Cheap Table Saw Inserts

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Forum topic by juniorjock posted 02-28-2008 05:56 PM 1950 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1930 posts in 3730 days

02-28-2008 05:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig tip tablesaw

I saw this on AmericanWoodworker. It’s a great idea.

Commercially made zero-clearance inserts cost about $20. I make my own for less than $3 from 3/8-in.-thick polyethylene cutting boards, which are flat and rigid. A 14-in. x 17-in. cutting board ($10 at a discount department store) yields four inserts. After rough-sawing the blank on my bandsaw, I attach the saw’s insert with double-faced tape. Then I rout the blank to final size using a flush-trim bit. I drill 11/64-in. pilot holes and install the adjustment screws, which are 3/8-in.-long #10-24 Allen-head set screws (about 40 cents each at a hardware store). Raising the blade through the polyethylene to cut the zero-clearance slot leaves plastic curls around the edge. They’re easily removed by filing or sanding.

11 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3787 days

#1 posted 02-28-2008 06:39 PM

Nice tip. I will have to keep this in mind the next time I replace my zero clearance plate.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3730 days

#2 posted 02-28-2008 06:55 PM

The way I see it, with the cost this low, I could make a different insert for all the basic dado set ups (1/4, 3/8, 1/2, etc.) The dado insert that came with my Grizzly G0575 table saw is a “one size fits all” and there’s way to much space when using one of the smaller dado set ups.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3850 days

#3 posted 02-28-2008 07:16 PM

Thanks for the post I’m in the process of making some inserts too.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View DavidH's profile


519 posts in 3708 days

#4 posted 02-28-2008 07:38 PM

Thanks for this, a table saw book I have suggests making them out of MDF but I like this idea too.

-- David - Houston, Texas. (

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 3997 days

#5 posted 02-29-2008 02:27 AM

neat idea, thanks, guess I need to make a trip to Wally World…

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3733 days

#6 posted 02-29-2008 02:37 AM

that’s a good idea. i probably would have bee the first person to buy them at someplace like Rockler. so you’ve just saved me a load of money. thank you.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 02-29-2008 02:48 AM

Yes it sounds like a great idea, but please note that I haven’t actually tried this yet. But I plan to sometime this weekend and I’ll let everyone know how it does. Heck, for the money, how could you go wrong?

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3839 days

#8 posted 02-29-2008 04:52 PM

Great tip JJ.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3780 days

#9 posted 03-01-2008 05:54 AM

I make mine exactly that way using luan plywood. Rout them out an put set screws in. It takes about 15 minutes to make one.

-- Scott - Chico California

View tomd's profile


2148 posts in 3735 days

#10 posted 03-01-2008 06:07 AM

I’m with Chico, I use luan too, I usually make up about 6 at a time and throw them away as they wear out, I also make them for my bandsaw, and my router table. The router table you can make several sizes of bit hole sizes.

-- Tom D

View Suz's profile


51 posts in 3721 days

#11 posted 03-02-2008 01:10 PM

I’m lucky enough that I can make my ZCI’s out of 1/2” MDF.

-- Jim

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