Canadian Woodworking

SuperBar and MasterPlate


In order to do the best work that you are capable of doing, you really need to maintain your machines in tip-top condition.

Author: Carl Duguay

Regular maintenance is also an important factor in ensuring proper safety in the shop.

Chucking a new blade on your table saw won’t necessarily result in perfect cuts. If your rip fence is out of alignment or your blade is not aligned to the mitre slot, your cuts will likely be off, you may notice consistent burns when ripping stock, or worse, you could end up pinching stock between the blade and the fence, resulting in kick back.

The MasterGage Corporation makes two tools that will help you align your table saw (as well as a host of other shop machines, including radial saw, chop and mitre saws and disc sanders). The Super- Bar (top photo) is a precision dial indicator that measures alignment as you slide it in the mitre gauge slot. The MasterPlate is a ¼” thick precision ground aluminum toolmaker’s plate used in conjunction with the SuperBar.

It provides a precise reference surface for the Super- Bar to ride against. Trying to measure alignment against your saw blade or rip fence defeats the whole purpose of the SuperBar. The stem on the dial indicator can too easily rub against the teeth, gullets or expansion slots on the blade. And a lot of blades aren’t perfectly flat.

The SuperBar fits snugly in the mitre slot. There are three setscrews that you can adjust to remove any side play. Two outrigger rods allow the SuperBar to ride smoothly over the tabletop. The unit comes with two extension stems to accommodate different table saw sizes.

With the SuperBar you can check accuracy to .001″. The dial is easy to read.

Each black graduation line represents .001″, while each number represents .01″.

A full rotation of the dial indicator covers a distance of .100″. There is a smaller dial indicator in the centre of the face that measures off each .1″ of travel.

The MasterPlate is 6″ by 10″ and fits ⅝” and 1″ diameter arbors. When you replace your saw blade with the Master-Plate you get a large flat measurable surface for calibration and alignment.

The instructions that come with the SuperBar are concise and easy to follow. Among other things, it shows you how to measure arbor shaft, bearing and the face flange runout, and how to check alignment of the mitre gauge, rip fence and saw blade. It’s inevitable that you will notice some runout; no saw is without it. However, check your saw’s instruction manual to see what is allowable and, if necessary, how to make any corrections.

Mount the MasterPlate on your saw arbor, then place the SuperBar in the mitre slot and bring the indicator stem up to the MasterPlate.

You’ll notice that the stem will retract a bit as it makes contact with the MasterPlate. Next turn the face of the dial indicator so the arrow and the “0” on the dial face line up. Now as you move the SuperBar along the mitre slot you can read off the variance.

I carried out a complete check up on my table saw in a little less than two hours, which included shimming my rip fence, where I was out .009″.

MasterGage products have a 30-day money back guarantee and are warranted for a full year. They represent an excellent investment that will help you get the best performance out of your shop machinery.

Last modified: September 29, 2023

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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