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Table Saw Clearance - Pros and Cons

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 11-24-2016 03:41 PM 546 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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becikeja

825 posts in 2653 days


11-24-2016 03:41 PM

Once again, I look to the LJ community for practical education.
When I read about zero clearance inserts everything seems to be very positive, with the exception of when tilting the blade or using a dado. There must cons against using a zero clearance insert, but I can’t seem to find them. If the zero clearance insert is only positive then why don’t all manufacturers include this as a standard feature?

All opinions appreciated.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense


6 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

373 posts in 428 days


#1 posted 11-24-2016 03:45 PM

They supply a wide plate for bevels. ZCI’s have to be uniquely cut for the blade used. I tossed the original blade so a factory ZCI cut to the factory blade won’t fit my final blade. A ZCI is an option I ordered with the saw.

M

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Loren

9639 posts in 3488 days


#2 posted 11-24-2016 03:49 PM

They wear out. I imagine that’s why they aren’t
standard issue.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4769 posts in 2333 days


#3 posted 11-24-2016 03:53 PM

ZC inserts are also good with dado blades and tilting, though they need to be specifically for that. I suspect the manufacturers don’t include them because they want to include one insert that does both the 90° cut and the bevel cuts, then most of them offer an optional insert for dados. My favorite ZC is one with w replaceable strip in the throat area. I had made one for my Unisaw, then found a commercial model (aluminum with a plywood throat strip) that i liked better and used it for years. The throat on it was wide enough for most dados I cut. I sold that saw and the insery went with it, now I have a SS and bought one of the Infinity insert that has the same type of replaceable yhroat strip.

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

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1509 posts in 1227 days


#4 posted 11-24-2016 04:00 PM

You would need a different insert for each angle and even for different blades or in some cases blade heights so it is not practical to include just one and be all that useful. You can’t adjust the angle without removing the ZCI and recutting a blade slot before making the next cut (which then makes it a near zero clearance insert). I use one for my dado too simply because the dado insert made for my saw is over $50 and it is easy enough to make a bunch at one time for different widths. Since you cut through them, ZCIs are really a consumable and have to be replaced periodically depending upon use. Also, for the makers that sell ZC inserts for their own saws, it is a revenue generator because they are usually ridiculously priced relative to what it is, especially considering how easy and cheap they are to make. On some saws (mine at least) when using the ZCI, the dust collection doesn’t work as well either so you get better suction if there is at least a small gap around the blade.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 1950 days


#5 posted 11-24-2016 04:06 PM

I make by ZCIs by the stack, by pattern routing them out of BB ply and adding a few 1/4-20 set screws in threaded holes. I set my rip fence and a stop block up and cut clearance slots for the riving knife in batches.

My stock SawStop plate has all kinds of relief on the underside, but none of it is needed for straight blade angles a slightly less than max blade height, so I don’t bother to add the relief. When I need a size I don’t have, or to replace a worn plate, I grab a new one, install the screws and cut the blade slot with the blade it will be used with.

If you plan ahead, dado inserts can be made reversible end to end, to accomodate two slot widths. Dados can’t use a riving knife, so there’s not reason to account for it with a slot. I have a 45 degree bevel plate that matches my favorite rip blade for things like face frame corners. This is the only one that took a bit of extra time to make, but it works great and should last a long time.

Lots of cuts at odd angles don’t really require zero clearance, so I use the stock plate.

I don’t use a plate at all when I’m using a sled. The sled is the plate…

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knotscott

7789 posts in 3216 days


#6 posted 11-24-2016 04:27 PM

ZCI’s are proprietary to a certain blade size too.

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

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