Table Saw Insert Question - What can I do?

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Forum topic by AngieO posted 08-22-2012 06:41 PM 3286 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1267 posts in 2383 days

08-22-2012 06:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw insert bevel cuts

Ok… so as some of you know I have a little Craftsman 10” benchtop tablesaw.

You can’t tell from the picture but I have a zero clearance insert plate in it. My friend that I got this saw from made it out of plastic. It’s the only insert that I have.

I want to make some things for storage and I want to make them using the french cleat system. So I need to be able to make some bevel cuts. Problem… can’t do that with a ZCI. I’m not able to buy an insert at this time so I’d like to find out if I can make one out of wood… only because it’s the material I have on hand. So.. is that a bad idea? I can’t have my friend make one because I won’t see him again for a while and I want to make this sooner rather than later. I also don’t want to spend a lot of money because I’d like to get a new TS by Christmas. If I do that… I will end up selling the one I have most likely.

So I’m open to your comments and suggestions. If making one out of wood would work… what do I need to know? Plastic? I don’t even know where to start with that. Or should I just break down and try to find one on ebay?

Right now it would be nice if I had a friend that had a table saw that I could just go over and make my bevel cuts and be on my way.

I can’t think of any other way to do the bevels except on my TS. Is there any other way?

13 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2723 days

#1 posted 08-22-2012 06:47 PM

I never had one of those Craftsmen saws, but I did have a Ryobi BTS10S (Bottom of the line). I made my own ZCI’s and used whatever I had available. The first one was the most difficult, but after that it was my template….. I used solid walnut, Maple, Sycamore, junk plywood, Loblolly pine, and a lot of stuff never heard of on this board before, (Like Honeycmb Decking).

Good luck..

As long as it fits in the slot and doesn’t hurt the blade, you can cut it at whatever angle you need.


-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5816 posts in 3049 days

#2 posted 08-22-2012 06:48 PM

I made some zci’s for mine when I had a Craftsman saw. I used mdf and hardboard. Mine were difficult to make because of the odd casting size / shape Craftsman uses.
Otherwise you could order a stock insert for bevel cuts.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Alongiron's profile


650 posts in 2929 days

#3 posted 08-22-2012 06:59 PM

Angie. Try this.
Put your regular insert back in the saw and tilt your table sawsaw blade to 45 degrees. Take a 3/4 board about 6” wide and extend the edge of the board about 1” beyond the saw blade and set your rip fence. Rip your board. Save this piece. Now set your blade back to 90 degrees. Set your rip fence to 2” and with the bevel up and towards the fence run this piece through the saw. Now you should have two beveled pieces.

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


7106 posts in 2435 days

#4 posted 08-22-2012 07:01 PM

I have a similar craftsman and have made inserts out of hardboard, wood and plastic.. whatever you have on hand that is the right thickness. Plastic cutting boards found cheap at wallyworld or similar places also work well and you can usually find one that is the correct thickness. Another option is if your pieces are not too narrow and you only need this for a one time thing, just remove the insert, cut your bevels and put it back in.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2383 days

#5 posted 08-22-2012 07:02 PM

I ONLY have a ZCI. I don’t have the original insert.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4454 days

#6 posted 08-22-2012 07:04 PM

Because you already have one to use as a template, the hardest part is done.

I don’t know if you have a router table or not, but the easiest way is to cut the new one out just a little larger than the template, then doublestick-tape the two together and use a flush-trim bit for the final sizing. Pretty much any type of wood will work, as long as it can be properly thicknessed to sit flush with the table.

After it is cut out, tilt the blade to the angle you want, lower the blade, use the fence or a long board to clamp the insert in place, then turn on the saw and slowly raise the blade through the insert.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2486 days

#7 posted 08-22-2012 07:13 PM

Here’s a pretty simple method for making one out of wood: zero clearance insert

-- Rex

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3207 days

#8 posted 08-22-2012 07:51 PM

Angie, I ‘m not sure how thick the insert you have is, mine is only 1/8” so I had to use aluminum, but the process is pretty much the same for aluminum as wood. Well, I cut the plate out with a jig saw and used a stationary disk sander instead of a router to finish the outer edges of the aluminum . Otherwise, Charlie pretty much explained it in post #6.

If you want the insert to be more like a universal insert, the slot will need to be about 3/8 to 1/2” wide. Using Charlies method, when you have the blade fully tilted and bring it up through the insert plate to cut the slot, you can then lower it back down and tilt it back up vertical and slowly bring it back up till it pierces the insert again. Then shut the saw down and remove the insert and clear out the material between the two cuts with a router or chisels or what ever method you want. This will now be good for any angle in between vertical and full tilt.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2383 days

#9 posted 08-22-2012 08:55 PM

Brad… your idea is the one I like the best… LOL! Just removing it and cutting the bevels and then putting it back in sounds good to me. The pieces are not narrow at all. Just want to make sure that it’s safe to do.

I will have to see how thick it is. I’d like to have one out of cutting board material. Does that stuff cut on a TS?

Charlie M… I do have a router.

Crank49… that was really helpful. Guess I will be making one of these tomorrow. I do have one chisel. Might try that out some.

Thanks guys! I knew I would get some good info on here.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2383 days

#10 posted 08-23-2012 02:29 AM

Well… Since the board I was cutting was 6” wide, I went ahead and just took the ZCI out and made my cuts without anything in it. It worked fine. I still plan on making an insert, but just not till I get these other projects out of the way.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6269 posts in 3589 days

#11 posted 08-23-2012 03:38 AM

I looked up your model saw on the Your original table insert is $9.96 + shipping and handling. If you don’t want to make one you can buy it here.

Here is a link to the parts page.

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6269 posts in 3589 days

#12 posted 08-23-2012 03:44 AM

If you do order that part double check me on your model number. I just went by your picture.

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2383 days

#13 posted 08-23-2012 04:12 AM

Thanks Tony! I think at that price I’d be silly not to just get it. I did check and my insert on there now appears to be about 1/8” thick. So it would be SOOO much easier just buying it. THANKS! And I will double check the part before I order. At least you got me in the right place.

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