Saw inserts

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 03-05-2016 05:22 PM 1062 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4710 posts in 3206 days

03-05-2016 05:22 PM

I make my own table saw blade inserts. I make them flat from plywood, but after some time, the insert bows up in the middle leaving a raised insert. If I adjust it down, the leading and trailing edges are below the top of the table. My question is; what is the best material to make inserts from that will remain flat?

24 replies so far

View bearkatwood's profile


1540 posts in 975 days

#1 posted 03-05-2016 05:28 PM

I made my insert from MDF and it has held up well so far.

You can read about it here

-- Brian Noel

View xeddog's profile


182 posts in 2970 days

#2 posted 03-05-2016 05:36 PM

I have made some from some old discarded Corian counter top. They have held up VERY well and have remained flat.


View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1866 days

#3 posted 03-05-2016 05:51 PM

Same problem as Ron, using the crappy birch or whatever plywood from HD. I use a block plane to get the lumps out. I need to find something better also.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4949 posts in 2456 days

#4 posted 03-05-2016 05:53 PM

I’ve used hard maple and had no problems.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View SuperCubber's profile


1022 posts in 2247 days

#5 posted 03-05-2016 06:03 PM

I just made one from melamine, and it seems to be working well so far.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


11478 posts in 2343 days

#6 posted 03-05-2016 06:20 PM

I use 1/2” MDF, never had one bow.

-- Rick M,

View Lee's profile


112 posts in 841 days

#7 posted 03-05-2016 06:47 PM

I use 1/2” MDF or particle board then glue on a laminate top for smother sliding, never had one bow. Man made material is much more stable than plywood or lumber

-- Colombia Custom woodworking

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2885 days

#8 posted 03-05-2016 10:09 PM

I also use MDF for this.

-- Website is

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1416 days

#9 posted 03-05-2016 10:32 PM

I bought a ZCI preformed from cast something like ebonite. Fits perfect & solid as a rock. Under $30 and I ordered it with the saw.


-- Madmark -

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2587 days

#10 posted 03-05-2016 10:34 PM

MDF is a perfect solution.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6581 posts in 2162 days

#11 posted 03-05-2016 10:35 PM

I’ve toyed around with the idea of making some out of HDPE… anyone ever tried? I’ve got some ‘plastic’ wood that I made from old grocery store bags, but it’s a little too thin (1/4”) for the TS, so I would need to make up some thicker stuff:

I make the inserts for my bandsaw and scroll saw out of the stuff, and it works great, even though those are only about 1/8” thick. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work for the TS as well (using 1/2” thick material).


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3339 days

#12 posted 03-05-2016 10:45 PM

“Best” is always subjective, but it’s a really important component in the table saw chain. Inserts that flex, rock, or don’t sit flush can effect the quality and accuracy of the cut, which can work against hundreds (thousands) of dollars worth of machinery, blades, precision fence and miter gauges, jigs, setup components, and lumber.

Phenolic is one of the better materials for DIYers IMO. You can buy it in bulk pieces to make your own, or Leecraft is one of the better brands to buy premade inserts. It’s very flat, very stable, very strong, smooth, and machines quite well. Steel and other metals work well for manufacturers, but is much harder for DIYers to work with. MDF, ply, and hard woods are ok, but have the drawbacks of not being as strong, stable, smooth, or flat as phenolic. Any plastic inserts (HDPE, UHMW, acrylic, etc) that I’ve had have also been too weak and don’t stay as flat.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View joey502's profile


525 posts in 1481 days

#13 posted 03-05-2016 10:47 PM

I use UHMW for mine. I buy it in thicker pieces than i need then joint and plane it. There has not been any issues yet.

View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2314 days

#14 posted 03-05-2016 11:04 PM

I use MDF sandwiched between layers of plastic laminate.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Sany Ahmed's profile

Sany Ahmed

6 posts in 790 days

#15 posted 03-06-2016 10:43 PM

I made my own by hard maple and MDF. And I didn’t have any problem.

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