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Forum topic by SnowyRiver posted 09-29-2012 08:28 PM 960 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51451 posts in 2570 days

09-29-2012 08:28 PM

I was thinking today that I wish I had a video camera in the shop. I planed two birch 4/4 boards to 3/4 by about 6 inches wide. I’m making a face frame for a large storage cabinet. As I was cutting the strips of birch, 1 1/2 inches wide for the frame, I noticed as the board passed the riving knife that there was so much tension in the wood that the saw kerf was closing so tight that I could hardly see the kerf.

If I wouldnt have had the riving knife on the saw, I probably would be picking this board out of my teeth. It would have been a good video for someone new to woodworking on the reasons to always use a riving knife or splitter.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

11 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3052 posts in 1376 days

#1 posted 09-29-2012 08:32 PM

There is a time and place for riving knives. Mine is off at the moment because I’m only using it to slice 1/8 strips off a 4×4.
Is the wood riding along the fence okay, the kerf shouldn’t close up on you.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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51451 posts in 2570 days

#2 posted 09-29-2012 08:41 PM

Yep, very straight along the fence…once it cleared the fence and the knife, the two pieces started to pull over against earch other. Thats why they make splitters and riving knifes to prevent a serious kick-back when this happens. I dont use the knife when I am doing dados, but after a serious kickback a few years ago I learned my lesson when ripping boards. LOL. I dont ever want that to happen again.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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1017 posts in 1376 days

#3 posted 09-29-2012 09:05 PM

Yep, there is a time and a place for riving knives—and that time and place is every time you make a through cut.

Thanks for the reminder, Wayne.

-- John, BC, Canada

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682 posts in 1459 days

#4 posted 09-29-2012 09:38 PM

Glad you had your riving knife in!

You might want to think about taking those boards over to the band saw for ripping. I’ve taken to doing that anytime I’m ripping more than a little off of an edge to square up a board; that is at least for boards I can handle on the relatively small band saw table. I’ve had quite a few kerfs close up on me.

-- John

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1376 days

#5 posted 09-29-2012 10:08 PM

I’ve had this happen on maple recently. It pinches so hard on the riving knife that it becomes really hard to push. I’m afraid to just keep pushing harder for fear it’s going to suddenly get easier and I’ll force the wood hard into the blade. So I stop feeding, turn the saw off. Leave the board right where it is. Go around and put a wedge in the kerf just past the riving knife, walk back around and pull the board just a touch off the blade and start it back up and continue. I have actually had boards when trying to cut long 1-1/2 inch wide pieces like 6 feet long, that have the cut-off curl UP and start to cross OVER the other piece.

Wood does weird stuff. :)

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15 posts in 1479 days

#6 posted 09-29-2012 11:00 PM

Thanks for sharing this.
It seems that we are all newbies, until the first serious kickback.

-- Dado Sutter

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706 posts in 2155 days

#7 posted 09-30-2012 12:06 AM

Good reminder. Thanks, Wayne.

-- PaulMayer,

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Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 1275 days

#8 posted 09-30-2012 02:58 AM

I dont understand why you wouldn’t use a riving knife for all of your cuts. On my sawstop it never gets in the way. The blade guard however, I dont even use it.

View MNgary's profile


245 posts in 1507 days

#9 posted 09-30-2012 01:08 PM

SnowyRiver, were you able to use the ripped stock for the faceframes?

-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Porchfish's profile


661 posts in 1622 days

#10 posted 09-30-2012 02:48 PM

I agree with Charlie, expect the worst and you should be a little safer and maybe a little slower too, but the peace of mind is worth the effort !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

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51451 posts in 2570 days

#11 posted 10-01-2012 12:32 AM

Cole…I could use a riving knife on all cuts, but I would have to change it to a smaller knife. I have never had any problems with dados so I just use it on through cuts.

MNgary…yes, I was able to use the pieces. I had cut about 6 or 7 eight footers and two were curved or bowed. I cut those up and used them for the face frame on the shelves.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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