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How to Clean & Lube Your Tablesaw

Do the moving parts of your most important shop tool offer peak performance with every push of the "on" button? If not, perhaps a little TLC is in order.

If your tablesaw creaks and groans when you crank the elevation and blade-tilt wheels, it's long overdue for an inspection and tuneup. Outlined here is the procedure that will get your saw moving smoothly again, along with some important safety issues.

Begin by unplugging the saw. Remove the throat plate, blade guard, and the blade. Inspect the blade for resin buildup, and clean it if necessary. Make sure that the washer and blade stabilizer (if used) are clean, smooth, and flat.

Removing the drive belt and motor from the back of the saw is a fast and easy step on contractor-style models, and it dramatically improves access to the saw's interior for cleaning and lubrication. A shop vacuum with a crevice attachment will remove most of the chips, and an old paintbrush will help loosen stubborn pockets of dust. Tilt the arbor assembly to dump more dust, and use a couple of blasts of compressed air to complete the job. Make especially certain that you've removed all dust near the stops that limit the tilt control so you'll get full travel.

If the worm gears or the rows of teeth have any residue, scrub them with a brass brush. For really tough build-up, you may have to dip the brush in paint thinner. Keep the solvent away from the arbor bearings, which are usually sealed and need no lubrication. Afterward, wipe any remaining residue from the worm gears in preparation for the next step.

After all of the gearing is clean, lubricate it with a non-silicone automotive paste wax applied with a toothbrush. Also wax the curved slots in the front and rear trunnions. Run the tilt and elevation controls through several full ranges of motion, and remove all the wax, leaving only a thin film.

Push a plastic straw tip onto a spray can of white lithium grease, and lubricate the pivots of the arbor assembly (where it swings upward) and the shafts behind the worm gears. This aerosol, available at auto-parts stores, sprays and penetrates like a liquid and congeals into grease. Again, wipe off all the lubricant you can with a rag.

Inspect the arbor flange, making certain that it's clean and smooth. Turn the arbor by hand, and try to wiggle it. Any noise or sideways play indicates a problem with the bearings that requires immediate attention.

Blow dust out of the fence-locking mechanism. Give the fence and the entire surface of the table and extension wings a coat of non-silicone paste wax or a special product like Boeshield T-9. (Visit boeshield.com, or call 800/962-1732.)

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