Squaring Up a Table Saw Table?

Squaring Up a Table Saw Table?

I recently was given an old table saw from my grandpa and would like to start using it for woodworking projects. But when we moved it, we had to take the table off the base for transportation. When I put the top back on, I had to refasten the bolts. The problem is, I don’t know how to square up the top with the base, because the bolt holes have some play in them. So, how do you square the top of a table saw in the base after it has been detached? – Christopher Hinds

Rob Johnstone: Squaring up the top of your table saw is critical to both accuracy and safety, so kudos to you for taking time to do it. The short answer is that your saw blade needs to be aligned with what we call the miter gauge slots in your table top. When they are aligned, your top is aligned. See below for a nice video from Rockler that explains how to measure that alignment. When you get that dialed in, tighten the bolts and you are good to go!

Tim Inman: Great question! Having the table top aligned correctly is super important, and often overlooked. Actually, you want the top squared and in perfect alignment with the BLADE ARBOR, not the base. If everything is “right,” the miter slots will run perfectly true and parallel to the saw blade — as will the rip fence. When the miter gauge is set to make square cuts, since the miter gauge slots in the table are running parallel to the blade, the cuts will be perfect 90-degree angles, whether the gauge is on the right or left side of the blade. The video Rob suggests, above, will walk you through the whole process, and it’s the very method I use to check my saw.

Chris Marshall: Both Rob and the video he suggests here are concerned with table saws that have their trunnion assembly and arbor mounted to the base instead of to the underside of the table. Typically, you’ll find this arrangement on full-size, heavy-duty “cabinet” saws or “hybrid” table saws. I just want to point out that there are other types of table saws that have the blade-related components, and sometimes even the motor, attached to the bottom of the table instead of to the machine’s base. Specifically, these are often called “direct drive,” or “jobsite” saws. On these varieties, which tend to be portable, lighter-duty machines, squaring the table up with the base is more of a cosmetic concern and not really an operational one: the saw’s trunnion assembly and blade arbor will remain aligned with the miter slots unless you unbolt these components from the saw table.

But, regardless of the type of table saw you have, it never hurts to check the blade and miter slot alignment after dismantling any major parts of the machine. Then follow your saw’s manual to realign it again, if your machine differs from this video.

Aligning Your Table Saw Fence

After you have aligned your table saw blade and miter slot, it’s a good idea to align the fence with the blade. This video shows you how to align your table saw rip fence and blade.

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