May 012019
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Set it and forget it.

That’s probably the way most of us treat calibration of our large power tools.

When my Delta Unisaw arrived, I spent days setting it up. Got the tables perfectly coplanar, squared the Biesemeyer fence just a hair out of perfect to reduce the risk of kickback, made the rule as accurate as I could, then lubricated every moving part with spray graphite. Since then, except for periodic adjustments to the fence, I don’t think I’ve lifted a finger to adjust anything.

The Delta Unisaw is a beast of a workhorse. Not much need for recalibration, though it never hurts to check one’s alignment.

And, that was 13 years ago.

Band saw? The fence gets squared often because it has to be taken completely off the saw to cut anything without it. You can’t just push it out of the way. The blade gets tensioned and detensioned. I do adjust the guide rollers fairly often, although I don’t understand how they get out of alignment. The drive belt suffered terminal rot last year, also after about 13 years. (I had to get all new tools after Katrina’s flood.)

Drill press? I check the squareness of the table to the drill bit once or twice a year, usually when I’m inspired that a hole has to be perfectly square to a board’s surface.

I can’t remember the last time I checked any settings on either miter saw, or the radial arm saw. That sucker is built like a deuce-and-a-half truck.

Speaking of beasts … since no 18-wheelers have been in my shop to run over this beast, I don’t worry much about it getting out of alignment.

What about you?

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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