Adjusting the fence is an important part of keeping your table saw in tune. A proper alignment ensures that you’re able to cut straight, accurate, and safe pieces with ease. A common problem with many tools is that they inevitably get out of alignment over time due to general wear or misuse. To avoid this, alignment should be checked regularly, but most importantly after any major problems where parts are broken or need replacing.
How to Adjust DeWalt Table Saw Fence
Cuts are made on the left side of the fence when facing the front of the saw
Checking the Fence Alignment to the Blade
Remove any materials from your table saw and plug in a shop vac in order to regain access underneath. Disconnect all cords from power supplies, including the outlet itself. Raise the blade guard and remove the lower portion of the splitter from beneath it with a hex key or wrench if you have one that fits – most likely this will be an Allen head size for older models. Check that the arbor nut is tight, otherwise, it could lead to wobbling while making cuts at high speeds. Unplug your table saw’s cord from its outlet and place a piece of scrap wood on the table approximately four inches wide.
Place a combination square on one of the small flat sections of the table saw’s top surface with its right-angled lip facing towards you and ensure that it doesn’t shift while making this adjustment
If your fence is off, loosen (but do not remove) two adjacent screws on the end cap if your model has three these will be at 120-degree intervals or another specific interval unique to your saw – using an Allen wrench or hex key. Carefully slide the fence until the left side is lined up exactly with where it meets the blade when measuring from edge to edge (note: make sure no part of your combination square is touching any portion of the rip fence). Tighten down both screws in order to secure this new position.
Checking the alignment of your fence to the blade is one of the most important steps to keep your saw in tune and cut straight and accurate pieces
Checking Fence Alignment with Rip Fence Clamp
With everything you’ve already done still in place, plug in your table saw again and turn it on. Allow it to warm up for a couple of minutes before continuing; we don’t want any nasty accidents! Keep your shop-vac ready too – once we make cuts we’ll need it again. Lower the blade guard and raise or remove whichever splitter system you have (this should be much easier now if you previously removed it).
Measure from edge to edge at each point where the rip fence clamp touches the tabletop
Keeping your combination square stationary, carefully slide it out until its lip is one inch from an edge of the table and one inch from the rip fence itself. Once you’re satisfied that it’s not going to move while measuring, work your way up both sides by one full inch each to ensure all points are checked – do this along both edges for a total of four measurements; we want to make sure we check everywhere! If any area is off more than 1/32″ (the thickness of a sheet of paper) get ready with your shop vac because you’ll need to make some adjustments when taking care of this problem.
The best place to do this would be on a flat surface like concrete or a workbench with a solid top
Three: Adjusting the Fence Alignment to the Blade
If you discover that your fence is off more than 1/32″ on both measurements, the first thing you need to do is remove it from its current position. You can accomplish this by loosening those same screws we tightened earlier on the end cap and sliding the whole fence away from them until it comes loose. If all of your measurements were off in the same direction then go ahead and slide it as far as possible in that direction before loosening those screws. Your wood scrap should still be laid out between these two points – measure from edge to edge again and see if any area differs from last time.
If everything checks out okay so far, slide your fence back into place and tighten the screws again. Keep in mind that our goal is to get it as close to perfect as possible! If all measurements still show a difference of 1/32″ in any direction you will need to adjust two adjacent screws on the end cap this time. These are going to be located at 120-degree intervals or another unique interval for your saw that can only be found through trial and error – if there’s only one screw loosen it up until you find where adjacent means in reference to its location on the fence. Remember which way you need to go from there and tighten/loosen accordingly until everything checks out okay when measuring from edge-to-edge. This ensures a straight cut every time.
Making Fence Alignment Adjustments on the Table Saw
For maximum safety, unplug your table saw before doing any of this. If you’ve been making adjustments at a workbench with a solid top, I would recommend leaving it there because it’s going to be much easier to keep level. If you’ve been doing everything off of your actual table saw, that will work as well just be extra careful if you’re going to do that from now on!
Checking alignment for squareness is simple and can make huge differences in how well your projects turn out
To adjust the fence to the blade using measurements from a dial indicator, place both ends of the fence flush against where they meet your wood scraps from earlier if your fence isn’t straight you’ll need to adjust it slightly in the opposite direction so that it is. Plugin your dial indicator and turn on the table saw – watch how much deflection occurs when cutting through both pieces of wood! If the blade doesn’t cut all the way through each piece, readjust until this step can be accomplished.
- 4″ combination square (if you don’t have one a ruler will work)
- Hex key/wrench set
- Table saw w/ rip fence
- Wood scrap for testing cuts
- The fence is the part of the table saw that allows you to make a straight cut along with a piece of wood.
- A taller fence can help protect your body from debris when cutting, and also prevent small pieces from flying off.
- Most fences are adjustable for variations in blade height.
- Some fences have an adjustable “rip fence” which is used to help you make straight cuts along the length of a piece of wood.
- Some fences have an adjustable “splitter” which helps prevent the blade from pinching pieces against the fence.
- The table saw can tilt left or right, giving you more flexibility when cutting angles other than 90 degrees.
With an adjustment made to the fence, straight cuts are easily achieved without much effort. A well-adjusted table saw fence is fundamental to improvement projects and safety.