Zero-clearance Insert for Plywood Cutting

Zero-clearance Insert for Plywood Cutting

Sheet goods are too bulky to lift onto my table saw, so I prefer to use my cordless circular saw. Trouble was, the tearout was awful. I installed a $6 plywood cutting blade (100-tooth), then stuck a hard-board sub-base to the underside of the saw’s base with carpet tape. With the saw immobilized, I plunge-cut down through the hard-board to create a zero-clerarance throatplate. Now, my circ saw cuts plywood clean as a whistle. But be careful: The saw’s guard remains retracted with this occasional retrofit. I remove the sub-base after cutting plywood to release the guard again for other types of cuts.

-Steve Graham
Glen Allen, Virginia

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  • B.Thorpe

    I find this practice very dangerous and would be against Health and Safety

  • loxmyth

    I find myself wondering whether having zero clearance only at the front of the blade would suffice. If so, a wider opening toward the back could permit the guard to swing out more-or-less normally. … Re B. Thorpe’s comment, I don’t consider this much less safe than manually holding the guard back, as we do for some kinds of cuts. Yes, I prefer having all the safety devices I can get, but I’m not paranoid about explicitly disabling them when the safety can be achieved in other ways. One nice thing about “belt and suspenders” safety is that, when appropriate, you can take the suspenders off without losing your pants.

  • signal11

    The trick I’ve used for years is to simply make the first cut very shallow. The teeth are then running nearly parallel to the surface and you don’t get tear out. Then make a second pass that finishes the cut. The first cut then supports the second cut further reducing tear out. This only works with a straight edge, however, and you have to be consistent both times or it won’t work.