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Beall Tilt Box
Simple bevel perfection
Text, photos & video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 7-17-2007
Setting angles on our table saws, miter saws and many other machines is critical, particularly when that angle cut makes up part of a joint. Setting a blade to 90-degrees from the table surface is relatively easy with a good square. Virtually any angle after that can become a hunt-based operation that can be more frustrating than productive. Beall Tool has a simple answer.
The Beall Tilt Box is a 2 3/8"-square by 1 3/8"-deep box filled with electronic wizardry that makes setting bevel angles with an accuracy of +/- 0.1-degree simple. Because it uses a digital LCD display, the inaccuracy of parallax is a non-issue. Parallax is the distortion that comes when reading a pointer and scale from anywhere but absolutely straight on.
The Beall Tilt Box also eliminates having to compensate for how far from actual level the table surface is to the real world. This is a major problem with instruments that use leveling vials or weighted pendulums. The Beall Tilt Box determines the angle between one surface and another; for instance the table surface and the blade without regard for how level the surface is to the floor or the gravitational world. This is a major but often overlooked issue that frustrates woodworkers who are trying to set up a perfect bevel cut for multi-sided projects.
The Beall Tilt Box has a pair of rare earth magnets set into each side so it can be used with equal ease on tools like table saws, jointer fences and dual-bevel miter saws. These magnets are easily strong enough to hold it securely, freeing your hands to make adjustments to the blade. The readout is "live" and updates as blade angle is changed.
Another nice thing about the magnetic attachment is that it is much easier to watch the Beall Tilt Box on the blade during adjustments than it is to see a bevel scale behind a hand wheel, even if that would be accurate, which it is not. The magnets also prevent having to hold a measuring instrument motionless (and in the correct position) with one hand while cranking in an adjustment with the other.
In the Shop
Note: Remember to unplug the machine before using the Beall Tilt Box. We are still working with the blade which demands being safe first!
The Beall Tilt Box is calibrated before shipping but if it is dropped or you suspect a problem, recalibrating it is simple and described in detail on the included instruction sheet. Calibration involves pushing the buttons and setting the Beall Tilt Box on its sides on the surface in order to orient it. Calibration actually takes longer to describe than to do.
To check how level a surface is to the world simply turn the Beall Tilt Box on and set it on that surface. The readout shows how level that surface is instantly. An arrow on the screen shows which way the Beall Tilt Box is tilted if the surface is not perfectly level.
To check the angle of a blade to the surrounding surface, place the Beall Tilt Box on the table surface, press the zero button and then stick it to the side of the blade. The Beall Tilt Box shows the current angle relative to the table surface instantly and updates in real time as you adjust the blade angle.
The only additional step is to leave the Beall Tilt Box on the blade while you lock in the adjustment just to be sure the adjustment didn't move. The 0.05" resolution of the Beall Tilt Box reveals even tiny changes that can be induced on some machines when a setting is locked. That is the entire procedure.
Aside from the accuracy within the Beall Tilt Box, the fact that it measures the angle between the table surface and the blade itself increases accuracy considerably. Few of our machines are perfectly level to the world, which compromises the accuracy of many angle-setting devices. This is especially true of machines on mobile bases that are not leveled each time they are moved into a working position. Our real world means the wood is slid across the table surface and the angle of the blade to that surface is what is most important to us. The Beall Tilt Box measures that angle without regard for how level the table surface actually is.
Though I show the Beall Tilt Box on my table saw throughout this review, it was tried on my jointer, compound miter saw and bandsaw with equally simple and accurate results.
The Beall Tilt Box is by far the easiest to use and most accurate tool I have seen for setting ultra-precise blade angles. I still cut a sample when making bevel cuts for joinery but with the Beall Tilt Box that has been for confirmation far more often than to base further adjustments on. The accuracy of the Beall Tilt Box combined with its easy-to-read digital display make getting the exact angle needed the first time a common occurrence. That saves time and wood, not to mention nerves.
Another very good bit of news regarding the Beall Tilt Box is its price. At $39.95 (7-17-2007) this is an investment that will pay dividends from the first time you use it. Since upkeep consists of changing the 9V battery (one is pre-installed) very infrequently, using the included screwdriver, there are virtually no down the road expenses either. The Beall Tilt Box also comes in a padded box that is perfect for storage.
If you are like me, you just ran out of excuses for not getting a Beall Tilt Box.
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