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Question about when to use table saw zero-clearance inserts

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Forum topic by Furnitude posted 01-09-2012 08:29 PM 2397 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Furnitude

339 posts in 2197 days


01-09-2012 08:29 PM

I currently don’t have a zero-clearance insert on my table saw but am getting one soon. My question is when to use an insert. Is it a good rule of thumb to use a zero-clearance insert all the time except when you are making angled-blade cuts?
Thanks, as always.

-- Mitch, http://furnitude.blogspot.com Also blog at http://www.craftsy.com/blog/author/mitch-roberson/


24 replies so far

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

771 posts in 1675 days


#1 posted 01-09-2012 08:33 PM

I use mine all the time, however there is probably one case (besides angled or dado cuts) when I shouldn’t: if resawing lumber on the table saw. I occasionally do this and find that it is more difficult for the saw to get rid of the dust if using a ZCI.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#2 posted 01-09-2012 08:37 PM

I use mine for all straight cuts. I kept the factory one for angled cuts but it makes me really nervous for some reason. I think you just get used to NOT seeing the gap. I installed a splitter on mine but admittedly don’t use it very often.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dwain's profile

Dwain

323 posts in 2549 days


#3 posted 01-09-2012 08:39 PM

All the time. You can even make one for commonly used dado widths, or angled cuts, 45 degrees for example. It’s a good idea to make several and to use as much as possible.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View bunkie's profile

bunkie

411 posts in 1837 days


#4 posted 01-09-2012 08:42 PM

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t use mine. I agree with Bertha, switching back to the factory insert looks scary…

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2601 posts in 1041 days


#5 posted 01-09-2012 08:46 PM

All the time. The zero clearance slot will wear over time and get larger. Then it is time to make a new one, but don’t throw the old one away instead use it for angled cuts or dados. I have one for thin kerf blades and another for standard blades. I think I have about 5 of them laying around for different set ups.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3500 posts in 2650 days


#6 posted 01-09-2012 08:52 PM

Todos los tiempos. All the time. It does make more dust above the table on some cuts, but the trade off is worth the clean up.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days


#7 posted 01-09-2012 10:43 PM

I made a batch of zero clearance inserts … one for both by thin and regular kerf blades, as well as a bunch for various widths of dado stacks. About the only time I am not using a ZCI is when I have tilted the blade for some sort of bevel cut.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1700 posts in 1612 days


#8 posted 01-09-2012 10:56 PM

I use it all the time my blade is set to 90 degrees.

-- In God We Trust

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1758 days


#9 posted 01-10-2012 12:57 AM

I only use mine when I’m worried about tear out, or ripping really thin pieces which may want to drop into the throat opening.

A ZCI can really restrict the airflow around the blade, and I see better dust collection when I’m using the factory insert.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days


#10 posted 01-10-2012 01:10 AM

Sawkerf—That used to be a problem for me, but last fall I installed a Shark Guard.

With a Shopvac hose connected both above and below the blade, dust/chip collection on the table saw is the best I have ever had.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View doninvegas's profile

doninvegas

332 posts in 1597 days


#11 posted 01-10-2012 01:43 AM

I’m another one that uses it all the time. But remember to remove it when you ar angling the blade or you’ll brake it. Don’t ask me how I know that.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2605 posts in 1740 days


#12 posted 01-10-2012 04:18 AM

I use mine any time that I’m not using a dado set. You can also make one for angled cuts, as mentioned above to eliminate excessive gaps common on factory inserts.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1758 days


#13 posted 01-10-2012 05:13 AM

Gerry -

Yeah, those are nice, but I’m a real Neanderthal and don’t even know where my blade guard is stashed away. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View Furnitude's profile

Furnitude

339 posts in 2197 days


#14 posted 01-10-2012 07:18 PM

Thanks, everyone. You confirmed what I thought was the case. After nervously watching narrow cut-offs fall down beside the blade, I’m ready to get a zero-clearance insert. Thanks again.

-- Mitch, http://furnitude.blogspot.com Also blog at http://www.craftsy.com/blog/author/mitch-roberson/

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#15 posted 01-10-2012 07:31 PM

I wish they made a SharkGuard for my saw. :(

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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