup?
  • Any links for doing alignments for this specific saw?
Thank you for any help!
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-01-2017, 05:13 PM
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Turn the fence over and see...

There should be two places where the fence bears against the rail, either front or in between the rail and the saw. They may be made of plastic like you say...? If one side or both are worn, all you can do is buy a replacement head piece OR glue a piece of Formica on that side to decrease the "play" as I did on an older Craftsman saw with the same issues. The forces applied when locking will tend to hold the piece in place, but not when sliding it, so be careful. Try that first and if that fails, then more expensive solutions are available. :frown2: A spot of hot glue applied carefully may also work?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike0mike View Post
Hi,


New to woodworking and bought my first tablesaw, a craftsman 315.228490 contractor saw. I'm wanting to build a closet for my soon to be born daughter so I decided to start sprucing up the table saw.



My problem is that I cannot get the fence to align properly to the miter slots. I've tried loosening the 4 bolts near the clamp and lining it up to the slot and then tightening the bolts (per the manual). It looks fine. But as soon as I move it and clamp it down again, the back end is more inward than the front. If I press the backend outward I can get it to align. I read on another forum that this fence is self-aligning and that the plastic parts that slide could be worn down. But I haven't had a chance to try that yet.
Don't have the budget to buy a new fence. So my questions are:
  • Are there any owners that have this same problems?
  • What are you guys doing to make sure you get good cuts for each set up?
  • Any methods that you guys use to make measuring for square (distance to blade on front and back of fence is same) fairly quick for each setup?
  • Any links for doing alignments for this specific saw?
Thank you for any help!
I have the same fence on one of my saws. I find it helpful to lock the bar in place and then make your adjustments. Much more important to being square to the slots is to be square to the blade (or toed out about .003")

First square the blade to the slots, then square the fence.

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post #4 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 09:07 AM
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I do not agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_Amantea View Post
I have the same fence on one of my saws. I find it helpful to lock the bar in place and then make your adjustments. Much more important to being square to the slots is to be square to the blade (or toed out about .003")

First square the blade to the slots, then square the fence.

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You are using the word square when you should use the word parallel.

The correct process for setting up any table saw is the adjust the blade parallel to the miter slots since they are milled into the table top and are NOT adjustable. The slots are the reference for all the other adjustments.

Once the blade is parallel to the slots, then adjust the fence parallel to the slots. Now the blade the fence and the miter slots are all parallel to each other. This is a common procedure and all over the web and on You Tube if you doubt me.

Check in the video at 3:40 if you wish to skip the begging portions of the setup:

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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-02-2017 at 09:12 AM.
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
You are using the word square when you should use the word parallel.
Of course, you are correct. I did say square, meaning parallel. I was using the same terminology as the OP in hopes that it would better convey my meaning.



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post #6 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 09:17 AM
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LOL but....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_Amantea View Post
Of course, you are correct. I did say square, meaning parallel. I was using the same terminology as the OP in hopes that it would better convey my meaning.

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LOL, but the old saying applies here "Two wrongs don't make a right". If we use the correct terms when giving advice, that advice has more credibility and we sound like we know what we are talking about.

Here's another really simple video on the subject of "parallism"


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-02-2017 at 10:34 AM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
LOL, but the old saying applies here "Two wrongs don't make a right". If we use the correct terms when giving advice, that advice has more credibility and we sound like we know what we are talking about.

Here's another really simple video on the subject of "parallism"

Woodworking Tips: Table Saw - Check Parallelism - YouTube
I do agree. In addition, both videos referenced here by you are excellent sources on the subject.
I recommend even if a viewer of this thread is familiar with the procedure discussed, watch these videos. A refresher never hurts...

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post #8 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 10:31 AM
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Perhaps I'm reading your problem wrong, but to me it sounds like the rear rail is pivoting up and down when you tighten down the fence.. if that's the case it may be a problem with tightening down the rear rail perhaps with washers.
I have the same fence, Align-a-rip, but have it on an older 113 series cast aluminum top so it lined up tight from the beginning.
The issue I was having was the 4 holes in the front part of the fence were out of alignment. It would adjust just so far and that was it. I took a small file and opened the holes a tad so I have a bit more clearance.
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/a...stment-155873/

Edit..I'm probably not explaining this right, but I did finally get it to cut true..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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Last edited by allpurpose; 02-02-2017 at 10:41 AM.
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for replying!

Yes @woodnthings, What I meant was the term parallel :). And thanks for the video links! I have seen the first one before. I have also watched many videos about making the blade parallel to the slots and then the fence parallel to the slots. But a lot of these videos have some type of screw that allows the back of the fence to tilt left or right (if viewed from above). Unfortunate my fence doesn't have these screws.
@allpurpose my problem is that, when viewed from above, the rear-end of the fence always comes inward toward the blade. So I have tried bringing the fence close to the miter slot, locking down, and then adjusting the fence with the 4 bolts. Very very similar method to what is shown in the first video. So I feel like its lined up.......BUT as soon as I unlock and move it, it goes back to the original problem. (back-end goes inward, toward the blade).

So at this point I can never trust that the fence is parallel to the slots with each move. For this project I will have to hold it parallel, lock it down, and double check parallel. I was planning to just use a straight edge for this method. (i.e. my cut width is 30", measure front of blade to fence = 30", measure back of blade to fence = 30", if yes = cut, if no = adjust. Should I get some feeler gages as well?

Unless there are better/more efficient methods or videos that you guys can share??
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 12:48 PM
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Mike,

I have an aftermarket Craftsman fence XR-2424 that did the same thing. For a long time (an embarrassing long time) I just dealt with it. I'd clamp a piece of wood in my miter gauge touching the fence after getting the spacing correct at the front edge of the blade then slide the gauge back and forth bumping the fence until it was in the right place. Ending at the back end of the fence it would keep the fence from moving in when I locked it down.

Finally got tired of it and decided to fix it. An easy fix as it turned out. After making sure it was parallel (using the above strategy) and locking it in place I loosened the four screws at the front and then re-tightened them. That relieved any stress there that could have been pulling the fence out of parallel. That did not completely fix it but almost did. Got it to within 1/16" but I wanted better. On the back end there is a nut on the rod that runs the length of the fence. Flipping the lever down moves this rod to pull the back guide tight to the back rail. I tightened that nut so that when I slide the fence now it moves with no slop but without binding. It took a few tweaks to get the tightness correct so that it moved without binding but still locked down all the way but now it locks in place parallel to the blade and miter slots.
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 12:50 PM
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Just do this ...

If your fence doesn't allow enough "travel" to make it parallel to the miter slots, enlarge the front two holes in the "head" in the opposite direction you need it to move. It won't take much in the front to make a bigger difference in the rear... radius of an arc you know. It will pivot on the rear set of screws, and maybe even one of them will need a touch with a rat tail file...?

Don't settle for measuring and checking each time, unless you are so incline, when it can be adjusted properly.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesTinKS View Post
Mike,

I have an aftermarket Craftsman fence XR-2424 that did the same thing. For a long time (an embarrassing long time) I just dealt with it. I'd clamp a piece of wood in my miter gauge touching the fence after getting the spacing correct at the front edge of the blade then slide the gauge back and forth bumping the fence until it was in the right place. Ending at the back end of the fence it would keep the fence from moving in when I locked it down.

Finally got tired of it and decided to fix it. An easy fix as it turned out. After making sure it was parallel (using the above strategy) and locking it in place I loosened the four screws at the front and then re-tightened them. That relieved any stress there that could have been pulling the fence out of parallel. That did not completely fix it but almost did. Got it to within 1/16" but I wanted better. On the back end there is a nut on the rod that runs the length of the fence. Flipping the lever down moves this rod to pull the back guide tight to the back rail. I tightened that nut so that when I slide the fence now it moves with no slop but without binding. It took a few tweaks to get the tightness correct so that it moved without binding but still locked down all the way but now it locks in place parallel to the blade and miter slots.
I will give this another shot. I did try what you described but it kept binding up.

Do you guys put any type of lubricant on the rails? If so, what brand/type?
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post #13 of 17 Old 02-02-2017, 06:40 PM
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I put a thin coat of Johnson's Paste Wax on my Align-A-Rip fence rails whenever I polish the table (maybe twice a year). The extruded aluminum of the rails is kind of slick by nature and the plastic guides also are inherently slippery, so it doesn't take a lot of fussing with.

I haven't tuned my Align -A Rip fence in over fifteen years. I check it periodically, but have never had to fool with it. If your A-A-R fence is anything like mine, once it's dialed in, I hope it should stay that way for a long time.

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
Mark
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-03-2017, 01:27 AM
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Mike, when you installed the rear rail how many bolts/screws did you use and were any of them located close to the blade? I marked the locations of mine along with my admission of still being a dirty smoker not to mention I'm somewhat lazy about sweeping the floor . lol.. ok.. I'm a lot lazy about it.
They're just 4 thin black lines..

If there are/were no bolt/screw holes available there you might want to drill into the rear lip of the saw top to put some there. It's not difficult..
Another issue might be that you don't have them tightened down properly .
Other than that I can't think of any other reason for the rear rail to move any at all.
Oh yeah..I noticed when I was installing mine the bolts/screws were a bit tricky to align when trying to slide the bolt heads into the slots in the rail. If one or more aren't straight, just a little bit cockeyed you're going to have problems so check to make sure they're in there properly..also make sure you don't have a piece of crap (wood perhaps?) between the table top and the rail ..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
Marty or Marty Farty if you feel mean.

Last edited by allpurpose; 02-03-2017 at 01:35 AM.
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post #15 of 17 Old 02-03-2017, 08:41 AM
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I too had trouble with binding while adjusting it. If it binds back the nut off just a few degrees at a time; no quarter turns, just a bit. Kind of like aligning the feed belt on a drum sander. Very little by very little.

I have not ever lubed my rails nor waxed my table saw top. I think about doing that once in a while but don't do it. My saw has the open style wings so there is not a lot of surface other than the main table.
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post #16 of 17 Old 02-03-2017, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE:

Like I said in my original post. I just got the table saw and haven't done much to it. So last night, instead of trying to mess with the fence first, I cleaned the rust off the table top (since I was planning to do this anyways).

I took off the fence, and all the rails. @allpurpose to answer your question, yes there were bolts where you indicated but I did notice that as I was removing the nuts that some of them were really easy to remove.

I used PB blaster and some 00 steel wool and went to work. I scrubbed it twice. Cleaned it with acetone. Then I applied johnsons paste wax. 3 coats!. @Shop_Rat I decided to apply some to the rails as well.

Then I put it all back together and started aligning the fence. I noticed that if I clamped it down and used the 4 bolts on top for alignment that it wasn't moving at all. So I loosened the clamp and then did the aligment and I believe that worked better. (only mentioning this because its different from whats in the manual).

After cleaning and waxing, the fence moved along the table like butter!! @JamesTinKS I tried to remove as much slack as possible but it was binding and still had the slightest bit slop. BUT I was using quarter turns, I will try again tonight using the "few degrees" method.

I believe the fence movement and alignment is wayyyy better from when I started. Thank you guys for your help!!

TL;DR;
Was able to align my fence, and now I'm happy.
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-17-2017, 06:27 PM
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I read this and did it to my table saw as well. I find though that my fence will only align properly when im sliding it left to engage, ie start beside the blade, move it out to the desired position. it took a long time to get it tweaked right though, well over an hour.
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