I recently began experiencing a lot of edge marking on my boards when cutting on my table saw. I have been cutting a lot of 4/4 red oak and the blade is leaving a lot of cut marks, which never happened before, plus I have been experiencing some burning – though not a great deal. Many of the cut marks are fairly deep and require either a pass on the jointer or a significant amount of sanding. I am using a 25-year-old Craftsman 10″ table saw that I have never had any problems with until recently. I thought the blade was worn, but when I replaced it with a new 10″ carbide-tipped blade, the same thing still occurs. Does something need adjustment, or is it the blade?
Michael Dresdner: It sounds like ‘heeling,’ a condition where the back side (or heel) of the blade comes in contact with the recently cut surface of the wood. That usually indicates that the fence is out of alignment with the blade, and this does happen from time to time. It sounds like you are due for a ‘tune-up.’ Adjust the fence so that it is dead parallel to the blade, and while you are at it (and the power is still off), check the runout of the blade and arbor. I’ve seen woodworkers throw an arbor out of whack with a renegade cut or bind.
Rob Johnstone: My assumption is that your saw needs to be tuned up a bit. If you have a new, sharp blade that is not performing well, there is something else out of alignment. Ian Kirby did a fine series of articles on getting the most out of your table saw for the Woodworker’s Journal, including a piece on how to tune up your saw in the May/June 2002 issue.