Since I finished up the nightstand, I’m moving along to building a chest of drawers for the bedroom. Before I get to that, though, I decided that it was time for me to start tuning up my table saw again so it cuts accurately. I had to re-square the rip fence which took a little while, then I got to work making some new zero clearance inserts.
I already have two of the Leecraft ZCI’s for my R4512 (one for the standard blade and one for dadoes), but since those cost around $27 each and I have to pay shipping, I wanted to see if there was a more cost-effective option. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a couple of tutorials online that drew up and spelled out the process very clearly and easily. Following those instructions, I got to work.
I am glad that I did the work on this because it gave me a chance to really practice using my router table for making blind cuts and pattern cutting. Using the Leecraft insert as my template, I flush cut a piece of 3/4” MDF to make a blank for the insert. I then used my router table to cut out the pockets so it will fit into the saw opening. I didn’t drill any holes through the top of the insert to access the leveling screws mostly out of laziness, but I found that it’s easy enough to just pop the insert out, tweak the screws a little, and put it back in.
The pockets came out different on all my inserts, but they work, so I’m not complaining. I did almost lose a piece while I was doing a small climb cut, so that’s why one of the pockets on the dado insert in the picture above is so wide. I’m sure it won’t do much to the performance of the insert.
I took some time to spray on some spar urethane on the underside and the sides of the inserts to help keep some of the moisture out. Here in Hawaii, the humidity can be a real bear and it never really goes away, so things like MDF can go south and fall apart very quickly. I painted the top surface of the inserts with either bright red or orange paint. I was going to use fluorescent yellow, but I didn’t have any. The first one I made that’s installed with my Marples blade I just sprayed with spar all the way around. I thought that I would use that one to keep all my layout lines, but I found that I can just transfer marks using the other inserts as template, so the rest got painted.
I got the quarter sheet of MDF from the orange borg for $13. I worked out that I can make a whole lot of inserts from that one sheet, so I think that it comes out a lot better price-wise than $26 per insert. I have one more to make, then I’ll have dedicated inserts for my two standard blades and the three sizes of dadoes I use most often (1/4”, 1/2”, and 3/4”).