Zero Clearance Inserts
A zero clearance insert is easy to make and goes a long way in reducing tearout.
The throat insert that comes as standard equipment on a table saw is meant to provide sufficient clearance around the blade as it moves through its full range of motion. While this is convenient, it does little to support stock close to the side of the blade, which often results in chip-out (particularly on sheet goods) and can also result in thin pieces of waste material jamming between the throat insert and the saw blade.
A Zero Clearance Insert (ZCI) is a replacement for the throat insert that came with your table saw. While you can buy a ZCI, as you’ll see, they are very easy to make. Once you install the ZCI on your table saw you’ll cut the opening for the saw blade so that it’s the exact width of the saw blade kerf. It’s a good idea to make a ‘master’ ZCI that you then use to make a new insert any time the need arises. But don’t throw your original throat insert out – you’ll still need to use it whenever you cut beveled angles with your table saw.
Make the Master ZCI
Make Working ZCIs
Micro Jig Splitter and Dowel Centers