Zero Clearance Throat Plate

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Project by Woodshopfreak posted 04-20-2008 08:04 AM 6964 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, after about a week of thinking, and about three tries at making a zero clearance throat plate, I finally got one to work. See one of the problems with all bench top, and contractor table saws are that the throat plate is always just a little piece of sheet metal that always is impossible to make a zero clearance throat plate for because of a few reasons:

1. The wood of the plate would have to be really thin, which is always a pain in the buttocks
2. The screws that attach the metal throat plate are a countersunk screw and the thin wood has nothing for the screw to grab onto.
3. It’s hard to get it stabilized when it is so little.

So to fix all of these problems I realized that my table saw had these little wholes for a small rubber spacer that would keep the metal throat plate from vibrating and the screw that holds the plate down goes in between the spacer. After realizing this I thought that I could put dowels into the holes which would make the throat plate stay in place and it would give me the extra material for a countersunk hole. It took me about two hours on and off, because I had to make all the parts then when I put it together and glued it I realized that the dowels were in the wrong place and had to redo them about 3 times. They also would crack off, so I made the dowels a bit smaller so that they would just slip in and wouldn’t be so had to get out. Overall I think this was a great addition to my table saw and anyone with a contractor style saw should make one to get better cutting results. Thanks, Tyler.

-- Tyler, Illinois

14 comments so far

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 5196 days

#1 posted 04-20-2008 12:17 PM

Great job! I should make myself one of those,

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5315 days

#2 posted 04-20-2008 01:06 PM


You did a good job with this. These are invaluable safety devices that improve your saw’s operations.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View verne's profile


3 posts in 5248 days

#3 posted 04-20-2008 01:18 PM

Great idea ! I’ve seen ” Zero Clearance ” plates mentioned before. What are the reasons for them? Other than those little pieces falling in by the blade and scarin the crap outta me. :-)
Thanks for the idea.

-- 2 steps forward..2 steps back......Hmmmm....

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 5258 days

#4 posted 04-20-2008 02:22 PM

I know what you’re talking about Tyler. My first saw was an Hitachi and I tried several times to make an insert that would work. I think it was on my fourth attempt that it was close, but it was far from perfect.

Verne, as far as I know the main reason to use a zero clearance insert is for safety. There may be more reasons to use one but I’m pretty sure that their main purpose is to keep the small pieces from shooting back at you. I use one for straight cuts when using my Forrest II blade and really need to make a few for the different size dados I use.

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 5370 days

#5 posted 04-20-2008 02:40 PM

Nice job Tyler, I’m glad you didn’t give up. The more I read of your posts the more impressed I am with your thought process and accomplishments. I hope you have a lot of influence of your school class mates, The older I get the more I want kids like you, to grow up and run the world.

Thanks Ron

-- Ron Central, CA

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 5446 days

#6 posted 04-20-2008 04:29 PM

I got tired of trying to make one, so I just bought a bigger table saw. Great job and congrats on working your way thru the problem.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 5247 days

#7 posted 04-20-2008 04:39 PM

There are multiple purposes for a ZCI, the primary one is safety. One of the other major benefits is that with a ZCI properly installed it will support the workpiece at the blades edge preventing tear out. Very useful on ply-goods and lumber that like to fuzz when cut.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 5308 days

#8 posted 04-20-2008 04:46 PM

Nice job of engineering there. Now quick make three more, save one for a model and keep the other two for your dado head.

-- Scott - Chico California

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5481 days

#9 posted 04-20-2008 05:06 PM

Looks like that will work. Great job.

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

View roy's profile


134 posts in 5287 days

#10 posted 04-21-2008 04:28 AM

where’s mine??

-- tn hillbilly.." tryin to do the best i can with what i got "

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 5316 days

#11 posted 04-21-2008 07:00 AM

Make extras now. One for a 45 degree cut. A couple for stacked dados. And, one for a thin kerf blade.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5221 days

#12 posted 06-09-2008 09:33 PM

Great project. I’m impressed by your stick-to-it.

One thought on the 45 degree and cut. the wood looks thin (by design). If it flexes while you send material through the saw, this won’t matter when it is at 90 degrees, but at 45, it could catch the blade and cause a problem. I’m not saying it will. I guess it is something I’d want to consider (as someone that hasn’t ever see your insert or any other insert for that matter).

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 5257 days

#13 posted 12-13-2008 12:31 AM

I’d have to agree with Hokie, the first thing that came to my mind was that the material looks way too thin and dangerous, if you put any downward preasure on a narrow rip cut or dado useing a push stick it’s going to flex downward and or even break. I would suggest useing thicker material, like maybe 3/8’ thick and routing out what you need to to get it flat on the table, then position your dowels in place. Contractor style saws usually allready have a thick plate like the cabinet saws do, the newer plastic jobsite saws I don’t know what they have, but I do know that the Skil benchtop on a stand that I use to own had the thin, maybe 1/8 ” thick sheet steel insert.

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 5235 days

#14 posted 12-28-2008 12:36 AM

I understand your concern, and I have actually tried to see how much it would flex before it would break and since the grain runs the other way, it actually is very study.

-- Tyler, Illinois

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