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Make Terrific Tablesaw Inserts

No matter how finely sharpened a saw blade, dado set, or molding knives may be, grain tearout can occur when the workpiece is not completely supported by the table insert. To alleviate that problem, we followed the advice of WOOD® magazine reader Michael Cosgrove, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, and created zero-clearance inserts for all our different blades using a router and plywood scraps.

To make inserts, use double-faced tape to adhere your metal tablesaw insert to a plywood blank the same exact thickness as the metal insert. Then, cut the plywood blank slightly over-sized with a bandsaw, being extremely careful not to cut into the metal insert. Next, fit your router with a laminate flush-trimming bit. Adjust the setting so the bit's bearing rides along the edge of the metal insert and the cutter contacts only the wood. Rout the plywood to the exact shape as the metal insert. Keep several blanks on hand for a variety of tasks and blades.

Note: If you can't make a blank that is the same thickness as the tablesaw's original insert, make one that is slightly too thin. Then apply dabs of hot-melt glue to the tablesaw's insert-support surfaces before putting the blank in place and setting it flush with the tabletop.

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