Questions on my Craftsman table saw - mitre gauge & zero clearance inserts

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by NewPickeringWdWrkr posted 02-26-2010 12:19 AM 24765 views 3 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3188 days

02-26-2010 12:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question mitregauge zero clearance

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife who on hearing about my desire to start woodworking, decided to surprise me and bought me a tablesaw for Christmas. I’m a lucky, lucky guy!

It’s a good starter saw. The ripping fence holds quite well and am able to make parallel cuts with relative ease.

The mitre gauge on the other hand is on the short side of rubbish really and am wondering if I can buy an after market gauge that won’t wiggle in the slots. Check out the picture to see what I mean

Mitre Slot

The mitre gauge rocks side to side due to the ridge and does not fit snugly to the sides allowing rotational movement by a couple of degrees.

So, do you think an after market will fit (even if I have to grind those catch nibs down)?

2. I really don’t know how to explain it better than the pictures below, but do you think I could build a zero clearence insert for this?


-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

8 replies so far

View bsherman's profile


76 posts in 3703 days

#1 posted 02-26-2010 12:46 AM

For the miter gauge, I’ve heard of putting foil tape on the sides to slightly thicken it. Not sure about the zero clearance. Not much room, huh?

-- Brian

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3283 days

#2 posted 02-26-2010 12:57 AM

That throat insert looks the same as on my skil table saw, which basically means no on the zero clearance (i’ve tried and while its POSSIBLE, its just sooooo much trouble that after the first 6 attempts I said $%^&* this) what I ended up doing was this…

Set your rip fence where you need it, then simply using some double sided tape to stick a sheet of 1/8” hardboard over the top and then raise the blade through it. Instant flat zero clearance surface. Means you have to reposition it when you move the fence (leave it oversize and it only takes a few seconds), but it does get the job done.

Eventually I made a sled for it, but the tabs on your miter slots make that difficult unless you take a grinder to them and shave them off.

If your miter slot is 5/8” instead of the standard 3/4” then your chanced of finding an aftermarket miter gauge are close to nil, HOWEVER there is a way around it, check out higher end craftsman saws (or others with the same size slot) until you see a miter guage you like, then go to a site like or, or IIRC you can order craftsman parts directly through, and you can order just that miter guage (I had a guy at sears order me a new one that was tons better than the stock guage, cost me like around $25+shipping)

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View Michael Clark's profile

Michael Clark

28 posts in 3499 days

#3 posted 02-26-2010 02:14 AM

I have that saw or close to it. Outputter did this:

Right now, I’m building my own ZCI. I took a piece of 1/2 inch plywood, cut it to fit, glued another piece of plywood to it and soon I’m going to do final trimming and make it so I can screw it down.

-- Sometimes... At night... My router tells me to do things to wood. Bad Things.

View hasbeen99's profile


183 posts in 3714 days

#4 posted 02-26-2010 03:26 AM

I have the same saw. I went through the trouble to make a phenolic zero clearance insert, and it was WELL worth the effort. The difference in cuts is night and day.

Regarding the mitre gauge, no—aftermarket mitre gauges won’t work because Craftsman (in their infinite wisdom) did not cut the mitre slot to standard dimensions. It’s only 5/8” wide, instead of 3/4”. I have, however, had success with applying a layer of blue tape to either side of the stock mitre gauge rail. Snugged it up just enough. I still use a crosscut sled for most of my cuts, but at least the mitre gauge is back in the realm of possible utility for some applications.

-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3370 days

#5 posted 02-26-2010 03:50 AM

I have a ryobi table saw with crappy miter gauge as well. I replaced the metal with UHMW plastic cut to the exact thickness of the non-standard width miter slot.

However, I do have a suggestion for the zero clearance insert that I just read about in a WoodSmith bonus 100 Tips CD got with a ShopNotes tips magazine. Don’t replace the insert. Instead, here is what they suggest:

“To solve these problems, I made a zero-clearance insert from ¼” hardboard. But as you can see in the drawing,
the one I made doesn’t replace my standard table saw insert, it’s simply a large piece of hardboard that I lay over my table just before I’m ready to make a cut. Here’s how it works.

1. Set your rip fence for the desired width of the cut.
2. Lower your saw blade below the surface.
3. Place the hardboard on your table, flush with the fence. Use carpet tape to hold it in place.
4. Turn on the saw and slowly raise the blade.
5. Position your workpiece and make the cut.

To make another cut at a different width, simply re-adjust the fence following the steps listed above. The large-size board will provide you plenty of room for making a variety of cuts before it needs to be replaced.

© 2006 August Home Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Zero-Clearance Top
Table Saw Accessories

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3231 days

#6 posted 02-26-2010 04:17 AM

There are lots of really good after market mitre gauges you can buy. I had a Craftsman table saw and I had a Rockler mitre gauge that did quite well. I just bought a “Dubby” from In-line Industries. It’s actually a mitre sled, but it was less expensive than an after market mitre fence. I was a bit dubious at first when I saw it being demoed at a woodworking saw, but it has actually been great. Check it out at
Good luck.

-- Glen

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3188 days

#7 posted 02-26-2010 05:06 AM

Thanks for the feedback! I’ll probably end up trying a variety of the suggestions above and see what works best. I have no problem grinding off those tabs if needed. The stock mitre gets hung up in them occasionally and that really burns my toast …er … I mean wood. Not to mention dangerous with the potential for kickback. As you can see from the picture, I’ve had to grind the current insert a little anyway to make clearence for a 1/4” dado setup (the manual states it should hold up to 3/8”).

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Jim's profile


2 posts in 2092 days

#8 posted 02-24-2013 11:22 PM

Here is a cheap way to tighten up the slack on your miter gauge bar. Take a small steel punch and punch it down both or one side of the bar until you get the fit you want. This don’t work very good with one that has a whole lot of slack in it. It is like using junk wood. You do what you got to do when you got no money.
Good Luck

-- Jim, Whitehouse Texas

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics