Tool review: 3-HP Tablesaws
You'll like a riving knife
We're all familiar with the traditional tablesaw splitter, with blade guard and antikickback pawls attached, that's been standard equipment for decades. Mounted to the trunnion assembly at the back of the saw, it tilts with the blade, but does not move up and down. A riving knife, as defined by UL, differs from a splitter in that it mounts immediately behind the blade, moves up and down with the blade, and stands no taller than the top arc of the blade.
This allows you to remove the guard and pawls yet keep this safety device in place to make non-through cuts such as tenons and rabbets. Although a riving knife won't protect your hands from contacting the blade, it greatly reduces the chance of kickback. Of the nine saws we tested, six come with a separate riving knife that swaps with the blade guard/splitter assembly [Photo A]. Many of those require removing the throat insert to access the mechanism that releases the guard or riving knife [Photo B].
Delta's system is unique. Instead of trading the splitter/guard for the knife, the guard and pawls come off the splitter without tools [Photo C], which then drops down to below the blade arc to make it a true riving knife.
As they come from the factory, two saws don't meet UL's definition of a riving-knife saw. Both manufacturers offer riving knives as optional equipment ($30-$40), but, in our opinion, one should be included as standard gear.
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