Why Are Table Saw Inserts Rounded?

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Table saw inserts or throat plate inserts are some of the greatest upgrades that you can ever do for your table saw. If you are having challenges with tear-out at the bottom of your table saw cross-cuts or have experienced sudden shock of narrow pieces of drop-offs jamming between the blade and the opening of the saw’s throat plate, then you need to get yourself a zero-clearance insert or throat plate.

Why are Table Saw Inserts Rounded?

Table saw inserts have a common oval or rounded shape to ensure that they fit tightly around the blade and provide support when you are cutting right up to the teeth. In addition, rounding the edges minimizes stress over time on the cast iron saw blade.

These round inserts also improve the quality of your cuts and make the saw much safer to use. Table saw inserts are not wider than the blade and will ensure that off-cuts do not get stuck and they significantly reduce tear-out.

Rounded throat plates are also helpful when using specialty blades, which make wider cuts such as box joint cutters or Dado set.

Whether you are a beginner or a woodwork professional, one of the accessories that you will require are rounded inserts. The best-rounded throat plate inserts will take your power tool and your woodworking to a whole new level.

Table saw blade

Importance of Throat Plate Inserts

Even entry-level table saws will have these removable inserts. The plastic or metal throat plates make it much easier to access the blade for any changes.

In addition, they work fairly well for general woodwork cutting. However, they tend to have an overly wide slot to offer adequate clearance for tipping the blade to an angle.

Most times, the wide slot does not offer adequate support for the wood. As a result, the wood disintegrates on the bottom face during the cutting process.

This can be a major problem, especially when you want to make fine cuts. Aftermarket inserts are machine plugs that are designed to replace metal throat plates that come with most medium-range table saws.

Unlike the wide gaping metal plates, aftermarket blanks are slotted by the saw blade, resulting in a zero-clearance fit.

With a tighter fitting throat plate, you reduce tear-out, improve dust collection, and eliminate the gap where minute pieces of wood usually fall and then they are hurled back at you.

You can always make your own throat plate inserts or you can purchase ready-made ones and enhance the performance and safety of your table saw.

Benefits of Using Throat Plate Inserts or Standard Inserts

Man trying to determine why are table saw inserts rounded

Prevent Kickbacks

Throat plate inserts prevent pieces of wood from falling into the gap that is around your saw blade when cutting your woodwork pieces.

These help in preventing dangerous table saw kickback that can cause serious injuries or even death.

Table saw inserts also prevent the wood from falling into this gap and jamming your table saw blade. When wood pieces fall in the gap, they can be caught in a position that forces the blade to stop rotating.

As a result, the considerable strain is exerted on the table saw motor and may burn out the motor.

Reduces Quantity of Chip-Out and Tear-Out

Throat plate inserts reduce chip-out and tear-out by providing support for the workpiece in all areas during the cutting process.

With this support, wood fibers will not be pulled from the workpiece when the blade moves through it.

This means that you will enjoy greater control over your cut and the quality of your cut.

Improves Saw Dust Collection

With table saw inserts, there is very little opening that allows sawdust to come to the table saw. As a result, much of the sawdust is collected in the dust chute, making cleanup easier.

Close up of a rounded table saw inserts

What is a Zero-Clearance Insert?

A zero clearance insert completely closes the gap that exists between the saw blade and your table. It replaces the metal insert that came with your saw. A zero clearance insert removes tear out from happening as you make cuts on your table saw.

Are Zero-Clearance Inserts Better Than Throat Plates?

Zero clearance inserts (ZCI) are always better than a traditional throat plates. However, ZCI’s are limited to the angle that they have been set to. For example, if your zero clearance insert is set to 90°, then it can’t be used for any bevel cuts. Therefore, standard throat plates are convenient for making non-critical cuts or cuts that have uncommon bevel angles.

You can learn more about zero clearance inserts in our table saw article.

Conclusion

Table saws are useful and versatile tools that can help you achieve accurate cuts. Table saw inserts help to improve the quality of your cuts and makes the table saw much safer to use. Be sure to check your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to help you achieve accurate cuts safely.

When you understand how your table saw inserts work and their importance, you will have a better experience making the ideal cuts with this power tool.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.