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Tip #131
Rip Fence Alignment Tip

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You can't make a straight and true rip cut with a misaligned Fence.

You know full well that the cuts made by your table saw are only as good as it's alignment. If the saw blade isn't in perfect, parallel alignment with your saw's miter gauge slot (and you're relying on your gauge's miter quadrant to ensure the accuracy of your cut's angle), you'll not only get inaccurate crosscuts...you'll also get inaccurate rip cuts. Why?

Because your rip fence should be aligned with your miter gauge slot. So...if the fence is parallel with the miter gauge slot...and the slot is parallel with the face of your saw blade...GUESS WHAT? You'll get perfect rip cuts with parallel sides...every time.

Start by following the instructions that came with your machine for aligning your saw's table (or motor carriage, depending on saw brand). Remember, the objective is to follow the appropriate procedures to be certain the miter gauge slot is perfectly parallel with the face of your saw blade.

Now comes the easy part. To align your rip fence so it's perfectly parallel with the gauge slot, just drop the long edge of a steel carpenter's framing square into your miter gauge slot so the edge rests flat against the bottom of the slot.

Move the fence up against the square's face and clamp the square to the fence face at each end. Loosen your fence's adjustment screws. Slide the fence over until the face of the square rests solidly against the opposing edge of the gauge slot. Tighten the fence lock(s). Tighten the fence adjustment screws. You're done.

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