LumberJocks

Newbie question time: table saw inserts and cutting slots

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 06-12-2014 06:09 PM 889 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1830 days


06-12-2014 06:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question dado box joint insert sawstop

I’ve got a Sawstop, though this is not specifically a sawstop question.

I bought a set of Freud box joint cutter table saw blades – they are 8 inch blades and cut 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch grooves. I also bought a sawstop dado brake and a new insert, and a Freud 8 inch dado stack (SD208).

I have never cut dadoes or box joints, aside from one dado in a class once on a pre-set-up machine.

Obviously since it’s a Sawstop I need to swap the brake out first, that’s no problem. My question is about cutting a slot in the new insert. Do I really lower the blade completely, put the insert in, turn the saw on and raise the blade through the insert? How high do I raise it – all the way? Is there anything I need to know to stay safe doing this? Other than, you know, don’t put my hand on top of the insert, and make sure the blade is set to 90 degrees.

I plan on using the box joint set first. I imagine I should I make the widest cut possible (3/8 setup) even if I am planning on starting with 1/4 inch joints. But later on I will use a dado stack which would be wider (maximum 13/16ths). Is it better to get/make another insert at that time so as to keep this one as zero-clearance as possible, or does that not really matter? Should I make the initial cut with the full-width dado stack instead?

The sawstop inserts lock down. How would cutting a slot be done safely with a non-locking insert? If I make some then obviously they won’t lock.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


28 replies so far

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

672 posts in 757 days


#1 posted 06-12-2014 06:13 PM

My understanding is yes, you cut the whole new kerf in one go by raising your blade. Since its an 8 inch stack you shouldn’t have to worry about it sitting too high in its lowest position. Also, clamp a 2×4 over the new insert when you raise the blade, this will ensure it stays in place and also give you the cleanest cut due to the zero clearance you are giving your zero clearance plate. Make sense?

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1830 days


#2 posted 06-12-2014 06:14 PM

Ah yes, the 2×4 does make sense. I’ll definitely do that. Hey, that also solves the question about the non-locking inserts!

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

672 posts in 757 days


#3 posted 06-12-2014 06:18 PM

Glad I could help! I have to say that is a mighty fine bandsaw box you have listed on your projects page. Of all the boxes Ive made, I just got my first bandsaw recently and am eager to try this out. Any tips for a newbie?

EDITED: Also, regarding your question I missed in the original post, I would make a separate insert for each size you use, especially if you want to end up with box jointed boxes. You really want to do everything you can to keep these cuts clean and a true zero clearance insert will go a long way to help.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1830 days


#4 posted 06-12-2014 06:39 PM

Is it worth it to have separate inserts for the 1/4 and 3/8 settings on the box joint blades? Or is 1/8 of clearance between the two not going to make much of a difference?

Thanks for the comments on my box! I have two more that are done except for putting handles on – no idea what to do if not the finger cutout. Might look for some nice hardware somewhere.

My advice is to make LOTS of blanks from cheap wood (like the red cedar I used, I got a 4”x4”x8’ post at a hardware store for $17) and experiment with freehand cut lines. My first few I was too timid with the curves and ended up with ridiculously narrow or squat boxes. Once you have a few exterior cuts that you’ve liked, you can go assembly line and cut each stage of every box at the same time: backs, drawers, drawer backs, etc. That way you’re not setting and resetting the fence every step of the way.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

672 posts in 757 days


#5 posted 06-12-2014 06:45 PM

Elizabeth in my opinion it is worth having a separate insert for every dado cut size you would make. I realize this means spending cash or taking time to build, but trust me you want them. You always want a clean cut, but on box joint you need it to be clean and accurate. I may have never made I bandsaw box but Ive done over 100 box joints, and I learned the hard way.

Thanks for the advice on the badsaw box, your tip works well with how I like to build, I typically set up jigs and do production runs of 6-12 boxes at once. Ill follow your advice and post it when the time comes.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1830 days


#6 posted 06-12-2014 07:05 PM

Thanks for the advice. Do you have any tips on making saw inserts? Best material, that sort of thing? The sawstop ones run $40 each I think.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5100 posts in 1529 days


#7 posted 06-12-2014 07:07 PM

Just saw the email. Looks like situation is covered.
Are you using a 1/4 inch bandsaw blade? How tight is the curve?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

900 posts in 173 days


#8 posted 06-12-2014 07:30 PM

Make one for each major size, standard blade, 1/4” and 3/8” and you won’t have to worry about tear out near as much.

-- "We build our workshops. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor by laboring for more fruits." - Me

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

672 posts in 757 days


#9 posted 06-12-2014 07:34 PM

A lot of people use a lot of things, MDF is popular. Id find some phenolic if you can.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5513 posts in 2062 days


#10 posted 06-12-2014 10:21 PM

”Do you have any tips on making saw inserts? Best material, that sort of thing? ”

The stiffer the better. An insert that flexes leaves you with a rougher cut with less precision. I also like phenolic a lot because it’s strong and machinable.

I use the stock insert as a template to make my own. Trace the insert, use a jigsaw or bandsaw to rough cut slightly proud of the trace line, then use the stock insert as a guide for a router with a straight pattern bit. You can attach the two materials with double sided tape. It’s easy to do several at a time, so that you have blanks on hand. I usually cut just ZCIs….for dados, I start with my most worn ZCI and cut the dado size I need at the time. I’ll recut it if I need a wider one at a later time. Eventually I’ll end with the widest possible width, and will just keep that one for wide dados, then will cut another for narrower dados if needed. I usually end up with a couple of dado sizes, but I don’t see a need for more than that, plus you can use the stock insert for some dado widths.

Something like this (as illustrated by Woodworker’s Guide):

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

2487 posts in 817 days


#11 posted 06-12-2014 10:56 PM

Do you guy do a ZCI for you angled cuts too? Like a 45°?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5513 posts in 2062 days


#12 posted 06-12-2014 11:04 PM

Not usually… I just use the stock insert for 45°. If the alignment is skewed all the way to one side or the other you might have to make one though….

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2860 posts in 1930 days


#13 posted 06-12-2014 11:11 PM

If you cut a 3/8” dado in the ZCI and then want to cut 1/4” fingers, the ZCI is no longer zero clearance. There is only one ZCI for each blade width. A thin kerf blade ZCI will be different from an 1/8” ZCI and different from a dado of any width.

One thing to keep in mind is; the ZCI MUST be a perfect fit in the saw. That means the ZCI cannot move in any X/Y direction. That requires locking down the insert so it cannot move one iota. If the width of the opening was say, 3.152”, the ZCI must measure 3.152” ± .002” (realistic tolerance).

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3859 posts in 2350 days


#14 posted 06-12-2014 11:24 PM

I went with a throat plate that uses replaceable inserts … that way, I can have inserts for as many dado configurations as a I want …
Click for details

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

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1830 days


#15 posted 06-12-2014 11:25 PM

Oh, I remember that Gary…I left a comment on it! Were the modifications very difficult?

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase