LumberJocks

The best push block I've ever used, but so pricey I make reasons to use it (so I feel better)

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Review by paxorion posted 05-07-2014 02:30 AM 3744 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The best push block I've ever used, but so pricey I make reasons to use it (so I feel better) The best push block I've ever used, but so pricey I make reasons to use it (so I feel better) No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. For longer rip cuts (around 4’+), a traditional shoe-style push stick may be more user friendly than the leap-frog technique
  4. 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

-- paxorion




View paxorion's profile

paxorion

872 posts in 800 days



16 comments so far

View Richard Hillius's profile

Richard Hillius

158 posts in 435 days


#1 posted 05-07-2014 04:49 AM

I like the grrr-ripper’s and they are my go to push stick/blocks with my table saw. I bought them to cut a bunch of repeatable small pieces and if you want to cut a bunch of 1/4” pieces off of a single wide board they really are the only safe way to do it without readjusting the fence after each cut. However like you said they are not a replacement for a blade guard but generally if a piece is large enough to use the blade guard it’s large enough to not need a push block. It’s that place where you would be taking the guard off to make the cut anyways where the ripper’s shine. I don’t know about anyone else but I alway feel a bit more secure with that large chunk of plastic covering the blade over tying to balance the end of the board with a push stick while pushing it though.

View jtm's profile

jtm

156 posts in 391 days


#2 posted 05-07-2014 05:37 AM

I have a Grripper and it definitely makes some cuts safer on the table saw.

The only problem with it – ironically enough – is that it doesn’t grip the wood all that well.

My Bench Dog pushblocks are much more “grippy.”

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15337 posts in 1943 days


#3 posted 05-07-2014 08:26 AM

Interesting review, Thx for taking the time to write it… I have been on the fence about buying this for a few weeks now. While budget isn’t the main concern I have kept asking myself do I really nedd it. I think I’ll buy them today… As the great Tim Allen once said, “it looks good on the peg board”.... LOL

Thx

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

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

320 posts in 708 days


#4 posted 05-07-2014 12:17 PM

I own one as well and am very satisfied with it though it was hard to justify the cost. Two quick notes. If your gripper has lost its “grippyness” just clean it with denatured alcohol to remove accumlated dust on the pads. I would also like to point out another benefit of using the gripper. The quality of your cut is very much improved. I get a lot less burning during ripping operation on my table saw while using the gripper and as a bonus I get a much smoother cut.

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

260 posts in 423 days


#5 posted 05-07-2014 02:04 PM

I am also a big fan of the Gripper system. I use them on my router and joiner also because of the quality of the grip and keeping my hands further from the blades.

-- Earl

View GregD's profile

GregD

637 posts in 1891 days


#6 posted 05-07-2014 06:09 PM

While I also hate the price I use mine a lot. They give you good control on both sides of the cut. They deliver a better cut and reduce risk. They work best if your saw table is clean and lubricated. When they don’t seem to be grippy enough, it is time to clean and lube the table top.

A spring-loaded hook accessory is now available, but I don’t have one.

When I can I use my Bench Dog push blocks because they grip even better.

I am a big fan of push blocks.

-- Greg D.

View Richard's profile

Richard

1103 posts in 1445 days


#7 posted 05-07-2014 07:34 PM

I have only used them a few times but I really like them for keeping your hands an fingers away from the blade. They can take a bit of time to setup at first but after you use them a couple of times and watch the videos of them, it getts to be pretty easy to do plus if your making the same cut a lot there is no need to change the setup.

View michelletwo's profile

michelletwo

2292 posts in 1770 days


#8 posted 05-08-2014 10:04 AM

I love these and use them all the time…thanks scott for the cleaning info on the pads

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View LJackson's profile

LJackson

200 posts in 349 days


#9 posted 05-08-2014 02:57 PM

I’m sure these companies hate it, but there are plans on LumberJocks for building your own version. I like the build it versus buy it as I’m cheap and I get to make stuff. Plus, you can make a bunch, and have them pre-set to some of your standard operations so that you do not need to frequently adjust the one expensive Grrr-ripper you bought.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

4497 posts in 1083 days


#10 posted 05-09-2014 03:59 PM

since I don’t run my TS with a blade guard (yet… still looking for a workable solution) I invested in a Gripper and I’m glad I did…

I do find every so often a board width/cut width that can’t be cut without damaging the gripper or farting around to make a special spacer, so I still find use for my traditional push sticks. But the Gripper is much better.

I have the DYI Gripper plan, and though doable, it looks like a fairly involved project and you’ll have to buy some hardware. When I saw the Gripper on sale at Rockler I decided safety now was worth spending the money on. Also, the rubber on the Gripper is the “grippiest” I’ve ever seen. And I work in foam rubber manufacturing.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

4497 posts in 1083 days


#11 posted 05-09-2014 04:54 PM

ps… I use it on the jointer and router table as well.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1929 posts in 552 days


#12 posted 05-09-2014 09:44 PM

Great for re-sawing.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

901 posts in 389 days


#13 posted 05-10-2014 10:00 PM

I’ve been using the gripper for years, since it came out.

Unlike JTM I have never had a problem with the grip.
They tell you to use alcohol to clean it, I think I might have done that once.
I use it on the TS, and router table.

Mine is getting pretty cut up, time to start replacing legs, I might get a new one too.

-- Jeff NJ

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

746 posts in 1612 days


#14 posted 05-12-2014 02:07 AM

I’ve had one for years and got it on sale. It is always beside the table saw and handy for those cuts that send a little warning to the left side of your brain. Nearly every woodworker knows what I am talking about.

It works well, does the job it was designed to do and I highly recommend one.

My blade guard is off the saw most of the time unless I am ripping a lot of boards. This makes me more safety minded, especially when ripping smaller boards. The Grr-riper is my go to tool for thin rips or smaller boards that won’t work on the cross cut sled.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

356 posts in 956 days


#15 posted 05-15-2014 01:55 PM

It’s not difficult to built your own version, see the RipSnorter, and save a lot of money.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. I think of my shop as Fritter City. I am the Mayor.

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