I’ve always thought that if you own machinery you ought to be able to repair and maintain it yourself, for practical reasons and reasons of pride. The practical considerations would include the hassle of hauling a 500-pound machine to and from the repair shop and having to pay someone else to do the work. I probably don’t need to explain the part about pride—are you really going to let someone else work on your machine?
In the video below, Canadian woodworker Allain Vaillancourt does a rehab job on his cabinet saw that would make any tradesman proud. He cleans the trunion mechanism, reinstalls the top, and does an excellent job aligning the blade, fence, and bevel stops.
When a dial indicator appeared on the screen I knew all was right with the world, because with that tool and the right technique you can get just about anything to within thousandths of an inch of where it belongs. Vaillancourt uses one (3:35) to measure the distance between blade and miter slot while tweaking the alignment of the trunion; he doesn’t say how close he gets, but you can tell from the needle that it’s pretty much dead on. He uses a similar technique (6:10) while adjusting the fence parallel to the miter slots—so it too is parallel to the blade.
If I was adjusting this saw I’d have used my Starrett combination square to adjust the 90- and 45-degree bevel stops. Vaillancourt uses a Tilt Box, a digital magnetic level that can be attached to table or blade (7:10). It’s a cool gadget and the $35 asking price seems reasonable for a tool with its capabilities.
One of the besting things in the video is at the very end, when Vaillancourt installs a zero-clearance throat plate prior to making test cuts. The throat plate is equipped with the MJ Splitter Steel Pro (8:17), a $39 attachment that functions somewhat like a riving knife. It’s a clever device and this is the first time I’ve seen one.