Table Saw Blade Alignment

Last Friday, I published a video describing how to make and use a dial indicator jig to align your table saw blade to 45 degrees.  The jig is incredibly easy to make, and if you made my 90 degree alignment jig, you might be able to use the same jig for 45 degrees as well.

I have been using a form of this type of dial indicator jig for close to 10-years and a few of the most popular criticisms I receive for using them goes something like this:

  1. “This is woodworking, not metal working. We are not building Space Shuttles, so this degree of accuracy isn’t required for woodworking!”
  2. “Because wood moves, you don’t need to machine wood to within a thousandths of an inch!”
  3. “We only need to align our tools to the accuracy that is required for the project we’re working on!”.

The first two arguments are meant to imply that I am using dial indicators to align my tools because I want to be able to machine wood to within a thousandths of an inch, which is fallacious.  I cannot stress enough that it is NOT my goal to use dial indicators so that I can machine wood to within a thousandths of an inch, but rather to use them so that I can align my tools quickly without making test cuts.  The high degree of accuracy that comes along with using dial indicators is just a side effect; it comes along for the ride as a freebie.

The third argument above I sort of agree with, but if you are going to align your table saw blade to 90 degrees why not align it to a degree of accuracy that would accommodate ALL of your projects (you might forget to re-align it)?  My point above regarding speed applies here nicely; that is, if it’s just as fast or slower to align your table saw blade with a lesser degree of accuracy (by using a square against the blade) then you’d be sacrificing accuracy for no logical reason.

I think you’ll find that pushing a dial indicator jig against your blade (after it’s calibrated – which is a quick process), is just as fast as pushing a square against your blade.  The difference is that the dial indicator jig will offer you greater accuracy.

One Response to “Table Saw Blade Alignment”

  1. Elon says:

    Just checked out your video, its thorough and very well-explained. Love your content and information you shared (:

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