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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Short Summary for the TL;DR Crowd (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Colliflower / Infinity Tools redesigned their Zero Clearance Throat Plate and replaceable inserts for SawStop Cabinet and Contractor saws. They sent me a replacement after I posted a critique on WoodworkingTalk about minor design flaws in the previous version of the product. The design improvements corrected the issues that I described. Now I recommend it without hesitation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Background

In several posts on WoodworkingTalk, I complained about flaws in the design of a zero clearance throat plate with removable inserts for my SawStop cabinet saw, sold by Infinity Tools. David Venditto, the president and founder of Infinity Tools, joined WoodworkingTalk and responded to my posts. A few months later, he posted to say that the throat plate had been redesigned and offered to send the new version to me. The new design addresses my complaints, and I am impressed with their service. See posts #4, #9, and beyond in this thread:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/threads/infinity-tools-problem.223501

DISCLAIMERS:
Infinity Tools sent me the redesigned throat plate as a courtesy without charge, in response to my public posts. They never asked me to post additional comments or write this review. I paid for additional replaceable inserts from my own pocket.
-> Owners of the previous versions who wish to upgrade to the new design can purchase the new throat plate and new inserts from the Infinity Tools website.

This review is my best effort to provide honest feedback about the new design. In addition to the throat plate for SawStop cabinet/contractor saws reviewed here, Infinity Tools sells similar throat plates with replaceable inserts for several popular table saw models. I have included links below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Introduction

Every table saw has a large hole surrounding the blade. A flat cover fits over the hole and supports the wood as you make cuts on the table saw. Some people call them throat plates, while others call them inserts, insert plates, or zero clearance inserts. What you call them does not matter - everyone will understand what you mean. The throat plate sits flush with the table without a bump or edge, so that wood moves smoothly across as you cut it. Pre-made throat plates come in a variety of materials. Some woodworkers make their own throat plates from wood or phenolic.

Some throat plates have a solid back and are intended for dado blades. Other throat plates are divided in the back. The gap allows your table saw's riving knife or splitter to move up and down with the blade.

All throat plates have a slot in the middle where the blade protrudes. Some throat plates come with wide slots, especially the older ones made from metal. Other woodworkers use the same throat plate for dados and single blades. Wide slots leave gaps when a narrower dado or single blade is used. The wood is unsupported over the gaps, resulting in tearout. Chips can fall in the gaps, potentially deflecting the blade or jamming it completely. None of those events are good.

The solution to the gap problem is a zero clearance insert (ZCI). A zero clearance insert is a type of throat plate where the slot is tightly fitted around the blade. The wood is fully supported on both sides of the blade, reducing or eliminating tearout. The tight fit prevents loose pieces or chips of wood from falling down or jamming between the blade and the insert. In other words, there is "zero clearance" on either side of the blade. To make the slot, you lower the blade all the way below the table surface, turn on the saw, and then slowly raise the blade so that it cuts a perfectly fitted slot from underneath the throat plate. (Note: Depending on your saw and throat plate design, you may want to clamp a long board securely over the throat plate, to hold it down for safety as you raise the blade. Some people use the rip fence, but be careful not to cover the blade area with it.)

One problem with zero clearance inserts is that you need one for every blade width, blade angle, and dado width that you use. If you buy zero clearance insert throat plates from the table saw manufacturer, it can get expensive. Depending on your table saw model, zero clearance inserts can range from under $10 to over $60 each. SawStop brand zero clearance inserts for cabinet and contractor table saws cost $50 each. You may be able to save money buying third-party zero clearance inserts for your table saw model. Some people make their own inserts. Depending on which table saw you own, inserts may be easy to make, or they may complex and challenging. Some inserts have unusual shapes, indentations, lock-down mechanisms, etc. Here is a zero clearance insert procedure that I wrote for a Bosch REAXX table saw. See for yourself how complex it is:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/thr...w-make-your-own-zero-clearance-insert.196969/

Photos:
  • Throat Plate with Wide Slot - Note the gap next to the side of the blade.
  • Blade Cutting Zero Clearance Slot - The blade is cutting a zero clearance slot. There are no gaps on either side of the blade for chips or pieces of wood to fall into.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
An Alternative Zero Clearance Insert Solution from Infinity Tools

Infinity Tools sells aluminum throat plates with inexpensive replaceable inserts. The throat plates with replaceable inserts are available for many brands of table saws and also DeWalt miter saws. I have included a list and direct links at the end of this review.

The replaceable inserts are held in the middle of the aluminum throat plate. You raise the blade through the replaceable insert, making it a zero clearance insert. The replaceable inserts all share the same throat plate frame. The beauty of the design is that they are quick and easy to swap out. On the SawStop models, the replaceable inserts slide in and out. No tools are necessary. For other versions, they are held in place with screws.

The inserts are low cost, so you can have many different replaceable inserts, one for each blade, blade angle, and dado width that you use. If a replaceable insert gets too bunged-up, just throw it away and replace it with a new one. I use a Sharpie marker to label the backs of the replaceable inserts to remind me which insert belongs to which blade, angle, or dado width.

Replaceable inserts can significantly reduce your storage space requirements. A bunch of throat plates can take a lot of room in your shop. The replaceable inserts are thin and relatively narrow, and are easily stacked in a small space. You can stack four replaceable inserts in the same space as one zero clearance throat plate.

The throat plates (zero clearance inserts) for SawStop are designed and made in the USA by Colliflower, LLC.

Photos:
  • Throat Plate with Replaceable Inserts 1 - This is the new model Throat Plate for SawStop cabinet and contractor table saws from Infinity Tools
  • Throat Plate with Replaceable Inserts 2 - Another view.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Issues with the Older Design for the SawStop Cabinet and Contractor Table Saws

I found two major issues with the old model throat plate (old model 100-356) and posted a critique. See posts #4, #9, and beyond in this thread:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/threads/infinity-tools-problem.223501

Interference with Anti-Kickback Pawls
If you forget to raise the anti-kickback pawls before lowering the blade, the tips of the anti-kickback pawls will dig into the aluminum throat plate, raising sharp gouges in the aluminum throat plate. The gouges can easily scratch your wood. I had to file the gouges down to prevent them from damaging the wood being cut. Furthermore, an adjustment hole in the throat plate can catch a point on the left pawl, putting stress on the splitter/blade guard parts and the blade raising/lowering mechanism.

Poor Support for Left Side of Replaceable Insert
When you are using a standard blade with the splitter/blade guard/pawls, the replaceable insert is split through to the back. The left side of the replaceable insert is thin and poorly supported. It wants to pinch the blade, and may catch and lift up as you raise the blade. There is a screw hole underneath to anchor it and prevent pinching, but it a poor solution because the "finger" is so thin and weak. I cracked a couple replaceable insert fingers trying to do that, before giving up and allowing the finger to float freely - not the best situation.

Photos:
  • Old Model Issues - You can see where the anti-kickback pawls have gouged the surface of the aluminum throat plate. I had to file them down to prevent scratches in the wood being cut. You can also see how the left side of the replaceable insert is poorly supported and pulls away. A blade will hold it in place, but it is not ideal.
  • Hold Down Screw Holes - Shows the location of the hold down screws for the two sides of the replaceable insert, below the leveling slots. The hole on the right is too close to the edge for the screw to hold the thin left finger in place (when flipped over).
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Redesigned Throat Plate (Zero Clearance Insert) for SawStop Cabinet and Contractor Table Saws

Colliflower recently redesigned their throat plate for SawStop Cabinet and Contractor Saws, sold by Infinity Tools. They made several improvements that addressed the issues I described online. This new, improved version (model 100-358) solves those issues with major design improvements:

Wider Replaceable Insert
The replaceable insert has been widened. This means that both sides of the anti-kickback pawls fall on the replaceable insert. The anti-kickback pawls cannot touch the aluminum throat plate. It eliminates the "sharp gouge damaging your wood" problem.

The SawStop anti-kickback pawls can still catch and dig in on the replaceable insert if you forget to raise them before lowering the blade, but it doesn't matter any more. Gouges in the removable insert material (coated MDF) are easily smoothed over with a fingernail or sandpaper. They are not a concern and can't scratch your wood.

One of the through holes for adjusting the rear SawStop leveling screws is now covered by the wider replaceable insert in the new design, but it is not an issue. Simply remove the replaceable insert before leveling the throat plate with the saw table. Leveling should be a one-time task.

Shallow Raised Lip on the Left Side of the Throat Plate
The new throat plate design includes a thin, shallow raised lip in the back, next to the left side of the blade. The top of the lip is below the surface of the throat plate. It keeps the left side "finger" of the replaceable insert aligned, and prevents it from pinching the blade or catching on it. The lip obviates the need for a screw hole underneath to hold it down. The replaceable inserts for dado stacks have a groove in the bottom to clear the lip and prevent it from being an obstruction. If you make your own replaceable inserts, it will take an extra step to add a clearance groove - no big deal.

There are three types of replaceable inserts:
  • Solid - For dado stacks.
  • Open Back - For standard blades. It is split all the way to the back for the splitter / blade guard / anti-kickback pawl assembly.
  • Closed Back - For standard blades. It has space for the riving knife but not the blade guard with anti-kickback pawls.
The difference is not all that significant. You can cut slots in the dado inserts to make extra open back inserts as needed. I do.

The throat plate comes with two replaceable inserts - one open back and one closed back. Infinity Tools sells two types of insert packs, with four inserts for $13.90.
  • A mixed pack with one open back, two closed back, and one solid
  • A dado pack with four solids.
Pay attention to make sure you order the matching new, wider inserts for the latest throat plate design. (Infinity Tools continues to make and sell smaller inserts for their earlier throat plate designs.)

You can also make your own replaceable inserts. I was informed by the manufacturer that updated instructions to make your own inserts for this new model will be made available soon.

Photos:
  • Replaceable Insert is Wider - The anti-kickback pawls cannot dig into the aluminum plate.
  • Pawl Catches on Insert, NOT Throat Plate - Shows how pawls catch on the soft, cheap replaceable insert, which is easily fixed with a fingernail or sandpaper.
  • Raised Lip on Throat Plate - Keeps left side of replaceable insert in place.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Summary/Conclusion

The newly redesigned Throat Plate (model 100-358) for SawStop Cabinet and Contractor Table Saws is a significant improvement over the previous version (old model 100-356). It a great product that makes an unlimited variety of zero clearance inserts affordable, and uses far less storage space. It clearly addresses the design issues with the previous version. I highly recommend it for SawStop cabinet and contractor saw owners as a welcome replacement for expensive SawStop brand throat plates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Web Links

Infinity Tools offers several models of throat plates with replaceable inserts for table saws, including SawStop (all models), Delta (left or right tilt), Powermatic 66, Jet (left or right tilt), Craftsman and Ridgid (3/32 and 7/16 thickness), and General Model 650. This review focuses on the version for my SawStop cabinet saw.

SawStop Cabinet and Contractor Saws - This is the newly designed throat plate and inserts that I received and reviewed above:
Throat Plate and Two Inserts, Part Number: 100-358
Four Additional Inserts Part Number: 100-358IP (mixed inserts), 100-358DIP (all solid dado inserts)
https://www.infinitytools.com/sawstop-zero-clearance-throat-plate-with-two-inserts-4758

SawStop Jobsite Saws (not reviewed):
https://www.infinitytools.com/sawstop-z-c-i-for-jobsite-saw

Colliflower, LLC - Designer of Throat Plates / Zero Clearance Inserts for SawStop:
http://www.colliflower-zci.com

Similar Throat Plates Sold by Infinity Tools for Other Table Saws
They are a different style with screw-down replaceable inserts. They are NOT Colliflower brand:
https://www.infinitytools.com/tru-cut-saw-insert-systems
... and for DeWalt Miter Saws:
https://www.infinitytools.com/z-c-i-for-dewalt-miter-saws-2
 
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