I think if you’ll check out the floors in many workshops, there will be very few that are perfectly flat. The bumps may be minimal and if you just walk on them, you won’t notice them, however, when placing items such as cabinets or workbenches, this can cause problems.
But what should you do if you want to place a table saw in your workshop? Does a Table Saw Need to Be Level, just like a cabinet? Or is it enough that it is stable? The answer to this is neither yes nor no and depends on a few things.
In this article, you will discover when your table saw should be level and when not. You can also read how to level a table saw and what effect it can have on your workshop layout. This is one of the many table saw tips on my website and a fascinating topic that can give you new insights when building your workshop. Let’s dive into this topic and answer your question, does a Table Saw Need to Be Level?
- Does a Table Saw Need to Be Level?
- What Tool Is Used to Level Tables?
- How to Level a Table Saw?
- What Can I Use to Level a Table?
- How High Should a Table Saw Be from the Floor?
- How Much Lower Should the Outfeed Table Be?
Does a Table Saw Need to Be Level?
A table saw does not have to be level, as long as the table saw top is flat and the saw blade and fence are perpendicular to the tabletop. The reason you do need to level a table saw is because of the use of an output table. When not aligned, the board can tend to lift on one side, pinch the blade, and cause kickback.
If you have a sliding table on the table saw, it is recommended to level the table saw. If you don’t, there’s a chance the sliding table will go one way or the other when you might not want it to.
If you do not have an output table or sliding table, good contact with the floor above the level is paramount. It is important to adjust the legs of the table saw until all four legs are in contact with the floor. That way, the table saw will remain stable when you get started.
As you can see, there is no one-sided answer to the question, does a table saw need to be level. Personally, I generally try to level all my tools within reasonable limits. It’s done in just minutes with simple tools (later in this article more about this). By arranging all tools, workbench, cabinets, etc. level and (approximately) even height I reduce the fact that when I cut larger sheets of plywood something gets in the way or my sheet of plywood tips over.
What Tool Is Used to Level Tables?
To level a table saw, you can use a variety of tools. You can use both manual and digital tools for this. I’ll go over all of your options below so you can pick the best one for you.
A spirit level is a tool that has been used for decades to level things, and it is the most used tool to make a table saw level. A vial is filled with an air bubble. This vial also has two series of lines. When the bubble is centered between the inner pair, the level is indicated.
When it comes into contact with one of the outer lines, it indicates that the level has a slope of 2%. This slope is commonly used in construction to install drains, sidewalks, and rain gutters for proper drainage.
When looking for spirit levels, you will notice that they come in a variety of lengths. Smaller spirit levels are useful in some situations, but they can display incorrect data. As a result, it is advised to select a spirit level that is slightly longer (60 cm or 24 inches) for your workshop. When leveling a table saw or any other object, use a long spirit level to measure a larger area of the surface and allow for more accurate adjustment.
Recently I did the test if I could make a spirit level myself. To my surprise, this turned out better than expected. You can watch the video on how I made this spirit level here. If you also want to get started, you can read my article, How To Make A 2 In 1 DIY Spirit Level | Step-By-Step Guide.
Bulls Eye Level
A Bulls-Eye Level looks completely different but has a small advantage over the spirit level, and that is that the Bulls-Eye Level works in two directions. Because the air bubble must be in the middle, you know that when you use this type of spirit level, the table saw is level in both width and length.
The Bulls-Eye Level is a device that is perfectly suited for leveling furniture, tables, and larger surfaces. Place this level on top of the surface and adjust the legs or sides of the piece until the bubble is centered.
Chalkline Laser Level
A laser chalk line level is the quickest and most accurate way to set up multiple cabinets or tools on the same level in your workshop. After you’ve set this laser chalk line level, you can use a reference line to see if your workbench, table saw, and cabinets are all level and at the same height.
It works as follows: the tool projects level or plumb laser lines (or both) when held against a wall or pinned in place; some units are self-leveling and some have a stud finder.
How to Level a Table Saw?
Leveling a table saw is actually not that difficult and can be done in a few moments if you know how to level a table saw.
To start, place the table saw stably on the floor by adjusting the feet. Each of these feet must touch the ground so that the table saw does not wobble.
Then take your spirit level and place it transversely to the surface of the table saw (in width). If the air bubble is perfectly in the middle between the lines, you don’t have to do anything. If the air bubble moves in one direction, this means that that direction is higher. So you will have to lower this side, or if this is not possible, raise the other side.
Keep adjusting until the bubble is perfectly centered. Also, check both the front and the back in the same direction, so you know that the table saw is level over the entire surface.
Now it is time to rotate the spirit level 90 degrees so that you can check whether the table saw is level in the longitudinal direction. For this, you can just take the same steps as you did to check the spirit level in width.
Once you are sure of the spirit level, check both directions again. It may be by updating one direction that the spirit level was slightly changed in the other direction. Keep repeating this until the table saw is perfectly level in both directions, and that is how you can make your table saw level.
What Can I Use to Level a Table?
Trimming The Legs
If you’re using a homemade table, you can flatten it out by trimming the wooden legs. You can run the bottom of a longer table leg over the blade of a table saw. After each movement of the blade, make sure the table is level. If not, grind a little more off the leg until the table’s legs are even.
Use Cork, Rubber, or Thin Plywood.
A thin sheet of cork, rubber, or plywood cut to the size and shape of a table leg’s bottom will level it. Determine which leg is the shortest using the spirit level, then cut a piece of cork or rubber to fit and glue it to the bottom of the leg. Use the thinnest pieces possible so that you can stack them on top of each other if necessary. You can use contact cement to glue these together.
Table levelers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are designed to fit into hollow metal legs, while others screw into the underside of wooden legs and still others attach to the side of a leg. Once in position, the foot is rotated to raise or lower it. Except in extreme cases, levelers must be added to all table legs to achieve a perfectly flat table.
How High Should a Table Saw Be from the Floor?
While you level a table saw, you can simultaneously adjust the height to the rest of your workplace. Earlier you read about the advantages of directly adjusting your cabinets, workbench, output table and so on.
But what height is the ideal height to handle in your workshop?
There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to workbench height or the height of your cabinets in your workshop. A few inches plus or minus can make a big difference depending on how your surface will be used, as well as your own height.
There are many theories for determining the ideal height of a workbench or work surface.
A rule that I personally use and find perfect is 15cm (5.9″) below a 90° bent elbow. This amounts to an average of 90cm (35″) depending on the height of the person.
How Much Lower Should the Outfeed Table Be?
The distance between the surface of the table saw and the surface of the outfeed table should be as small as possible to prevent the wood from tipping over when it comes off the table saw. The blade may pinch and kickback can be a result of this.
The outfeed table should be flush with the table saw table or no more than 1.5 mm (1/16″) below it. To avoid mishaps, make sure the plate material slides smoothly and safely to the outfeed table.
For more tips on how to make your table saw safer, I suggest you should take a look at my blog post, How Can I Make My Table Saw Safer (7 Helpful Tips)
I hope this article answered your question, does a table saw need to be level, and that this blog inspires you.
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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration