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Jess Em Clear-Cut Precision Stock Guides Do What They're supposed to

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Review by NeophyteGrant posted 12-08-2017 02:33 AM 4605 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Jess Em Clear-Cut Precision Stock Guides Do What They're supposed to Jess Em Clear-Cut Precision Stock Guides Do What They're supposed to No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

As a relatively new woodworker who has spent some time investing in new equipment the past couple months, I have a bit of a backlog of items I’d like to share impressions of.

There are a couple of Jess ‘Em products at the top, particularly these TS rip guides, which were my first Jess ‘Em purchase.

Fit and Finish: the finish of the aluminum pieces is outstanding. I’ve had them up in action on my SuperCoolTools Fence (these were a custom fit model with according t-slot dimensions) and they are durable. The urethane wheels turn only forward and haven’t shown any wear with heavy use. Likewise the repeated action of disengaging the lock-down to maneuver the guides up and down the length of the fence hasn’t shown any issue. When engaged they sit upright at 90 degrees.

The other element are the roller wheels extension bar, which slides in and out to accommodate any stock size. If you’re within a couple inches of the blade and need to put the guide rollers on the opposite side of the blade you can do so with out any sag. There is a sliding aluminum beam that can be slid in and out. They lock down height.

Use: There are two primary uses for this product:

1. Hold the board down at any part along its length as it traverses the fence.
2. Hold the board against the fence as it travels.

In both facets, this is primarily for ripping and not cross-cuts—with the exception of cutting a panel, where in a cross-cut operation you have a long board edge to ride against the fence.

In both counts these guides do an exceptional job. There is a video on Allan Little’s VerySuperCoolTools of them in action on a very thin rip.

With this you can rip any size of stock and do it barely using your hands. The only motion that need be supplied is forward motion. In practice it gives you the feeling of having one of those pre-set 90 degree glue line rip saws that have a top and feed like a planer: you barely need to do anything to ensure snug fit against the fence and ensure it’s held down and doesn’t pop up through the cut or bow or dip.

There isn’t really much more to say for the product other than 1. it does work, and 2. by all indications will last and take a every day beating.

There’s a router table version I just ordered that has good reviews based on my experience with this product. I also went for a dowel jig that I’ve had for a while now too. The jig is also robust and works, as others have pointed out here.

-- Bucktown, Chicago, IL




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NeophyteGrant

73 posts in 562 days



20 comments so far

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8162 posts in 2382 days


#1 posted 12-08-2017 04:37 PM

I’ve considered using board buddies, which… if I understand the Jessem product correctly… function similarly.

The one thing that keeps holding me back is that they would interfere with the use of a push stick or Gripper for most narrower stock.

How are you feeding the boards you rip?

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

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NeophyteGrant

73 posts in 562 days


#2 posted 12-08-2017 05:13 PM

I have been using a push stick. There is about 4 inches or so of glide back and forth on the arm so you can position the rollers on the other side of the blade if the blade and the fence aren’t far enough to support the roller on fence side. There seems to be an angle of attack on the board buddies where as these are 90 degrees out and then the drop down roller.

I haven’t used the Board buddies but I think the one advantage that the stock guides might have is that you loosen the knob and can swing them up easily. So if you have something you want to use a gripper with for stock that is, say, less than half an inch, you don’t need to remove the guide from the fence, just disengage the knurled knob, swing the wheel up, and you’re in business. The other is that these wheels are directed inward at a 5 degree angle (don’t know if board buddies are) so it actually works at pulling and holding it against the fence. I was skeptical of that claim, but it does work.

If they’re set far enough apart and one is far down the table near the back of the blade to hold it down, it can be difficult to get a short push stick to clear under both, but I have a longer push stick and its a breeze. You can seriously almost just put a board down and sit in a chair and push with a long push stick. It’s pretty nice. I kind of wish I had one more (there is two in a set) so I could have one to engage and push towards fence in the infeed, one for the blade, and one for the outfeed. With that setup and a long push stick you have to do virtually no work to hold the piece down and against the fence.

I made the jump to the aftermarket VSC fence on my saw and it’s worth it just to have this accessory. With a T-track you can move them independently up and down the length of the fence. That’s been helpful, too. I think with a non- T track you have to mount and it may not be movable.

I balked at the price (which I’m assuming you do too), and I think it’s overpriced by about $30-40 bucks (fair, everyone needs to make a profit), but its been one of those purchases where I get them out of the box and hold them and am like “yep, I can see why this costs this much.”

My Lie Nielsen planes were the same way the first time I got one. You also get a box with a handpacked literal newspaper with that week’s Maine (where it’s made, the town) news crumpled in there with the LN’s. On the other hand, the Shopfox dust collector I got in the $200 range was the opposite of that feeling.

-- Bucktown, Chicago, IL

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MrRon

4863 posts in 3297 days


#3 posted 12-08-2017 05:15 PM

Does it not do the same as a feather board in holding the board tight against the fence?

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NeophyteGrant

73 posts in 562 days


#4 posted 12-08-2017 05:20 PM

-- Bucktown, Chicago, IL

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NeophyteGrant

73 posts in 562 days


#5 posted 12-08-2017 05:23 PM

Mr. Ron;

It does the same job but I think it does it better—enough to justify the investment. I think the bigger thing is that it’s easier to work with—at least I think so.

-- Bucktown, Chicago, IL

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BGesq

3 posts in 1405 days


#6 posted 12-08-2017 06:43 PM

I’ve had both the router table and table saw guides for more then 3 years. Absolutely would recommend them to any one.

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kajunkraft

153 posts in 2263 days


#7 posted 12-08-2017 07:25 PM

Had been thinking about these for quite some time and finally got this guide system about 2 months ago.

1. Mounted base to 3/4” mdf; mdf mounts to fence with mag switches. This means that I didn’t have to drill into my fence and make a permanent installation. Easy to remove to use other jigs/fixtures/etc. on table saw fence. (idea c/o Dave Stanton, YouTube)

2. Made push stick from 3/8” plywood, about 18” long and 3” wide. Put a simple straight handle at one end. Push stick slides under rollers guides (if material is more than 3/8” thick) or can stand on edge and push along fence between fence and roller guides.

3. There are some situations that the guide system is not well suited for, but not many in my use.

So far I feel that my cuts are much safer and absolutely more accurate. This is a great addition to my shop.

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RobS888

2457 posts in 1898 days


#8 posted 12-08-2017 07:55 PM



Does it not do the same as a feather board in holding the board tight against the fence?

- MrRon


I believe it pushes down and against the fence. It also has a much wider stance, so it would be like a really long feather-board.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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Albert

511 posts in 3643 days


#9 posted 12-08-2017 10:23 PM

OK I will order it.
Thanks for the post.

Albert

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DalyArcher

115 posts in 1173 days


#10 posted 12-08-2017 10:28 PM

I think these will really prove their worth when ripping large sheet goods by yourself. I plan to install a set on my tablesaw before too long.

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Mainiac Matt

8162 posts in 2382 days


#11 posted 12-08-2017 11:36 PM

Looks like a nice setup

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

481 posts in 1905 days


#12 posted 12-09-2017 05:25 PM

I have had a set for almost a year now and I still find I use them almost all the time. They hold so firmly and tightly that I don’t hesitate to pause a rip to reposition the push stick once the board passes the first hold down. I also virtually never get any burning, even on cherry. I now only use my Grripper when I’m doing really narrow stock.

I have the router table version as well but find I don’t use them nearly as much.

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NeophyteGrant

73 posts in 562 days


#13 posted 12-09-2017 08:27 PM

Great idea kajunk. I feel like it’s a plus to be able to move them (though the arm swings up) or take em off quick.

And the panel use is no joke. I’m relatively new and before I had my outfeed table built I had my rockler roller (which I now use the side of my Griz 0771z since it has a 33 or so inch right clearance—not enough top to easily work in all the way with the panel) on the outfeed and had to support the panel off the table-left and try to hold it up against the fence and down on the right. That’s not fun. These were a godsend for that.

I really didn’t like doing panels with a circ saw and doing the offset and then clamping down the straight edge at a right angle. It was never as accurate. I couldn’t justify it because I truly don’t do enough panels but I was wishing I had a tracksaw.

These made life infinitely better.

-- Bucktown, Chicago, IL

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cmmyakman

171 posts in 2709 days


#14 posted 12-11-2017 06:56 PM

Great review – I’ve been using these on my SawStop for over 1 year now and love them. They make the cut both higher in quality, as it keeps the wood firmly planted against the fence, and safer as the opportunity for kick back is reduced. They are also easily introduced (set-up) for a cut and quickly moved away if you need to do another type of cut.

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

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Boltbolter

1 post in 667 days


#15 posted 12-12-2017 02:31 AM

These seem pretty awesome. I guess they’re like a manual power feeder kind of. I’ll have to put these on my wish list.

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