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Need to find Riving Knife options for older Unisaw

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Forum topic by CherryO posted 03-15-2017 02:02 AM 1369 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CherryO

25 posts in 487 days


03-15-2017 02:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: riving knife older unisaw unisaw saw safety walnut cherry injury tool

Just bought a used Unisaw and it predates the RK features. I did some searching on this forum and others as to what my options are as far as add-on Riving Knives, but the articles seemed a little stale. Just curious what others here believe to be the safest and/or the most practical solution to adding a riving knife(not a splitter). I have found the BORK and the new Shark guard ARK which seem promising. Perhaps the BORK is better as it appears to move with the blade? But there was a story of one flinging off, which concerned me.

Keep in mind I have the original Unisaw Guard/splitter but not too confident this is what I want for the long term as I really want the safest behind the blade mechanism I can find. Cost not an option as I value my safety over a couple hundred $s. Also I have the microsplitters on some ZC inserts, but heard they still aren’t as safe as a RK. Or should I just use crosscut sleds and rip everything else with a tracksaw. Please help!


17 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2714 posts in 1318 days


#1 posted 03-15-2017 02:16 PM

I use a micro jig.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View CherryO's profile

CherryO

25 posts in 487 days


#2 posted 03-15-2017 04:59 PM

The grrpr is high on my list but id rather not use that without a riving knife. If i used the microsplitter with the grippr do i have much to worry about in terms of kickback? granted i use them as directed and dont act like a jackass around the saw.
Also the other concern is about not using the blade guard with the grippr as the two dont appear compatible.Any worries here?

View ihadmail's profile

ihadmail

61 posts in 351 days


#3 posted 03-15-2017 07:07 PM

The microsplitter will pull itself out of the zero clearance insert if too much binding pressure is put on it. If you see this it’s time to stop the cut to prevent kick back.

The grripper becomes your blade guard when using it, as it’s designed to span the blade on narrow cuts.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7787 posts in 3213 days


#4 posted 03-15-2017 07:24 PM

I’ve had a BORK on my Shop Fox cabinet saw since 2008, and it’s worked well for me. I’m happy to have one. AFAIK, the incident of one of them flinging off was an isolated incident that likely involved some user error….regardless, he’s redesigned it by closing the slot on the knife so that can no longer happen.

It’s worth noting that the BORK is a retrofit design for older saws that do not have them, and is somewhat universal…its not the same as a riving knife that’s designed to be proprietary for the saw, and there are some trade-offs. It’s also not mass produced by a large conglomerate….it’s just a former hobby woodworker making them in his small facility for people with table saws that pre-date the riving knife mandate, but would like to have a RK on their saw. You’ll find his website to more basic than many we’re used to from larger companies, so don’t be deterred if the site seems a little klugy. Its the only aftermarket option available that I know of that will rise, fall, and tilt in close proximity to the blade like a real riving knife, and can be left in place for non-through cuts if the guard is not in place. He’s updated it to include a template to goof proof the spacing, and once installed and adjusted correctly it works well. He’s also made an optional blade guard for it.

He’s good people IME….by all means, contact him if you have questions.

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

View magaoitin's profile

magaoitin

246 posts in 787 days


#5 posted 03-15-2017 08:26 PM

What model and approx year is your Unisaw?

Have you considered a Delta-Unisaw splitter instead of a RK? I have been waffling on buying the Delta 34-868 dissappearing splitter for my Unisaw (mine is a model 34-802 type 1).

Amazon sells the splitter for just over $80. If you expand the first answered question, the mfg lists the unisaw models this will fit.

-- Jeff ~ Tacoma Wa.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6006 posts in 2037 days


#6 posted 03-15-2017 08:42 PM

The disappearing splitter was introduced along with the overarm Uniguard, which was sometime in the early 60’s IIRC. It should definitely fit on any Unisaw made after that date, although I’m not sure if it will work on the newly (2007) designed models with the controls moved up front. It also will only work on a right tilt machine. I have one on mine and love it. Pulls up or pushes down in seconds with one finger.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View CherryO's profile

CherryO

25 posts in 487 days


#7 posted 03-16-2017 01:07 AM

Thanks everyone for the responses. I have a 36-812 model Unisaw from 2000. I think I will look to get the BORK as it is the only one that moves with the blade. The other ones are cheaper but I think I would get frustrated. Has anyone had any experience with the BORK’s blade/dust guard? I was thinking of getting that as well. As I mentioned in the OP I have the micro[jig]splitter so maybe that is all i need, but I think the RK will be safer.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7787 posts in 3213 days


#8 posted 03-16-2017 01:20 AM

I have the BORK blade guard as well as the RK, Love the guard….it’s small, clear, and light, and doesn’t obstruct my view as much as most guards.

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

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2564 posts in 1863 days


#9 posted 03-16-2017 01:34 AM

The “stale” article you looked at might have been mine. To look at it, search “Riving knife for Unisaw” in the site’s search window.

I do have 15 sets made except for final assembly, which I will probably do as I ship them out. When the 15 are gone, I probably will not pursue it any further, as they are quite labor intensive.

I have not designed it to used with a blade guard, though it could be done. I would recommend an over arm blade guard instead, as that won’t interfere with the operation of the RK.

One caveat is that beveling is problematic with the RK installed. The design of the original throat plate won’t work, and making a ZCI for beveling is a pain. I made one, and it involved a lot of smoke and bad language. It’s easy enough to remove the knife for beveling. I’m not sure how the factory made ones deal with blade tilting.

Oh, there was one query about left tilting saws. Mine is strictly for right tilt. You’d be on your own if you want adapt it for left tilt. I don’t even know how the arbor on the left tilt looks compared to right tilt.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2564 posts in 1863 days


#10 posted 12-08-2017 02:26 AM

Update: I figured out how to use the RK when doing a bevel cut. Remove the knife that curves over the blade. In its place, install a 1 1/2” wide piece of steel in the thickness that works for your blade (12 gauge for standard kerf, 14 gauge for thin kerf). This steel should be bout 6” long (to be slightly less than the height of your blade).Notch the edges of this piece about 1/8” inch on both leading and trailing edges, to fit in the RK knife holder. Also drill and cut out a notch to fit over the locking screw for the RK. Above the RK holder, notch back the leading edge (the edge that the saw kerf first encounters) about 1/2”. Start this notch abut 1/2” above the RK blade holder. The notch is necessary to avoid the little “bridge” that joins the 2 sides of the throat plate. Also, grind bevels on both sides of the leading edge, so the kerf will be guided onto the new splitter without binding.

Now, install the original throat plate, and you are good to go. This knife will rise and fall and tilt with the blade. But it will not arc over the blade like the regular riving knife does. It will in that sense act more like a standard splitter.

Still, an improvement over having nothing there (although for years I did bevel cuts with no kind of kickback protection whatsoever). I’m not sure how saws that come with an RK deal with beveling. Anybody know?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

979 posts in 429 days


#11 posted 12-08-2017 03:09 AM

There is no fully functional 3rd party replacement for riving knife. There are many attempts to make it but most imho fail short to bring the splitter close enough to the blade of flimsy and dangerous like bork.
A factory splitter if available for the saw would be the best option.

View hairy's profile

hairy

2586 posts in 3370 days


#12 posted 12-08-2017 03:42 AM

I believe the BORK is no longer available. Bob passed away earlier this year. He was making them in his garage. I was lucky to meet him a few years back, he was a great guy. His webpage takes you to GoDaddy.

I also would like to get something for my 1989 Unisaw. I’m most interested in the Delta disappearing splitter. If anyone has one mounted, I’d sure like to see some pics.

-- My reality check bounced...

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6006 posts in 2037 days


#13 posted 12-08-2017 03:46 AM

I also would like to get something for my 1989 Unisaw. I m most interested in the Delta disappearing splitter. If anyone has one mounted, I d sure like to see some pics.
- hairy

Is your Uni a right tilt? Won’t work on a left tilt machine. I don’t have any real good pictures of mine, but it works great and operates with a single finger (push down or pull up). Here is a shot of it in the down position. Table is removed as otherwise you couldn’t see it :)

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Ajs73's profile

Ajs73

154 posts in 1356 days


#14 posted 12-08-2017 11:09 AM

-- Andy, NE Ohio

View jonah's profile

jonah

1467 posts in 3136 days


#15 posted 12-08-2017 12:26 PM

I’ve never used the disappearing splitter, but I love my shark guard. The ARK model, which I have, adjusts with the height of the blade.

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