|Forum topic by ferstler||posted 11-10-2013 04:34 PM||3271 views||1 time favorited||13 replies|
11-10-2013 04:34 PM
Hey! Many of us have made or purchased zero-clearance throat plates for table saws and even miter saws. I certainly have made those items for those particular tools that I own. A tight throat plate reduces tear out with miter crosscutting and also keeps large items from falling down into the blade housing area of a table saw when ripping off small sections.
However, I wonder how many of us have created plates of that kind for our band saws. My Ridgid unit has a plate with enough clearance to allow for bevel cuts (this is one reason why miter and table saws also have factory plates with wide openings), and so it was not unusual at all for really small pieces cut from workpieces to tumble down into the lower wheel area and have the potential to get snagged between the band and the wheel. I rarely do bevel cuts with my saw, so the wide opening of the factory plate had no advantage for me at all.
My solution was to cut a throat plate from a piece of 1/8-inch Masonite, notch it and then, after carefully marking the line I wanted to cut, use the band saw (with the factory plate installed) to cut a groove that would deliver really tight clearance around that blade. To do the circular cut, I used the original plate to draw a circle on the Masonite sheet and then used a scroll saw to cut it down to approximate size. (This could also be done with a band saw if it had a skinny blade, but I normally have a 1/2 incher in my unit; and I have a scroll saw.) I then used my bench-top sander to carefully work the diameter down to the exactly the right size and used the scroll saw to also cut a proper alignment notch.
Actually, with my Ridgid unit a 1/8-inch thick Masonite piece is a tad too thick, so I had to use my sander to carefully reduce the thickness around the edge area. This is tricky to do and in most cases the recess might either be a bit too deep (making the plate sit too low in the recess) or somewhat irregular (making it tend to be a bit tippy).
The solution was to mix up some two-part epoxy and coat the cut area on the underside of the new plate all the way around. Then, after the stuff hardened about 75 percent and was no longer seriously tacky (and putting some rubbed out paste wax or talcum powder into the recess on the cast-iron work table) to put it into the recess, push down just hard enough to get it absolutely flush with the cast-iron work surface, and then remove it so that it could finish hardening. The result, after the drying was completed, was a throat plate that is flush and free of space that would the cut chips to fall through.
Two photos are attached. One shows the original Ridgid plate, and I should note that I had drilled some breather holes in it some time back to allow it to draw dust into the lower chamber more easily; a move that really was a waste of time, I think. The second shows the new plate, installed. I made several other plates and keep them on hand in case the new one gets damaged down the line.
I’ll keep the original plate, of course, just in case I want to do some bevel cuts.