Splitter for Delta Unisaw question

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Forum topic by Sean posted 09-29-2015 03:07 PM 2031 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sean's profile


5 posts in 1176 days

09-29-2015 03:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: splitter blade guard table saw question

A year ago I purchased a DeWalt DWE7480 job site saw. While it has its limitations, it’s served me well for several projects (a couple cabinets and a few other small items). I can easily set it up on my driveway (my current shop), and I’ve been able to get reasonably accurate cuts with it.

Well, a friend recently complicated things for me by giving me a Delta Unisaw 36-L31X. It has a 3 hp motor and a 52” Biesemeyer fence. On top of that, he threw in a DeWalt 12” miter saw. I’m building a mobile base for the saw so I can pull it out of my basement garage to use it (can’t use it in the basement for a number of reasons).

The DeWalt has a nice suite of safety features, including an easily adjusted riving knife and blade guard. The Unisaw, on the other hand, has an old style splitter and blade guard that is not very user friendly. I’ve put an order in to get a Shark Guard splitter and blade guard.

Anyhow, the reason for this post is this: The Shark Guard splitters are offered in three thicknesses. I’ve ordered the thin kerf splitter as I use thin kerf and standard kerf blades. But I’m wondering if that will be thick enough to provide the safety benefits of a splitter when using a standard kerf blade. Does anyhow have any thoughts on this?

Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

-- Sean

10 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 09-29-2015 07:30 PM

It’s important that the splitter be no wider (preferably a tad narrower) than the kerf of the blade. That saw will have no trouble whatsoever spinning a 1/8” full kerf blade with authority. Thin kerf is great for less powerful saws, but there’s really no reason to choose TK over full kerf unless you’re trying to use the same blades that you used with your DW saw.

Tips for Picking Saw Blades

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View BorkBob's profile


127 posts in 2715 days

#2 posted 09-30-2015 02:05 AM

If it weren’t for the DeWalt miter saw, I’d feel sorry for you, being burdened with that Unisaw. YOU SUCK!!!!

I don’t think the thickness of the splitter/riving knife is as critical as its presence. I don’t believe the splitter/RK has to be in contact with the work to prevent kickback. It just has to keep the work from contacting the rear teeth of the saw blade.

I used to supply the BORK with one universal splitter thickness. It was requests from users that prompted me to offer a “full kerf” splitter.

-- Please Pray for Our Troops / Semper Fi / Bob Ross /

View ForestGrl's profile


450 posts in 1108 days

#3 posted 09-30-2015 02:28 AM

Ditto to above—thin kerf splitter should be fine—it mostly needs to keep the stock from going sideways. If a piece of stock gets a bit sticky (say, very slightly case hardened) such that it’s bogging a bit on the splitter, just put a tiny wedge in the kerf after (outfeed side) the splitter.

Since I’m in the market for a easy on/off splitter for my Unisaw, may I ask why you chose the Shark over the Delta disappearing splitter?

Re: the sideways thing, it only took one time of forgetting to put the splitter back on…....very lucky I didn’t get hurt, and it took 15 minutes to find the small piece of plywood that had turned into a flying saucer.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View Sean's profile


5 posts in 1176 days

#4 posted 09-30-2015 06:02 PM

Thanks for the responses! Yes, I agree I’m one lucky guy to have been given a Unisaw.

I think I’ll go with the standard kerf thickness splitter as it evidently provides a sturdier support for the blade guard. I own a couple thin kerf blades, but I can’t imagine why I would use them on my Unisaw. The friend who gave me the Unisaw also gave me several blades, including two Forrest Woodworker II blades (one brand new) which are amazing.

To answer your question, ForestGrl: I didn’t consider the Delta disappearing splitter because I also wanted a blade guard. The Shark Guard seems to be a good option. As there’s a significant production backlog for the Shark Guard, it will be a bit before I have it. The BORK also seems to be a good option, but I went with the Shark Guard as installing it seems more straightforward and less involved than for the BORK.

Again, thanks for the shared insights!

-- Sean

View bigblockyeti's profile


5136 posts in 1743 days

#5 posted 09-30-2015 06:18 PM

The thin kerf splitter will prevent rotation of the stock away from the fence into the blade, but it will not work as well for preventing kickback when using a full kerf blade on the saw. The reason for this is case hardened wood could still begin to close on the back of the blade before being stopped by the splitter.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3765 days

#6 posted 09-30-2015 06:40 PM

I simply went with a splitter from Microjig -

works well – - none of the aftermarket riving knives really seemed a good solution on my unisaw.

The blade guard hasn’t been on the machine in 8 years. – - but it depends how you are on space… I use the sawtop for assembly, leveling legs etc. So the overarm guard is in the way from either using a sled, cutting dados, or while assembling projects.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3071 days

#7 posted 09-30-2015 07:40 PM

I simply went with a splitter from Microjig -

works well – – none of the aftermarket riving knives really seemed a good solution on my unisaw.

I have Uni-saw and at first I bought splitter made by another LJ, it was a piece of crap.
I went the the MicroJig and I love it.
I never us the blade guard either

-- Bert

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6761 posts in 2221 days

#8 posted 09-30-2015 08:17 PM

The disappearing splitter is great for use with overarm guards. But like many here, I don’t use a blade guard either – it’s usually the first thing tossed in a rat hole somewhere, and shortly thereafter, lost and forgotten. Fortunately, the splitter works just as well without a guard, and is always there even when not being used.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Sean's profile


5 posts in 1176 days

#9 posted 10-29-2015 02:57 AM

Thanks again to all for the helpful responses.

-- Sean

View TheFridge's profile


9606 posts in 1508 days

#10 posted 10-29-2015 03:19 AM

A full kerf ww2 in a unisaw is a beautiful thing. Especially when you need to take just a hair off of something.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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