Q: I have VERY limited space in my basement. I bought a Sears Table Saw that’s along the lines of a contractor’s saw. Can these saws be fitted with zero-clearance inserts? Also, is there a method for creating a cut-off table for this saw?
Chris Marshall: If the throatplate for your saw fits down into a fairly deep recess in the table, you should be able to make zero-clearance throatplates for it pretty easily. Make sure the thickness of your throatplate material matches the thickness of the throatplate that came with your saw.
On the other hand, if your saw’s throatplate is made out of a thin piece of steel, it will be more difficult or even impractical to make a zero-clearance throatplate for it. One option you can try is to cover the blade opening on your throatplate with a piece of wide packing or painter’s tape, then raise the blade up through it to cut a thin slot. This can serve as a quick, makeshift solution for zero clearance.
Concerning cut-off tables, since your saw has a motor that extends out in back of the machine, I would suggest making a work table that you can roll or slide up behind the saw instead of attaching a cut-off table to it. Make the table’s overall height about 1/4 in. lower than your saw table. The extra work table will help with other shop tasks as well as provide a way to catch those offcuts coming off the saw. You’ll kill two birds with one stone!