Splitter?

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You're absolutely right, Greg, working wood is a lifelong apprenticeship. The last few years I have been in hiatus, between projects, to refresh myself for what is to come...whatever that might be. I only know, that the best is yet to come. But, for now, no pictures. I spent time in the shop of a man who is winding up a forty-five year apprenticeship as a guitar maker. He began the trade working for old man Gibson, himself; became his protege, often eating Sunday dinner in the Gibson family home. He has contracted a debilitating disease, and I stepped in to assist in the completion of some contracts. I worked on a couple of archtops, a number of acoustics, and a few solid body twangers. It is an interesting product engineering, and an even more interesting production engineering situation...still, a box is just a box, but I learned something new everyday. Also, I met some interesting celebrities. Guitar prices ranged from five to fifteen grand, and one-spec built went to a Minneapolis music store for ten grand...but, it was his shop, his name, and his product, so no pictures. Then, last winter, I went in search of the Appalachian craftsman, but alas, it was just a myth. Funny though, one state has taken possession of the myth and is trying to capitalize upon it, by importing artists. It's going to be big business...so they think...if only they can perpetrate that myth. But, none of the professional program administrators, I talked with, had any understanding of the concept of apprenticeship. After millions of dollars, it's a flop. So, I am working on organizing a few projects on the 'puter, and dispensing my dangerous and unbelievable advice for the heck of it; or perhaps, I enjoy having pissants attack, so I can lambaste them with boring philosophies. Anyway, thanks to you, Greg, for your kind recommendations; I no longer have the pictures, either; and to you Swingman, I enjoyed your website. You seem to have acheived a high degree of competence in your 325 sqft shop.
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What makes one so much more costly? Rarity of the materials? Labor? How much is for appearance versus tonal quality? Ed
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You have hit on most of the relevant factors. The orgasm factor, or appearance, does not always denote rarity of materials, although cost of material is, of course, factored in. There are limited choices of material for certain parts on certain guitars, and unlimited choices for other parts. A solid body guitar, on the low end of the price scale, is rather hard to screw up, because its tonal quality is based upon the applied electronics, of which, there are a lot of choices. Price variables are electronics, wood, finish, and the personal or generic complexity of decoration. The body design is mostly about comfort. The Les Paul series has produced a different solid body design every other year, or so, for the last fifty years. A man working alone can produce a one-off in about three days; but, a five man crew could easily produce several hundred a month. The acoustic designs have been made for several centuries, and engineering for tonal quality are, for the most part, known factors; however, if you built five or ten guitars in a production situation, utilizing the same materials, each would have a distinct tonal quality. Maybe one in hundreds or even thousands would be considered to be quite unique. Even so, each guitar maker will tweak his design in various ways; choice or thickness of material, structural aspects, depth of curve...each seeking for that extra-ordinary sweetness in the tonal quality. The man I know, after forty-five years of apprenticeship, remembered and could count his special constructions on one hand...think about that. The archtop is undoubtedly the most personal of constructions. The maker minutely scrapes the recurved top plate to develope or find the instrument's voice. A man, who can do that...well, what can you say? I may have performed the task, but I did it with his ears. There is a very competent book on the subject; 'Making the Archtop Guitar' by Robert Benedetto. Price consideration is the same as with any other product. I suppose, the important thing to remember, this was a handmaking shop...one of a kind, one at a time...with a forty-five year history of success and a famous clientele. Thanks for asking.
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You can probably say that people aare willing to pay handsoly to have an instrument made like that.

You have to admire sommmeone with that kind of skill.

Thanks for answering. Ed
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"daclark" wrote in message

That's too bad ... hope you rectify that someday. Just gazing upon photo's of Tom Plaman and Judson Beaumont's work is inspiring.

Understandable. Luthier's have always fascinated me but, even being a musician, I've never had an interest in building instruments ... mainly because I've felt that I couldn't devote sufficient time to the task to do it justice. I've also recorded many "vintage" acoustic and electric instruments, from Cremona cellos and violins to to my own 61 Fender Jazz Bass, including many old Martin and Gibson guitars, and I can imagine the challenges in "production" shops, particularly those dealing in acoustic instruments.

I saw the tip of the iceberg in the apprenticeship system in England where, for a brief summer around '65, I worked for a family that had been building furniture and cabinets for close to 300 years. I was below the rank of "apprentice", worked in the carpenter end that summer, but I garnered an appreciation for the apprentice system in that short stint.

LOL ... I can appreciate, and mostly sympthasize with, a contrarian' viewpoint. :)

Thanks for the kind words ... and good luck in your future endeavors.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (daclark) wrote in

<snip>
But you won't mind if we don't stand by your saw when you're working wood, all right?
Patriarch, who has a healthy respect for high speed projectiles...
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daclark wrote:

OK

I don't understand. If you mean the part between the fence and the fence side of the blade - how? The front teeth are removing the wood, the offset teeth on the blade leave a kerf wider than the thickness of the blade body, the blade body can't grab the wood unless it's rusty as hell or covered in pitch, and the piece being ripped hasn't reached the rear teeth yet. On a 10 inch blade, even at maximum depth of cut, your length of the exposed blade - at the table - isn't much over 7 inches before you reach the rear teeth. On shallower cuts - like 1/2" to 1" thick stock there's even less exposed blade.
Even if the stock did have internal stresses which are released when you begin the cut and the stock tried to "cross its legs" (as opposed to spreading) - BEFORE it got to the riving knife (or splitter) - if you've got a hold down (feather board, Draw-Tite, Board Buddies or whatever their called) to keep the stock down on the table, and a feather board or the like to keep the stock against the fence in front of the blade the board ain't gonna fly. Of course it you're using a 5 tooth blade with no set then all bets are off.
If on the other hand, the board was cupped and you had the concave part down on the table, sure, as you make the cut the part between the blade and the fence can bind - BUT not at the beginning of the cut. If the board is twisted, crooked or bowed the same is likely to happen. BUT you shouldn't be ripping boards like that on a table saw anyway - at least not with a special jig.
So if what you're talking about is ripping a board whose bottom isn't flat and the edge against the fence isn't straight, prefereably with a square corner between the bottom and the edge against the fence, then using a splitter/riving knife or not isn't what you need to worry about

HUH?
If you're using feather boards, they discourage the stock from traveling backwards - by design. If you're not, pulling the board back from the blade WHILE KEEPING IT AGAINST THE FENCE - while the saw's still running - is a high risk proposition. If you're willing to do that - well good luck.

Leverage implies a fulcrum and rotation of the lever on that fulcrum. Rotation in your example is the last thing you want. Rotate the back of the stock up and it's into the rear teeth - not good. Rotate the front up with the back of the stock being the fulcrum and you're pulling the stock up into the rear teeth - also not good. If the fulcrum is the back corner against the fence you're going to ...

If the stock has reached the splitter, the splitter will keep the kerf open and the stock away from the rear teeth. It's "in the way" for exactly that purpose.

I totally agree that one should use ALL your senses to sense when things are as they should be or when things are starting to go wrong. You can hear when the pitch of the saw changes, just as you sometimes can feel and even smell when something's not right, even as a relative newbie.
But it's the precautions you take BEFORE trouble starts which are available to all, even those of us who don't have a mile or two of ripping all kinds of woods under our belts.

Fortunately, we humans have developed the ability to not only learn from others' experiences, but also to use reason to avoid many of the "no one's ever done this before" hazardous situations.

And for that we're all thankful.

Actually, the Robland X31 is pretty primitive, with rough edges where they don't matter and machined surfaces where they do. And three of the five functions - jointer, planer and saw are found in even a fledgling's shop very early on. The shaper often comes along as does a mortiser. When you add up a 3hp table saw - with a sliding table, a 3 hp 12" jointer and planer you're in the $6K range. So the shaper and mortiser are free.
Setting up this critter takes a lot more care and time than the equivalent stand alones. Since it's from Belgium the "manuals" are nearly useless so I wrote my own and put it on my site. Laguna Tools, who sells the unit in the USA, refers customers to my site for set up instructions and I get questions about the X31 from many counties. I know my unit a lot better than my car.
If you want whistles and bells in a combi you better go with a Felder - digital read out depth of cut on the planer, tilting shaper head, linear sliding table and real pretty paint and lots of shiny stuff. It'll set you back another $10K but if you've got the money and it makes you feel good - good for you.

Please note that caution and respect are not fear. I'm not afraid of the X31 or any other tool in my shop - I just understand that they can hurt me and so I study them to find out how and then take precautions. And I always try to stay alert for that little voice in the back of my head that says "HEY! You're about to do something stupid and dangerous!" And when the hair on the back of my neck stands up, or I sense myself tensing up I stop and figure out why.

Forget that I spent $6K all at once and others may spread it out over a year or two or three - you're going to need a jointer and a planer early on. Your's may all be Craftsman and only got $3000, if it works for you that's great. It's using them - SAFELY to make stuff out of wood that's the objective.

The only time my riving knife isn't on the saw is when I'm doing blind cuts. Then it gets in the way so it comes off. Like Yogi says about insurance "You only need it when you need it". Better to have it and not use it than to need it and not have it.
Now if you want to talk about blade "guards" -well that's a different issue.

To each his own. But advising someone whose knowledge, skills abilities and experience you know little or nothing about to do what you do with all your knowledge, skills and abilities is what got me to jump into this thread. We are not all born gifted or lucky. Some of us, myself included, have to do what we can to improve our odds. For me, a riving knife is a hedge bet - and a good one IMHO.

That's wonderful. Just be aware that not all of us are gifted - or lucky ....
Let's agree to disagree on this one.
For the others, they'll make up their own mind.
respectfully
charlie b
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Well, I guess I've caused quite a stir in this little pot; which is not what I wanted to do. I cannot demonstrate a physical action and reaction over a keyboard...it reminds me of one of my wives, who was always trying to get her brother to fix her car over the phone...and I am not going to defend myself against the guy who happened to read a book on the subject. I am going to try and put it into a context that we can all understand, and it is really quite simple. It is your responsiblity as the craftsman to control the machine and not let the machine control you. It is also your sole responsibility as the craftsman to have total control over the piece of wood in your hands. Featherboards and board buddies be damned...they just get in the way of your controlling the entire situation; they come between you and your responsibility. You as craftsman are the most significant safety device you have at your disposal. About two hundred years ago, a man named Eli Terry began utilizing a circular blade in the production of clockcases. This was one of the first production items ever made; and coincided with the advent of interchangable brass parts for the internal clockworks...before this, clockworks were individually hand made by the cabinetmaker. A man named Seth Thomas was an apprentice in Terry's shop. So, men have been using a tablesaw for some two-hundred years...without all the geegaws. Back in the seventies, I was offered a shop in Memphis that had been in business for over a century. It was fully equipped to make windows and doors, lineal moldings, cabinets, whatever...there was a molding machine that could make a six-inch crown, a platen sander that could finish a 42-inch door, an automated dovetailing machine...all the equipment was dated 1906. What I am trying to tell you here is, that every invention we use in shop today has been around since the industrial revolution...and ever since then, the yuppies of the day have tried to reinvent the wheel, just to sell you something; only, a lot of times that wheel is square. It's a big joke; when you as craftsmen should be concentrating on technique and skill, derived from manual dexterity and common sense; the marketing plan of the major industrialists is to sell you their new invention. The first principles of working wood, to cut, to shape, to fasten, are the same as they have always been...it is a simple process that requires simplicity in the basic approach...don't overwork it. The finest detail in wood is still only accomplished with a single edge of steel and by hand. Let's move on to another topic...
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"daclark" wrote in message

How about showing us some of your work?
--
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daclark wrote:

In 1890 Gottlieb Daimler was tooling around Germany in the first production car in the world. I guess that that means that we should all be driving cars identical to his, without all the geegaws like a roof and doors.
In any case, do you have any documentation that demonstrates that featherboards and other movement-control devices were not used in Terry's shop?
You are correct that ultimate responsibility lies with the craftsman, but with power tools part of that responsibility lies in "setup", configuring the tool to perform the particular task at hand, and that includes doing whatever is necessary to control the movement of the stock so that it goes where he wants it to go and not somewhere else. And if using "geegaws" helps him control that movment then he is remiss in _not_ using them.

So what? I fail to see how the existence of machinery at a certain date bears upon the desirability of using devices such as featherboards to control the movement of lumber through a saw.

So I guess that we should abandon this newfangled "electricity" crap and go with good old fashioned water wheels.

You mentioned featherboards above as "geegaws". I use featherboards with great regularity. I have never bought any and nobody has "sold" them to me except in the sense that I have accepted a simple, obvious, and very reasonable idea. Took about fifteen minutes to make them out of a couple of scraps. The ones that you see in stores are the same basic concept, molded in plastic or equipped with various kinds of attachment, that may or may not be more convenient than the simple ones made from a scrap and held down with a clamp or two, but they are hardly anything conceptually novel. "Board Buddies" and the like are the same basic idea implemented in a somewhat different matter.
I find myself wondering how it is that someone who has been in woodworking at least since the 1970s has never seen a shop-made featherboard in use and thinks that they are some new idea.

So? Grok the concept--Olympic athlete in peak condition can for a brief time using his whole body put out maybe 1.5 horsepower. Table saw motor can put out two or more times that until Hell freezes over (or the bearings die of old age, whichever come first) and somewhat more than that for a brief time, and apply it all to the point of a blade tooth. In fight between saw and operator, saw wins. When saw decides to throw stock at you, you are _not_ going to be able to control that stock with your own physical strength and if you haven't experienced a kickback in all the many years of experience that you claim, then either you have not been working with a powerful saw with circular blades or you have been a manager of some sort who let others do the actual work or you are the luckiest SOB that ever walked the earth. And if that last is the case then when karma catches up with you you're probably going to need major surgery as a result.
As for the "finest detail in wood" a carving chisel is not going to pick up a piece of 16/4 ipe and throw it through the wall of your shop, which a large saw is quite capable of doing.

No. Your advice, if followed, is eventually going to result in someone getting hurt who if he had followed the more commonly recommended practice of using movement-control devices (not necessarily store-bought) appropriate to the task would not have gotten hurt.
--
--John
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For all your unfounded rant, and lack of understanding, it would be a safe bet that I have cleaned more sawdust out of my belly button than you've ever made in shop... If you are experiencing so much human error, that you need to seek safety from your own machine, then obviously, that machine is not setup properly. But, there is a limit to how much setup is required to perform a basic task. Twenty years ago, I made featherboards and push sticks, too...then, I found a better way to do it. So, don't think you can one-up me by twisting my words, and quoting the recommendations of some self-proclaimed authority. That damned book you read was written by a professional writer, not a woodworker. In the woodworking business, you get paid to cut, shape, and fasten the wood...you don't get paid for setup. Even if you are not a professional, you should appreciate saving time at the work you do in shop...yeah, there is the occasional kickback...so, what? I can tell you, the last time I cut myself on the tablesaw was about fifteen years ago. I felt that tingle, looked down and saw that if I pulled my hand out I would loose the piece, it would kick back and be ruined, or I could take that corner off my thumb and loose a little skin and blood. What do you think I did?
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daclark wrote:

I see, rather than counter the argument you launch a personal attack.

Uh huh. So tell us how to set it up properly then. You're big on criticism but not much on procedure, aren't you?

Yes, there is. However limited setup is not the same as no setup.

And that "better way" is?

"Twisting your words"? You're the one who said that featherboards were a "geegaw" fostered by "yuppies". If that is not what you meant then you should not have said it.

Which book was that?

That's funny, I was laboring under the mistaken impression that you got paid for a finished product. Silly me.

So you've clearly never worked with a saw of any real power. You claim that one is not paid to do setup. Well one is not paid to sit in the emergency room either.

Probably the last time you used one too. See, anybody can take a cheap shot.

"If you pulled you hand out you would loose the piece, it would kick back and be ruined?"
Now why, pray tell, would it kick back when you took your hand off of it if it had not kicked back with your hand on it?
In any case, it is clear that you are unable to defend your statements in any rational fashion, instead choosing to use the argument "me heap big woodworker, me know all, anybody who disagree with me heap big idiot".
<plonk>
--
--John
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Orgasm?
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"I'm sane - the rest of you are nuts!"

Oh geez louise. Would you stop? I'm using Outlook and I think you're pushing the limits of my killfile.

<Mel Blanc> "What a maroon!" </Mel Blanc>
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This is fantastically bad advice. If it works for you, great, but don't go passing it off as good advice for everyone. I'll take my advice from Kelly Mehler, they guy who literally wrote the book on table saws and is very concerned with table saw safety, which is to use a riving knife if you can, or a splitter if you can't.
todd
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Mark,
Despite what I have seen here, I have a Biesmeyer snap in splitter installed in my JTAS left tilt saw. It tilts along with the blade, is easy to put in and pop out. It installed relatively easily. Took me about 30 to 40 mins of twiddling with the bolt/nuts to get it aligned with the blade (it needs a 1/8" blade - wont work with thin kerf).
This splitter performs well. I have had several instances of wood reacting after the rip was beyond the blade and without this splitter it would be just a steady hand and some luck to keep that wood from firing back.
No matter what anyone else says about avoiding kickback by pulling back early or any other means, I for one feel much better knowing that the wood is not going to bind on that blade. If the wood reacts it may get tight and hard to push, but at that point I am able to easily reach down and turn off the saw and then pull it out when it stops. I am not a pro but I sure feel safer with the splitter in there.
This splitter was about 120 and I think they have one to fit the major cabinet saws. I dont know about the contractor styles, but its worth checking out.
Werlax wrote:

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