Mitre saw..."zero clearance throat plate"?

To those who have actually used one.
I have a "zero clearance throat plate" mitre saw and it cuts like a dream. I am heavily detail oriented but this is my first mitre saw so I am asking folks who know.
Is the "zero clearance throat plate" on some mitre saws hype or happiness? If it actually helps with an ordinary setup, my next question is more exact. What helps? I know the saw is not physically kept in place by the plastic, it will rip it at the slightest contact. So is the different air flow caused by a smaller clearance throat plate supposed to be helpful? In other words ... if it works, how does it work?
Guesses are appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Out.
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I wrote: <snip>
I just looked for comments. From the archives, this makes the most sense to me, from (rec.woodworking) October 1996.
"which keeps those small thins or narrow cut offs from jamming up the works"
"when cutting thin strips that might fall through"
So I guess the answer to my question is "hype" when they say "zero clearance throat plate increases accuracy and quality of cut". Except maybe for smoothness of the bottom edge of the material but that depends on how level the throat plate is relative to the rest of the base. I suppose that smoothness might be more with table saws (like when cutting plywood).
If all that is correct, sorry, I should have looked in the archives first.
Think of it (and any additional comments) as a refresher :o)
Out.
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I have them for my tablesaw and I can tell you it's more than hype. I built a project where I had to do a bunch of crosscuts with small offcuts (1/4 - 1/2 inch). With the wider opening, every once in awhile, one would lean back into the blade and get sent flying at light speed. After this happened a couple times, I made a zero clearance insert. Now it doesn't happen no matter what size offcuts end up being.
Frank
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think of a zero clearance insert in a TS or anywhere else as akin to a backer board. something to support the wood from behind to prevent, or at least minimize tear out. If you use the bevel feature, you will have to swap out the ZCI for a standard insert. When beveling, the blade will widen the kerf in the insert.
dave
John Doe wrote:

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If you use a sharp and good quality blade, your cuts will be better. If you use a zero clearance insert, you lessen the possibility of tear out on the bottom of the cut. The zero clearance slot is also quite helpful for setting up your cut. Since you know exactly where the blade is going to cut, align your mark on your board with the appropriate side of the cut in the zero clearance insert. A lot cheaper than adding a laser.

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Yes!
Thanks. I wonder how long I would have been trying to line up the blade edges with a mark on top of the board.
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You can also put a sacrificial board on the fence for a zero clearance fence. Really makes lining thing up easy.
--
Erik "Grumpa" Ahrens
Apprentice
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