Our 3 favorite tablesaw safety gadgets
Featherboards provide consistent pressure against a workpiece in spots where you wouldn't dare place your hands. The problem with most featherboards is securing them in those spots. Powerful magnets hold the MagSwitch Pro Table Featherboard, right and below, anywhere on a cast-iron table. Twist a pair of knobs to engage the magnets and lock the featherboard in place, or twist them again to release it.
A vertical attachment kit adds a second featherboard, spacers, and brackets that provide a variety of work-holding options. Extend the top featherboard to apply pressure above the blade, but not against it (above), or mount the second featherboard to press downward while the lower one holds the workpiece against the fence (below right).
(Featherboard, Magswitch, 303-468-0662, magswitch.com.au.)
Ripping narrow strips or narrow stock can be a challenge. The GRR-Ripper pushblock, right, makes those jobs easy. With one edge riding against the rip fence, its rubber-coated feet straddle the blade to push both the keeper and cutoff pieces past the blade, while also allowing you to apply pressure against the fence.
The manufacturer offers a variety of accessories, including a leg that allows for ripping strips as narrow as 1/8" (shown right), and outriggers for steadying the pushblock when ripping workpieces narrower than the pushblock. For specialized tasks, make your own accessories and attach them using #10-32 screws that fit into threaded inserts in the sides or with 1/4"-20 hexhead bolts that slide into T-slots in the top and ends.
The $60 price tag might seem hefty, but you'll find it useful at the router table, jointer, and bandsaw as well.
(Pushblock GR-100, 1/8" side leg, Micro-Jig, 407-696-6695, microjig.com.)
For saws without a built-in riving knife, a splitter reduces the chance for kickback by preventing the saw kerf from pinching behind the blade. The MJ Splitter -- a semi-circular plastic disc -- mounts in a zero-clearance throat insert, as shown right. A simple drilling jig and clear instructions included with the splitter make installation easy.
Each kit (available for thin-kerf or full-kerf blades) comes with two splitters, each offset slightly different distances from the center of the mounting pins. Because of this offset, the splitter presses the keeper piece against the rip fence as a featherboard would. A greater offset provides increased pressure toward the fence.
Unlike a riving knife, the splitter does not tilt with the blade, so it can be used only for 90° cuts. Remove the splitter by simply lifting it up and out of the holes in the insert.
(SP-0125 standard kerf, SP-100 thin kerf, Micro-Jig.)