How to Set a Radial Arm Saw Table and Rip Fence


The radial arm saw has a three-part table system that you will have to adjust and replace from time to time. Most radial arm saws are built with a steel frame and a wooden table top. The main reason for this it that the saw blade will penetrate the table top for most cutting operations.

Step 1

Unplug the radial arm saw for safety, put on safety glasses.

Step 2

Raise the saw to get access to the table. Brush off any sawdust or debris from the saw.

Step 3

Check the saw for square. Lower the saw until the blade meets with the front table. Raise the blade one quarter turn. Place a framing square on the front edge of the front table and next to the blade. Pull the saw forward. The blade should not dig into the top or pull away during travel. Adjust as required by loosening the bolts from under the front table where it attaches to the steel base with a adjustable wrench. Retighten the bolts.

Step 4

Check the table to be sure it is flat. Lower the blade until it contacts the front table. Raise the blade 1/2 turn. Pull the blade forward slowly, noting the gap between the table and the blade. The gap should be the same throughout its travel. Adjust the saw to 45 degrees left and right and check the gap again. It should maintain the same gap throughout the blade's travel. If it is not flat and true, you will need to shim the top from below as required until it is true.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always disconnect the power before working on power tools. Wear safety glasses when operating power tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Framing square
  • Adjustable wrench


  • " Radial-Arm or Power Miter Saw;"

Who Can Help

  • "Fine Tuning your Radial Arm Saw;" Jake Eates; 1989
  • "Radial Arm Saw Techniques;" Roger W. Cliffe and Michael Cea; 1986
  • "Mastering Woodworking Machines;" Mark Duginske; 1992
Keywords: rip fence, radial arm saw, align fence

About this Author

Jim Wildman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communication Chief for 10 years. After his tour of duty in Desert Storm he attended Oklahoma State University receiving his Bachelor of Architecture. He worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his own design/build company. He began writing in 2009 for Demand Studios and published on eHow.

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