Here's how to install a zero clearance table saw insert on your table saw. Instructions on how to install a zero clearance table saw insert aren't really that useful, since the item comes with instructions. I'm writing this really just to share how useful zero clearance table saw inserts can be when making small or thin cuts.
Step 1: Problem
One day while cutting a thin slice of maple on the table saw for a project I heard a loud whack and looked down to notice that my factory table saw insert on my Delta left tilt table saw was badly damaged.
The thin cut-off I was sawing had been sucked down into the blade arbor area and crushed my table saw insert on the way through. Luckily this all happened very quickly and nobody was hurt, but it really alerted me to the fact that there is a better way to use the table saw to to cut thin slices of of wood - get yourself a zero clearance table saw insert.
Zero clearance inserts minimize tear-out, support even the smallest and thinnest of cuts, and even make your table saw safer.
Unfortunately they don't clear dust as well since they leave no room for air to be sucked down if you've got a dust collection system for your table saw, but if you use it just for small detail cuts that doesn't really matter much. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks on this one.
Step 2: Zero Clearance Table Saw Insert From LeeCraft
I bought the zero clearance table saw insert from LeeCraft. It's $26 on Amazon and fits my Delta saw perfectly. You CAN make your own insert very easily out of a hardwood like maple that's cut to size with some careful tracing and a jig saw, but for $26 I thought I'd just get the phenolic factory made one and save myself the time.
It comes with instructions.
Step 3: Use Screws to Level the Insert
Level the insert flush with your table saw surface by adjusting the screws on the top, side and front of the unit.
Step 4: Clamp Insert in Place With Board
With the zero clearance insert set in place and the table saw blade fully retraced, clamp a long board over the insert to hold it down.
Step 5: Raise Saw Blade Fully
With the saw blade set to 0 degrees, turn on the table saw and slowly raise the saw blade up to it's full height.
Turn off the saw, retract the blade, remove the clamps and the retaining strip of wood and you now have a zero clearance insert that's custom cut your table saw blade.
Use the zero clearance insert for any small detail cuts and get less tear-out, more support of your cut-off, and improved safety.