The table saw is one of the most important tools in your workshop but in order for it to run smoothly and efficiently, some follow-up maintenance is required. The steps below instruct and detail how to keep your table saw cutting smoothly and safely.
When is a table saw tune up required?
Your table saw will normally provide some helpful indications guiding you on just what adjustments need to be made, and how soon. If the blade cuts straight but at the very end, breaks off more stock than required, this will be accompanied by a ringing sound (as it straightens after deflection). Another sign: if the saw blade is not perfectly parallel to the fence, there will be burn marks on the wood. However, with this last sign you need to be careful since cutting too slowly will also cause burning.
The first step is to begin with the table saw blade: verifying whether the blade is flat (by observing the blade as it slows down upon switching off the saw), and free of pitch. As the blade slows down and approaches its stopping point, if you observe it wobbling this is a sign it needs to be replaced.
What All Comes Next
What follows is aligning the table saw blade if it is out of alignment. To check whether this is the case, you will need to verify whether it is parallel to the miter slots. Raise the blade to its apex point and choose a carbide tooth (on the blade), rotate the blade until the tooth is parallel to the table where it is nearest to the front of the saw. When you measure from the tooth to the miter slot and compare it with the measurement upon rotating the carbide tooth to where it's parallel to the table and the distances are not the same, everything is as it should be.
The next step involves aligning the table saw fence which is important to verify since if it isn't perfectly aligned, it can result in a kickback making the workshop environment a dangerous place to be in. Affix a straight-edge into the miter slot—roughly one that is at minimum the same length as the fence—and slide the fence in so it sits firmly behind the straight-edge. Verify whether there are any spaces or gaps between the fence and the straight-edge; if there are, adjust the fence accordingly.
After this, you will now need to ensure whether the blade is perpendicular to the table by first adjusting the saw's arbor angle to 0 degrees and then through a Layout Square on the table's edge, verifying whether the blade is at a 90 degree angle. If it is not, you will need to adjust the 0-degree stop as per your owner's manual until the blade is square (or perpendicular to the table).
Now the throat plate needs to be checked on whether it stands above or below the table: its normal position should be at or below the table. If it is well above the table, the plate will need to be adjusted via the adjustment screws on the plate. During this process also ensure all pitch and excess sawdust on the lip (which holds the plate in place), have been removed.
Now you're at the end of the tuning process and will need to verify whether the blades of your splitters and/or riving knife's are properly aligned. This can be done by putting a straight edge against the splitter and blade at the same time and verify whether the splitter is even by checking both sides. If any adjustments are required, check out your manual for instructions related to your model. You might also want to ensure that the dust collection system inside the table is in order and clean as required.
As the last thing to do, check the miter gauge's sliding and the fence's locking mechanisms and adjust as and where required. In the case of the miter gauge ensure that it slides through each slot freely and easily. The fence's locking shouldn't slip during moderate pressure being applied on the fence and if it does, adjust accordingly.
That marks the end of the table saw tune up.