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Is Gripper a replacement for a guard/splitter?

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Forum topic by Mauritius posted 08-12-2009 08:54 AM 3346 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


08-12-2009 08:54 AM

Hi all. I’ve been using my Grizzly G0478 TS for the past few months and, although I love most aspects of the saw, I have been seriously frustrated with the guard/splitter that comes with the saw. I can’t seem to get it consistently adjusted, and it’s darn near useless with thin kerf blades. I’m looking for reasonable alternatives… A decent overarm guard and after market splitter will run me more than half the cost of the saw, which pretty much rules that out.

I’ve been looking at the Gripper systems which seem to be highly praised for safety and precision. My question is…do these “push blocks” eliminate the need for a blade guard/splitter when ripping? Also, the guard assembly that comes with my saw also includes anti-kickback pawls…is this something that a hand-held-push-stick-esque-grippy-thing can replace?


16 replies so far

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3487 days


#1 posted 08-12-2009 02:13 PM

Short answer is no. The same company also sells a mico splitter.
Using a GRR-Ripper keep the material down agianst the table and on the fences when properly used,
The anti kickback pawls are at best a hit or miss affair dependant on the size and surface of the material you are cutting.
They must also be removed often to cut narrow stock leaving you unprotected except for a push stick or block.
http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com/reviews/grr-ripper.htm
Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16242 posts in 3683 days


#2 posted 08-12-2009 02:56 PM

I love the Gripper…. I have two of them. But I still use my blade guard/splitter whenever physically possible for the cut I’m making.

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

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Bob #2

3809 posts in 3487 days


#3 posted 08-12-2009 04:02 PM

I took mine off when I installed the Excalibur dust hood.
I now use the microjig micro splitter in my tablesaw insert.
They idea is to keep the kerf open as the sotck passes throught the blade.
I’m not sure the pawls on my rig are up to the task at preventing kickback amd they are in the way for many of the cuts I seem to make.
It a riving knife for me on my next saw.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


#4 posted 08-12-2009 07:45 PM

Thanks for the info guys. I guess I sort of misunderstood the use of the Grrripper. It really is more like a push stick and should be used in front of the blade and not near it. In other words, if you don’t have to remove your guard to use it, you shouldn’t.

This still leaves me with my original problem. I like the Microjig splitters, I’ve seen them on woodcraft and they are definitely priced right. However, replacing the splitter will necessitate replacing my entire guard assembly since it’s all one piece on my current saw (which is most of the reason it’s so frustrating to adjust). Does this mean my only option is an overarm guard like the Excalibur, PSI or Shark Guard? I’ve seen DIY plans for them as well but that’d still cost a chunk and take up a few days of shop time.

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Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


#5 posted 08-12-2009 08:31 PM

My main issue is that my saw’s stock splitter is too wide (or pretty much exactly the right width) to use with a thin kerf blade. You can kind of see a shot of it here:
G0478 guard/splitter

The splitter is really long, and it attaches with three bolts, one in the throat (terrible design IMO). The whole thing tends to move a bit as I tighten the bolts, so getting the splitter parallel and in-line with the blades is an exercise in frustration. With a 1/8” kerf blade it can be a little out of parallel and it won’t affect the cut, but with a thin kerf if it’s off by a tiny bit the splitter pushes the stock against the fence (unsafe) or away from it (resulting in a not straight cut).

I absolutely want to use a splitter if I replace this unit, they’re cheap and easy and I’m sure I’ve avoided some near-kickback scenarios when ripping stock with a lot of internal pressures that tend to pinch the back of the blade.

The issue is that I want to use a blade guard (I’m not all that experienced and I like my fingers where they are) but don’t want to spend $200-$400 on an after market overarm guard so I’m looking for alternatives.

Maybe the easiest solution is to invest in a regular kerf rip blade and just deal with the annoying splitter/guard assembly that came with my saw. shrug

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3114 days


#6 posted 08-12-2009 08:39 PM

It is more of preference if you feel more comterable using your splitter than you should use it

um….. no. it’s not a matter of preference whether you SHOULD use it.

you SHOULD use it no matter what. if you choose NOT to use it – then do so at your own risk. but there’s a reason why it’s there to begin with.

if you really want to be safe , and want to use thin kerf blades, or any other operation where your splitter won’t allow you to use it – then find an alternative for the splitter – a BORK, or a micro-splitter to take it’s place.

gripper is just a super good push stick- but will not prevent kickback. a riving knife (or a well positioned/installed splitter) will!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mauritius's profile

Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


#7 posted 08-12-2009 08:43 PM

Right, I agree 100%. The issue is…if I need to find an alternative for the splitter, I also need to find an alternative for the guard. That’s where I’m stuck at the moment. I have no problems with the stock guard, other than it’s permanently attached to the splitter that drives me nuts.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3114 days


#8 posted 08-12-2009 09:01 PM

http://www.leestyron.com/sharkguard.php

http://www.finewoodworking.com/subscription/community/qadetail.aspx?id=29435 (this one might require a subscription to view… not sure … worth the try)

http://www.finewoodworking.com/pages/w00066_sb1.asp

and the list goes on and on…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3487 days


#9 posted 08-12-2009 09:37 PM

My problem is that I don’t know your saw.
You didn’t give us a picture or a schematic .
Did you contact Grizzly and explain your need to them?
I can’t believe they would cut corners to the extent that the guard and splitter wont come off your saw but anything is possible.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 3219 days


#10 posted 08-12-2009 10:06 PM

The grr-ripper by design excludes the use of the guard based upon how it works. When you use one your hand will passover the blade. In combonation with the Microjig splitters it makes an acceptable replacement for the guard.

One of the oft overlooked thing about the guards, is how it helps to contain the saw dust and keep it from flying up and back from your saw.

With that said, I use the grr-ripper/splitter combo on my saw. I hate to say it, but I bought my saw used and it came with the splitter/pawls/guard combo but was thown to the side by the current and its orgianl owner as a big POS that caused more issues than it helped. I know there are those that are going to jump up and down about this. After two early kick back accidents with the saw, I have gotten the Microjig Splitter/Grr-Ripper combo and that with my improving skills (including the 3”/12” rule) I have managed to keep myself safe in the shop. And as always be sure to wear your safety glasses.

Side note there: What happenes when it is so dang hot and humid that your saftey googles are fogged up / or dripping with sweat? Not being able to see has some great disadvantages whilst working wood. I haven’t been able to decide on this one….

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Mauritius's profile

Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


#11 posted 08-12-2009 10:26 PM

Bob, can you see the picture I posted a few posts up? Here’s a direct link: http://www.grizzly.com/images/pics/jpeg500/g/g0478_det6.jpg

Thanks sIKE, I think you just said exactly what I was hoping to hear. A pair of Grrrippers and a micro jig splitter comes out to about a third of the cost of an overarm guard. But I definitely value my fingers more than my wallet which is why I started this thread…assuming the Grrriper + Splitter is a workable replacement for a Guard + Splitter…is it safer than a wonky guard/splitter that can, at worst, introduce the exact problems it’s designed to protect against and at best cause my cuts to be crooked?

As for the foggy glasses, never have that problem myself (when it’s too hot, I stay out of the shop) but I do know from dirt bike and skiing experience that they sell special goop you can put on the inside of glasses to keep them from fogging. One guy told me he wipes on a thin layer of toothpaste and then buffs it off…I guess he liked the smell…

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Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


#12 posted 08-12-2009 10:34 PM

Ah, I just read this quote on the review site Bob posted a link to above…

With safety as the over riding factor, we aver that the GRR-Ripper® System is not intended to replace or interfere with the saw table blade-guard/splitter combination. It is specifically designed for those times when the conventional combination of a blade-guard and anti-kick back pawls would interfere with the wood working process especially during narrow ripping. The GRR-Ripper® System is designed to protect both hands – at all times during use – regardless of movement

The search continues…

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3487 days


#13 posted 08-12-2009 10:51 PM

You can use one of these untill you can see your way clear to get an overhead guard.

Apart from ripping plywood, the overhead guard is pretty much in the way most of the time at my place.
If you do a lot of mdf carcass/cabinet work etc you will find it useful however.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51452 posts in 2946 days


#14 posted 08-12-2009 11:58 PM

You might try LeeWay Workshop. He makes custom splitters and riving knifes, blade guards etc. He did mine for me and I was very statisfied. He can make one for a thin kerf blade if thats what you are looking for.

http://www.leestyron.com/sharksplitter.php

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Mauritius's profile

Mauritius

96 posts in 2691 days


#15 posted 08-13-2009 12:09 AM

Thanks Wayne, I found LeeWay this morning when I was looking for after-market guard/splitters. Definitely looks like my best bet. I’m going to send him an email and see if he can make one for my saw (it’s not on his list, but other Grizz’s are). Unfortunately it seems like he’s a bit overworked – his site states he has a 3 month backlog, but I’m willing to wait if it means I save a few hundred bucks.

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