Insert for table saw.

Zero clearance insert for homemade table saw

When it comes to making a homemade table saw with a disc saw, one of the problems we will encounter is what to do with the groove through which the saw’s cutting disc protrudes. It is not really a big problem if we intend to always leave the disk at 90 degrees, but if we are going to use the disk at an inclined angle, for example at 45 degrees, having two slots, one next to the other on our table top does not seem the most appropriate (or aesthetic). One option is to use inserts with the groove adjusted to the thickness of the saw blade.

In the video we see the procedure I used: cut a large hole to allow the blade of our circular saw to tilt and make it easier to change the blade, mill a rabbet around it, fit the insert and cut the groove in the insert. However, we will have to have an insert for each blade inclination we want, typically for 90º and for 45º.

Recess for the insert.

Watching the video you will think that milling the rabbet almost by hand can be complicated, but surely if you practice a little before and cut the perimeter with a cutter you will be able to do it without any problem. Another option is to place a frame of slats all around the hole to guide the milling machine and avoid overshooting. Then you will have to adjust the insert to the milled rabbet. Everyone can choose the system that seems most comfortable to them.

Table saw insert.

If the table saw you have is not homemade, but purchased, it is also advisable to make inserts adjustable to the thickness of the blade, since table saws available for sale usually have a slot that is much wider than the thickness of the blade. The advantage of the insert is that because the slot is so narrow, it helps to contain the splinters that would form when the blade cuts, as it cuts in a way that “pushes” the wood down against the tabletop. Because the insert holds the wood around the cut, it largely prevents splintering of the wood and results in much cleaner cuts.

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