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My favorite accessory ranks a zero

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I never realized how many table saw accessories there were till recently – there seem to be hundreds. But my favorite one remains the same as always.

Working on a magazine article on aftermarket table saw accessories, my first step was to sit down with a notepad and jot down five of the most obvious. My article is limited to 10 accessories and I planned to do a bit of research on what was out there, but there were five really essential ones I wanted to include no matter what my research turned up.

And as I was researching, it became clear that the list of accessories was seemingly endless, making for some tough decisions for the remaining five. I finally narrowed it down to my list of 10, but it was clear that there was no real way to rank these “the 10 best,” since a readers idea of what was essential would vary according to what they use a table saw for most frequently. But even with that in mind, it was clear to me that one accessory stands above all the others, and will always remain number one for me: A zero-clearance insert.

Now, you may argue for your favorite and that’s fine. Some of you might say a push stick; others a splitter; for still others it might be something else. I’d probably even agree (mostly) with your assessments. But to me, a zero-clearance insert offers so much, and it offers it for just about every cut you make.

It eliminates tear-out. It adds safety (no cutoff slivers fall into the blade opening). Cuts are smoother. It reduces noise. That zero-clearance slot is easier (and more accurate) for measuring exact cuts than measuring from the blade. It increases the effectiveness of your dust collection. Depending on what it’s made of you can mark on it temporarily with a pencil to aid your cuts. And the list goes on.

And as I noted, you can use one repeatedly for almost any kind of cut except bevels. And even for that, you could create a single-use insert if you wanted to.

So there you have my favorite table saw accessory. What’s yours?



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