Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index

Zero-Clearance Top

Most table saw inserts have wide throat openings around the saw blade. This makes it all too easy for narrow cutoffs to fall in the opening and possibly bind against the blade. In addition, there's often chipout along the bottom face where the workpiece isn't supported.

To solve these problems, I like to use a zero-clearance insert. But as you can see in the drawing, the one I use doesn't replace my standard table saw insert. Instead, I use a large piece of ¼" hardboard that rests on top of the table saw.

Zero Clearance Insert

To locate the top, I set my rip fence for the desired width of cut first. Then I slide the hardboard against the fence and carpet tape it in place. Turning it into a zero clearance top is just a matter of turning on the saw and raising the blade. And the nice thing is you can use this insert many times before it needs to be replaced.


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