Table Saw Fence Alignment

I've had my DeWalt benchtop table saw for about 10 years now.  At the time I thought it was the right saw for the projects I was working on, we had just purchased our house and there were many projects where it was great to have a portable saw.  Now that I'm more interested in fine woodworking, I wish I had chosen differently; for what I paid for it I could have purchased a decent contractor saw.  While the benchtop table saw works fine for plywood and dimensional lumber construction, it's not my saw of choice for detail work.

Recently, I've noticed the fence has become more and more misaligned.  The back side of the blade bites into the wood, even when it's past the front edge of the blade.  Not only does this increase the chances of kick-back, but it tends to burn the wood.

Obviously the fence is closer to the far side of the blade than the near side.  Optimally you want the fence to be parallel with the blade or maybe have the fence slightly farther away from the far side of the blade than the near side.  My table appears to be square with the blade, otherwise the slot on my miter sled would have a slot wider than the blade.  Since it's a bentop saw, I don't even think I could adjust the table if I wanted to.

Sick of dealing with the misalignment, I went hunting for the manual.  It turns out that was quite unecessary because the saw had a sticker with all the information I needed and arrows pointing right to the fence adjustment bolts.

I don't remember if I've ever adjusted the fence before, but it's simple.  I loosened the bolts, butted the fence right up to the blade, and tightened the bolts again.  I know there's more precise ways to insure the fence is aligned, but I figure the procedure matched the accuracy of the saw.

After I adjusted the fence, I tested the saw by ripping a peice of 2x6.  I was amazed at how much easier the wood fed through the blade.  I guess the blade really was working against itself.  Plus when I pushed the piece thought the blade it didn't bind at all like it used to.

The moral is I really shouldn't have put re-aligning the fence off for so long.  It was a ten minute procedure --  I've probably spent more time trying to scrape or sand away burn marks on a single peice of stock.  Not to mention the saw is much safer to use.

Tools: benchtop tools, table saw

Tags: alignment, DeWalt


Steve's picture

I don't have a dedicated wood working shop, so I need my tools movable. I purchased a Craftsman 21829. I feel it is the closest thing to a real table saw that is still portable.

Here is a forum dedicated to this type of saw...

Jay Graves's picture

I think I have the same saw (or similar) and I also have a lot of binding issues.

I thought at first it was just because I was cutting bigger panels and it's a bit unwieldy.

My blade (came with the saw) was also suspect.

I'm going to try your alignment trick. Thanks!