Zero clearance insert

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Project by Alonso posted 07-21-2009 06:19 AM 6959 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first completed project, (well actually fully completed, since I also builded my workbench, mitter saw bench, a bench tool system and a box joint jig, but I haven’t apply any protective finish on them, this is why I call this one the first complete project LMAO.

I want it to have some zero clearance inserts for my new Ridgid R4511, and after watching some videos and reading a few tutorials I decided to start with them. Unfortunatelly at that time I didn’t had the right materials (at first I used 1/2” plywood) and the flush bit for the router that I used wasn’t long enough, I end up gouging my original insert, ( see picture #2). I replace the 1/2” plywood with some 15/32”

At this stage I dind’t knew what to do, after doing some research I found out that SC has some inserts (model 35831) that fit perfectly on my R4511, with that being said I went to my local Woodcraft and got one for $50.00, and also I got a longer flush trim router bit. Now I was back on track.

The rest you can judge by looking to the pictures. I used some polyurathane protective gel, and some little tiny screws that I found on the deepest place of my garage are now the leveling screws for the inserts to sit flush with the top. Total = less than $75 (including the insert replacement from SC)

Any comments will be highly appreciated.

At the same time I would like to ask something. How do I cut the extra part for the riving knife or the blade protector?



-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

13 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4633 days

#1 posted 07-21-2009 06:26 AM

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 4294 days

#2 posted 07-21-2009 06:42 AM

Yeah I read that before but I couldn’t find an effective and safely way to enlarge the opening to allow access for the Riving knife he does not specified how he made them so I guess I will contact PurpLev on this one. thanks

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4565 days

#3 posted 07-21-2009 07:59 AM

Good job.
Depending on where you live, wooden on some poly inserts can warp to some degree. You may want to check those from time to time just to be safe.
Here in Houston, I keep most small things inside due to extreme heat n humidity.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4729 days

#4 posted 07-21-2009 12:06 PM

Nice job.

View David65's profile


190 posts in 4341 days

#5 posted 07-21-2009 04:23 PM

Very nice I did the same thing in gouging my first router table insert because the thickness was off on the bearing.

-- David '65

View Karson's profile


35271 posts in 5456 days

#6 posted 07-21-2009 04:27 PM

The inserts look great. Nice job. I need to make a few for my table saw. My current insert is cast iron so I can’t use it for dados.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4704 days

#7 posted 07-21-2009 04:42 PM

those look great! one of the best, easiest, cheapest upgrades a saw can have!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4704 days

#8 posted 07-21-2009 04:46 PM

I PM’ed Alonso – but though others might benefit from this as well, so:

I cut the opening for the riving knife using a jigsaw – safe no danger operation – and no kick backs.

this also leaves the back of the riving knife in tact, and not split in 2 like factory supplied plates are, which makes their back less rigid.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 4381 days

#9 posted 07-21-2009 06:44 PM

So, doing this in plywood is considered relatively safe? Awhile back I did not have a dado insert and made one out of plywood – and was very paranoid when using it. I finally found a metal insert.

View ChuckM's profile


665 posts in 4722 days

#10 posted 07-22-2009 02:25 AM

In addition to PurpLev’s way of doing it, there’s another simple and more accurate way which I and some others used to create the slot for the splitter (mine is a Rigid TS 3665 and doesn’t have the riving knife):

1) Place your shop-made zero clearance insert on the tablesaw and align the fence on the tablesaw so the blade will cut exactly the same slot that you have cut for the blade

2) Go ahead and cut the insert until the new slot meets the old slot – now you have a long slot running from one end

3) To give the rigidity that PurpLev talked about, glue a short piece of hardwood (same thickness of your slot / blade) into slot at the end (the short piece should not hinder the up and down movement of the riving knife)

That was how I cut the full slot and installed my splitter accurately and quickly. Another advantage was I could use 1/2” plywood and not worry about the blade not sitting down below the insert when I needed to raise the blade to create the slot.

If the above is not clear, email me and I’ll send you a pic.

P.S. If you still have the receipt, you may able to return the $50 insert to Woodcraft now that you have made so many shop-made inserts.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4520 days

#11 posted 07-31-2009 11:44 PM

Just finished making my first insert for my Steel City Saw, Am posting the details on a new project. I’ll have details there. Thanks for the inspiration and getting up my gumption to make this very necessary accessory.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View dlux's profile


54 posts in 4489 days

#12 posted 09-02-2009 06:36 AM

Very nice, and much cheaper than the ones at Woodcraft!

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4344 days

#13 posted 11-15-2009 03:34 PM

nice ZCI it looks good with the blade coming through it

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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