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Chapter 3. BallistaMail > Use It - Pg. 109

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle < Nano-Project > Table Saw Essentials The Mysterious Featherboard I repeat: Do tools have the best names, or what? 1 Featherboards are unsung but needful ancillaries for table saws. Their sole reason for existence is to ensure that your stock is politely but firmly held against the rip fence while making a cut. Make one now. You'll need a couple of feet of 3 / 4 " x 4" wood. Solid wood, please; softwood will do. Plywood isn't suitable. [Figure N3.01 Miter one end to 45 degrees, then fire up the saw and cut 6" to 8" kerfs every 1 / 4 " or so. All feathery-like. Wasn't that simple? [Figure N3.02] Now to use it. A picture is worth a thousand words, with the only needed warning being to ensure that the featherboard contacts your working stock only on the front side of the blade diameter. This prevents kickback and scorching by reducing stock contact with the blade surface. The Zero Clearance Insert Table saws are versatile, and that's a fact: rip cuts, end cuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts, beveled miter cuts, mitered bevel cuts, impacted cantilever cuts. Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the point. Being all things to all sawyers means compromises, which require a bit of work to overcome. We can do that. The slot that the blade protrudes through on yer basic table saw is as wide as it is to allow the blade to be tilted up to 45 degrees for the aforementioned beveled cuts. Unfortunately, having a half-inch gap between the blade and the surface of the insert makes cutting dimensions of less than 1 / 2 " next to impossible. Enter the "zero clearance insert." Endlessly useful, and bog simple to make. Pull the regular insert from your saw: You need a piece of plywood exactly that size and thickness, but without the slot. It's one of those trace/cut/sand/drill tasks imbued with minimum creativity/maximum utility. Countersink the mounting screw holes to allow the screws to set flush with the surface. Got it? Good. Set your blade at 90 degrees, exactly, and lower it as far down as possible. Put your slotless plywood insert into the insert receiver and shim it until it's perfectly level with the table, if it isn't already. Screw it down. Now turn on the saw, and slowly raise the blade to its highest position, which will cut a kerf-wide slot in 1 You did read the introduction, didn't you? Figure N3.01: What it's s'posed to look like! 98