Putting the saw right

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been in the shop. It feels the same about doing really good things out there. My goal for today was to work on the ongoing project, which I’ll write about in its own post. Before that though I had some challenges that I really needed to tackle so that I could get the best work done, all with the table saw.

When I disassembled the router table I put the top on the right hand side of the saw to serve as an extension table. It was a great plan, I thought. I trimmed enough off the back side of the top to fit between the rails of the saw and be the same depth as the saw top. I also later inserted hardwood shims in the rails themselves to better support the weight of the 1.5″ of phenolic-faced ply. However, I ran into some unexpected issues. To attach the top to the rails I used the stock equipment, four L-shaped brackets (to simplify) with bolts going through to captured nuts inside the rail. To make clearance for the brackets I routed slots out of the underside of the top. The problem came about that for some reason, when I tightened the bolts the rails moved inward. This presented a major obstacle to using the rip fence at that end – it was binding and wouldn’t slide. To fix that, I had to loosen the bolts which in turn made the end of the table drop down.

For me to get a nice square edge on this project and any other, this was unacceptable and had to be resolved. I picked up four longer bolts (HD didn’t have the right length, unsurprisingly) yet I only needed one. I also used a boatload of washers because, again, HD didn’t have the right size spacers. I measured the height of the stock saw table as my goal for the end of the router table. I got close and used a straightedge to get everything really close. Having everything nice and even helps a lot. Now I can use my rip fence as intended and have the router table level with the saw. Now I can use both with confidence until the router table gets made. When it does, the router top will get replaced with phenolic-faced or pre-finished ply, bringing us back full circle.

There was one other issue I was having with the rip fence. When I took the extension rails off to cut them down to a smaller size (down to about a 36″ right of blade rip), I had to cut the modified measuring tape to do so. Then end of it peeled up and would catch the fence when I moved it to that spot. It was continually getting worse and worse. So I peeled it off, and cleaned up the adhesive with mineral spirits (not having any alcohol handy). I measured the offset much more carefully this time and adhered the new tape. I ended up being about 1/8″ off before, and now I should be dead on. That will make a good difference as well.

I got started a little bit later than I wanted to on my project, but I did so knowing I was going to be happier doing it.

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