A level table starts with a square base

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  • A level table starts with a square base

    I just wanted to share my success with leveling my BT3100 table top. When I initially set up my saw, I had a difficult time getting everything square. Even my SMT would stick as I tried to move it across the rails. I noticed my straight-edge would rock when I checked the flatness diagnally of the main table. I then checked the front and back of the table with a level and found them to be different. I checked the cabinet and found it also different in the front and back. I finally checked the base and...sure enough...it also was different in front and back. I removed the base and found it wasn't square. I put it upside down on my portable workbench, loosened all the hardware, squared up the top of the base, and clamped it to the bench. My helper (LOML) and I tried to measure and square the legs, but it was hard to prevent one side from moving while we adjusted another side. I finally decided to cut 4 1x2s and drill holes on the ends to allow me to brace the legs the same distance apart. I also cut 2 more 1x2s at the diagnal distance, cut lap joints in the middle so they could cross each other, and mounted them to keep the diagnal the same distance, hence ensuring the legs were square. I re-tightened all the hardware, removed the 1x2 braces and clamps, set the base right-side-up, and checked the front and back with a level. Presto! It was perfect. I mounted the saw back to the base, re-attached my Herc-U-Lift (I forgot to mention I had that), checked the table top, and it was also perfect. Everything else became square as well. My SMT slides smoothly, my fence is square, everything is perfect.

    The moral to my story is to ensure the saw is sitting on a square, level base. I've read about alignment problems that I'd bet could be traced back to a non-square/level base. I know I was probably a bit extreme, but I'm a perfectionist. Hey, that's why I bought a BT3100!


  • #2
    Well said, Rick. I suspect there will now be a few guys "going back to basics".

    SAM - I believe this should go into FAQ What do you think?

    A Professional is someone who does what they say they will do.
    Downunder ... 1" = 25.4mm


    • #3
      I believe you said it Rick, Everyone knows to start with a square level base, However in our zeal to assemble, it is probably overlooked. Bill

      If You can't be good for nothing, do it for free!


      • #4
        I am getting a used bt31K, to get it home, I have to take it apart, take off everything . . . Any words of advice on how to put it back together? I am so excited I could Platz!

        Who is General Failure, and why is he reading my Hard Drive?

        It's Like I've always said, it's amazing what an agnostic can't do if he dosent know whether he believes in anything or not

        Monty Python's Flying Circus

        Dan in Harrisburg, NC


        • #5
          I would assume you'd remove only the accessory table (AT), sliding miter table (SMT), rails, and cabinet from the base/stand. You most likely wouldn't need to disassemble the stand. However there's no guaranty that the stand was assembled square and level in the first place. Before mounting the saw cabinet, I'd ensure the stand is square and level by measuring all four sides with a level and tape measure. Of course the sides will be only as level as the floor on which it's standing. The key is to make sure they are the same. The front and back should match, and the left and right sides should match. Also measure the diagonal from corner to corner. If the two dimensions are the same, then the stand is a perfect square. Believe it or not, I actually used Pathagorean's theorom to calculate the length of the diagonals. I just knew my high school geometry class would come in handy some day. Once you know the stand is level and square, then mount the saw cabinet to it, slide on the rails, add on the SMT and AT, and check the saw. In the unlikely event that you find something out of wack, come on back to the forum for answers.
          Best of luck
          P.S. I forgot to mention to paint the red line if the previous owner neglected to do that.


          • #6
            Thanks a bunch, Rick.

            I bought my BT last week, but waited until Sunday to put it together. I had bought a 3 foot level and a large framing square, and I checked the daylights out of everything. I don't know that I would have gotten it wrong enough to notice anything, but I'm so **** ignorant that I appreciate every tip.


            • #7
              Welcome! You're going to love your new table saw. Take your time and play...I...I...I...mean "work" safely. Paint the red line and come back her often to ask questions and share ideas with a really great bunch of guys.


              • #8
                I moved this to the BOF 11/5/2003.

                Sam Conder
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                Sam Conder
                BT3Central's First Member

                "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas A. Edison