Splitter (?) on table saws.

Was watching Norm Abrahams on Discovery and he has a table saw without a splitter on it. I understand the European style saws have a splitter permanently attached so you can cut right through pieces of wood but no dados rebates(rabits) etc. these having to be done on a router. What I was wondering is how do you do cheek cuts on tenons if you have a splitter permanently mounted to the table?Also which method is preferred European v American style table saws? Opinions and sites warmly welcomed.
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American saws can have a splitter or riving knife when cutting at the width of the kerf of the blade. The main purpose is to reduce the risk of the workpiece binding and kicking back.
You can't really use one of these when a dado cutter is in use.
The issue with stacked dado cutters in Europe has to do with what can legally be sold on the market by virtue of being CE marked. In this case the Machinery Directive refers to ISO standards for various woodworking machinery and there are issues regarding guarding, safety devices and the speed that the blade can be brought to a halt. The practical outcome of this is that table saws sold in the EU cannot be sold with long arbors for US style dado sets, even though some of these sets (e.g. Freud) are made in the EU and can be sold here.
There is woodworking machinery and tooling that can cut dadoes in the equivalent to a table saw mode (Felder does one for example) and you can still put a stacked dado set on a radial arm saw (which in my mind is more dangerous than a table saw.
As an individual, there is nothing to stop you importing an American table saw for your own use - you can't import and sell. I have a DeWalt contractors saw that I imported and use with a dado set when needed.
As you say, you can cut dadoes and rebates (rabbets) with a router as well.
Regarding tenons, there are a variety of ways. Another is to use a mortice and tenoning jig with a router. Leigh have a really nice one, but it is not inexpensive - Trend have a lower cost option. I've seen the Leigh one used to mortice and tenon joint two matchsticks together........
.andy
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Soup wrote:

I built an extension fence jig for cutting tenons and open mortices. It rides along the existing table saw fence and allows the wood to be clamped vertically so that it is perpendicular to the table. One has to use it with the blade guard in the raised position. There are however limits on dimensions. Tenon cheek depth can be no more than the max depth of cut of the blade (about 75mm on my saw), and the max thickness of wood is just under half the blade diameter since the rear surface of the wood you are tenoning needs to pass over the top dead centre of the blade before the front surface reaches the raised guard. If you wanted to do bigger stock than that then you would have to remove the splitter (which on my table would also remove the blade guard).
I guess if you are doing lots of big tenons then a band saw would be a better bet.
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Cheers,

John.

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Typical American saw

Splitters (fixed to the table) are rare (on modern saws). More usually they have a riving knife (fixed to the saw carriage, moves up and down with it).
You can cut rebates or tenons with either of these, _if_ they're no taller than the sawblade. However the typical Euro-saw has a tall riving knife, used to mount the guard as well. These can only make through cuts.
A splitter is an easy thing to add to any saw, but a riving knife is hard to fit, if it wasn't designed in there. Even if you can add the knife itself, you need to stop the table insert from falling to pieces.

One way is to use a short splitter. Another is to not use a splitter at all. If you have a decent cabinet saw with an iron top, there's probably an oval wooden insert shrouding the blade and the splitter is mounted to the insert, rather than to the table itself. As inserts are easily made, then just make up a couple, with and without.
A splitter is there to avoid kickback - caused when the timber presses on the side of the rotating blade and gets lifted or thrown forwards. It presses because it's either twisted (usually levered against the fence, which is why we don't use the fence when cutting short, wide pieces) or else it's pinched when ripping poorly seasoned timber that springs together. Because a rebate is still connected at the top, there's a much reduced risk of pinching anyway.
I have a range of splitters and riving knives for my saw, including the main one that I use, where it's a through splitter with a guard on top. For through cuts I always use the blade at full height, to reduce the forward thrust from the spinning blade.
When I'm rebating though, I take the guard and splitter off and run without. Then I put it back afterwards. I also cross-cut without a splitter or guard, because I use a crosscut sled that has its own guard.
-- Smert' spamionam
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On Sat, 10 Jan 2004 02:58:04 +0000, Andy Dingley
snip

Splitters/riving knives (I'm not getting inot semantics here, they are effectivelty the same thing ) on these American saws are fixed in position and don't move with the blade. This is why they are so often removed . These must be the most common table saws available world wide

IME most good Europen saws have adjustable riving knives that can be adjusted level with the top of the blade allowing them to make submerged cuts and still maintain a safety margin against the (highly unlikely) chance of kick back in this type of operation

Tension within the timber that is released when it is cut is generally in-built due to the growth pattern as opposed to incorrect or insufficient seasoning. I have had 7 x 1 boards warp on me while being cut despite being in dry storage for a considerable period of time.
Insufficient or incorrect drying will cause the wood to warp, twist, cup etc over a period of time after it has been re sawn, as the wood re-acclimatises.
snip

I would differ from you there. My preference is to just ensure the gullets of the blade are clearing the surface of the material being worked. This ensures the waste material is cleared from the blade with maximum efficiency reducing the chances of over heating and burning. The less blade exposed the safer. How much of your fingers do you want to lose ? Also, it leaves less of the heel exposed which must be a help in reducing the risk of kick back
If having problem with splintering of face veneers I may raise the blade all the way to improve the angle of attack. Fine in theory but to be honest I have never really noticed much difference in practice.
The thrust of the blade as it cuts tends to keep the material pressed down on the table as opposed to pushing it back towards the operator. The rear of the blade rising through the material is where the problem arises with kick back

If the splitter is lowered to match blade height then it can be left in place when using a crosscut sled.
Crosscutting any longish size piece on a table saw is only a PITA anyway, even with a good sliding table. Best use a RAS or a chop saw or even, heaven forfend, a hand saw and saw stool ;-)
Paul Mc Cann
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