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Thread: Zero clearance insert

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan

    Zero clearance insert

    I was not happy with the spring tension type of retainers on my TS insert.
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    It {the insert} had a slight tendency with any downward pressure upon the operators end, to lift/pop up & out some at the out-feed end...probably just like me>worn out , but still, a little nerve racking to say the least. So instead of trying to copy the design or even use the original retainers in the new zero clearance inserts, I decided to make things a tad more secure.

    The saw's throat opening has 4 tabs or ears if you will, that the height adjusting set-screws rest upon.
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    Being that there was plenty of area on each ear, I decided to tap 2 opposing corner tabs to accept 1/4-20 allen head bolts to fasten the insert directly to the TS.
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    Once I had those drilled & tapped, I made a templet from a piece of 1/4" plexiglass which made it very easy to locate each opening for transferring the locations.
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    I used one of those self-centering spring loaded bits to keep centered, and followed up with a step drill bit which allowed the 1/4" opening for the bolt threads & a 3/8" recess for the bolt head. I also drilled a finger 'pull' hole to aid in removing the insert.
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    Then it was simply a matter of drilling & tapping for the 1/4-20 height adjusting set screws.
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    end result...
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    On a related note, I found out that with a 10" blade lowered all the way possible, that it was still too high to secure the insert down & raise the blade up to cut it's zero clearance opening...I looked at a few how to's on utube where the folks were lowering the insert onto a spinning blade...Uhhhmmm no thanks, I've already had the displeasure of donating finger meat to the blade Gods . I just ran the insert {bottom down} across the router table with a 1/4" straight bit set to eat 3/8", that allowed enough clearance, to, as they say, 'git 'er done'.

    So tell me, was this over-kill or the wrong direction? Any suggestions will be noted towards future inserts, & appreciated!
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Ken, the bottom line is if you feel more secure around your table saw by making the modification, that's all that matters. I don't see it as overkill at all, but I guess I'm just too lazy to do that much. Saying that, I might regret it some day!

    Your changes make a lot of sense and are something I can say I doubt I would have thought of doing. My new saw (G0690) has a tab at the outfeed end and a lockdown screw on the infeed end of the throat insert on the factory plates. When I made a zero clearance insert, I tried it without either because the infeed lockdown screw was a pain to deal with on a regular basis. So far, I haven't had an issue with my zero clearance insert lifting on either end. As to the blade clearance below a new zero clearance insert, my saw must lower the blade enough to clear it. I made mine with 1/2" MDF, placed adjustment set screws at locations to match those on the factory plates, leveled the insert and raised the blade through it, using the fence to hold the insert in place. So far, so good.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    What Bill said, if it works for you, it works. We all have our methods and we all adapt things to make our work as safe and enjoyable as possible (I hope). On my previous saw I would just leave a bit of a beaver-tail or insert a roll pin to snug under the rear notch cast into the top of that particular saw for this purpose.

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    That along with the retention screw did the trick. The original inserts for another saw had a worn spring affair like the one that you have corrected for. Your's is a cool modification I could have used.

    To solve the "first cut" issue that almost all saws have I have done a few things; one is the router slot which was my favorite after trying others. another method was using a smaller diameter blade (and old 8" in my case) to cut just enough to allow the intended blade to finish the cut. I always appreciate it when people share their innovations as so many folks can benefit from it.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 09-07-2013 at 12:06 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    another vote for the roll pin up frnt, and i had a saw that had the screw in frnt and think its a good idea that has since been left out on newer saws.. your modifications look great but you could try the pin it works well ken
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    another vote for the roll pin up frnt...
    Actually, the roll pin needs to go at the back of the insert - BEHIND the blade. The front of the insert won't lift, due to the blade's rotation. It'll lift from the back as the blade rotated upwards.

    For the slot, I've found Glenn's method to be the easiest/best.

    BTW, don't forget to replace the ZC insert with a wider one BEFORE you try to tilt the blade. Saves both blades and inserts that way!
    Jim D.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Thanks guys, will try the pin on the next one, that would at least knock off having to add/remove one bolt...too much of a wuss to try using nothing but the weight & fit of the insert alone.

    Good reminder Jim, BTDT many moons ago
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

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