Shopmade Retrofit Riving Knife (for Grizzly 1023SL)

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Project by johnzo posted 01-05-2011 12:47 AM 10720 views 16 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After seeing a lot of safety discussion about retrofitting a riving knife to a tablesaw, I decided to try to make one up for my 10” model G1023SL. I referenced some website photos of the popular $125 BORK model that
was designed to fit my saw as well as a few other brands. Since I threw away the restrictive safety splitter and pawl assembly almost as soon as I uncrated the saw about 10 years ago, I figured I should do something to preserve my remaining 10 fingers. I started out with a 1/8” thick mild steel bracket about 12” long. This bracket was basically a right angle with a 7/8” leg and a 1 3/8” leg which was just about what I needed to clamp to the arbor swing arm which raises and lowers the blade. My bracket (where it came from – I have no idea, since I save every scrap of metal I see) had a 5” long relief 2 1/4” from the RK end. This left a little over 1/4” to stiffen this relieved area. I then had to file this remaining 1/4” leg an additional 1 1/4” down to the 1/8” material thickness in order to form the bracket to the arbor swing arm. This resulted in a 45 degree upward bend of about 3/4” to conform to the arbor bearing projection and another bend to straighten the bracket toward the RK end. I thought about drilling & tapping a couple of holes into the beefy arbor casting because the hose clamp in the BORK kit looked kind of wimpy. However- after tightening a similar hose clamp, (it engages a large hole in the ASA casting and pulls the bracket into such an amazingly tight contact with the profile of the ASA), I decided to skip the extra drilling & tapping. It’s actually a brilliant application! I then mounted the saw blade on the arbor, positioned a 3/8” thick alum block to the end of the bracket and bolted the RK about 1/4” from the blade teeth. After assembling, found out that raising the saw blade (compare 1st photo to 2nd) causes the RK blade to rise too far above the saw blade which is why the BORK RK has a slotted attachment feature. I used tool steel (actually a dull saw blade) to make my RK from, so I will eventually be laboriously cutting a slot into the .o83” thick RK in order to accomodate this adjustment. Also had to mill the alum block thickness so that the RK aligned perfectly to the saw blade.
Final assessment: Not having seen the actual BORK retrofit parts, but re-creating a reasonable facsimile over the course of a week, I conclude I probably should have paid the man his $125 and saved myself a lot of trouble. The riving knife – after relieving a longer kerf in my zero clearance blade insert so that it fits, seems to work great at the single position I have it adjusted at. It’s certainly ridgid enough! Also, guess I’m glad I did it, since I do have way too much time on my hands – and not a lot of dough.

-- 70 is the new 50!

7 comments so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3662 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 01:10 AM

Very cool and very nice job. looks like it came with the saw….Good engineering

-- Childress Woodworks

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3107 days

#2 posted 01-05-2011 01:45 AM

I have the same saw and need one of these also. Thanks for the post.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View knotscott's profile


8122 posts in 3496 days

#3 posted 01-05-2011 04:49 AM

Nice job John. I have the Shop Fox version of the same saw, and sprung for the BORK when the saw was new….I’ve always liked it, and even though I’m a bit cheap by nature, I’ve never regretted the expenditure. Thanks for posting.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Ken90712's profile


17570 posts in 3309 days

#4 posted 01-05-2011 12:06 PM

Great job on this, I need to make one as well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View gary351's profile


97 posts in 2916 days

#5 posted 01-05-2011 01:21 PM

That’s being resourceful, a job well done.

-- A poor man has poor way's

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2898 days

#6 posted 01-06-2011 05:21 AM

I have a vintage tablesaw. It was made with an easily removable splitter/pawl assembly, which was probably thrown away before I was born. I have been toying with adding a riving knife type guard to it.

Using an old saw blade=pure genius. I have a donor blade (cheap and bent) waiting. I may have to reexamine doing this!

-- Nate,

View a1Jim's profile


117203 posts in 3697 days

#7 posted 04-13-2016 01:49 PM

Very cool, great design and build.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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