Magnetic Featherboards Come In Handy When Making Zero Clearance Table Saw Throat Plates

Topics Covered
1. Blank Throat Plate
2. Blank Throat Plate Coplanar With Table Saw Top
3. Opening for Blade
4. Hold-Down Pin for Throat Plate
5. Final Thoughts Plus A Request
6. Related Links

I have always loved the heck out of my magnetic featherboards, and now I have another reason to love my magnetic featherboards. Turns out my magnetic featherboards are dang handy when making zero clearance throat plates for my table saw.

To make a zero clearance throat plate, you basically take a blank throat plate and raise the table  saw blade up thru the blank throat plate; thereby producing a zero clearance between the blade and the throat plate. Shown in the following photo is my zero clearance throat plate and blade.

1_Zero Clearance Insert for Table Saw

 

Blank Throat Plate
For my throat plate, I decided to use MDF. I went with MDF since it is flat, stable (no warping here), readily available, and relatively inexpensive.

It would be ideal if I could buy MDF that is 9/16” thick, to match up perfectly with my table saw throat plate depth requirement. However, MDF is not available in 9/16” thickness. Therefore, I went with 1/2″ thick MDF and made up the difference with shims (hot metal glue).

Steps for making the blank throat plate are as follows:

Step 1 – Clamp your existing throat plate to a strip of 1/2″ thick MDF (as shown in photo below) and trace outline of existing throat plate onto MDF. Also, trace the finger hole location.

2_Blank Throat Plate Clamped to Existing Throat Plate

 

Step 2 –I used my Jigsaw to rough cut the outline (penciled in Step 1 above) on the MDF of the blank throat plate. Stay clear of the penciled line by approximately 1/16”.

Step 3 – I next used my disc sander to sand to the penciled outline on my MDF blank throat plate.

Step 4 –I drilled the finger hole in the blank throat plate, using a 3/4″ diameter Forstner bit.

Step 5 — Check the fit of the blank throat plate on the table saw, and go back to the disc sander (if req’d) to fine-tune the blank throat plate. Remove the blade from the table saw during this fit checking process. Since the blade (typically) cannot be lowered sufficiently to enable the blank throat plate to sit flat on the table saw throat tabs. The following photo shows the blade (in its lowest position) extending above the throat tabs.

3_Blade Raised Above Table Saw Throat Tabs

Blank Throat Plate Coplanar With Table Saw Top
I used my hot glue gun to make the blank throat plate coplanar with my table saw top. I saw this hot glue gun technique demonstrated at the Worksmith eTIPS website.

Here is the link for the Worksmith eTIPS website tip referenced above:
Leveling a Table Saw Insert | Woodsmith Tips

The photo below shows me using my hot glue gun to apply glue to the throat tabs that the throat plate sits on. Do not forget to apply wax to the throat tabs before applying the hot glue.

4_Hot Melt Glue Applied to Table Saw Throat Tabs

 

To make the throat plate coplanar with the table saw top after applying the hot melt glue, I used the heavy flat-metal surface shown in the following photo. But, any flat surface (for example MDF) with something heavy on it would work.

5

 

Opening for Blade
Since the 10” diameter saw blade cannot be lowered sufficiently to enable the blank throat plate to sit flush against the throat tabs, I installed a 7-1/4” diameter blade. Interference problem solved.

Make sure that the thickness of your 7-1/4” diameter blade matches the thickness of your 10” diameter blade.

This will be a two-step process (regarding saw blades). The 7-1/4” diameter saw blade will be used first to start the sawing thru the blank throat plate (due to the interference issue noted above).

Next, I replaced the 7-1/4” diameter blade with my 10” diameter blade. The 10” diameter blade will now not interfere with the throat plate sitting flat on the throat tabs. Raising the 7-1/4” diameter blade up thru the blank throat plate eliminated the interference problem. Now I can raise the 10” diameter blade up thru my new throat plate. I raised the 10” diameter blade up as high as it would go.

Steps for Sawing Opening Thru Blank Throat Plate

Step 1 – Raise the 7-1/4” diameter blade up to its maximum height above the table saw top. I want to see where I can safely locate my two magnetic featherboards.

The photo below shows the safe location for my magnetic featherboards. Just want to ensure I do not slice them in two when I raise the 7-1/4” diameter blade, to saw thru the blank throat plate.

6_Magnetic Featherboards and Table Saw Blade

 

Step 2 – Lower the 7-1/4” diameter blade to below the throat tabs.

Step 3 — Insert blank throat plate.

Step 4 – Secure blank throat plate with the two magnetic featherboards (shown in photo below).

7_Magnetic Featherboards and Blank Throat Plate

 

Just a friendly reminder, make sure the two magnetic featherboards are located in the safe region determined in “Step 1” above.

Step 5 – With the table saw running, raise the 7-1/4” blade up thru the throat plate. I raised the 7-1/4” blade up such that the top of the blade was approximately 1” above the top of the throat plate. This is shown in the following photo.

8_Magnetic Featherboards & Blade Raised up Thru Throat Plate

 

Step 6 – Remove the 7-1/4” diameter blade and install the 10” diameter blade.  Next, raise the 10” diameter blade up to the maximum possible height. I now need to see where I can safely locate my two magnetic featherboards.

The photo below shows the safe location for my magnetic featherboards. Want to ensure I do not slice them in two when the 10” diameter blade is raised, to saw the rest of the way thru the throat plate.

8A_Magnetic Featherboards and Table Saw Blade

Just another friendly reminder, make sure the two magnetic featherboards are located in the safe region determined in “Step 6” above.

The next photo shows the 10″ diameter blade raised up thru the throat plate, to the maximum height possible above the top of the throat plate. The table saw was running while the blade was being raised up thru the throat plate.

9_Magnetic Featherboards & Blade Raised up Thru Zero Clearce Insert

 

Hold-Down Pin for Throat Plate
I used the hold-down pin on my existing throat plate to mark the pin location on my new throat plate. Place both the existing & new throat plates against the table saw rip fence, as shown in photo below.

10_Throat Plates Against Rip Fence

I marked the location for the new pin on new throat plate by sliding the two throat plates toward one another. See photo below for the indention transferred to the new throat plate.

11_Hold-Down Pin Indention on Throat Plate

I used a #8d (2-1/2” length) finishing nail for the hold-down pin. I used a 3/32” diameter drill bit to pre-drill a hole for the pin (#8d finishing nail). Next, I installed the pin (#8d nail) with a hammer.

The length of the pin/nail is somewhat critical, too long and my throat plate would not sit down properly. What worked for me was an approximately 9/64” length pin/nail for my throat plate. To cut the pin/nail to length, I used a Dremel and cut-off wheel. The following photo shows the Pin/nail cut to finished length.

12_Hold-Down Pin for Zero Clearance Insert

 

Final Thoughts Plus A Request
By making your own zero clearance throat plate, You can get a tighter fit between the blade and throat plate, plus a tighter fit between the throat and the throat plate. In addition, I was pleased with how the hot melt glue shimming technique simplified making the tops of the table saw and throat plate coplanar with one another (thanks Woodsmith tips).

Besides zero clearance throat plates, the process described here can also be used for making other dedicated throat plates. For example, you could make throat plates for 45* cuts and various dado widths (that you frequently use).

If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you would share it by email with a friend, or on Google+, and/or Facebook. While I am being needy, would you give me a “Like” on my Facebook page (Woodworking with AJO)? You can click on the link shown below for my Facebook page. Thanks a bunch.

Woodworking with AJO | Facebook

Until next time, Take care
AL

Related Links:
Shopmade Tablesaw Throat Plate – Fine Woodworking Video
Make a Zero Clearance Insert for Your Table Saw – Woodworking Tips
Tablesaw tips, tricks, and techniques part 1
How To: Make a Zero Clearance Table Saw Insert » Curbly | DIY Design Community
Zero Clearance Table Saw Inserts – Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
Forrest Saw Blades Online

 

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