So, these are my final thoughts on making the inserts with minimal investment:
1) The only 3 tools needed are a table/miter saw, a router (preferably mounted) and a drill. For the router, the required bits are a flush trim, a guided rabbet & a straight (anywhere from 1/4” to 5/8”, bigger bit just needs to be more careful with).
2) Avoid cheap Chinese plywood.
How did I make it:
Cut the stock, mounted the original plate on one, trimmed it with a flush trim until identical - that’s the template. Used the newly made template to cut a bunch of blank inserts out of a 1/2” ply.
Tried to drill out the mounting legs clearance with a forstner bit, but quickly realized what a pain in the ass it is. Took it to the router table instead & used a 1/2” straight bit to clear out the bottom contours. Then switched to a guided rabbet & cleared the edge for the arbor housing. Finally, drove a finishing nail in the back to make a latch.
After that it was as easy as swap the 10” for a 8” dado, clamp the fence over the new plate & make an initial cut. Unfortunately, at this point the crappy Chinese ply chipped at the edge of the plate.
But all in all, now that I have the template & figured out the workflow, I’ll make a trip to Walmart for a cheap polycarb cutting board & put it to good use. Will post pictures with final results.
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