Can't get blade far enough below table on Delta Unisaw for zero clearance.

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Forum topic by skozub posted 02-19-2008 02:09 AM 9880 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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59 posts in 4026 days

02-19-2008 02:09 AM

I made a few zero clearance throat insert plates for my table saw this afternoon but when I went to use one I found that I couldn’t lower my blade far enough into the cabinet base to insert the new throat plate. Proper order should be: lower the blade all the way into the cabinet, drop in the new throat plate, place the fence over a small portion of the throat plate (or use some other method to hold down the plate) then turn on the saw and raise the blade up through the new insert. Now you have a zero clearance insert.

My problem is that I can’t get the blade far enough below the top so the throat plate will sit flush (the blade is so high it holds the plate up. What gives?

I have a Delta Unisaw (36-L31X). I pulled out the manual and even called Delta to see if there was some stop, I was not aware of that I could easily adjust. Neither was very helpful.

Here’s what I’ve found: The teeth on the arbor assembly ride along the worm drive component on the raising shaft. At each end of the teeth are two larger ‘teeth’ that act like stops and prevent the blade from being lowered or raised any further. The ‘blade low point’ stop tooth is engaging on the worm drive component too soon. I need to get my blade to go lower into the base so it seems I need the worm drive component to be further forward on the raising shaft (i.e. closer to the raising/lowering wheel on the font of the saw).

I can loosen the 3/4” hex nut on the outfeed side of the rising shaft and move the shaft further forward but I don’t have a lot of additional space beyond the hex nut so I’m a little hesitant to weaken that connection by giving it less real estate.

Is there any thing else I can do to try and get the worm drive on the rising shaft further forward? It looks like there is some pin on the worm drive component but I fiddled with it for a bit and couldn’t get any results.

Anything I need to be concerned with by trying this adjustment myself vs. hauling it to the Delta folks to fix.





15 replies so far

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4107 days

#1 posted 02-19-2008 02:28 AM

It’s a common problem. I have a 30 year old Craftsman with the same problem. I bought a commerial zero clearence for mine. They said start the cut with a dado blade then finish with 10” blade. Don’t mess with the saw. Hope this helps.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4256 days

#2 posted 02-19-2008 02:28 AM

You’re right. It doesn’t lower far enough for that. None of them do. What you need to do is clear out
a portion about 1/4” deep and 1/4” wide with a router.

To determine where to cut place your plate in place and tap one it hard enough to make the blade
leave an imprint on the bottom.

Either that or use a single dado blade which has a smaller diameter or any blade with a 5/8” hole and smaller than 10” in diameter.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4289 days

#3 posted 02-19-2008 02:30 AM

Or, you can put a blade on from your dado set which is either 7 or 8” and start your cut.
Switch to your 10” blade and finish.
I did mean the full blade.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4142 days

#4 posted 02-19-2008 03:50 AM

I agree with Bob. The easiest way is to start with a smaller diameter blade. It doesn’t matter if it is a wider kerf, you don’t go all the way through the insert. Just enough to be able to fit the 10” blade on the saw with the insert in place. Make sure you take lots of safety precautions to keep the insert down on the table (clamp a 2×4 to the table over the insert).

-- Happy woodworking!

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4054 days

#5 posted 02-19-2008 05:35 AM

Or, clamp new ZCI over an installed old one to start the cut and give you clearance. (2×4 and c-clamps) Personally, I use a similar kerf blade from my dado or circular saw. Due to the smaller radius of the 8” or 7 1/4” blade, you will have to run it up almost full height to allow for the larger radius on the TS blade (mine is a 10” TS)


-- Go

View fidelfs's profile


14 posts in 4334 days

#6 posted 02-19-2008 06:09 AM

I had a similar problem a long ago. I read in some magazine or “Tools and Techniques” with David Teal the correct way to start a new zero insert is to use a dado blade. The dado blade is 8” and it will go low enough to allow start the table saw and raise it. The dado blades are 1/8” (not the chippers), same as your 10” blade unless you bought the thin blade. Look at your blade if it says .100 kerf is a thin blade, 1/8 is ,125 kerf.

Even if you use the 1/8 and you have thin blade it won’t matter, your zero clearance will be ok.

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4441 days

#7 posted 02-19-2008 06:10 AM

I, too, agree with Bob #2. That’s how I did mine – works just fine.

-- Ethan,

View Hutch's profile


106 posts in 4165 days

#8 posted 02-19-2008 04:05 PM

I get out my marking guage and strike two lines 1/8 inch apart and get my 1/8” chisel and start… just kidding. Go with the Dado blade, especially if you are making a zero clearance with the blade tilted.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4033 days

#9 posted 02-19-2008 04:28 PM

Here’s another vote for using the dado blade. It works fine.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4161 days

#10 posted 02-19-2008 05:07 PM

I’m with Bob#2 and having said that. A cheapie 6 or 8” blade if you dont own dadoes

Dont do this at home. I put the blade as low as it will go, slide the fence over so that the zero clearance plate can be seated against fence and go down perfectly into the opening that houses it. Do a dry run….drop the plate into the houseing at the front of your saw (assuming the front is where you normally stand) and lower the plate down the fence and into the housing. like I said…..I might not do that if I were you?...but I would do it. <g>

When I make a four piece door frame that holds glass I run my mortises and tenons through just like I would if it had a solid wood panel in it. I remove the back of the panel surround so that the glass fits, then add trim to miter in the glass. I remove those strips of wood by measuring and transfering those measurements to the fence on the tablesaw. By pencil marks it gives me a start and stop position. I then place the door against the fence and carefully lower the door onto the blade…......the stops show me where to start and stop so the cuts dont pass right through. I then use a sharp chisel to cut the final cut at the corners.

I might not do that at home either ?

If it doesnt FEEL safe….......then it probably isnt.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4107 days

#11 posted 02-20-2008 06:01 AM


-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4031 days

#12 posted 02-20-2008 06:23 AM

I hear ya Odie.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4289 days

#13 posted 02-21-2008 03:16 PM

This is a neat two in one solution too.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View skozub's profile


59 posts in 4026 days

#14 posted 02-22-2008 01:58 AM

That’s a great ideal Bob #2. I never even considered it but it’s very interesting. Appreciate everyone’s help on this string…I didn’t realize I was the only one…Here I was convinced Delta screwed up my saw only (HA).

Great site…super answers!

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4033 days

#15 posted 02-22-2008 01:49 PM

That was a pretty good video Bob #2. And very safe too.

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