Insert with Splitter
Using a splitter is a good
idea any time you need to rip a board on the table saw, see photo. The splitter
helps prevent the kerf from closing on the back of the blade as you rip long
workpieces. Many saws now come with manufactured splitters (or they're
available as an accessory).
I use a shop-made splitter that's built into my
throat opening insert. It also has the advantage of being a zero-clearance
insert narrow pieces can't fall down between the blade and the opening
in the insert. Here's how I made mine.
Safety note: I'm not showing a blade
guard on the table saw so the operation can be shown more clearly. But please,
use your guard whenever possible.
Start by using a blank that matches
the thickness of the old insert. For my tablesaw, I use 1/2" MDF. It's a little
thin, so I just shim it until it's flush with the top of the saw table. (I like
to use tape for a shim.)
Next, trace the outline of the original
insert onto the blank and rough cut it, see the drawing at left. The easiest
way I've found to trim the blank to the same shape as the original, is to
carpet tape the blank to the insert. Then I mount a flush trim bit in my router
table and trim the blank to shape, see the inset drawing left.
When I'm ready to rip the blade slot
in the new insert, I carefully align the rip fence with the edge of the
original insert, as shown in the drawing at right. Then I rip the slot, turning
off the saw when I'm 3" from the end.
Lastly, I make the splitter by ripping a piece to the exact thickness of the kerf.
I like to sand the end closest to the blade to a point. This keeps the workpiece
from getting "hung up" on the splitter. Then the splitter is simply glued into
the kerf, as shown in the drawing at left.