Whether you just got your first table saw or if it’s just been a while since you adjusted it, setting up your table saw is a critical step to help maintain as much accuracy and safety as possible. Fresh out of the box it is very likely that the table saw will not be perfectly aligned. My YouTube video gives a visual aid to each of the 4 following steps and goes over some alternate methods.
Steps to set up the table saw:
Adjust the blade to be 90 degrees to the tabletop.
Adjust the blade to be parallel with the miter slot.
Adjust the fence to be parallel to the blade.
Adjust the riving knife to be in line with the blade.
The first step is checking to see if your blade is 90 degrees to the top surface of the table saw. You can use a reliable square for this, or even better, use a digital angle finder. To do that, zero it out of the tabletop surface and then use the magnet to attach it to the saw blade and check the measurement. Be aware that that the factory degree settings may not be accurate on the table saw, so it is better to only use those as a very rough guide. To adjust the angle, most table saws have a visible adjustment on the front of the saw.
Now that you have the blade at 90 degrees, the next step is to make sure it is parallel to the miter slot. There are many ways to do this, but the general idea is you are measuring the distance from the miter slot to the blade on the front and back portion of the blade. If they are perfectly parallel to each other, the measurement will be the same on both ends. If it is off, the blade will need to be adjusted. My preferred method is to use a digital dial indicator gauge mounted on a runner in the miter slot. To adjust this is a bit more involved than the last step. Typically, there are some internal bolts that can loosen the orientation inside the table saw. So, it is best to consult the user manual for your specific saw to see exactly where they are.
The next step is to adjust the fence, so it is parallel to the blade. You can also check it against the miter sot you used for the previous step, since you now know it is parallel to the blade. This is a lot like the last step in that you will be talking measurements from the front and back of the blade or miter slot to the fence. I prefer to use the same dial indicator gauge and turn it to face the fence instead of the blade. Once you check the measurements, there should be a bolt on the fence itself that allows for adjustment. It is better to only loosen one side of the fence at a time, otherwise it becomes more difficult to do fine adjustments.
The last step is to make sure the riving knife is in line with the blade. This one can easily be done by eye. There should be some adjustment bolts on the part of the table saw that holds the riving knife in place. You are simply making sure it is in line with the blade, so wood moves freely and doesn’t catch.
And that’s it! With your table saw set up, you are ready to put it to use.
I do have a YouTube video showing these steps in more detail. So, if you want more methods or a visual guide, check it out.
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