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Thread: Straight edge for setting TS wings and extension table.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX

    Straight edge for setting TS wings and extension table.

    Ok, I'm close to ordering my new TS (Grizzly G0691) and I'm going to need to be able to get the set up done right. I have a dial indicator and magnetic base so I can set the blade and fence parallel to the miter slots. I have a decent, not great, Rockler square for getting blade at 90 degrees to the table. What I don't have is an accurate straight edge. With the long extension table (saw comes with 50" rip, and I may eventually get longer rails for my Biese fence and use the Griz fence on the contractor saw) I feel I need something to accurately level the saw extensions, and then the extension table.
    Question...How long of a straight edge do I realistically need? Is 36" long enough, or do I need 50"? I can get a 36" one from Infinity for 54.95 less 10% discount and probably go ahead and get a blade for my SCMS at the same time to get to the free shipping. I think they still offer that. Or I can get an aluminum 50" Veritas from Lee Valley for about 90.00 shipped. I'm just not sure which length I really need.
    Thanks for any insights you can offer! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    I have the Wixie model of this but this should work just as well I know it works easier than a bevel square & protractor to set your blade angle including 90 degree settings.

    Why couldn't you use a straight ripped piece of plywood? I don't think it's like checking a automotive head for flatness before mounting it on the motor block.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 12-13-2009 at 03:13 AM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    I use a 6 foot level for a straight edge and a drafting triangle for setting the blade. For angles other than 90 I use an adjustable drafting triangle.

    It's inexpensive and I have found it to be very accurate. My bench mark is a quarter of a millimeter for the work. The tools have to be dead on.

    My toy budget doesn't extend to every tool out there. I have to be choosy.

  4. #4
    I have the Lee Valley and find it very useful for alignment and such.
    Dale Probst

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    I use a 6 foot level for a straight edge...
    That's what I use, too.

    I do have a 24" 'precision straight edge,' but the level works just fine for longer jobs.
    Jim D.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Bradford, Vermont
    For that sort of purpose, a 4' framing level is totally satisfactory... or any length of aluminum extrusion (which is surprisingly accurate).
    -- Tim --

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I'll be the contrary guy. My builder's level, confirmed to the degree of my ability, was way off relative to leveling/flattening my router table top (and I thought I had it so right). The problem exhibited itself on the more complex interlocking type of profiles. The wood was not approaching the cutter over a good path so the result was poor. The straight edge made this super obvious where I had missed it before. A set of long feelers, some shims and less time than I'd have thought and things were set right; problem gone.

    OK, armed with that success, I started looking around. A straight edge also exposed my 'up till then, so trusted' level's limitations when applied to my tablesaw wings and top. Cast iron is relatively flexible and you can cure all manner of ills with a little tweaking.

    A 36" has always met my needs and has not proven too long and unwieldy for most smaller work. Over a 50" span, my tolerance would loosen up quite a bit. The edge of a sheet of 40" ply at 90* or 90.5* is not going to kill me. At the supported path to cutter area interface, small "slants" can cause later headaches during fitting and assembly of more precision joints (especially if they are for show).

    I wouldn't kill myself over things that don't actually effect the result I am after. My outfeed table is far from perfectly aligned but it does not interfere with my results. If you find things not quite right in an area that is important to you, having the tools to fix that sort of thing can be very handy.

    I only use my straight edge a few times a year. When I do, the work is quick and accurate thanks to having it. Could I live without it? Sure, if I'd never had one . Good luck getting it away from me now

    P.s. Speaking as one who has recently 'gone back' to do a better job; set your blade to miter alignment (at 90* and 45*) before assembling your wings and such. I know you'll be excited to put it together but this step will increase your enjoyment of the machine from here on out. It is far easier to change shims (if required) when its just you and the saw body working together. Once the wings and such go on, you may lose some alignment but the corrections for this will be minor and should be doable without pulling the top. Have fun and I'm jealous.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 12-13-2009 at 03:52 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
    Don't listen to these guys. This is what you need
    Made in the US and garranteed forever

    a 36 inch steel straight edge from lee valley($69) should work fine if you want to be precise(could also be useful in setting up jointer/planer beds) Or if you've got a decent level that would work too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I have a 24" straight edge from woodcraft is it good, but I sometimes wish I had the 36" unit, not often but sometimes, the thing is, the 36" tool is expensive to ship to Japan.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I use an aluminum 38" Veritas straightedge for my jointer and to check the router table itself, and a good 4' builder's level for the tablesaw and its relation to the wings (including the router table side).

    And oh yeah...I use the Beall Tilt Box for setting blade angles, and use plastic drafting triangles to confirm when setting to 90 or 45. (And I don't use the built-in tilt stops at all.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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