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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
I’m a beginner working on a zero clearance insert for my table saw. The depth on the saw insert is .30” and I am working with .50” oak. For the width I cut it out on a bandsaw and was planning to get it to exact length with a template bit on the router table, using the original metal insert from the saw as the guide.

For the depth, I was planning to plane a certain amount of material from the insert and then send the rest of the way, testing frequently for fit.

For the sanding, I am going to pick up one of these: http://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-Oscillating-Edge-Belt-Spindle-Sander-EB4424/100061671#.Uh9TJRvbMuz

My question is, is the way I described the best way to go about doing this? I realize the fit has to be dead on in this case.

And, this will be my first time planing and using a sander of this kind. Is there an amount of material I should a. look to take off in planing vs. sanding (I have a caliper measurer) and b. is there a maximum amount of material I should be taking off with each planing pass (I have the dewalt planer if that matters).

Any other tips for this process is appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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You will not be able to get the same dimensions as the present insert using a bushing and router, due to the width of the bushing.

If you are going to get the Ridgid Oscillating Belt Sander, then just mark out the dimensions with the present insert, but close to the line on the bandsaw, then sand to the line on the Ridgid. This is how I made my inserts.

The 0.3 in is likely at the 4 spots which support the insert. You want the insert to be thicker for stability. I marked out the areas of the support then used a hand chisel to remove the excess material.

I also installed small screws in the underneath to allow leveling. The 4 support areas are not likely to be exactly co-planer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the answer Dave. A few follow ups if I may:

Regarding this:

"The 0.3 in is likely at the 4 spots which support the insert. You want the insert to be thicker for stability. I marked out the areas of the support then used a hand chisel to remove the excess material."

I also installed small screws in the underneath to allow leveling. The 4 support areas are not likely to be exactly co-planer.

Am I still planing away some of the thickness, or everything by sanding?

For the screws do I need leveling screws or any screws will work?

Thanks.
 

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I've done it both with #4 or #6 pan headed sheet metal screws, and I've drilled holes and screwed in set screws....both work just as well.
 

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I used short flat head screws. Then drilled a small countersink for the head.

If the screw protrudes through the top, just file off the excess.

Set screws will also work. I just had the flat head style on hand.

As Ryan50hrl said, you can also make pan head screws work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, thank you. Sorry if I am being dense, on the thickness side do I plane a certain amount off and then sand? Or sand the whole way?
 

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OK, thank you. Sorry if I am being dense, on the thickness side do I plane a certain amount off and then sand? Or sand the whole way?
You are using 1/2in thick material. If you chisel out the areas for the supports you should not need to plane. Only should need to lightly sand to get smooth.

If you do need to reduce to a consistent 0.3in I would plane off as much as possible, this will go much faster than sanding.
 

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Planing is simpler (unless it's by hand); you can also rabbit out the edges using your router table. For sanding, I rough cut mine out and then stationary mounted a belt sender and sanded down to size (pencil mark and constant checking/re-checking); same concept as your spindle sander, I just didn't want to buy one. :) The fit ended up vastly superior than the stock throat plate.
 

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I always made mine by passing a board through the planer until it was proper thickness. After that I would scroll saw the pattern, drill the holes and install.
 

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Having spent a lot of time contouring my ZC inserts to fit the fairly complicated Delta 300 TS insert bed I decided to try something more simple. I cut my 3/8" oak to a smaller size to fit under the metal insert and clear all obstacles, then using a 3/4" flat router bit I take of the thickness of wood equal to the thickness of the metal insert leaving the strip that fits into the metal insert gap. I have already drilled and countersunk the metal plate, it is a matter of clamping the Oak to the insert, drilling and fixing them together. With one router set up I can turn out a few inserts in advance. Works for me.
 

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where's my table saw?
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I didn't make a whole new insert

Some saws have a cast metal throat plate for an insert. My Newer 22124 Craftsman is like that so instead of making a completely new plate here's what I did instead.
I made a 1"or so hardwood strip that was a wedge fit in the slot from underneath. Then a 1/2" wide x 1/8" thin strip that fit in the blade slot from above and glued them together:

Then I changed out the 10" GP blade to a 7 1/4" blade to allow raising it up from underneath the new insert, since the 10" won't even spin.

The width of the kerf on the smaller blade must be at least the same or greater or the 10" won't spin freely. I used a full kerf 71/4" blade and I raised it as high as it would go. On my saw the blade comes slightly forward as it's raised, so I had to elongate the kerf to the front a bit by hand to allow the 10" blade to spin freely.

I then used the fence to hold down the plate and slowly raised the 10" blade under power, into the insert, but not to full height ...yet.


Now it's good to go. I just need to remember it's not at full height...yet and if I do need more height, turn on the saw FIRST and then raise the blade. :laughing: Unlike the last time when I jammed the blade into the insert and then turned saw on....:thumbdown: :furious::no::wallbash:


This may not work for everyone, but it's a quick fix. The stock insert has all the leveling screws and is plenty stiff. The wooden insert can be popped out to allow for a bevel cut at any time, but it then won't be a ZCI. The 2 tips here are using a smaller diameter blade to cut the first kerf and using the stock plate rather than making a whole new one. The wooden insert can be hot glued in for more assurance it won't drop down unexpectedly.
 

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my other saw has a thin insert plate

So I used a slightly different approach:
Here's how I make mine. I use 1/8th inch plywood since it's the same thickness as my plate. I rip a bunch of lengths slightly longer than the opening and exactly the same width. I round off the ends on a sander and Whamo!:blink: I'm done.

TO FULLY SUPPORT THE INSERT AND TO BE ABLE TO RUN NARROW STOCK, A FULL LENGTH BLOCK SHOULD BE HOT GLUED TO THE UNDERSIDE OF THE PLATE.
SEE PHOTO BELOW!
Don't ask me how I came to know this! :blink::no: bill
Attached Thumbnails
 

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I made mine out of 1/2" mdf and used a pattern router bit to copy the factory insert. The mdf was slightly too thick so I sanded it down to match.

I wonder, has anyone run mdf through a planer? I don't think it would cause any problems.
 

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I made mine out of 1/2" mdf and used a pattern router bit to copy the factory insert. The mdf was slightly too thick so I sanded it down to match.

I wonder, has anyone run mdf through a planer? I don't think it would cause any problems.
It'll dull your blades like nothing else.
 

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So I used a slightly different approach:
Here's how I make mine. I use 1/8th inch plywood since it's the same thickness as my plate. I rip a bunch of lengths slightly longer than the opening and exactly the same width. I round off the ends on a sander and Whamo!:blink: I'm done.

TO FULLY SUPPORT THE INSERT AND TO BE ABLE TO RUN NARROW STOCK, A FULL LENGTH BLOCK SHOULD BE HOT GLUED TO THE UNDERSIDE OF THE PLATE.
SEE PHOTO BELOW!
Don't ask me how I came to know this! :blink::no: bill
Attached Thumbnails
interesting approach. i have two similar emerson electric built TSs so i'm interested in this approach. and you feel this is easier, or in some other way advantageous, over fabricating the entire ZCI from some thing like plywood or MDF?
 
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