|Project by EricLew||posted 03-02-2015 07:00 AM||4262 views||16 times favorited||12 comments|
I have my Delta 36-725 table saw for about 6 months now, and I’m surprised at the lack of any aftermarket Zero Clearance Inserts. At least I can’t find any. Delta does offer one, but I wasn’t thrilled with the design, or the hefty price. I had been hesitant to try to make one myself because the factory insert is only 1/8 inch thick, and rests on a lip that is only 1/8 inch wide, below the table top. I made, and screwed up, a few prototypes in the process, but I now have a really good way to make them.
I use 1/2 inch red oak, because it’s nice and hard, and I’ve always loved red oak. A 4 foot length yields 3 inserts. I used a pattern bit in my router to match the shape, and then a rabbetting bit to make the 1/8 edge. Then there is some free hand routing needed to make the clearances for the adjustment feet, and the motor housing. I made a construction paper template to rough out the design, which works pretty well.
I had to buy a cheap 6 inch blade (that matched the kerf of my regular blades) to make the initial cut since the 10 inch blade barely retracts below the table surface. The riving knife was another issue, after I had the kerf cut in the insert, I put the factory insert back in, raised the blade all the way up, and turned the oak insert around, and set it on top of the factory insert. Using the fence as a guide I extended the kerf cut opening for the riving knife. Unfortunately, I had to make the cut so long, the insert broke because there wasn’t enough wood left at the end of the insert. I didn’t want to not use the riving knife, and knew using some type of top mounted splitter wouldn’t work because I slide my fence across the table a lot to use my router extension wing. It would probably take an hour before I busted off a top mounted splitter.
So looking at the riving knife, I decided to grind off the bulbous section on the back edge of it, I’m not sure why it is shaped like that anyway, but I didn’t foresee any issue with grinding it down a little. (see photos) That did the trick, I was able to shorten the length of the kerf cut extension and prevent the inserts from weakening. Then I took a small L bracket, cut it in 1/2, bent it to the right shape and attached it to the back of the insert for the safety catch, but these inserts are really snug, there is no slop at all, I have to yank on them to get then out.
I am going to use the other two for a 45 degree zero clearance insert and a dado insert, but I will probably make a bunch more, because it has gotten easy and fun to make these now.
-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon