Wet-Saw Tune-Up

SQUARE THE BLADE Set the head of a combination square on the saw table and adjust the blade so that it is perfectly plumb to the table (1). Because this saw has a tilt-angle feature, I check the 45-degree setting (2). This tool also has a 221/2-degree setting, but I seldom check it because I rarely need to make cuts at that angle.

CHECK BLADE TRACKING AND FENCE Using the combination square, make sure the blade is parallel to the sliding table (3). Check at the beginning as well as the end of the table’s travel. Then adjust the saw’s fence so that it is square to the table and blade (4).

IS THE BLADE OK? This tool, called a dial indicator, can measure very small amounts (in thousandths of an inch) of side-to-side movement in the blade as it rotates. I attach the tool to the saw’s sliding table and then clamp the table itself to keep it completely stationary (5). Then I turn the blade slowly by hand while reading the face of the gauge. The pointer on the dial shows exactly where and how much the blade is moving. The blade will cut smoothly if side-to-side movement is less than five thousandths of an inch (.005 inch). Any movement greater than that and you risk breaking tiles. The blade can also distort if its rim overheats, which can happen when a regular blade is used to cut porcelain tile. Expansion slots on a porcelain wet-saw blade allow the blade’s rim to expand without distorting the blade (6). If you don’t have a dial indicator and tiles are splitting as the blade nears the end of the cut, unscrew the nut and washer to see if there is any grit on the spindle or clamping washers that could throw the blade out of plane. If the components are clean, the blade probably needs to be replaced.

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