zero clearance table saw insert

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 11-02-2012 10:16 PM 2016 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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850 posts in 2080 days

11-02-2012 10:16 PM

I was trying to find something to do in my shop lastnight and decided to make a new zero clearance insert for my table saw and some extra blanks. So I’m looking around my shop trying to find something to use since my inserts need to be 1/2in or less. I have used MDF and 1/2in plywood. Well, I didnt have either on hand that were the right size without planing some MDF which is horribly messy….then I saw 2 peices of laminate “hard wood” flooring left over from the dog box I made so I thought I would give it a try. It was a little under 0.5in so I had to add some threaded inserts. It actually worked out great! I decided to have the “grain” showing so it would look pretty. The other side is just solid tan, though both sides were nice and slick. It machined really easy since it is mostly MDF. I did add a little support to the underside since it was warped before I used it. But I got 3 blanks out of one piece, and it looks like nice polished hard wood insert:) Any other ideas for zero clearance inserts?

11 replies so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2235 days

#1 posted 11-02-2012 11:59 PM


Any flat, stable plywood, MDF, flooring or laminate will serve the purpose. A little to thin or thick can cause probles with smaller boards and precision with to thick of a ZCI with any size boards.

Don’t believe I’ve ever heard a ‘Gloat’ on LJs Site for a real pretty Zero Clearence Insert, but Hey, you may be the Trend Setter for Fine Woodworking ZCIs. :-)

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2756 days

#2 posted 11-03-2012 12:05 AM

Anytime I’m in HD I cruise by their scrap bin in the back. I get small pieces of MDF, particle board, etc to make jigs with. That’s a fancy ZCI you made for sure.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2539 days

#3 posted 11-03-2012 01:51 AM

I use leecraft phenolic inserts, but need to make a new one so I’ll be using baltic birch plywood with formica on both sides.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Handtooler's profile


1540 posts in 2094 days

#4 posted 11-03-2012 05:00 PM

I re-sawed a couple of blanks from scrap Trex decking then band sawed to shape for my Grizzly G0691 and they work nicely. Didn’t save the rough side, but Trex is nice and smooth and slips in evenly. No shims required.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View TheDane's profile


5399 posts in 3625 days

#5 posted 11-03-2012 05:19 PM

FWIW—I made a zero clearance throat plate for my saw that has replaceable inserts …
Click for details

The ‘hard maple inserts’ I used are actually hardwood flooring that I got from my neighbor when he tore out the floor in his hallway. The flooring was 5/16”, so a couple of passes through my DW733 was all it took to get them the right thickness.


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

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2249 days

#6 posted 11-03-2012 05:25 PM

I use LeeCraft, never had a problem.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View MrRon's profile


4710 posts in 3206 days

#7 posted 11-03-2012 05:31 PM

Laminate flooring is actually HDF (High Density Fiber). I used it to make some small drawers, but I found that the material absorbs moisture. The cut edges developed a mold and it swelled. I prefer to use Baltic Birch plywood with a plastic laminate. Here is a little tip for leveling screws: Using #8-32 set screws, drill a tapping hole using a # 30 drill. The usual size tap drill is a #29, but by going one size smaller, the set screw will fit more tightly and not vibrate loose. A 3/8” L set screw in 1/2” thick wood is about right.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2080 days

#8 posted 11-03-2012 05:33 PM

Grandpalen-it is definately one of the prettiest zeroclearances i have ever seen;) lol the dane – that is a great idea, i will def look into that for my next one.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2080 days

#9 posted 11-03-2012 05:36 PM

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2080 days

#10 posted 11-03-2012 05:43 PM

This is my “pretty ” insert :) i hadnt leveled it bc i was in a hurry and my allen wrench walked off

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#11 posted 11-03-2012 06:46 PM

You can use thinner material if you glue little blocks on the bottom and sand them down to the correct height. I have heard of folks using 3/8” Corian for zero clearance inserts. I usually use 1/4”ply.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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