Introduction: Table Saw Zero Clearance Throat Plate

About: Retired Tool Maker ( 1980 ) Retired Mechanical Engineer ( 2009 ) Full time Tinkerer

Hi Gang:

So if you want to rip really narrow strips on your table saw you need a zero clearance throat plate. Being cheap and no one was giving away factory models I decided to make my own.

So the usual throat plate is metal with a wooden insert. After you use it for a while it has greater than zero clearance and you have to replace the wood insert.

So I had some thin plywood and plastic laying around and decided that if I clamped a piece on the table saw top it would support the thin wood and be much easier to replace.

Step 1: Clamp the Top Plate

So usually I lock the fence for the thickness I wish to rip first. Then I clamp the table top cover next to the fence. I've clamped both in front and also at the back. It doesn't make much difference. Just make sure the clamps are clear of the stock wood you wish to rip. Then with the saw running, lift the blade through the thin top. Don't raise it any more than you need to, just enough to rip the stock.

Step 2: Please Use Pusher Sticks!

So once you have the rip set up here are some tips:

1) Always use pusher sticks or other helpers, Don't rip your own fingers!

2) If you know you need a bunch of pieces the same length, cut your stock board to that length and then rip the small pieces.

3) I often rip 1x stock, first into strips 3/4" wide then rip the strips to the final size.

Step 3: Finished Stock

After ripping the stock, for my Railroad I stained all the wood in a narrow trough of wood stain. Here are a bunch of strips about 2mm x 6mm ready to build bridges.

Step 4: Finished Bridges

So here is why I needed thin strips of wood stained dark, Model Railroad Bridges! The trestle was built on site cutting the pieces as we built. The longer bridge was built on the bench. The "V" sticks and the main deck were cut from stock that had been cut to the final length saving much time cutting all the individual pieces.

Hope this helps you with your woodworking projects.

Please be safe out there, the saw sees wood and flesh as the same. Best wishes, Carl.