Shop Made Zero Clearance Insert with Splitter

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Forum topic by mikedrums posted 03-18-2010 03:02 AM 5811 views 2 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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102 posts in 2998 days

03-18-2010 03:02 AM

Zero clearance insert, made from high quality 3/4” Finnish plywood, with a hardboard splitter.
I planed the plywood down to just under the thickness of the opening’s height.

I used the balance set screws and hold down from original insert plate.

Splitter is 1/8” hardboard. I sanded the thickness down to be bit narrower than the blade kerf, and glued it in place.

I used a finish trim screw to replicate the original’s hold-down nipple.
It prevents the saw blade from lifting up the back of the insert.

9 replies so far

View BGS's profile


15 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 03-18-2010 04:21 AM

Well that is surely nicer than red plastic. How did you decide to cut out the slot for the blade?

View bigike's profile


4050 posts in 3251 days

#2 posted 03-18-2010 04:43 AM

very nice work, i made the same one but used super glue to hold the spliter and of course it came out. i hope you used regular wood glue?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Greg Elam's profile

Greg Elam

29 posts in 3002 days

#3 posted 03-18-2010 05:14 AM

Nice, I plan on making one of these in the near future. Do you think a poly coat on it would create drag if waxed?

-- Greg Elam - Berea, Kentucky

View mikedrums's profile


102 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 03-18-2010 05:22 AM

BGS: I just put the rip fence over the right half and slowly lifted an 8” dado blade through it, to give enough room for the 10” blade to start. Then I put the 10” on and lifted all the way. I did the same thing with the one I made for the dado set. The fence is plenty heavy enough.

Ike: I was squeezing my bottle of CNA, when the thought came to mind to use regular wood glue… so I did.

View mikedrums's profile


102 posts in 2998 days

#5 posted 03-18-2010 05:36 AM

Greg, as you can see from my saw’s top, I’m not overly concerned with cosmetics when it comes to tools. If if doesn’t help the operation or longevity of the tool, I usually don’t bother.

I don’t see any reason to seal the plywood, as I’ve never noticed any expansion/contraction on it before.

Personally, I don’t like wax on any tools… I think it’s a way too old-school and there are much better/easier things to use. I love Super Lube Dri-Film and I also use Boeshield T-9.

I’ve used Dri-Film directly on wood with great results.

View mikedrums's profile


102 posts in 2998 days

#6 posted 03-20-2010 07:10 PM

BTW, I think it’s amazing how fast and easy it is crank one of these out for different blades/dados.

I didn’t like the loose fit of the first one I made, so I wrapped masking tape around the perimeter a few times and used it as a template for another one… work perfect to enlarge it by a fuzz.

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4363 days

#7 posted 03-20-2010 07:28 PM

A nice setup for a customizable insert..

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View unisaw2's profile


209 posts in 2997 days

#8 posted 03-20-2010 07:32 PM

Thanks for the idea of using blue tape to enlarge the insert. I will try it on my next one.

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View mikedrums's profile


102 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 03-20-2010 07:58 PM

I’m going to make a DIY version of the “Tru-Cut Insert System.”

I think it would be easier to simply swap out a rectangular piece of hardboard or plastic, especially if you need to tilt the blade for whatever reason.
I can see a huge advantage to a process of popping off a sub-insert, setting the blade angle, then running the blade up through the sub-insert. That would give you razor smooth cuts on tilted cuts.

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