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Now a standard part of my workflow

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Review by Ottacat posted 11-25-2015 08:25 PM 4721 views 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Now a standard part of my workflow No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been using the Jessem Clear Cut TS Stock Guides for about two months now on my table saw and I felt it was time for a review. These are similar in concept to their Clear Cut Stock Guides for the router table but they have some unique differences that make them significantly better.

First, let’s start with unboxing and installation. The guides are beautifully packaged and come with the guides themselves fully assembled. I have a SawStop PCS with the T-Glide fence onto which you first attach a T-Slot rail. This rail is very well engineered for both installation and use. For installation, the manual clearly indicates where it should be positioned on the fence – both in terms of front to back as well as side-to-side (so the guides can be moved out of the way without needing to be removed). The guides come with a drill bit for drilling the holes for mounting the self-tapping metal screws. You first position the rail and then move it down 1/2” where the rail then has a series of small pilot holes you use for drilling. You then move the rail back up 1/2” and now all your pilot holes line up with screw holes and you attach it. Once the guide is installed, the stock guides easily slide on and are tightened down. The whole installation took probably 15 minutes with 10 of those minutes being me measuring 3 times and drilling once.

The innovative part of these guides is how you set their height. You loosen the clamping knob and move out each guide and then drop the black metal portion directly on top of the piece of wood you are about to cut and then you tighten the knob (or you can keep a selection of common sized scraps for this purpose). Unlike the router table guides, you do not set the wheels on the wood. Internally to the guides is a spring of exactly the proper tension to raise the guides when the wheels contact your workpiece. With the router table guides, you align their height by putting the wheels on your workpiece and then you push down and tighten the clamping knob. This works but is inexact and results in different downwards pressure on your wood as it depends on how hard you press when you set the wheels. You also have to crank the knobs hard with your hands as they are maintaining the tension (you sometimes have to use a hex key to tighten them properly). The table saw version with the integrated spring makes it both much easier to setup and gives much more consistent downwards pressure. This is a great piece of engineering.

The wheels on the guides have a 5° angle that push the workpiece into the fence. Thus the guides hold your work down and into the fence. This eliminates the need to operate a saw in a manner that has you pushing the workpiece forward into the blade with one hand and sideways into the fence with your other hand (while also holding it down). I used to use feather boards to handle the sideways part of pushing but the guides are superior in many ways. First they work when you are cutting repeated width pieces out of a single wide board without requiring readjustment or repeatedly resetting feather boards. Second, they work even when the outside edge is uneven such as when first cutting rough stock to width. I personally find this to be a big benefit as the rough edge always used to give me splinters and often varied too much for a feather board to give consistent pressure.

I use the guides for all cuts 2 1/2” or wider. The front guide takes about 2” of space and you need room for your push stick. For pieces less than 2 1/2” thick, I use the one or two Grr-rippers from Micro Jig.

I now use these guides for almost every cut. Setup is very fast and when the board is too narrow the stock guides are easily moved up and completely out of the way. To me their big benefits are:

  • better quality cuts due to consistent side pressure
  • increased safety against kickback due to one-way rollers
  • increased safety against kickback due to their being a rear guide keeping the stock tight to the fence and away from the back of the blade
  • increased safety in general due to the board being held firmly down against the table of the saw
  • no need for feather boards on cuts that use these guides
  • best solution for cutting rough lumber to width

I find no drawbacks to having these on my saw. When I use them, they are fast and easy to setup. When I don’t need them, they fold up and are out of the way. To me when something is easy to use, you tend to use it more. Of course woodworkers have successfully ripped wood for many years without these guides so they are not essential. However I do find that for me they are a better and safer way to rip wood so I both use them as often as possible and heartily recommend them.




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Ottacat

484 posts in 1938 days



21 comments so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 1263 days


#1 posted 11-25-2015 08:27 PM

Thanks for the Review!

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View kajunkraft's profile

kajunkraft

154 posts in 2296 days


#2 posted 11-26-2015 02:00 AM

Thanks for your review. The one question I’ve always had about these kind of guides is how you use a push stick with them. You stated that you only use them for pieces 2-1/2’ or wider. Since I rip a lot of pieces less than 2-1/2” I felt these would be a problem. Guess I was right. All the sales-pitch videos kind of avoided that point. BTW I also use the Gripperrrrrs and they are great. As long as I can use a push stick between these and the blade, then I think they would be very good. Thanks again for your review and clearing up a question I have had.

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

484 posts in 1938 days


#3 posted 11-26-2015 02:18 AM


Thanks for your review. The one question I ve always had about these kind of guides is how you use a push stick with them. You stated that you only use them for pieces 2-1/2 or wider. Since I rip a lot of pieces less than 2-1/2” I felt these would be a problem. Guess I was right. All the sales-pitch videos kind of avoided that point.

Yes, they not only gloss over this point they have a few advertising photos that show the guides out so far as to completely obstruct a push stick. Glad if I was able to help.

View Halc's profile

Halc

146 posts in 1688 days


#4 posted 11-26-2015 01:52 PM

I have considered buying these guides. Thanks for your well-written review.

View Faceman_'s profile

Faceman_

18 posts in 1762 days


#5 posted 11-29-2015 04:17 AM

I’ll use a piece of scrap wood for a push stick that is thinner than the wood I’m cutting. Let’s say I’m ripping 8/4, a 4/4 or 3/4 push stick can be used to get the wood being cut passed the rollers by going underneath them. Or you can pause, go over one roller, pause, go over second. Doesn’t sound intuitive but it’s easy in practice.

View NormG's profile

NormG

6216 posts in 3090 days


#6 posted 11-29-2015 06:31 AM

Thank you for the review, they look like it will be a great future purchase item

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View toddbeaulieu's profile

toddbeaulieu

814 posts in 3090 days


#7 posted 11-29-2015 01:44 PM

Interesting. I have their router guides. Like all such gadgets, sometimes they are handy and sometimes not worth the hassle. If you enjoy tools and buying nice, creative gadgets like this it can be hard to justify them to more practical folks, right? They look cool to me…

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2624 posts in 1027 days


#8 posted 11-29-2015 03:20 PM

Thanks for the review. Have plans on paring them with the Very SC Tools fence I purchased. They mount directly to the fence with no need for drilling. The fence is extruded/machined aluminum with T-bolt slots. They appear to do the job they were designed for and are well thought out with quality materials and construction. Nice to see :)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View pulchridude's profile

pulchridude

15 posts in 1142 days


#9 posted 12-08-2015 07:06 PM

I just ordered a set today after uneven pressure while cutting dadoes required a strip to be glued in/planed even/recut. They seem like they’ll make my saw even safer, my cuts cleaner, and in the case of dadoes with the blade buried in a sacrificial fence, my rabbets will be consistent and repeatable. Have you used them in this application yet, Ottacat?

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

484 posts in 1938 days


#10 posted 12-09-2015 09:43 PM


I just ordered a set today after uneven pressure while cutting dadoes required a strip to be glued in/planed even/recut. They seem like they ll make my saw even safer, my cuts cleaner, and in the case of dadoes with the blade buried in a sacrificial fence, my rabbets will be consistent and repeatable. Have you used them in this application yet, Ottacat?

I haven’t used them in that application yet but I certainly believe they will be a big help. I agree they are likely to give a more even consistent rebbet.

View Kennyl's profile

Kennyl

58 posts in 1948 days


#11 posted 01-04-2016 01:03 PM

I also have the jessem guides mated to the vsc fence.The level of safety afforded by the guides cannot be overstated,and yes as stated by others they cannot be used in all cuts.I highly recommend the fence and guides.

-- Kennyl

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1569 posts in 3153 days


#12 posted 01-04-2016 01:09 PM

Good review, in general I love their products and glad they work for you. I’ve been using the grippr’s for years and having that positive control is very good with stock.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View bkseitz's profile

bkseitz

295 posts in 1396 days


#13 posted 01-04-2016 09:25 PM

Thanks for the review. Now on my to buy list for the future

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2624 posts in 1027 days


#14 posted 01-04-2016 11:18 PM

Bones I have the Grippers and various push sticks, as I’m sure many do. I find the guides invaluable when cutting large sheet goods. There’s really nothing that I know of that matches them in the assistance they provide during a cut. I probably wouldn’t have tried this cut today, without them :O

For some reason there was a slight bow of about a 1/16th or so at the apex on my outfeed table – well soon to be outfeed table. Not sure how or why it was there. It was on the factory edge, so I guess in my laziness, I didn’t pick it up. I made the initial rip cut with my track saw. Would have drove me nuts to leave it. I probably could have and maybe even should have used the track saw to correct it, but knowing my fence is dead nuts, I really wanted to square this up in one pass and one try. The guides enabled me to do it without much issue – 3/4” ultralight MDF @ 30”x65” and all those 1” cell spacers. Not overly heavy but also not light. I took off a full blade width plus the bow at the apex for the whole length. That strip was the bow :)


Good review, in general I love their products and glad they work for you. I ve been using the grippr s for years and having that positive control is very good with stock.

- bonesbr549


-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View sreilly24590's profile

sreilly24590

130 posts in 518 days


#15 posted 09-16-2017 09:29 PM

Just came across this post after a quick search. I’ve been eyeing these as a good method to cut sheet goods down and keeping the edges square. I find most projects requiring 1/2” & 3/4” plywood I can rip the board to get better control for cutting the parts from but keeping it tight to the fence hasn’t been easy. I use a 36” Saw Stop cabinet model and love it but wish at times I had gone for the 52”. I built a nice outfeed table which really helps with the panels on long rips. So far I haven’t found anyone complain at all about this product. I have one of their router lifts and it’s been a pleasure to use. In fact I’m working on the cabinet to set the Woodpecker’s phenolic top and fence on to make it a bit easier to use and store bits and so on.

Thanks for the great thread.

Steve

-- Steve, Virginia

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