Zero Clearance Insert For The 10″ Band Saw

The Craftsman or Rikon 10″ band saws are supplied with a circular plastic bandsaw table insert that just happens to be a little too thin. When it’s inserted into the table it sits too low and it drove me nuts when cutting stock, as the stock hangs up on the protruding far edge. My quick fix at the time was hot gluing it into place, hoping to level it (ending up not an ideal fix). The other drawback was that small cut offs, often the cut off I needed, would fall through the wide spaced hole around the blade it had. Because of these problems I decided to make my own zero clearance insert for the saw. Here’s what I came up with.

The depth of the insert hole recess is approximately 1/8″ deep. I had some 1/8″ plywood that I use for box bottoms and figured it would work. Trouble was I couldn’t find a piece that was absolutely flat. An insert has to be as flat as possible. What I did find was a piece of scrap hardboard that was flat and close to 1/8″ thick. A piece of acrylic sheeting would work just as well.

After removing the band saw blade I carefully cut the hardboard circle on the band saw then sanded its edge until a perfect fit with the band saw insert hole.

Using double sided adhesive carpet tape (my favorite way to temporarily tack wood pieces together) the insert is tacked on edge with a “carrier” so I could safely guide the insert along the fence to cut a slot for the band saw blade.

The carrier/insert/fence was adjusted to cut the insert slot exactly where it needed to be. Before removing the fence, I tacked a cut off with carpet tape so I could place the fence back in its exact position again.

After close inspection of the inserts fit it needed shims to level it to the table surface. Two sheets of typewriter bond paper used as shims made the insert a perfect fit. Rather than use spray mount I glued the paper shims with my favorite way to mount paper templates for cut outs.

The table insert in place. I have the band saw blade’s insert slot facing the beginning of a cut. There are times when I will cut a thin piece of wood. With the insert installed this way, even the thinnest of cut offs won’t fall through an insert slot.

Two more band saw accessories I have in mind to make. An improved fence and miter gauge to replace the ones supplied with the Craftsman Band Saw. Stay tuned for those upcoming projects.