Zero Clearance for Table Saws

Zero Clearance for Table Saws

Table saws are a popular and indispensable tool in woodworking, but they can pose safety risks and result in tear-out or inaccurate cuts. To overcome these challenges, many woodworkers turn to zero clearance plates. In this article, we will delve into what zero clearance plates are, their benefits, and how to install and use them effectively.

**What are Zero Clearance Plates?**

Zero clearance plates, also known as throat plates or inserts, are custom-made accessories that fit into the throat opening of a table saw. They are designed to provide support and prevent tear-out by reducing the gap between the blade and the table. These plates are typically made of wood, plastic, or phenolic material, and can be easily customized to fit different blade widths and angles.


**Benefits of Zero Clearance Plates**

1. **Enhanced Safety**   Zero clearance plates minimize the risk of kickback, a dangerous scenario where the workpiece gets caught by the spinning blade and forcefully thrown back toward the operator. By reducing the gap around the blade, these plates provide added stability and reduce the chances of the workpiece getting trapped.
2. **Cleaner Cuts**  The zero clearance feature ensures that the wood fibers are supported throughout the cut, reducing tear-out and splintering. This results in cleaner and smoother cuts, which is particularly crucial when working with delicate or expensive materials.
3. **Improved Accuracy**  : Zero clearance plates help to minimize blade deflection, ensuring that the cut remains true to the intended dimensions. By reducing the gap between the blade and the table, these plates provide better support to the workpiece, resulting in more accurate cuts.


**Installing and Using Zero Clearance Plates**

Installing and using zero clearance plates is a relatively simple process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. **Measure Blade Width**: Start by measuring the width of your table saw blade at its widest point. This measurement will be used to create the zero clearance opening.
2. **Select the Plate Material**  Choose a suitable material for your zero clearance plate. Phenolic and hardwood are popular choices due to their durability and stability.
3. **Cut the Plate**:  Using the blade width measurement, cut the plate material to the appropriate size. It should be slightly larger than the existing throat opening.
4. **Create the Zero Clearance Opening**: Place the plate over the existing throat opening and secure it in place with screws or clamps. Lower the blade fully and raise it through the plate to create the zero clearance opening.
5. **Fine-tune the Fit** : Turn off the saw and check the fit of the plate. If necessary, use sandpaper or a router to adjust the opening for a snug fit around the blade.
6. **Test and Adjust**:  Start with a test cut to ensure the plate provides the desired support and reduces tear-out. If needed, make further adjustments to achieve optimal performance.



Zero clearance plates are a valuable addition to any table saw setup, offering enhanced safety, cleaner cuts, and improved accuracy. By reducing the gap around the blade, these plates provide crucial support and stability to the workpiece, resulting in safer and more precise woodworking projects. Whether you’re a professional woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, investing in zero clearance plates is a worthwhile step towards achieving better results and maximizing the potential of your table saw.
The Best Common Woodworking Blog for Woodworkers: A Comprehensive Guide

The Best Common Woodworking Blog for Woodworkers: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to the world of woodworking! Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate woodworker, finding the right resources and guidance is crucial for honing your skills and achieving success in your craft. In this informative article, we will explore why the Common Woodworking Blog, along with Steve Ramsey’s blog, is considered one of the best educational platforms for woodworkers. Let’s dive in and discover the wealth of knowledge and inspiration these blogs have to offer!

Why Choose the Common Woodworking Blog?

A Wealth of Educational Content

The Common Woodworking Blog is a treasure trove of educational content that caters to woodworkers of all levels. From basic woodworking techniques to complex joinery, there is something for everyone. The blog covers a wide range of topics, including:

  1. Tool Selection and Usage: Learn how to choose the right tools for your projects and master their usage through detailed tutorials and guides.
  2. Joinery Techniques: Discover the art of creating strong and beautiful joints, such as dovetails, mortise and tenon, and more.
  3. Finishing Methods: Gain insights into the art of applying finishes to enhance the beauty and durability of your woodworking projects.
  4. Project Ideas: Explore a plethora of project ideas, from small boxes to furniture pieces, and find inspiration for your next masterpiece.

Expert Guidance from Paul Sellers

Paul Sellers, the renowned woodworker and founder of the Common Woodworking Blog, brings decades of experience and expertise to the table. His passion for woodworking shines through in his detailed explanations and step-by-step tutorials. Paul’s ability to break down complex techniques into manageable steps makes the learning process enjoyable and accessible for woodworkers of all levels.

Engaging and Informative Writing Style

One of the standout features of the Common Woodworking Blog is its engaging and informative writing style. The articles are written in a conversational tone, making them easy to follow and understand. Whether you’re a beginner trying to grasp the basics or an intermediate woodworker looking to refine your skills, the blog’s writing style ensures that you can absorb the information with ease.

Steve Ramsey’s Woodworking for Mere Mortals: An Additional Resource

In addition to the Common Woodworking Blog, Steve Ramsey’s Woodworking for Mere Mortals is another exceptional educational platform for woodworkers. Steve Ramsey, a popular woodworking educator, offers a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to beginners and intermediate woodworkers alike.

Beginner-Friendly Approach

Steve Ramsey’s approach to woodworking is geared towards beginners, making it an ideal starting point for those new to the craft. His emphasis on simplicity and accessibility allows aspiring woodworkers to overcome the initial intimidation and build confidence in their skills.

Project-Based Learning

Woodworking for Mere Mortals focuses on project-based learning, where each project serves as a vehicle for learning new techniques and skills. Steve’s detailed project videos and plans enable woodworkers to follow along and create beautiful projects while simultaneously expanding their skill set.

Community and Inspiration

One of the unique aspects of Steve Ramsey’s Woodworking for Mere Mortals is the vibrant and supportive community it has fostered. Woodworkers from all over the world come together to share their experiences, seek advice, and celebrate their successes. This sense of community provides a valuable source of inspiration and encouragement along every woodworker’s journey.


In conclusion, the Common Woodworking Blog and Steve Ramsey’s Woodworking for Mere Mortals are two exceptional resources that offer a wealth of educational and informative content for woodworkers. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics or an intermediate woodworker seeking inspiration and guidance, these blogs provide the tools and knowledge necessary to elevate your woodworking skills. Embrace the educational journey, explore the projects and techniques shared on these blogs, and watch your woodworking abilities flourish. Happy woodworking!

“Woodworking is a lifelong journey of learning and creating. The Common Woodworking Blog and Steve Ramsey’s Woodworking for Mere Mortals are your trusted companions on this beautiful journey.”