Tuning a Cabinet Saw

Description of a method for accurately re-calibrating a tilting table saw. February 19, 2006

I have a delta 10" Tilting Arbor saw that is a bit out of wack. The saw blade is not parallel to the mitre slots. I have my unifence adjusted to be parallel so ripping is not a problem, but I can't use my sleds or mitre gauge accurately. The owners manual doesn't give any information on how to true it up. It simply says it comes parallel from the factory. Does anyone have any input/advice on what I need to do to square it up?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor D:
I had the same problem with a old delta tilting table. This is how I solved it. I had a 10" X 2" X 1/2" thick cold rolled steel bar ground flat both sides with a 5/8" hole bored at 1 end.

1. I removed the blade and mounted the bar to the arbor (make sure the saw is unplugged).

1a. With the bar straight up and down use a good square to bring the table top to exactly 90 degrees.

2. I mounted my dial indicator to the mitre gage and checked with the bar at each end of the travel to see how far out the alignment was.

3. I loosened the bolts holding the table to the arbor assembly only a little.

4. With a mallet I tapped the table whatever way was needed to get a final reading of less than 0.001" on the dial indicator (both ends to the travel).

5. Tighten the bolts and check again.

Repeat the above steps until the final readings are less than 0.001". It took me a couple of hours, but it was time well spent. Your tilting arbor may be a little harder to get to the bolts but the method is the same.

From contributor R:
Loosen the four bolts holding the table to the base. Raise the blade up as far as it will go and measure from the side of a tooth at the front to the edge of the miter slot. Rotate the same tooth to the back and measure again, and then bump the table until the measurement from the front and the back are the same. Use a machinist rule and possibly some reading glasses. This should take no more than 10 minutes.

From contributor D:
Contributor R - your method is a good one and I have used it before. It worked for me as long as the blade wobble was more than the alignment. For example if the alignment was out 0.010 in and the blade wobble was 0.012 then there was no problem.

That is until I spent the money and bought a Forrest blade that had less that 0.002 wobble now my alignment had to be better than the wobble. I just couldn't get it good enough to stop the burn without the ground bar and dial indicator.

I see the table saw as the primary standard in my shop and has to be better than everything else or the errors just keep adding up. I have spent the last 30 plus years working with calibration and standards so I tend to go overboard, too far in many cases.

From contributor K:
To contributor D: How much tolerance is in your ground steel bar? I recently bought a product from Amazon's tool crib that does exactly what you suggest its called the Master Plate. However the specs only say its accurate to thousandths of an inch does not give an exact number. Im starting to think that it might not be accurate enough and Ive started looking for a more accurate plate with specs of .001 of and inch.

From contributor D:
I did not buy one off the shelf I didn't know they existed. I had a machinist grind one for me out of 1/2 inch cold rolled steel, tool steel would be better. He said it was better than 0.0005. If you mark and use the same spot each time then flatness is not that much of an issue.