Reusable Zero Clearance Insert for Table Saw w/ Odd Insert

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Project by Dpadg posted 12-31-2020 03:23 PM 1327 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Delta Contractor Table Saw has an odd insert that is only about an 1/8 thick and is mainly rectangular rather than the norm rounded ones. With it being so thin and in an odd shape it, it is a pain to make zero clearance inserts for that don’t seem flimsy and like they wont to pop out easily. to solve this issue, I created one insert out of 1/4” ply by tracing the existing insert, cutting it out on my bandsaw, and then cleaning it up on a disk sander. once the 1/4” insert fit tightly, I flipped the whole saw over and traced around the protruding areas that holds the insert up. I used Forstner bits and chisels to bore out and clean up the areas where the supports were so until there was only about an 1/8” of material remaining in those places until the insert fit securely and flush with the top of the Saw. I then plugged in the saw and using the fence and a push stick, I held the insert in place while raised the blade through the 1/4” insert (this was done with the Riving knife off). After the kerf was cut in the new insert, I removed it and using a handsaw continued the cut down the insert to about an inch from the end (this is where the riving knife would fit through later).

After I completed the 1/4” insert, and having seen a few of the saw stop inserts with the small changeable parts, decided that with the pain it takes to make my inserts that I would borrow from that idea. I laid out a 1 1/2” by 12 1/4” rectangle along the kerf cut in the insert making sure that there was an 1/8” along the left of the kerf to support the insert in the opening. After having my square laid out, I used a pattern bit to route an 1/8” deep opening in the top of the insert. I used chisels to square up the corners after the router, cut down some 1/8” hardboard on the bandsaw into 1 1/2” strips and then cut them to length. Using a block plane, I trimmed down the hardboard until I had tight fit with the small inserts. I made 4, 1/8” inserts in the manner and then placed one into the 1/4” insert and again using a push stick and the fence to raise the blade through the quick change insert ( and again using a handsaw to continue the kerf for the riving knife). I still have the other 3 inserts to use with my dado stack in a few different thicknesses and any other blades I may acquire later. However know instead of going through all the pain of remaking a 1/4” insert, I can simply cut out 1/8” hardboard strips quickly and have a new zero clearance strip within minutes rather than an hour. Even better the finger hole cut into the 1/4” insert lines up with the edge of the 1/8” insert, providing a perfect lift to easily pop in and out different inserts.

Edit: I have since added in a countersunk screw on each end of the replaceable insert to hold it in place. the friction held them in tightly, however, when the saw turned on it would occasionally shift the insert and eject it from the plywood insert.

4 comments so far

View Popsnsons's profile


459 posts in 4443 days

#1 posted 01-01-2021 12:04 AM

I have a different version of the ShopMaster and yes…they did make it tricky to fabricate your own inserts.

Have a Happy New Year’s!


-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View AJ1104's profile


1547 posts in 3121 days

#2 posted 01-01-2021 02:53 AM

Really nice job making these inserts. Nice table saw setup also.

-- AJ

View Peteybadboy's profile


4846 posts in 3411 days

#3 posted 01-01-2021 10:16 AM


Excellent idea. That could change out inserts are made. Question what holds the insert in the insert? Is Friction enough to hold it in place?

-- Petey

View Dpadg's profile


10 posts in 631 days

#4 posted 01-01-2021 12:53 PM


Excellent idea. That could change out inserts are made. Question what holds the insert in the insert? Is Friction enough to hold it in place?

- Peteybadboy

Thanks, So far it is just the friction that holds them in place. I made them pretty snug so they almost snap into place but I left room for a spot to secure them down with a countersunk screw if I find they seem a little looser over time.

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