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Zero Clearance Inserts (2004)

These are a critical piece of safety equipment, and they are very easy to make. No need to spend your hard earned money on pre-made inserts.

Simply affix the insert that came with your saw to a piece of ˝ ply (or mdf or corian or…) and use a router with a flush trim bit to exactly duplicate the shape and size of your factory insert. Cut a finger hole to remove them easily and provide make-up air for dust collection. I use a small brad at the rear of the ZCI’s to keep them from tipping up out of the saw. Drill holes and thread 4 set screws to level the ZCI with the table top. SECURELY clamp them to into your saw and SLOWLY raise the blade through the blank inserts to cut a slot with “zero clearance”.

I paint mine red and topcoated with poly and wax, but this is not necessary. I like the look of the red paint to subliminally remind me to keep my digits clear of the area. The poly and wax helps reduce friction.

Make a bunch at the same time. You’ll need them for your regular blades as well as your dado sets.

© Copyright 2006 Chris Billman