Tablesaw Mods

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Project by Woodripper posted 04-10-2010 03:51 AM 4083 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I bought this Craftsman contractor saw about 2 yrs ago now (model #21805) and it has been one heck of a little saw for me. I can’t afford much else and so far hasn’t let me down. I did notice though that Craftsman decided that they were going to be special and make the miter gauge slots narrower than any other saw in the world and add little tabs. I guess those are nice for on the go people but to me they are very annoying and make it very difficult to make any jigs or sleds for my saw. The other day I finally had enough and pulled out my files and went to town. Thankfully the top is made from aluminum so I didnt have to break to much of a sweat to get rid of them. Atleast now I can slide a full piece of wood through them (5/8”). Next step, figure out how to make a zero clearance insert.

-- WoodRipper

13 comments so far

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4016 days

#1 posted 04-10-2010 04:02 AM

Hi WoodRipper and welcome to LumberJocks. I posted my solution to the crosscut sled problem here. As for making a zero clearance insert, I never could figure that one out and keep it simple. The crosscut sled serves as a ZCI when making crosscuts so along the same lines I suppose you could just make a “sled” to handle rip cuts. You’d have to figure a way to allow for the fence to operate though. Hmmm… Good luck.


-- Jim

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3056 days

#2 posted 04-10-2010 04:02 AM

I did this same thing to my craftsman saw some time back for the crosscut sled to work. Also made the zero clearance insert. This was a chore because you are dealing with about three different thicknesses. The one I made is not pretty but it does work.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View stratiA's profile


101 posts in 3401 days

#3 posted 04-10-2010 04:20 AM

I had a similar craftsman TS with the same issues. The tabs were easy enough. For the ZCI I measured a piece of maple to size. Then I used a dremel tool and chisels to simply carve out and cut away enough material until it just dropped in. It worked pretty well. Unfortunately it is very thin at certain spots and it eventually split. I wish I still had it to show you. I have since upgraded to a Ridgid cast Iron TS 3650 which I love.

-- Strati Alepidis, Burlington, Ma, Member Red Sox nation

View Woodripper's profile


22 posts in 3012 days

#4 posted 04-10-2010 04:21 AM

Hi Outputter and thanks, its great to be here. I checked out that link for your sled. That is awesome! I didn’t even think about that, that sure does make things easier. As in you can use any thickness board you would like. My neighbor had set a pallet out on the curb the other day and I let it go cause it was pretty beat up but I think I could have used it to make one of those….man, where were you 2 days ago :)

Donjoe…I am with you. I have been trying to figure it out but I know its not going to be pretty. You need such a crazy thin piece of material. plus all of the other stuff in the way.

StratiA, I dream of the day that I can upgrade to a new saw. Don’t get me wrong, this one is nice, makes great cuts now that I have it set up. I sure have learned alot about what to look for in a TS though. Thats what its all about tho right? the learning experience.

-- WoodRipper

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3200 days

#5 posted 04-10-2010 04:37 AM

Smart move.

My first TS was an outlet store Ryobi with non-standard miter slots, too.

What a bummer :-(

Between that, the inaccurate fence, the lack of power, and the fact that it weighed less than a six-pack—and always had me wondering WHEN it would tip over—I eventually just replaced it.

But … if you like your saw (seems you do), then you just knocked out a really silly problem. I think it’s mainly Craftsman and Ryobi that did that silly, silly thing….

By the way: I don’t know the ZCI issues for YOUR saw, but … I whipped out about four or five ZCIs for mine (Bosch 4100).

Then … last week … I finally bought a couple BIG HDPE cutting boards … for cheap. I’ll be using those as source material for ZCIs the next time I get bored ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Woodripper's profile


22 posts in 3012 days

#6 posted 04-10-2010 04:47 AM

NB, are those the thick white plastic cutting boards? If it is then I really like that idea! you can shave them down and they should still be pretty sturdy and cut throught them. LOVE IT

-- WoodRipper

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2999 days

#7 posted 04-10-2010 05:13 AM

I have the same problem with my Craftsman saw. I just ripped a couple of wooden runners to fit the mitre’s slots and cut grooves in the wood to fit the tabs, then attatched the runners to a guide sled.
The non standard width of the table saw’s slots and the annoyning tabs are a pain and would have stopped me from buying this Craftsman saw..if I had found this website sooner :)
ps love the “roll the dice” feature of this website to look at other’s projects

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3263 days

#8 posted 04-10-2010 05:45 AM

I removed the tabs on mine with my router and an edge guide. Now jigs and sleds with maple runners work fine.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View bake's profile


384 posts in 3703 days

#9 posted 04-10-2010 08:35 AM

I did the same thing and made a crosscut sled using maple runners. Be sure to wax the runners, slots and the bottom of your sled. I never could figure out a ZCI for it but you wont need it much with a sled.

-- I love the smell of Home Depot in the morning, it smells like.......carpentry. Bake, Bar Lazy U Woodworks, Lehi,UT.

View Rick's profile


9728 posts in 3058 days

#10 posted 04-10-2010 09:27 AM

Yep! Them are the “Thick White Plastic Cutting Boards”. Good for 0 Clearnce Inserts and also Runners for any kind of Sled. I did something on here a while back but can’t find it (Mad Cow I Think) ..LOL…

There was also a ”Sacrificial O Clearance Table”. i.e. A thin piece of panelling, whatever size covers most of the table best, Squared to the Fence, double sided tape on the underside if you prefer, run the blade up through it with the regular insert still in place. Cut away! Just keep flippin’ it around whenever you want to do more 0 Cuts until there’s no more ”Uncut Space” left. Then use it to enter the ”Gorilla Glue Contest”. ...LOL..


-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View Woodripper's profile


22 posts in 3012 days

#11 posted 04-10-2010 05:27 PM

Man, you guys are full of ideas. It always amazes me with what people can come up with when they need to.

Rick what is the “Gorilla Glue Contest”? Nevermind, duh, I found it. Sounds like a pretty interesting contest

-- WoodRipper

View Jason's profile


659 posts in 3534 days

#12 posted 04-12-2010 05:50 PM

I have been contemplating the same thing for zero clearance. I have one of those Ryobi home center table saws. It was affordable and has worked well thus far.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View Josh's profile


103 posts in 3048 days

#13 posted 04-13-2010 05:46 PM

I have the same saw and this is the solution that I came up with,its a workstation that increases the table size on the left to support the wood as well as a router insert on the right.

The only problem I’m having right now is trying to figure out how to put a splitter behind the blade.

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

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