I use a dial indicator to measure the blade’s alignment
(see Sources, below), but you can also use a combination
square. I installed the PALS system before beginning the
alignment procedure, but it isn’t absolutely necessary
(see “PALS Simplifies Alignment,” above).
1. Position the blade. First, unplug the saw. Tilt the
blade to 5°. Gently rotate the handle back toward 0°.
This relieves any strain from overtightening the tilt
mechanism that might have distorted the readings.
Raise the blade to its full height. Lower it one-quarter
turn to remove strain.
2. Remove play from the miter-gauge bar. If the
bar wiggles in its slot, insert paper or packaging tape
between the bar and slot. You can also push the miter
gauge right or left when you take a reading, so it
always butts against the same side of the slot. Place the
miter gauge in the saw’s right-hand slot.
3. Mark the blade. Remove the throat plate. Locate
a tooth at the blade’s front that’s at or just below the
table. Make a mark on the blade’s plate immediately
below this tooth.
4. Zero the indicator at the blade’s front. Clamp the
indicator’s base to the miter gauge (Photo 1). Adjust
the indicator so its spring-loaded ball foot touches the
mark. Clamp the indicator so its plunger is depressed
halfway. Set the indicator to zero.
5. Rotate the blade. Move the indicator to the
blade’s back and relocate the ball foot on the mark
(Photo 2). If you get a positive reading more than
.004", the back of the blade is too close to the mitergauge
slot. To align the blade, the rear trunnion
bracket must be moved away from the slot. If the
needle moves in a negative direction and you get a
reading more than .004", the bracket must be moved
toward the slot.
6. Shift the rear trunnion bracket. From behind the
saw, slightly loosen the bracket’s bolts (Photo 3). (You
may have to remove the saw’s rear rail for access.)
If you’ve installed PALS, turn its adjusting screws to
move the bracket left or right. If you don’t have PALS,
drive the bracket left or right using a hammer and a
pointed stick or dowel. A small tap will make a big difference,
so take it easy.
7. Measure again. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to see where
you are. When the two readings are .004" or less apart,
you should be good to go. Tighten the brackets’ bolts
and measure one last time. On the PALS system,
tighten both adjusting screws against the bracket to
lock it in place.
1. Accurate measurement with a dial indicator
makes realigning your saw’s trunnion brackets
much easier. Clamp the indicator to your
miter gauge and zero it on a spot you’ve marked at the blade’s
2. Rotate the blade, slide the indicator forward
and measure the same spot. A negative
reading indicates the blade’s back is skewed
too far from the miter slot. A positive reading
indicates the opposite. Ideally, the difference
between the front and back measurements
should be less than .004".
3. Shift the rear trunnion bracket by slightly loosening its bolts
and gently tapping left or right with a hammer and a pointed
stick. The blade moves with the bracket. This crude method
works OK, but you’ll find installing a PALS system makes this
adjustment much easier (see “PALS Simplifies Alignment,” above).