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adjusting Delta Contractor saw

swifty6's picture

My 10 year old Delta Contractor Saw is out of alignment. The miter gauge slot is out of alignment with the blade a 0 at full height.

In a September 2005 article by Roland Johnson states to adjust the trunnions to make this adjustment but he doesn't say how.  To adjust a table saw he advises loosening the screws that attach the table to the sides and tapping the side of the table to bring in alignment. Apparently the adjustment for a contractors saw is different. How do I adjust the Delta Contractors saw. There are 4 bolts that attach the trunnions to the table top. I can get to the rear bolts. Do I need to take the top off to get to the front bolts?

RalphBarker's picture

special tools required (post #152331, reply #1 of 5)

To loosen the front bolts, you need a #2 arm extender, and a #3 wrist rubberizer.  ;-)

It has been a while, but as I recall, a long extension on a 1/2" ratchet did the trick. (The 3/8" drive extension wasn't long enough.) Loosen just enough to allow movement with a mallet tap/whack, otherwise you may move it out of alignment again reaching past the motor.

HowardAcheson's picture

Here is the low tech, low (post #152331, reply #2 of 5)

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.

hammer1's picture

Contractor saws are different (post #152331, reply #3 of 5)

Contractor saws are different than cabinet saws. To align, you loosen the two bolts on the rear yoke and the yoke is pushed one way or the other. You may have to loosen one or both of the front bolts. With the blade removed, you should be able to get a socket with an extension on those bolts, reaching in from the back. You don't remove the top since the trunion is bolted to it.

The off side mounting of the motor puts a stress on keeping the saw aligned. You need to check frequently. Do not overtighten the bolts or they could break off, use new lock washers.

This product is supposed to make aligning much easier than tapping the yoke with a block. I don't know if they hold the yoke any better than the standard bolts but tightening a nut on a stud rather than a bolt is less likely to break off in the bolt hole.

I use a straight edge against the blade and measure to the ways. The long straight edge magnifies any alignment issue compared to just measuring front and back to a 10" blade. You need a good straight edge, though.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

tuning_table_saw.JPG255.21 KB
Steve26's picture

Alignment of a contractor type saw (post #152331, reply #4 of 5)

A relatively newconer to table saws I found, after purchasing a new table saw that a gentleman by the name of Ed Bennet has a site that does nothing but talk about table saw alignment ( I found that this was an excellent solution for me with a 1959 version of the Delta contractor saw.  You need to singup for the site but he doesn't send any spam, just a 1-2 times a year update.   Hope this help you learn like it did me.


TonyBGood's picture

Still not straight (post #152331, reply #5 of 5)

Great advice in this thread, but: even after adjusting to the max, I am still misaligned by almost 1/8".  Do I need to file or drill out the holes so I have more play? This seems really extreme.  It's a type I Delta contractor saw. (I flipped the saw over and took out the bolts one by one and, sure enough, the side of the trunnion hole is hard against the bolt. There is no more adjustment room.) I am hoping there is something other than filing.

The only other thing I can think of is to adjust my fence and also adjust my mitres so they are square to the blade, and make a sled that is also aligned to it. This just seems wrong!