Please Read, Important.
This modification should only be performed at your own risk. The mod is pretty straight forward but I can not be responsible for any damage you may cause to your self or your saw. This mod is not certified by DeWalt and could possibly void any warranty you have.
I determined that the bolt needed to be 1/2" long. I marked the length with blue painters tape so I would not accidentally make it too short.
I decided to use the grinder to shorten the bolt. It would have been easier to use the hack saw but mine was buried somewhere not to be found. If you use a hack saw be very careful not to mess up the threads too much. You will need to use a grinder to get a nice final flat surface. Make sure the end is flat and level or you may have trouble with blade slippage. If your saw starts breaking blades or significantly bending the ends of the blade check that the bolt end is flat.
The grinder makes the bolt very hot. To keep from melting the plastic dip the bolt in water regularly as you grind. Try not to leave the bolt with half a thread when you finish grinding.
This picture shows the finished length of the bolt ready to install. The bolt is now 1/2" long.
Carefully insert the bolt to make sure you do not cross thread and destroy the upper clamp housing. Go slow and if you feel any resistance back it out and check the threads on the bolt. Mine went in easily with little resistance. Careful grinding goes a long way to prevent problems here.
After you have tightened the clamp to the blade push in on the button and set the lever to a position that will not obstruct your cutting.
If you have been following this from last week you know that a reader sent in the question about an upgraded thumb screw. I also have never been too thrilled with the screw that comes with the DeWalt saw. I posted a pattern for a hand made lever and I was pleased with it but it has the disadvantage of not having the handle adjustable when tightened.
So far I am please with this modification. My limited use has not shown any problems with blade slippage or breaking blades. Because the handle is adjustable I don't think there will be any interference when cutting thick stock.
I think there is a slight risk that you could apply too much clamping force and strip out the upper clamp housing. If you are having blade slippage problems don't just keep applying more force. Troubleshoot the reason for the slippage.
Make sure you store the original thumb screw where it won't become lost. You may decide to reinstall it at a later date.
After I posted this a received a note from "Saw Dust John". He sent me a tip that I want to add to this post. Any time you are going to cut or grind off part of a bolt it is recommend that you add a nut first. Screw the bolt all the way into the nut. After you cut the bolt you can unscrew the nut. Removing the nut helps clean and repair any damage to the threads. Great tip John. Thanks.
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