Power Tool Tune Up and Calibration Tips

Keep Your Tools in Top Operating Condition for Efficiency and Safety

While it may seem counter-intuitive, a sharp cutting tool is a safe cutting tool. Why? Because as a cutting instrument (be it a saw blade, router bit or chisel) starts to lose its cutting edge, it takes more effort to guide the tool through the wood. That extra effort of forcing the tool through can lead to injuries.

In much the same manner, keeping your power tools properly tuned up and calibrated allows them to do their work more efficiently, and will yield more accurate results. The following articles will teach you how to tune up and calibrate your power tools properly.

  • 01 of 05

    Table Saw Tune Up Tips

    Ripping on a Table Saw. (c) 2014 Chris Baylor

    While the table saw is well-known as the workhorse of the woodshop, it does require some occasional tweaking to keep it in top running condition. A good quality table saw has separate height and angle adjustment controls that can be gummed up by sawdust and pitch from making cuts. It should also have a solid fence that is easily moveable and can be locked down while remaining parallel to the saw blade. Plus, the safety features of the table saw may need some maintenance to ensure that they protect you in the event of a kickback. Learn how all of these items (and more) can be adjusted to keep your table saw running in peak condition in this article.

  • 02 of 05

    Compound Miter Saw Tune Up and Calibration Tips

    miter saw
    Cut a 45 degree angle on the plywood strips for stronger corners on the frame. ©2011 Ryan C Kunkle

    Compound miter saws are designed for making accurate square, mitered and beveled crosscuts on boards. If necessary, you can make an accurate mitered and beveled crosscut at the same time. In order to maintain the level of accuracy needed to make such cuts, your compound miter saw may require an occasional tune-up and calibration adjustments. There are a number of items to check, but unless your miter saw spends a lot of time in a truck being transported from job site to job site, it probably won't need to be tuned-up all that often. No matter how often you need to make adjustments, this article will give you the low-down on how to tune up and calibrate your compound miter saw.

  • 03 of 05

    Band Saw Tune Up and Calibration Tips

    Band saw in use with debris
    princessdlaf/Getty Images

    Out of all of the power tools a woodworker might have in the woodshop, the band saw is perhaps the most complicated. The premise is simple: a long, continuously-looping blade stretched tautly between two wheels, with an exposed edge between the wheels used to cut curves on wood. In reality, keeping the blade centered and tracking properly, and preventing it from deflecting with the use of guide blocks requires some adjustments on a regular basis. Plus, every time you change a blade to a different size of a blade, you'll need to make further adjustments. Sound complicated? It really isn't once you know how it all works together in harmony. Here are the tips that you need to know to keep your band saw running smoothly.

  • 04 of 05

    Learn How to Tune Up a Drill Press

    Tuner works on drill press
    Martinns/Getty Images

    A drill press is another power tool with quite a few moving parts that need to be kept in top-condition in order for the tool to operate properly. Most drill press motors are relatively maintenance-free, but the drive system between the motor and the quill tube is belt-driven between a series of pulleys (a combination of which is used to determine various drilling speeds), which must be kept in good working order. Additionally, the drill chuck and quill tube can require some maintenance to keep the drill bits spinning evenly without any wobble. In this article, learn the tips that you need to know to keep your drill press humming along smoothly.

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  • 05 of 05

    Replacing the Surface on a Radial Arm Saw

    Close up of man using radial arm saw in workshop
    Raphye Alexius/Getty Images

    The most important maintenance item on a radial-arm saw is the saw table. A radial-arm saw is designed to be mounted over a sacrificial table, typically made of sheet goods such as medium density fiberboard (MDF) or plywood. After repeated cuts, the saw table can become so damaged that it needs to be replaced. Here's how to swap out your radial-arm saw table for a new one.