Making a zero clearance insert with a crappy table saw - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Making a zero clearance insert with a crappy table saw

Have a cheaper 10" craftsman table saw. I want to buy a set of dado blades but I am not sure about the Insert. Can I make one for my table saw? It's a craftsman 137.248760. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 07:11 PM
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ZCI's are easily made for the particular requirement. Simply make a hardwood insert to fit your saw, making it flush with the table top. With your fence as close as you can safely get it to the blades, slowly but firmly, raise your blades to their maximum height. The rest is polyergonomically horrific. Do the best you can.

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....get blood on it.

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post #3 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 07:15 PM
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I broke the pot metal insert on my saw and made one from 1/2" oak I had on hand. I layered painters tape over it in two directions and also set the fence over the top to help hold it down, just beside the blade. Fire it up and slowly raise through the insert.

So far-do good! TM

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post #4 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 07:22 PM
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I've never bought a dado insert. I've always made one out of wood. If the craftsman saw is anything like the saw in that where the insert rests is only about 1/4" thick. I made the inserts out of 1/2" baltic birch plywood and rabbeted around the edges so that it would fit the saw.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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My issue isn't with the blade or the size. It's more of the depth. The lips that are supposed to hold it are only a 1/8" down and I know wood that thick would not work for this. Any suggestions? I could take some pics if that would help any.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 08:35 PM
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The pot tin insert on my even older Craftsman measures in at a whopping 3/32". I tried routing a larger block to be glued underneath, with part filling the slot so that it would be flush with the top, but then I wanted to be able to change it easily and that wasn't working.

I ended up making a simple sled for all cross cuts and an axillary fence w/ thin mdf base topped by a second piece for rips for when I really care. That's not the best solution either, but it sorta works.

If you figure out a good solution I'd love to hear it.

If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway!
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverikck2002 View Post
My issue isn't with the blade or the size. It's more of the depth. The lips that are supposed to hold it are only a 1/8" down and I know wood that thick would not work for this. Any suggestions? I could take some pics if that would help any.
That makes it hard. Have you searched ebay for the insert? There are 41 there now but most describe them by dimension rather than the model number. Another option would be to look for some 1/8" sheet aluminum and cut one yourself. Aluminum can be cut and fabricated with woodworking tools. It's just hard on the tools so use old bits and blades. The slot could be cut with a router and the outside could be cut on a bandsaw and sanded. I believe Tractor Supply sells aluminum diamond plate which is smooth on the back side.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-01-2014, 02:39 AM
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Its not as easy as it sounds to make one for your small table top saw, but it is "doable". I made a few for a similar saw I owned for years before buying the current saw.

I used 1/8" thick Baltic Birch plywood from Lowes to make them and I added washers as shims between the saw base and the plywood at the hold down screws.

Once you get an insert cut to fit in the blade opening, then its just a matter of turning on the saw and raising the blade up through the newly made insert.

I'm not a big fan of using the fence to hold the insert as the blade is raised. I much prefer clamping a piece of 2x scrap across the entire table (front to back) and letting the blade cut into the 2x as it comes up.

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post #9 of 12 Old 04-01-2014, 07:29 AM
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I agree on not using the fence to hold the insert in place when raising the blade through it. A scrap of wood clamped front to back over the insert works great. Baltic birch is awesome for inserts.

Red

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post #10 of 12 Old 04-01-2014, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverikck2002 View Post
My issue isn't with the blade or the size. It's more of the depth. The lips that are supposed to hold it are only a 1/8" down and I know wood that thick would not work for this. Any suggestions? I could take some pics if that would help any.
Take some pics but that really shouldn't be a problem. I make mine out of Pergo flooring left-overs and have to rabbet my lip to 3/16. It doesn't bend and is strong as can be. You don't need wood that's 1/8", any of the plywood mentioned, phenolic, or the laminate flooring I mentioned will be fine. Just get the lip to the depth you need.

Making your own is the way to go, that way you can make it super snug.
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-01-2014, 12:26 PM
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I made an aluminum ZCI (on a mill at work) that uses a dovetail to hold a wood insert. That way I replace only the simple wood insert as needed. I made the cutout in the aluminum accommmodate regular blades and a dado blade. I put 4-40 set screws in each corner so I can adjust it flush with the table.

Here is the link, see post #29:

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/ne...-58675/index2/

The wood insert in the pictures was just a test piece that doesn't fit as good as the final ones I made.

Steve
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-01-2014, 07:39 PM
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I have used laminated flooring to make my inserts. One thing, if you make one, you need to install a piece on the underside that will prevent the insert from rising. it should extend to the underside of the forward part of the insert opening.
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