|Review by SteveMI||posted 11-22-2009 02:01 AM||3696 views||0 times favorited||4 comments|
I got a used TS couple monts ago that was an upgrade to me. It has the standard 3/4” miter slots in the cast iron table unlike my prior aluminum. So, while browsing the local Woodcraft for feather boards I saw the JessEm and thought to give them a try.
Today I had a chance to actually use them and found they are a great product, but are having some manufacturing problems. The key to the design are some rectangle head bolts that slide in slots molded in the plastic feather boards and then lock with knobs on the top. Problem is that whoever is molding the plastic components is all over the map in their tolerances or the tooling needs to be revised.
The slots you would use if the feather board was to the right of the TS blade are a correct width and the product adjusts and works well.
My TS is left tilt and I use the fence on right of the TS blade. To use the product to the left of the TS blade, you need to flip the plastic feather boards and that is where the problems start. The slots that the rectangles slide in for that side of the TS blade are too narrow. The bolts don’t even want to assemble smoothly to start with. The slots are 0.56 on one side for right of TS blade and 0.58 on the other side for left of TS blade. The rectangle width is 0.57, do the math. To even use it I had to file the rectangle sides down for them to fit. Second picture is with the bolt in upside down for clarity, but you can see it doesn’t sit in the slot much less slide in it. Third picture is of other side where it sits properly and even has a bit of clearance.
From my experience either the molding equipment isn’t running at the right conditions, machine isn’t set for proper cooling or the tool designer was quite inexperienced. Ejector pins are on side of larger slots and material input sprue is on the narrow slot side. Packaging does say “Made in China”, but this is a blatant quality problem that someone at JessEm USA is responsible for. Product is still “Patent Pending” and maybe rushed to market.
(Can you tell what I used to do in a previous life. Way too many thousands of hours traveling around the world to resolve quality issues.)
After all of this, I recommend the product. I’m going to file down the rectangle sides and call it done. I only use the miter slot to left of blade for them and should be good after my design modification.
They lock down in the slot very well.
Instructions say you can lock it in the TS slot and then only loosen the other knobs to move the feathers. It didn’t work like that for me as I had to loosen all of the the knobs to readjust, which isn’t that big of a deal. This may go back to the tolerance issue and be corrected when I file the rectangles more.
I bought the twin-pack which means I can stack them for taller uses. Good idea.
The mounting bracket can be flipped to allow for close or further out use. This was good today as the board started at 8” and final cuts were when the stock was only 1/2” from blade.
Four Stars are due to a real useful product knocked down by needing to modify it for use.