Quick safety observation about the table saw splitter

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Forum topic by jtm posted 04-04-2014 02:28 AM 1161 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jtm's profile


217 posts in 1057 days

04-04-2014 02:28 AM

I was just sawing a piece of rough walnut in half.

The wood closed back in on itself so hard that I had to take a mallet and hammer it back out.

Fortunately, I had my guard in place, and the wood closed in on the splitter. I honestly thought something else was wrong, because I could not believe just how hard it had closed in on itself.

I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had the guard off.

7 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3638 days

#1 posted 04-04-2014 02:42 AM

I never cared for the one-piece guard/splitter on my Ridgid TS3660, so I started using a Micro Jig splitter instead.

Ripping with no guard or splitter at all is just asking for trouble.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Paul's profile


719 posts in 985 days

#2 posted 04-04-2014 02:49 AM

If it closed up and binded that hard that you had to use a mallet to dislodge it be thankful you weren’t using the plastic micro jig splitters.

How green was the wood you were working with? Almost sounds like a fence alignment problem to me.


View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1294 posts in 1369 days

#3 posted 04-04-2014 02:58 AM

I’ve had some yellow pine pinch on a circular saw so hard that I had to wedge it open with a chisel to get my saw out.

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1445 days

#4 posted 04-04-2014 06:03 AM

Only 3 or 4 days after getting my homemade riving knife installed in my Unisaw, I had a piece of oak do that. It stopped all forward motion of the board, though it didn’t grip as tightly as you’re describing. I was impressed and pleased to see that thing doing the job it was designed to do.

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

View Tony_S's profile


597 posts in 2503 days

#5 posted 04-04-2014 09:15 AM

If you weren’t cutting through a knot, or some other squirrely defect, the lumber is more than likely ‘case hardened’(lots of info on the net).
It’s a serious lumber defect caused by improper drying(too quickly).

Not only is it extremely unstable, but as you discovered, because of instability, can be quite dangerous.

First instinct is to try and put more pressure on the board and push harder to get through the cut. Even with a riving knife or splitter this is extremely dangerous, because as you manage to push it through(if you do at all), as you near the end of the cut(eg. last 6” of a 48” rip), there’s very little wood holding all that tension together and the board can actually split in half in front of the blade.
All that extra force you were applying is suddenly and unexpectedly released and your push block/hands move rapidly and uncontrollably towards the blade.

Outcomes vary from a load in your underwear…to a trip to the hospital for reconstructive surgery.

If in fact it is case hardened and the option is available, return it…it’s garbage.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View robscastle's profile


3314 posts in 1624 days

#6 posted 04-04-2014 09:34 AM

As long as you realise timber is a little unpredictable as it is cut,mainly you are relieving stresses and naturally a small amount of movement will be released.

Be it seasoned or milling green timber, the effect is still possible its a natural movement of the timber as you cut through it particularly noticeable on a saw mill.

That’s why the splitter is there!

-- Regards Robert

View hobby1's profile


326 posts in 1718 days

#7 posted 04-05-2014 02:45 PM

There were times when I was cutting some lumber and the wood closed tight against the guard splitter, pushing the board further would keep tipping the saw on its feet, so when it gets that tight, I keep a wooden wedge shingle close by,

I cut the board until I get enough kerf past the guard splitter, to pound in the shingle wedge, enough to allow clearance,, then if need be, I’ll rip further down, until it binds again, shut the saw off, pound the wedge down further then finish the rip cut.

I did this for about a dozen rip cuts one day, it worked perfect, for fiishing a rip cut with that kind of stress in the boards.

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