How Tight Should a Table Saw Blade Be

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

Before you start with any woodcutting, you should first properly set up your table saw blade. Most often, people wonder how tight should a table saw blade be? To get the best results, certainly, you should know how tight it should be if you want safe and quality woodcutting. 

How Tight Should a Table Saw Blade Be? 

You want your saw table saw blade tight enough so you won’t have any safety issues with the nut coming loose when the blade is too loose or risking changing the flatness of the table saw blade when it’s too tight. You have to find the right balance between being too tight and being too loose. 

Close up of a tight table saw blade

Tightening or loosening the blade nut should be fairly easy if you have the right tools. You can determine the tightness by looking at the nut of the arbor and having a feel for it. Turn the nut until it feels tight and then you turn it a fraction more for added security.

You also need to keep your fingers away from the saw blades as possible. That’s why you need some tools to tighten your table saw blade. You may use a block of wood to restrain the saw blade. Be careful, since this may slip and damage one of the teeth on the blade. 

What Happens If You Undertighten The Blade?

If your nut is too loose, the blade could wobble out free as the blade spins at a high RPM (revolutions per minute). The nut could actually come loose and the blade could begin to flap around. 

While the nut should be really loose for this to happen, it’s still possible so you must exercise precaution while tightening your table saw blade. 

What Happens If You Overtighten?

If you turn the nut too tight, you could end up warping the blade. If you warp the blade for even a thousandth of an inch, it could wobble the blade slightly affecting the quality of your cut. 

Overtighten doesn’t compromise your safety that much, yet it affects the quality of the cuts you do. That’s why you have to get the nut loose enough so you don’t alter the flatness of the blade

How To Tighten a Table Saw Blade

Tightening a table saw may differ depending on the type of model you have. You should carefully read and follow the instructions included with your table saw blade. Some user manuals use different instructions which you should always follow. Here’s how you generally tighten a table saw blade:

Table saw being used to cut wood
  1. Always make sure the saw is unplugged before you start. 
  2. All table saw blades come with a spanner or Allen key. You can use this or a socket wrench to tighten the arbor nut.
  3. If your table saw has a shaft lock, lock the blade in place so it won’t move as you turn the arbor nut. You can also use a clamp or vise grips if you don’t have a shaft lock. They also help hold the blade in place upon tightening the nut. 
  4. The nut always tightens in the opposite direction of the blade’s rotation. You should also feel it tightening as you rotate it. 
  5. Hold the rim of the nut with a wrench to prevent it from turning. Use your other hand to turn the nut and tighten it with the spanner, Allen key, or socket wrench.  

Mechanism of the Arbor

There are parts in an arbor that you should know and what they are used for. 

  • Shaft: the shaft is where you install your saw blade. It’s underneath the table and is parallel with the table. You can say the shaft is the pillar of the arbor. 
  • Saw blade: The cutting tool you install in your arbor. 
  • Arbor flange washer or Plate: acts as a stopper to the nut so it won’t touch the saw blade.
  • Nut: the main component for keeping your saw blade in place. 

If your nut is too loose, the plate will make the saw blade wobble to indicate you of any danger. It’s your cue to shut it down and retighten it. 

How To Determine the Appropriate Belt Tension on a Table Saw

Almost all table saw have their appropriate belt tension under the manual. However, if you lost your operating manual, you can contact the manufacturer and ask for help. If it doesn’t do it for you here’s how you can generally do it. 

Follow the maximum ¼ inch deflection rule. First, make sure that your table saw is turned off and unplugged. You can follow the rule by placing a finger in the middle of the belts (between two pulleys) and firmly press down. 

As you press down, the belt should not move any more than ¼ inch. If the belt moves down more than ¼ inch, you need to adjust the belt tension.

Related Questions

What is the Best Brand of Table Saw Blade?

You should focus more on the product rather than the brand. Some manufacturers sell mediocre saw blades yet have one saw blade that is really great. The configuration also matters depending on what type of woodcutting you’re going to do. Here’s what you should consider:

Table saw blade
  • Type of saw blade
  • The right size of saw blade for your table
  • Configuration design of the teeth
  • The material used for the blade

Table saws can vary in size and teeth configuration so one may be best for you but not for others. Make sure you check on these things before you consider making a purchase. 

When Should I Change My Table Saw Blade?

Follow these simple steps to check if you need to change your table saw blade:

  1. Remove the blade from the shaft. Inspect the blade for any buildup of pitch on the sides or on the teeth. A dirty blade often causes poor cutting performance.
  2. While you’re inspecting the table saw blade, look for visible signs of wear and damage. Inspect every teeth and see if one of them is worn down, chipped, broken, or missing. It’s a clear indicator that your table saw blade needs replacing.  
  3. Check the wear line of carbide edges with the use of proper lighting and a magnifying glass. You may see some signs of dulling or when your saw blades start rounding off. Consider sharpening or re-tipping your saw blade. 
  4. Compare your saw blade with a blade that is sharp and in perfect condition. Most experienced craftsmen own two identical blades as a backup and for comparing. 

Conclusion

Make sure you don’t tighten your table saw blade too loose or you’ll end up with safety issues and wobbling saw blade. You also don’t tighten it too much or it could ruin the flatness of your saw blade. Make sure you use the proper tools when attempting to tighten the saw blade for safety purposes

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.