Notes from the Workshop: 20110123

It's -8ºF outside and 50ºF in the shop right now. I've opened the door and vents in the shop, so while I am waiting for the furnace to to do it's job, I figured I'd bang out a post.

Table Saw Inserts

As you may have seen on Toolmonger, I bought a Freud Dado blade set with the gift cards I received for Christmas. In order to the blade safely, I needed to make some more zero clearance throat plates.

The closest stock I had in my shop was some Baltic birch plywood that is slightly over 1/2" thick, but that wouldn't work very well since the throat place depth is only .480". So I went to the Big Orange Retail Giant and picked up the most defect free piece 1/2" plywood handy panel (2'x2') I could find. The nominal thickness of the plywood is more like .460", but it's easier for me to shim than remove material evenly.

Using the original throat plate as a guide I was able to trace 8 inserts onto the plywood. As long as I was making one I might as well make as many as I could. I figured that if I have a stack of fresh inserts, I wouldn't be afraid of using them when I needed them, rather than trying to get by with an insert that was too wide. Using a jigsaw, I cut each of them out leaving about 1/8" outside the line.

Attaching the insert to the original throat plate with carpet tape, I used a laminate trimming router bit to cut the blank to the exact size of the original throat plate. I only used the throat plate for the first blank, because it has two tabs that stuck out from the side. The tabs prevented me from making a perfect copy. I had to cut the blank as close as I could around the tabs and sand the edge down to match the shape of the table saw throat. So I didnt have do go through this with each insert, I used the first insert as the pattern for the rest of the inserts.

Once I was done cutting the inserts to size, I used another throat plate I had made a few years ago to mark the location of the holes.  My table saw didn't originally come with threaded holes, the throat plate is held in place by those two tabs I mentioned earlier and a cam.  When I made the first insert, I threaded the throat plate supports to accept 8-32 screws.

Using the drill press, I drilled holes large enough for the screws to slide easily in the hole. Then I used a 3/8" Forstner to counter-bore the holes so the screw heads would sit below the surface of the table. That's all there was to it. I only took me about two half-hour sessions to complete, but I know I'll be glad I spend the time when I start to use my dado blade more.


One tip when using carpet tape: Use it and get it off fast, don't let it stay stuck to your workpiece any longer than necessary. I've used carpet tape many times attaching patterns and have had no problems with residue, but this time I forgot and left the carpet tape stuck to the original throat plate for several hours while I was taking a break. When I removed the tape, it left behind a tacky residue that took some Goo Gone and elbow grease to remove

Shop Temperature

OK, after an hour the temperature of the shop has only gone up 5 degrees. It's still a bit chilly to work, so maybe I'll catch up on some other projects and wait for a warmer day.

Tools: Forstner, laminate trimming bit, router, table saw

Tags: notes, Toolmonger

Materials: carpet tape, Goo Gone