Table saw wood splitter/anti kick back question

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The Unisaw that I bought has the tongue behind the blade to split/anti kick back the wood, how many people use this? It would seem it would help keep the wood against the fence. My dad who has been wood working for ever and has written books for fine wood working doesn't use one and see's no reason too. But it seems to me that it would help make a clean cut any thoughts?
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Wayne:
Hmm. I presume Dad has all of his fingers.
Kelly Meher (another FWW writer) and is regarded as a teacher and craftsman, always advises to use a splitter.
I use a Unisaw at the adult ed. I never cut without a splitter. I saw the results of a kickback once - no injury, but boy it was scary enough.
Albeit, there are some, repeat some, cuts that a splitter doesn't work (like angles and dado's), but that is very rare and there are ways around that as well.
Vote me as pro-splitter!
MJ Wallace
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wayne mak wrote:

alignment, good techinique and the proper sharp blade is what provides a clean cut; not the splitter.
Dave
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I agree that is doesn't make a clean cut, but it would seem it might aid in keeping the stock even with the fence

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wayne mak said:

Your technique is what determines that. If you are depending on the splitter to hold your work against the fence, your technique needs to improve.
Greg G.
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The splitter is intended to keep wood from binding directly behind the blade causing it to be forced up and over the blade - at a pretty dangerous speed. When cutting wood, stresses can be relieved that force them to start moving - it doesn't take much to get a kickback and possible serious injury.
I'll bet if you asked your father how many close calls he's had with kickback you may reconsider what he's doing as an unsafe practice. Doesn't mean he can't get away with it but the odds are that it will one day catch him big time.
You stated he has no reason to use a splitter. Not sure I would care to read what he has to say for fear of picking up some bad practices that I haven't already tried on my own. He's either the luckiest guy on earth, has some of the best wood around or doesn't use his tablesaw very often.
A good splitter is not inconvenient to use and being lazy about using one is putting yourself at risk unnecessarily.
Bob S.

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I understand how and why it works, my father is now 75 years old and still uses his unisaw daily, I am not saying what is doing is the best.

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Wayne,
One has to wonder. Your father has written several books (published byTauton Press) and in the introduction of "Making Heirloom Toys" he makes the following statement:
"The projects represent various levels of difficulty, but all require strict attention to safety. Cutting and drilling small pieces can present serious safety hazards, and throughout the book I've stressed the importance of using jigs, fixtures and safe practices to minimize the risk of injury....."
Since I've not read the book, perhaps his comments don't include the tablesaw -or- if he's always just ripping short lengths for toys, there may no need for a splitter. In any case, your father is a lucky man and I don't just mean about not getting any kickbacks but for still being active in a hobby he obviously loves doing, writing about it and for having a son that isn't nagging him about his methods of work (although you should...;-)
You've read the collective comments of the Wreck and now it's your decision to use a splitter or not. The one you have may be a POS and as I recall, you're a machinist and have the tools to make one. If you like, I could post some pictures of what the add-on splitter from Beismeyer looks like for a Jet cabinet saw and you could then design one for your Uni or spend about $130 to purchase one. Making one is definitely within your equipment range and skill set from what I recall of the pictures of your shop.
If you want pics, I can email them to the address you posted. What file size would you like for each picture?
Bob S.

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That would be great if you could send pictures, my email will take a good size file. I will be out of town after the morning so my PC won't be downloading for a week. Much of what my father does is very accurate and smaller parts, the detal in his work is as good as it gets.

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> ........................... if he's always just ripping short lengths for toys, there may

This is when the risk of a kickback is very high.
Once the leading edge of the workpiece passes the centre of the blade, there is a possibility that even friction with the saw's plate could cause ejection.
Jeff G
--
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
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wayne mak wrote:

Relying on the splitter to keep the stock even with the fence is worse than bad techinque; it doesn't even WORK. Try doing a glue line rip with sloppy technique just because you have a splitter. The results will suck.
Dave
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Send a perfectly flat, straight, and case hardened piece of wood through and you will see how a splitter keeps the piece of wood from closing back up on the blade. With out a splitter the back side of the blades begins to cut again leaving a rough edge.
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If you are careful you do not need a splitter.
Unless you are an awful lot better than me, you are not careful all the time; so a splitter is a darn good idea. First serious kickback you get will make you a believer.
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wayne mak said:

The 'tongue' you refer to is actually called a splitter. Yours is also equipped with anti-kickback pawls and blade guard.
It is not used to obtain a clean cut, but rather to protect you from the tension contained in most wood. As you cut, the wood may close up on the blade, thereby causing a kickback - which is a nasty, nasty thing. The pawls may also help in preventing the wood from being launched at high speed towards the front of the saw. These may or not be effective, depending on the design, the cut, and the HP of the saw.
I don't use one for some cuts - MDF and sheet goods for instance usually don't contain wood under tension. But when ripping long boards, that poorly designed sucker goes on there - every time!
Dado's are also impossible with the splitter mounted.
The fence, blade, and general tune of the saw determines the quality of the cut.
Greg G.
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wayne mak (in 8Jwaf.19$ snipped-for-privacy@fe03.lga) said:
| The Unisaw that I bought has the tongue behind the blade to | split/anti kick back the wood, how many people use this? It would | seem it would help keep the wood against the fence. My dad who has | been wood working for ever and has written books for fine wood | working doesn't use one and see's no reason too. But it seems to me | that it would help make a clean cut any thoughts?
I pop mine up when ripping - not to hold work against the fence (I use a featherboard /and/ board buddies for that), but rather to avoid having a kerf close slightly and grab the blade - which would result in kickback.
The splitter gets popped back down when I'm cross-cutting - it gets in the way of my sled.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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There have been quite a few kickback posts during the past month or two. It is something you do not want to experience if you can avoid it. The splitter, with kickpack pawls helps a lot.
RonB
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That was what I thought until I was cutting some 6/4 oak and it bent right back into itself as it came out of the blade. I saw it happen and shut the saw off when it was a few inches beyond the blade, and that blade came to a stop like it had disc brakes. I had to pull the kerf apart to get it off. I made a splitter right then and there out of the blade for an old combination square, and the only time I take it out is when I cut dados etc.
An old combo square blade works great, by the way. It's just about exactly 1/8 thick.
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On Thu, 3 Nov 2005 18:05:40 -0500, "wayne mak"

I've been working with tablesaws most of my adult life. the first time I cut on one with a splitter was a couple of years ago when I added one to my saw.
so.
it is entirely possible to work safely without one. a poorly set splitter is more dangerous than no splitter. a poorly set splitter is less accurate than no splitter. a well set splitter helps resist kickback. a well set splitter helps keep the wood from drifting away from the fence. a splitter that is inconvenient to install and remove will soon be gathering dust in a dark corner. a pin in the throat plate works well and is easy to set up and use.
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Ok this sounds like a peice of table saw EQ I need to know about...can anyone send me a link to a page where I can look at one, I want to advoid kickback when I get a my table saw and anything to help do that I'm all for. Back in highschool my shop teacher actully demastrated kick backs to us and I know I sure the heck would not want to be behind that thing (hence why you stand to the side and not directly behind the wood) thanks Deborah

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In the USA most any new TS will include a splitter as an integral part of the blade guard. That said, I would suggest a better one.
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