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Zero-clearance Insert: Safety Concern

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Forum topic by jstewart posted 2647 days ago 1080 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jstewart

141 posts in 2690 days


2647 days ago

Due to some issues w/ my table saw, Delta sent me a free zero-clearance insert. I got the insert today. It fits just fine, but it doesn’t allow me to keep the splitter and blade guard on the saw. Being new to table saws, I don’t like the idea of using this without those safety items installed. Any recommendations?

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas


15 replies so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12252 posts in 2696 days


#1 posted 2647 days ago

You could try a MICRO JIG Splitter. You would need an overarm guard be guarded. They run from ~$150-$400.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Nicky

636 posts in 2691 days


#2 posted 2647 days ago

Take a look at

http://www.shopnotes.com/issues/090/videos/making-a-zero-clearance-insert/

Could you modify the Delta insert in a similar fashion so that you can get the splitter installed? My apologies, but I don’t know what model saw you have, but if you post the model, maybe someone has already solved the problem and will share the solution.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing an operation, don’t do it!

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve removed my blade guard and splitter, but it’s just us here in cyber space and no one else need know, so I’ll tell you why. IMHO, the safety system that came with my unisaw was junk! I’ve not looked at after market guards, but is on my list of “things to do.” I do wear safety glasses, hearing protection, and have great respect for power and hand tools. I’m in no way recommending that any guards be removed, you need to do what works best for you.

I’ve had kickbacks, but of my own doing. The accidents have been caused by:

- Rushing to get something done. In my hast, over looked something simple like locking the fence.
- Trying to rip a badly twisted board
- Cutting a bevel on stock that was to short, and jammed in the table insert

Wish I could say it stopped there but don’t want to bore anyone with “how dumb I could be” stories.

I’m very careful about how I use my tools. I take great care in what/how wood gets fed and try and think of the worst thing that can go wrong in the operation. If it doesn’t feel right, I’ll find another way.

-- Nicky

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1763 posts in 2689 days


#3 posted 2647 days ago

Can you post a pic of both inserts? You can probably just a cut a slot in the back of the insert for the splitter.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2667 days


#4 posted 2647 days ago

There was a recent Shop Notes that had a cool blade guard with built in dust collection. I’m too lazy to find the issue, but I have it on my list of shop upgrades. If I remember right, the issue of a splitter was addressed. They said the same thing a John did above, just cut a slot and slip in the splitter.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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USCJeff

1044 posts in 2667 days


#5 posted 2647 days ago

ANOTHER SAFETY QUESTION:

I heard a recent WW talk about the dangers of homemade zero clearance inserts. It seems like every site has the same method of making one. Take the existing, cut it close, and then route it to size with a flush trim bit. The concern was that the back of the blade could potentially throw the insert since it doesn’t have the screws and such the hold the factory inserts tight. Does this happen? I would think the blade would have to wobble drastically or have unusual lateral force to bind in the clearance slot.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View jstewart's profile

jstewart

141 posts in 2690 days


#6 posted 2647 days ago

Thanks for the replies. I have a Delta contractor’s saw. Cutting a chunk out of the back of the insert will allow me to install the standard splitter and blade guard. I don’t really know why I didn’t think about doing that in the first place. Would you just use a jig saw to cut the hole? I’ve never worked with phenolic before.

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1763 posts in 2689 days


#7 posted 2647 days ago

You should be able to do that. Could you also cut it on the table saw. Make a partial cut and stop the saw partway? The cut doesn’t have to be precise so just use the jigsaw.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View fred's profile

fred

256 posts in 2697 days


#8 posted 2647 days ago

I am faced with the same situation, since I will be getting a zero clearance insert soon. Many thanks to everyone’s tips. I will never, never rip anything again without the splitter and blade guard attached. Four weeks ago I finally experienced kick back on a piece of plywood and it shot off the table like a cannon and caught me on a rib on my right side. The piece of plywood wound up about forty feet away. I was extremely lucky and learned a valuable lesson.

I still can feel it where I was hit. It only hurts when I laugh. NOT

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2667 days


#9 posted 2646 days ago

Close call Fred. I had something similar happen. I came home from work one day to find several of the boy scouts that I had been helping with a project working without me. I had the guard and splitter off the saw from the night before. Long story short, they launched a board out of the garage, between two vehicles, across the street and into my neighbors bushes. I “nicely” suggested to my wife to not let the boys use the tools until an adult was around.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View jstewart's profile

jstewart

141 posts in 2690 days


#10 posted 2646 days ago

You guys are starting to scare me. I’ve never experienced kickback in person. I know it’s something I want to avoid at all costs. I didn’t realize the boards could go quite that far. Does it ever happen with splitters installed?

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

View fred's profile

fred

256 posts in 2697 days


#11 posted 2646 days ago

Joshua -

It is not supposed to but it might with just the splitter installed and not the blade guard. I was ripping a piece of 12” plywood down to 3” and the piece next to the fence climbed up on the blade and it was launched. There was literally no time to react. Keep the blade guard on.

True story, my daughter is an interior architect. She was required to take a shop class. After I told her of my saga, she told me that the shop wall had gouges in it and some pieces of wood stuck in it from kickback. The teacher used that as a teaching tool to always have the blade guard installed.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2909 days


#12 posted 2646 days ago

Put the insert in and place a piece of wood over it and clamp it down. Use a thick enough piece so it won’t give when you raise the blade into the insert. This will keep the insert from flexing and act as a backer giving you a splinter free cut. Slowly engage the insert with the blade until you have made a full opening. I hope you find a way to add a splitter.

Fred, was the 3” piece between the blade and fence? If so, it shouldn’t have been. As I noted before, a push stick is a must and should be used to push the piece between the blade and fence through. Some will use two push sticks and push both. I’m not sure that a blade guard would always guarantee that the wood wouldn’t climb if pinched between the blade and fence. A feather board would do a better job of keeping the wood down on the table and preventing kickback. Just my thought.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2686 days


#13 posted 2646 days ago

I got creamed twice while ripping with a radial arm saw. Black and blue for weeks. I got rid of that sucker.
Recently, one of my group had a kickback that broke a slat on the window shades about 10 feet behind it. We readjusted the fence to cant out from the blade.
NEVER stand behind the wood when cutting.
ALWAYS use pushsticks.
I think within the last year Fine Woodworking did an article on kcikback that was scary as heck.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View woodspar's profile

woodspar

710 posts in 2698 days


#14 posted 2646 days ago

I guess that I always assume that the table saw IS going to kick back and keep out of the way and get ready for the kick back. One time, because there was somebody on the phone, my daughter opened the door which of course was right in the path of potential kickback . I was right in the middle of a rip. You know no one can hear you with the saw going when you are screaming at them to get out of the way…anyway nothing happened, but I guess we always need to be thinking about it with every cut…Needless to say I have instructed my wife and children to not come into the workshop area until the saw is OFF.

-- John

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woodspar

710 posts in 2698 days


#15 posted 2646 days ago

The other thing I do every time I set up for a cut is lay a straight edge along the blade and make sure that the splitter is dead even with the blade on both sides. Also, make sure that the blade is aligned with the miter slot, and the fence is aligned with the miter slot. Especially make sure that the space between the fence and the blade is not getting smaller towards the “back” of the blade.

-- John

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