|Review by paxorion||posted 05-07-2014 02:30 AM||6282 views||1 time favorited||16 comments|
When I first saw the MicroJig Grr Ripper (they seem to be on a YouTube product placement campaign, with many icons now sporting their products), I thought “what a neat concept…but do I really want to spend $60 on a push block?” For the most part, I was on the fence, given the large price tag, and perception as a “gateway” product into the realm of MicroJig accessories. It was only when I used a Grr Ripper for the first time that I realized just how much potential the design had to improve the safety of my woodworking. The Grr Ripper offers a single solution to apply the 3 points of pressure critical for a successful rip cut; downward to the table, inward to the fence, and forward to the blade. Setup for an operation does take a little bit of time and intentional thought (never a bad thing for safety), as the blade is mean to ride safely through a channel created between the legs, and the balance support set to account for the material thickness.
An instructional DVD is included and I have barely begun to scratch the surface of the different operations a pair can accomplish. Even with the few that I have performed, there is no doubt in my mind that the Grr Ripper is leaps and bounds better than any other push block I have used (both commercial and shop made). It especially excels on thin rips for small pieces of work (think shaving off 1/32” off a 3/4” x 3/4” x 4” piece of wood on a table saw). Despite its advantages, I will share a few scenarios where the Grr Ripper’s design may not be the best (or safest) answer.
- The Grr Ripper’s design does NOT appear work with most table saw guards (it works perfectly with a riving knife or their MJ Splitter). From a safety perspective, I will advocate for using the guard whenever possible.
- For rip cuts where the width of the board is wide enough to line up with the balance support (between 3.5” and 5.5”), the Grr Ripper may not be the best choice
- For longer rip cuts (around 4’+), a traditional shoe-style push stick may be more user friendly than the leap-frog technique
- The lack of a hook (solved with the sacrificial hook or a gravity heel now available from PeachTree USA) creates a forward momentum challenge, making me feel the need to apply more downward pressure than usual, so that the gripping material will be able to push the work piece forward.
Few closing thoughts, there seem to be no end to the number of accessories available. I opted to get only the handle bridge (GRHB-010) for now, which includes the handle bridges for better pressure distribution, as well as a trailing sacrificial hook that dramatically addresses the forward movement challenge. Starting at $60 (per Grr Ripper) before any accessories, you have to weight your budgetary priorities. I got my pair when Rockler had a promotional gift card included with each one, so it made a lot of sense for me to get a pair of the best push block I’ve ever used. In addition, buying a MicroJig Grr Ripper (or any of their other products) is both supporting American ingenuity and US manufacturing. For more information on the MicroJig story, visit this Woodworkers Journal article