table saw alignment jig - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-25-2020, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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table saw alignment jig

Like a lot of people, I have been home for the past several days and yesterday I completely cleaned my shop and I decided to let it remain clean for a day so I thought I'd share a jig I made several months ago that I use for aligning the miter slot to blade and miter slot to fence. I made this jig after I received an ad for a device that sold for about 75.00 and after I had watched several videos about alignment using a combination square.

Construction of the jig is quite simple, I made a runner about 1/2 inch thick that fit exactly into my miter slot, then I routed a dado the exact width of the runner into a piece of rectangular maple and attached the runner into the dado. I drilled and installed a 1/4 inch threaded insert into the end of the rectangle and installed a 1/4 inch flat head bolt into the insert. Make sure to sand the head of the bolt so it doesn't have any protrusions that would impact the measurements

To measure parallelism of the miter slot to the blade, I set the jig at the back of the blade and unthread the bolt until it just contacts a tooth on the saw blade. I then move it to the front of the blade and measure with a feeler gauge to see how much the blade is off. (If the front of the blade is closer than the back, I reverse the measuring procedure.) I then adjust the top and repeat the procedure until the bolt just contacts the same tooth on the blade at both the back and front.

In a similar manner, I can use the jig to align the miter slot to the rip fence. I have a biesemeyer fence that uses two allen head set screws but it was not possible to get the allen wrench into the set screw without removing the fence. I solved this problem by cutting about 1/4 inch off of the allen wrench and putting it into the set screw. I can now use a wrench to make the adjustments without have to remove the fence.

Hopefully, this is useful to someone.
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-25-2020, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for that, it reminds me that someday I need to fine tune my riving knife.

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-25-2020, 04:52 PM
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Nice and simple.

If in your case, you are "moving the top" to get the slot aligned to the blade, then you have a cabinet type saw. Those with contractor type saws will have a bit more difficulty moving the trunnions to align the slot to the blade. DAMHIKT
To align the fence to the slot, sure use your jig if you want ,but I just slide it over to the slot within a few thousands, and use the tip of my finger to feel when it's flush. That has always worked for me in my shop.

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 #4 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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I have both types of saws, an old Davis and Wells 12 inch saw where the top remains stationary and the trunions move to make the adjustments and a Grizzly in which the top moves to make the adjustment. I wish I had room in my shop to set them both up together like you have done with your three saw setup. That is the coolest setup I have ever seen.

I guess my "finger feeler gauge" doesn't have the sense that yours does because I have never been happy using that approach.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elden Cozort View Post
I have both types of saws, an old Davis and Wells 12 inch saw where the top remains stationary and the trunions move to make the adjustments and a Grizzly in which the top moves to make the adjustment. I wish I had room in my shop to set them both up together like you have done with your three saw setup. That is the coolest setup I have ever seen.

I guess my "finger feeler gauge" doesn't have the sense that yours does because I have never been happy using that approach.
Eh, blame the fence, not your finger (unless your fingers have a lot of scars). Human fingers are pretty awesome, they can detect steps in a surface as small as something like a thousandth of an inch. If your fence sits close enough to your saw top, then Woods method will work shockingly well to align the fence. Problem is if theres a gap between the fence and the saw table, your finger might not be able to feel both surfaces and the discrepancy between them. Scar tissue doesnt have nerve endings, so if your finger tips are all scarred up youre not going to have the same level of sensitivity, ditto for any conditions that interfere with peripheral nerve sensitivity

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post #6 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 12:21 PM
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I have always admired the Woodpeckers table saw alignment jig. It is a brilliant design. Okay, everything but the outrageous price, which I will not pay. My spouse had two Starrett dial indicators in her toolbox, and she offered to let me use one of them to make an alignment jig, but I never got around to it.

A few months ago, I found myself with triangular maple cutoffs. I could not figure out what to do with them, until I came up with a compression joint idea. (I doubt it is a new idea. I have seen similar expanding joints under Incra miter bars.) The hole between the two triangular pieces is oversize to allow movement. I used a Forstener bit and chisel to countersink a Rockler t-track bolt. You will also need to cut a dado for squaring it up. Glue two blocks to hold the dial indicator, drill a hole for a screw to keep the dial indicator from moving, and call it done.

You tighten the knob until the jig is barely snug, but make sure the jig can slide in the miter slot. Loosen the bolt and turn the cross pieces 90 degrees for slim storage. I also remove the dial indicator and put it back in Spouse's toolbox to protect it.

It works beautifully.

P.S. You can buy a dial indicator at Harbor Freight for $17. The claimed accuracy is 0.001 inch, perfect for a table saw alignment jig. I have not tried one, but honestly, what can go wrong with a dial indicator? I have seen them for lower prices elsewhere, as low as $14.
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Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 03-26-2020 at 12:42 PM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 03:02 PM
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I have never had to use anything other than my measuring tool to align the fence and blade.



I have to set the front of the blade/fence to the correct cutting distance. Then just one simple step further I set the back of the blade/fence geometry to just one RCH more than the front measurement


George.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 06:27 PM
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I am not understanding RCH and not finding on internet.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I have never had to use anything other than my measuring tool to align the fence and blade.

I have to set the front of the blade/fence to the correct cutting distance. Then just one simple step further I set the back of the blade/fence geometry to just one RCH more than the front measurement

George.
The manual for my table saw recommends using a dial indicator and includes instructions, but they also include a secondary set of instructions for using a combination square as a less desirable alternative. I did that, using a good combination square, but was not happy with the results. It just didn't feel right during rip cuts. I was as careful as I could be. I tried to improve the alignment more than once, but it was not working out. To be clear, nothing bad happened. I doubt I was at risk for kickback. It just didn't feel right.

I wanted to try a dial indicator anyway; sometimes you gotta see for yourself. After making the alignment jig above, I could see the relative misalignment. It was not bad, but there was room for improvement. It was quick and easy to align the table saw to within 1/1000 of an inch. Since then, rip cuts really do feel better. I freely admit that it could be my imagination, but I don't think so.

My reason for posting was to share how easy it is to make a simple, low cost, quick and easy dial indicator alignment jig. The Woodpeckers jigs sell for $90 and $250 (v2.0, eek!). Anyone can build my jig with a $17 dial indicator (useful for many other purposes), a bolt and a knob, and some scrap wood. I doubt I will need to do that alignment again for years, maybe never, but the jig stores small. I can share it with friends who want to try it out.

I was pleased that I found a creative use for those skinny triangle pieces and wanted to show the compression joint, to share the idea with others. That joint could be used in creative ways that I would never think of for myself.

Like @woodshed above, I have no idea what RCH means.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 09:54 PM
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table saw alignment jig

Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Eh, blame the fence, not your finger (unless your fingers have a lot of scars). Human fingers are pretty awesome, they can detect steps in a surface as small as something like a thousandth of an inch. If your fence sits close enough to your saw top, then Woods method will work shockingly well to align the fence. Problem is if theres a gap between the fence and the saw table, your finger might not be able to feel both surfaces and the discrepancy between them. Scar tissue doesnt have nerve endings, so if your finger tips are all scarred up youre not going to have the same level of sensitivity, ditto for any conditions that interfere with peripheral nerve sensitivity

If your fingers scar tissue is not accurate enough, you could lick the gap with your tongue.
I recently saw a PBS show on where some 3rd world country would have people use their tongue to remove impurities from a patientís eyeball because of the sensitivity of the tongue.

Iím kidding.
It is true but donít do that.

Does make me wonder what a running SawStop equipped table saw would do if you licked it though...

And back to the thread. Sorry for the sidetrack.


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post #11 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by woodshed View Post
I am not understanding RCH and not finding on internet.

The moderators would not like me spelling it out. Sufice it o say it is a very small unit.


Georgr
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-26-2020, 10:33 PM
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[QUOTE=Lennyzx11;2102009
Does make me wonder what a running SawStop equipped table saw would do if you licked it though...

And back to the thread. Sorry for the sidetrack.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]

You may speak with forked tongue if blade doesn't trip.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #13 of 14 Old 03-27-2020, 08:19 AM
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Set the fence-to-blade distance few thou wider at back of blade.

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post #14 of 14 Old 03-27-2020, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
The moderators would not like me spelling it out. Sufice it o say it is a very small unit.

Georgr
Getting private messages explaining vulger. Understanding now. Thank you.
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