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Leecraft Phenolic Insert GE-3

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Review by Chris posted 05-25-2009 04:27 PM 3474 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Leecraft Phenolic Insert GE-3 Leecraft Phenolic Insert GE-3 Leecraft Phenolic Insert GE-3 Click the pictures to enlarge them

Purchased this insert from Woodcraft in Jacksonville for a couple of reasons; first and foremost it was cost effective. Secondly, I have had little luck making my own from plywood or other such materials due to the fact that I can’t tweak the height (no leveling screws).

The first pic shows the insert alongside the factory supplied insert from General. There is a screw on one end and one side to adjust the lateral fit and small hex screws at the four “corners” to adjust the vertical. The manufacturer supplied instructions are very clear on how to safely cut the slot for your blade (see 2nd picture). You simply clamp a board over the center of the table covering the slot then, with the saw running, raise the blade to cut the slot. I then taped the original insert on top of the Leecraft and marked out the area to be removed for my Splitter/Guard (see 3rd picture) which was accomplished on my Band Saw.

The fit is perfect and the surface is very smooth; after installing I then cut the thin strips I need for my current project without them being caught in the slot. Works for me!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein




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Chris

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16 comments so far

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Blair Helgason

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#1 posted 05-25-2009 04:49 PM

Thanks for the post Chris, I bought this same insert a couple years ago and have yet to use it. About a month ago I decided to give it anther try and finally cut the slot. I followed the directions and did it the same way you did. It didn’t cut too bad but there was some burning due to the composite material, I guess that’s normal. What I’m worried about now is that the slot is too tight and the blade might catch. Did you had this problem?

-- Blair

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Chris

1867 posts in 2657 days


#2 posted 05-25-2009 04:54 PM

Blair,
I have not had this problem at all; keep in mind that the saw will sound completely different with the zero clearance opening. I installed it yesterday and worked with it for nearly 5 hours with no issues at all.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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Blair Helgason

169 posts in 2080 days


#3 posted 05-25-2009 05:43 PM

I guess I’m just being paranoid. Thanks for the quick response.

-- Blair

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GaryK

10262 posts in 2655 days


#4 posted 05-25-2009 06:26 PM

Chris – One method to level your homemade insert is to glue small pieces of wood to the corners and then sand them to the correct height.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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RedShirt013

219 posts in 2328 days


#5 posted 05-25-2009 06:52 PM

For my 1/2” plywood zero clearance insert I just screw 4 #5 screws from the bottom to act as levelers. Is there something wrong with that approach? That said it’d be nice to have a flat piece of phenolic insert, or until someday I get some baltic birch scrap.

-- Ed

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TomK

504 posts in 2541 days


#6 posted 05-25-2009 08:41 PM

Redshirt, do you get much vibration / noise using screws for leveling?

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

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Chris

1867 posts in 2657 days


#7 posted 05-25-2009 08:43 PM

Ed,

There is nothing really wrong with any of the approaches. It’s just that I average 60-70 hours a week with my real job and I like to maximize the time I have to actually work on projects so I chose this route.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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a1Jim

112167 posts in 2243 days


#8 posted 05-25-2009 08:46 PM

Hey Chris
Thanks for the reveiw. I make mine like Garyk does

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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TheCaver

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#9 posted 05-25-2009 09:36 PM

I’m with Chris and Ed here. These things cost about $20 where I’m at, and to make one would take me over an hour I’m sure. Not to mention cleanup and such…...I build jigs rather than buy where possible, but this one is a no brainer for cost vs time value….

On my saw, a dado is required because the 10” blade sticks up >1/2” below the plate, so I’d have to router or dado that out, then make my through cut….putting in screws or blocks, sanding, painting….oh brother….to save $20? I have bright orange and red ones for dado’s and regular cuts, they have leveling screws in them and they are super slick on top…..

Oh, as the OP mentioned, they have a screw in the side to make a nice tight fit….and to eliminate vibration. And a safety pin in the rear…

The only drawback is this thing STINKS to hell when you first cut it….

To me, making these myself would be a complete waste of time….

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

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RedShirt013

219 posts in 2328 days


#10 posted 05-25-2009 09:40 PM

Tom, my plywood insert don’t really vibrate much even when they are on 4 screws…I think the cast iron table dampen much of the motor vibration and probably the little bit of friction between the table and the plywood edge keeps it quite steady.
Chris I know what you mean, it’s alway a dilemma between spending a lot of time making jigs so it’s easier next time vs actually getting down to the current project.

-- Ed

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Dusty56

11663 posts in 2354 days


#11 posted 05-25-2009 10:06 PM

I’ve heard a lot of people here say that they make their own from cheap plastic cutting boards from WallyMart , etc.. I haven’t tried it yet though because I don’t think it is the same type of plastic (UHMW). Does anyone know for sure ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Emeralds

143 posts in 2229 days


#12 posted 05-26-2009 02:17 AM

Well, not being in a hurry, I make mine as well but I’m glad to hear that the phelonic option is decent.

—Joe

-- JMP

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GaryK

10262 posts in 2655 days


#13 posted 05-26-2009 02:46 AM

I usually spend a little more than an hour and make about 6-7 of them. It only takes a few minutes to make each additional one. Then I use them over the next 3-4 years with different width dado blades.

With my standard blade I have been using the same one for over 3 years now. Well worth the time. You can also build a splitter into them.

But if you don’t have then that’s a great option.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2193 days


#14 posted 05-26-2009 11:26 PM

Dusty56, it does not have to be the same exact same material for it to work for you. There so many different kinds of material that are used for inserts, everything from cast pot metal to plexiglas to wood. I was given a tip from another LJ that since my blade is so close to the table top I should use a smaller blade first, ie my TS blade is 10” so I should use a smaller 7 1/2 or 8” blade to make the first cut then put my 10” blade back in and cut again. NOTE: both blades need to be the same kerf.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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Frostyjo

19 posts in 2176 days


#15 posted 05-27-2009 04:43 AM

Like Gary, I make several at once. I have one that is the pattern that I use for the rest. I put a #4 screw in the end to keep the back from lifting. For leveling, I drill 4 holes and drive set screws through them. This way I can still level from the top of the table, like store-bought inserts.

Joe

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

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