Shopmade Tablesaw Inserts
Get cleaner, safer cuts with every blade you use
Synopsis: Eliminate tearout, reduce the chances of kickback, and solve the problem of a throat plate that gets jammed with little offcuts by making your own zero-clearance tablesaw inserts. It’s simple to do, and you can make a bunch of them with slots sized for all your different blades. Woodworking teacher Bob Van Dyke shows you how. The increased safety and precision you’ll get will be worth the short time spent.
The throat-plate insert that comes with most tablesaws can give you headaches. The main problem is that the wide opening doesn’t back up the fibers in the wood being cut, which leads to excessive tearout as the blade exits the wood. That big gap also allows small offcuts to fall into the opening and get jammed. And when ripping, thin strips of wood can jam in the gap and kick back very easily. The same can happen with a thin offcut.
The answer to these problems is simple: Use a zero-clearance insert, in which the opening is custom-sized to the blade, eliminating gaps. As a result, wood fibers don’t tear out and there is no space to trap offcuts.
While you can buy insert blanks, they can cost a lot. A better option is to make your own. It’s cheaper, and you can make one for every blade you might use (standard and thin-kerf, dadoes) and for every common angle (90°, 45°, etc.). The method I’ll show you Make a batch while you’re at it. With Van Dyke’s method you can easily make a bunch of inserts at once, enough to cover your standard blade, any common angled cuts, and for the dado set sizes you use the most. BY BOB VAN DYKE COPYRIGHT 2015 by The Taunton Press, Inc. Copying and distribution of this…