Wednesday, January 20, 2010
How to Adjust Your Miter Gauge
In the last post, I showed how the Wixey digital cube has revolutionized setting up a tablesaw. Getting your blade perfectly plumb with the table is often a problem in the woodshop, but that device lets you see the exact angle of the blade.
But here's another device that might be even more helpful - a digital protractor. These come in different lengths, the one shown here is a 12" model. This particular model is sold in 4", 8' and 12" lengths, but I felt that the longest one would be most accurate for the type of work I do. If you make smaller things, the 4" might work fine for you.
Start by placing it down on the table, next to the blade. You want it right up against the blade, with no gaps.
Then turn it on, and zero it out, so it reads 0.0.
Now swing the other leg of the protractor down, against your miter gauge fence. You've attached a wooden fence to your miter gauge, right?
If your miter gauge is adjusted correctly, it should read 90.0. You can see that mine is off just a little. But that "little" will mean that nothing I cut will be perfectly square.
Loosen the knob on the miter gauge, and re-adjust it until it reads a perfect 90˚. Once you get it adjusted, re-tighten the knob.
That's all there is to it! It couldn't be simpler, and it is VERY accurate. Now there is no excuse for bad miter joints.
I bought my two digital devices here, but they're available at most woodworking supply retailers. Shop around, there are some deals out there.
Now if don't want to buy a device like this, you can certainly use a large framing square to adjust your miter gauge. I did it that way for years. But the truth is - even with a good square, it's easy to be off just a little bit. This digital protractor was only about $45 - it might be the best money I've spent on tools in a very long time.