The issue came up when I sent my original combination blade off to be sharpened. So I wouldn't be laid up without a good standard blade, I bought an Irwin Marples blade. This blade is definitely worth the money -- if you want a good blade that won't set you back more than $50, I'd recommend you get one. But when I put it into my saw, I found out that the kerf isn't exactly the same as the Diablo blade I had in there. As a result, the cutout in my ZCI is now not quite right for either blade. The gap has widened to a little over 1/32" on either side, and for something that should be "zero clearance", it's not quite what I want.
My main issue with the aftermarket insert is that it costs about $30 with shipping. I decided that I should just make one of my own. I searched around my garage and found a piece of scrap MDF that must have been a remnant from making my router table. I ripped a 4" piece off the end of it and started working on making my own insert.
The nice thing is that there were a lot of instructions online from other owners of my R4512 saw. Several of them have posted their experiences making inserts along with photos. Using those as a starting point, I was able to put one together with some minor tweaking here and there.
The best thing about making these inserts is that I got to practice a few things that will make my woodworking better. The first is that it requires use of the router table. There were a few blind cuts and some flush trimming to do, and there was no way I was going to try and do that with a handheld router.
|Threw on a coat of spar urethane to help protect it from moisture.|
The nice thing is that I can make about 15 inserts out of a quarter sheet of MDF. Considering that a quarter sheet of MDF costs under $20, I can make 15 inserts for a little more than a dollar each out of that quarter sheet. That's a heck of a lot better than almost $30 for one insert. I have to make a few for my stacked dado set so I can have a variety of inserts for different width dadoes and rabbets.
Now that I have these done, I know that I can get accurate, tearout-free cuts and I won't have to worry about thin strips falling in between the blade and the insert and getting thrown at my face at 150 miles an hour. I have to pick up the plywood and solid stock for the dresser I'm going to build, so I'll probably try to take care of that tomorrow after work.
|Now I have a true ZCI for my Marples Blade.|
|Red insert for $30...MDF one for basically free...|