Table Saws With Adjustable Blade Height
The table saw with adjustable blade height (TABH) is a popular option for home DIYers and professional woodworkers alike. TABH allows you to adjust the length of your cut without having to remove the workpiece from its place on the table. You simply raise or lower the saw’s handle so that it rests at a certain height above the cutting surface.
This height is then used to determine where the workpiece will go when it is cut.
There are several different ways to set up a table saw with adjustable blade height:
Set the blade height using a standard table saw blade gauge. Set the blade height using a hand-held or stand-mounted tumbler gauge . Set the blade height using a built-in tumbler gauge .
How To Measure Table Saw Blade Height?
To measure blade height, you need to have a sturdy workbench, a straight edge and some measuring tape. If you don’t already own one of these items, get them now! A good quality bench top or workbench will do just fine. Once you’ve got all the equipment needed, take time to measure the distance between two points on each side of your table saw’s fence.
You’ll want to measure the distance of each side at several locations along its length. It’s likely that you’ll find some areas where the fence is higher than others, so make sure to take this into account when performing this task. Continue until you’ve measured the same distance on all four sides.
Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll be able to form a rough idea of how warped your fence is. If the difference between high and low points is greater than 1/8 of an inch, you’ll need to get fixing immediately. If not, then you’re good to go.
How To Set The Blade Height Using A Tumbler Gauge?
Now that you’ve measured the height of your blade in several places, it’s time to use one of these measurements to set your blade height absolutely. This is a two-step process. The first part involves using an adjustable blade height gauge to set your blade to the exact, correct height. The second part involves setting it to a height which is much higher than you’ll ever need.
Step One: Setting the Correct Height
The first thing you should do is measure out exactly how much space you need for your project. For example, if you’re cutting MDF and your MDF is 1.5 inches thick, you’ll need to set your blade height to exactly 1.5 inches.
The best way to do this is to take the measurement you obtained earlier and add an eighth of an inch to it. In this case, you’d want to set your blade to 1 5/8 inches.
Next, follow the instructions that came with your adjustable tumbler gauge to accurately set the height. You can find these instructions online as well if you’ve misplaced them.
Now you’re ready to actually set the blade height. Power on your saw and carefully make a cut in a scrap piece of wood. Once the cut is finished, measure the depth of the cut.
If your measurement is correct, then your blade height is now absolutely perfect!
If not, adjust the height on your tumbler gauge by the smallest possible amount. For example, if your measurement was 1.587 inches instead of 1.5, you’d want to turn your tumbler one eighth of a turn in the clockwise direction (turning it counterclockwise would make your measurement larger and make the problem worse).
Then, make another cut in a scrap piece of wood and measure again until you have a measurement of exactly 1.5 inches.
Step Two: Setting The Height Manually
After ensuring that your blade height is set to exactly the measurement you need, you can move on to setting the height much higher than your measurement. In this case, you should set it to around 3/4 of an inch or more.
This is because the wood will contract and expand due to changes in humidity when you cut into it, and if your blade is even a little too low it can lead to serious accidents. If you set the blade to a higher measurement, the wood won’t be able to contract and expand as much, reducing the risk.
But if your fence is well-built, you don’t have to go as high as three quarters of an inch. A simple Google search will reveal plenty of opinions on how high you need to set your blade; some people say one eighth, other people say three eighths or more. The choice is ultimately yours.
You’re All Done!
That’s all there is to it! Following these tips and setting your blade height absolutely and relatively should allow you to use your saw without fear of injury while also getting the most out of your saw in general.
Always be sure to wear safety gear whenever you’re using your table saw. Even if you’re experienced, it only takes one little mistake to severely injure yourself. Always err on the side of caution!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Table saw throat plate with blade height scale (JM Dils – US Patent 6,543,324, 2003 – Google Patents)
- Saw blade adjusting device for table saw (TW Wang – US Patent 6,546,835, 2003 – Google Patents)
- Production table saw (OE Hagstrom – US Patent 4,962,685, 1990 – Google Patents)
- Double bevel table saw (U Sberveglieri – US Patent 5,819,625, 1998 – Google Patents)
- Saw table insert (EC Warrick, E Berends – US Patent 3,581,784, 1971 – Google Patents)
- Motor driven table saw (EC Warrick, E Berends – US Patent 3,538,964, 1970 – Google Patents)