Zero Clearance Inserts for SC table saw

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Project by BTKS posted 08-01-2009 12:18 AM 2942 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have to thank Alonso for getting me in gear to make inserts for my table saw. It is a Steel City model ?. Seems to be the same insert as the Rigid and all the SC line. I have an older craftsman too and I’ve found this insert is easier to make. Basically, it’s a rectangle with rounded corners. I used some scrap QSWO and carefully planed it to just a little thinner than the original with the leveling feet at their final position. I traced two blanks out of the scrap and ripped to the exact original width, cut to length and rounded the corners on the band-saw. The first one, and only at this time, dropped right into place. Had to sand one corner down then level. I used four small brass screws left over from a piano hinge for levelers. Gauged the depth of the rear hold downs then added some slightly larger brass screws, pic 3.
The hardest part was making room for the riving knife. The blade does not drop low enough to clamp the blank down into the slot so I had to VERY carefully catch the blank in the front with a push stick, start the blade, shut it off and let the momentum cut into the blank until it was safely seated in the saw-top cutout. I then clamped the blank with the rip fence and completed the cut. NOW, I realized I still needed more room to bring the riving knife through when I put it back on. I don’t want to cut through the back and lose the rigidity so I flipped it end for end and brought the blade up to full height again. This cut just enough to bring the riving knife through but too tight for safe operation. I pulled it out and used a piece of belt sander belt and a thin file to open the slot. Works great now, won’t have this problem for the dado cutouts.
Pic 5 is the leveling feet. The screws were predrilled and a small countersink added prior to attempting to screw in the soft brass screws.
Final cost was $0. Everything was scrap or left over screws. I skipped the pattern bit out of fear of hitting the steel insert.
Hope this helps someone save some money and have a usefull accessory. I welcome comments and criticism.

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

7 comments so far

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 4299 days

#1 posted 08-01-2009 01:41 AM

Wow I’m glad you got inspired by my ZCI’s I made a couple weeks ago, still I haven’t do the extra cut to allow room for the riving knife ( I hope to do it soon). But yours look so clean, seams to fit tight without need of adjusting screws.
I’m glad you avoided using the flush trim bit to bring the new insert into the right dimensions, but it shouldn’t be a problem hitting the original insert if you use the right bit. (obviously I wasn’t using the right one that’s why I end up gouging mine).
Best part at all is the final result you accomplished and the total cost $$0.00

Great job.

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

View SuperDave02's profile


141 posts in 4292 days

#2 posted 08-01-2009 01:45 AM

Thanks BTKS, You have inspired me to try making one on my own saw.

-- David South FLorida

View jack1's profile


2160 posts in 5088 days

#3 posted 08-01-2009 05:10 AM

good deal. I’ve gotta start doing my own too.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4638 days

#4 posted 08-01-2009 05:16 AM

a great addition to any saw


View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4474 days

#5 posted 08-02-2009 09:54 PM

Here is a link to build a zero clearance insert:

Zero Clearance Insert Video

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4749 days

#6 posted 08-08-2009 06:26 PM

The only problem with using solid wood in my area is due to seasonal humidity changes. Sometimes my ASH ZCI will rattle around in its slot and other times I will have to pry it out of there ! : (
Of course when I first made the ZCI , it fit perfectly that day. : )
Nice job on yours !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4369 days

#7 posted 12-05-2009 05:17 PM

Not only is it very functional but the QS oak looks real nice.

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