Zero Clearance Insert
Making a Zero Clearance insert for you table saw. If you have a table saw eventually you are going to need to make yourself a zero clearance insert. So what is a zero clearance insert?
The removable plate that is around your blade on your table saw is generally called a throat plate. It is designed so when the blade is up you can have it on any angle and you can generally have any size blade (upto the largest blade your saw can take) Because of this it means on average the gab it leaves around the blade is quite large. This in turn means if you are cutting thinner stock or making thin cuts then the pie can sometimes get caught and sometimes flick it back at you.
A zero clearance insert replaces this throat plate with a plate or insert that has zero gap hence the name Zero Clearance Insert.
Every table saw is different, and some are a little harder to make than others. If you have a cabinet saw they you should easily be able to make one with out to much of an issue. It is usually when you come to the contractors table saw and the cheaper models that it becomes a little more difficult but not impossible. I have a contractors table saw so it has a few issues to deal with.
On my saw I found through luck that my stock throat plate is about 4.5mm thick steel so I can use some hard board as the top plate. I simply trace the throat plate on to the hard board. And then simply cut on the band saw, making sure that I don’t go over the line. Basically leaving edge all the way round that we can trim flush.
I use hot glue to stick the plate to the hardboard ready to trim with my palm or trim router with a flush trim bit. I set the bit so the bearing just runs along the stock insert and the cutter just cutting the hardboard. Take your time in setting the height of the cutter to get it just right.
I then clamp it to my bench and using my trim router to flush trim the plate if done right it will fit right in to the into your table saw as it is.
Lower table saw blade to the lowest setting insert the zero clearance. I then move my fence over the insert making sure leaving the enough room for the blade. I then slowly raise the blade up through the plate. This as it is will work, but I wanted to add a little more meat or body to the insert.
Using a bit of 10mm MDF I cut a block to fit in between the holders on the saw. This way it just gives a bit more support. Once I get this with a mix of trimming and sanding I finally get it fit and then glue this to the top plate and wait for it to dry. You do need to let it dry properly ... in the video didn’t have it completely dry and I should have let it dry for longer.
Once dry insert the new plate in the table saw upside down and backwards and again moving the fence of to lock it down I also use a push stick to push down on the insert as well as I slowly raise the blade up again through the MDF.
The final step is I drill a finger hole so you can easily take the insert out.
Remember every table saw is different and some will be easier while other saws you may need to install a smaller blade etc...
I hope this is useful to some, I fully show and explain how I make my insert in the video as well as giving a visual.
Video can be watched here