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Re: Delta contractor saw alignment problem

Howard Acheson
For contractor type saws there is a significant area of alignment that is not detailed in most magazine tune-up articles. It is ensuring that the trunnion bars are exactly in the same plane. Proper adjustment affects bevel cuts and is indicated when there is burning when making bevel cuts. Here are the corrective steps that were at one time posted on the Delta website.

First go through the alignment process following the steps in the attachment below.

To check whether the trunnions need to be adjusted, tilt your blade fully to the 45 degree position until you get to the 45 degree stop. Then crank the blade back to the 90 degree upright position. Now again check the parallelism of the blade to the miter slot. If the blade is still parallel to the miter slot, declare victory. If not, follow the process below from Delta to adjust them. The process is the same for all Contractor Saws or Hybrids that have the trunnion assembly hanging from the table.

1. Remove the saw blade being sure it was at it fullest height.

2. Place a flat plate (or similar flat object) on top of the two tie-bars. (The size of the plate should be at least 6" by 8", and the flatter the better. A pane of glass works well.) Depress one corner of the plate and if it rocks, the tie-bars are not parallel. This must be corrected as it will affect the alignment of the blade.

3. Loosen the tie-bar locknuts located at the rear of the saw.

4. Grasp the motor bracket and move it left and/or right. Check the rocking of the flat plate and when it can no longer rock, the tie-bars are the locknuts.

5. Remove the flat plate and re-install the saw blade.

6. Again perform the parallelism alignment process.

7. Before tightening the rear trunnion bolts, push forward on the rear trunnion bracket to allow the undercarriage to snugly fit between the two trunnions.


Here is the low tech, low cost way to align a tablesaw that I learned maybe forty years ago and use to teach to my students.

Make 3/4 x 3/4 x 12" hardwood stick. Drill a hole somewhat centered in one end and insert a brass #8 x 1" round head fine thread machine screw about half way. UNPLUG THE SAW. Raise the blade completely up. Clamp this board in your miter gauge (if you determine that there is some slop in your slot to miter gauge, use a playing card to take up the slop) so the screw head just about touches the blade at the front. Now rotate the blade by hand and determine which tooth is the closest. Adjust the screw in or out until it just touches this tooth. Mark this tooth. Rotate the blade so the tooth is now at the back of the table and move the miter gauge/stick assembly to the back and see if it touches the marked tooth to the same extent. If it doesn't, adjust the trunnion (if a contractor saw) or the tabletop (if a cabinet saw) until it does.

For a contractor saw, first use a small c-clamp on the rear trunnion and cradle to keep the assembly from moving. Then loosen the two rear trunnion bolts and one front trunnion bolt. Slightly loosen the other front trunnion bolt and use a stick to tap the trunnion until the blade and screw lightly touch. The blade does not move directly around the center so you will need to repeatedly go back to the front of the blade, readjust the screw, and then again measure the back. Be sure to check after tightening the trunnion as the trunnion frequently moves when being tightened.

For cabinet saws, loosen the bolts that hold the tabletop and tap one corner until things come into alignment.

The same adjustment gauge can be used to set the fence parallel to the miter slot. Slide the miter gauge to the front of the table and move the fence over to the screw head and insert a playing card between the screw head and the fence just so you can move the card as it touches both the fence and the screw head. Now move the miter gauge to the back of the table and see if you have the same feel when you insert the card. I like my fence absolutely parallel--if you want to have a slight opening to the fence, you can easily estimate the opening by adding a thickness of paper to the card.

I always show my students with a dial gauge that their adjustments are within .001 - .002.

You can also use the same gauge to measure blade runout by using a $5.00 feeler gauge.

Finally, after you are satisfied with the above adjustments, check the position of the splitter to make sure it is exactly in line with the blade.

Bottom line, there is no need to spend more than the $0.05 for the brass screw.

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