Delta 36-725 Zero Clearance Insert

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Blog entry by ilyac posted 01-24-2015 08:22 PM 5329 reads 3 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So This is my first in what i’m sure will be a long line of upgrades to my Delta 36-725 table saw. A zero clearance insert.

I decide to make this out of 3/4” King StarBoardĀ® HDPE (though I could have used 1/2” in retrospect). A few reasons for this. First of all, I live in South Florida, keep my saw in an un-air conditioned garage, and it gets humid down here. So I wanted something that will be impervious to humidity. This stuff is naturally slippery, and can really take a beating. It is easily machinable with a router and the table saw, no special equipment required.

The stock insert is supported underneath with leveling screws, which is nice, but i wanted something I could drop, screw down, and get going.

The insert that came with the Delta is pretty thin, which made making a template out of it a bit of a pain. I don’t have a band/scroll saw, so I had to support it with a few shims to lift it off the HDPE enough to use a router with a guide bearing to create the blank. Then I used a rabbeting bit to make the groove it sits on and a straight bit to take out some extra material underneath where the supports are. Drilled and countersunk the holes and I was ready to go.

Overall it came out well. I was just a little off on 2 of my screw holes, and it’s just a hair lower in the slot that I would have wanted, but I ran some material through and there are no issues with it catching. I will likely remake this later on a bit more accurately, along with a 45 degree one, plus a few blanks as a reference for future ones and for dados (once I get a dado set).

Lessons learned:
1) when something is not symmetric along either axis, make sure you are rabbeting on the right side of the piece (you can see I learned my lesson and marked the 2nd on with crayon on the bottom)
2) When working with HDPE, collect ‘shavings’ early and often.

Has anyone used HDPE for ZC inserts before? Anyone have an opinion on them?

3 comments so far

View gwblackwell's profile


1 post in 1413 days

#1 posted 03-17-2015 05:57 PM

Nice job!

I’ve watched several how to videos and I didn’t realize how much thinner the standard insert is on the 36-725. Since I’m inside in a basement workshop, I think I’m going to try and use some maple for a dado and a zero insert.


View sebgonz's profile


1 post in 1542 days

#2 posted 04-17-2015 03:09 PM

Looks awesome! I have the same saw, and was just wondering on something. You removed the leveling screws, went through the top, and screwed into the same holes? Did you use the same screws for that?

View oldnovice's profile (online now)


7337 posts in 3572 days

#3 posted 08-30-2015 11:58 PM

Just ran across your Zero clearance insert blog where you asked about HDPE.
I use UHMW plastic on my 45 year old Craftsman, a slippery, sometimes used as drawer runner surfaces, plastic and seems to be OK. I used UHMW because I had some laying around and didn’t want to buy any new material.
I have also used coated melamine Masonite which worked OK but is not nearly as slippery.

The routing of the back side is a pain so after several poor attempts I made a template which I screw to the newly shaped insert to cut the backside reliefs.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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