Similar to aligning your table saw fence, keeping your blade straight is also very important for any wood shop.
If it’s not straight, you’ll burn the wood as you make your cuts. If it’s bad enough it can even possibly cause kickback.
The (not so secret) trick is to align the blade with your miter slot.
This is a fixed reference point on your table saw and works great for alignment, with your blade as well as your fence.
For this you’ll want to get a dial indicator. Here’s one very similar to the one I use.
You’ll also need a good miter gauge. If your miter gauge has any slop to it (if it wiggles in the miter slot), you’ll want to apply pressure toward the blade while testing, with equal pressure at each end (I’ll explain in a minute).
Note > Read this to learn how to calibrate your miter gauge.
Take a scrap board, preferably a 3/4″ block of wood about 2″ by 6″. Cut one corner off and drill a hole to mount your dial indicator on at an angle.
Put the miter gauge in the miter slot, and clamp the dial indicator block to the miter gauge with the dial tip slightly depressed against one end of the blade.
Now zero your dial indicator.
Move the miter gauge so the indicator runs to the other end of the blade, and compare the measurements at each end.
If there is an error from zero, you’ll want to make a slight adjustment to the blade.
Depending on your table saw, this process will vary. If you don’t know how to adjust your particular saw blade alignment, refer to your table saw’s manual. If you don’t have it, you might have to search your saw’s model online and look for the manual that way.
How to Get Increased Accuracy
If you want to really tune in your blade to perfection, you’ll need to be able to gauge and even smaller error from zero.
That means taking reference readings at points further apart from each other.
But the problem here is that the blade is only so big. How do you reference points further out?
Simple. Replace the blade with a 12″ piece of wood. Drill an arbor hole in one end and mount it to your table saw’s arbor shaft.
Now with the board rotated toward you, take a reading. Mark on the board exactly where your indicator touches it.
Then move it to the other end and rotate the board for the other reading, touching at the same spot.
This will give you an exaggerated difference, which is helpful by revealing an even smaller error from zero.
If there is any slop with your miter gauge pushed this far out on your table saw, be sure to apply leftward pressure at both reference points.
(You can keep the board in place while you make your adjustments to your blade)
If you get your saw blade aligned using this method, you can bet the alignment you’ll read directly on your blade itself will be perfect.
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