Zero Clearance Dado Throat Plate for SawStop

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Project by TheDane posted 07-23-2012 03:51 PM 17123 views 39 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Years ago, I saw Norm Abram using a throat plate with replaceable inserts on his UniSaw. I have wanted one ever since!

When I bought my SawStop, I included the dado cartridge and one of their blank zero clearance dado inserts, which works fine, But at $40 a crack for every different dado width I may want to cut, the throat plates can get pricey.

Then, I found Ralph Bagnall’s “Insert Throat Plate Plans” ( ), and decided to give it a try.

Ralph’s plan (9 pages) is well written, and includes a dozen photos that detail each step clearly and concisely. At under $5, it was a bargain.

I did have to modify the plan a bit to suit the design of the opening for the SawStop throat plate. They have a stamped metal component at the front of the throat that I needed to account for, and their unique retainer system at the rear of the throat required a little finesse. SawStop’s throat plate is also wider than most others (it measures 15 15/16” length, and is 4 1/2” wide), so plans need to be adjusted accordingly.

I made the inserts out of scrap hard maple … one is set aside as the ‘master’ so I can easily duplicate them in the future.

Also, I intend to only use this with the stacked dado set, so I made no provision for installing a splitter or anti-kickback device.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

24 comments so far

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 5171 days

#1 posted 07-23-2012 03:58 PM

Very nice set up Gerry. I currently only have the original that came with the saw, and one I made for my dado stack, but it is 5/8” wide at the opening. Defenitely on my “need to build” list.


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View b2rtch's profile


4922 posts in 4543 days

#2 posted 07-23-2012 04:08 PM

Gerry, Thank you for sharing.
This is very nice, now I only have to do the same thing for my Unisaw.

-- Bert

View Viktor's profile


476 posts in 4914 days

#3 posted 07-23-2012 04:18 PM

Simple and brilliant, just swap the strips. You could even make one for bevel cuts. Now, why doesn’t this come standard in every saw?

View TheDane's profile


6060 posts in 5158 days

#4 posted 07-23-2012 05:14 PM

Bert—As a matter of fact, the drawing and photos Ralph provides are for a UniSaw throat plate. You would require zero re-engineering!

Viktor—What I am more surprised at is the one company that apparently made such a product has either discontinued it or gone out of business.

Gator—It only took a couple of evenings to come up with this. I had thought about cutting a groove in a stock SawStop throat plate and making inserts for it, but this seemed to make more sense than to run the risk of destroying a $40 throat plate with a slip of the router.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27818 posts in 4600 days

#5 posted 07-23-2012 09:33 PM

Very need idea for having a variety of plate slots…..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View seriousturtle's profile


101 posts in 4825 days

#6 posted 07-24-2012 02:53 AM

I like it, but it almost looks like more work than simply making a bunch of whole blank inserts and slotting them to whatever blades you use. Thoughts?

-- ~the turtle

View Jeffery Mullen's profile

Jeffery Mullen

355 posts in 4313 days

#7 posted 07-24-2012 06:18 AM

Might give this one a try . I have a dado head for my table saw.

-- Jeffery Mullen

View handi's profile


159 posts in 5934 days

#8 posted 07-24-2012 11:31 AM


You make one throat plate, and have extra insert stock made up . Much easier to store and keep track of a bunch of thin inserts than full insert plates hanging around..

-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime!

View handi's profile


159 posts in 5934 days

#9 posted 07-24-2012 11:32 AM

The Dane did a great job using my plans! I just love to see folks post what they build from my articles or plans!

-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime!

View Lenny's profile


1752 posts in 5022 days

#10 posted 07-24-2012 12:12 PM

Hi Gerry. This is a great post. Wood Dynamics was the company from which Norm (or at least the show) bought the original insert. For the longest time I kept the Wood Dynamics site as a favorite and would go back to it every now and then to see if they were back in business. It turns out they sold the business and there is no longer any reference to it. It is nice to see that someone (handi) has come up with plans for this. Nice job in carrying out the plans. I will be looking into this.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 4631 days

#11 posted 07-24-2012 12:23 PM

Charles Neil does sell (or did sell) a version of this for SawStop and a couple of other saws. The base was aluminum. Not so cheap, however.

-- Greg D.

View thebigvise's profile


193 posts in 4395 days

#12 posted 07-24-2012 02:36 PM

Actually, Turtle, I see your point. I am not familiar with the specifics of the SawStop throat plate, but I made 12 maple throat plate blanks for my General cabinet saw over a year ago, and I still have 6 uncut blanks. The switchout takes about 90 seconds.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View Darell's profile


448 posts in 5089 days

#13 posted 07-24-2012 03:21 PM

I just looked at the Charles Neil version. From what I was able to find in a quick look, it does not allow for use of the riving knife or blade guard. That’s not a good thing. I think I’d rather make one myself and do it right.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View TheDane's profile


6060 posts in 5158 days

#14 posted 07-24-2012 06:08 PM

seriousturtle & thebigvise—Actually, making a batch of individual throat plates would be a ton of work due to the way the SawStop throat is designed. I needed to account for the protruding stamped steel component of the arbor tilt mechanism and the bolt heads that are part of the retainer mechanism. It took me more time to account for those two items than it did to do the rest of the work. Once I had the throat plate done, it only took a little more than an hour to knock out 8 blank inserts … and that included the time I spent making a template.

GregD—I’m not sure Charles Neil’s product is still available. When he introduced it, I had a saw that couldn’t take a 1/2” thick throat plate … now, his website has instructions for setting his product up, but no way to order one.

Darell—You are correct … neither Ralph’s plan nor Charles Neil’s product support use of a riving knife. Ralph’s can use an after-market splitter (e.g. Micro Jig), but realistically, I don’t see the need for one while using this throat plate. My use of the plate built from Ralph’s plan will be when using the dado stack. For conventional cuts, I’ll just use the SawStop stock throat plate.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ken_c's profile


339 posts in 4657 days

#15 posted 07-25-2012 05:58 PM


Which version of the unisaw are those plans meant for? The latest I hope…

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