Monday, March 1, 2010

MicroJig Splitter System: Take Two

    You may remember the problem I ran into (due to my own fault) with the MicroJig splitter system.  This is a wonderful safety device for the tablesaw that is a vast improvement over the splitters that come standard and are usually removed!  Truth is, the only time I use mine is when I have lots of ripping to do and then I'll install a dedicated rip blade and replace the stock splitter.  As you may recall, I had purchased the system for a standard sized blade but since my blade was sized by metrics I really required the thin kerf set.  When I contacted the MicroJig people ( ) they exchanged it for me without any hassle -- nice customer service!

The first step was to use some UHMW polyethylene to make a new, zero clearance throat plate.  My technique is to first drill and tap the poly, then use set screws to attach a rough cut blank to the tablesaws plate.  Using a bearing guided cutter on a trim router works well.  You'll need to flip the plate to make both ends round and not cut into the slot at the back of your throat plate.

  The instructions that come with the system are pretty clear but I'd suggest (as always) to read them completely through first.  If I had done that and used the test they suggested to see which system you needed I'd only have to do this once!  In any case, you make two test pieces out of 1/2" MDF and screw their guide piece on the end of it.  That's the orange piece you see.  You make the required adjustments and then use the drill bit they provide to drill the four holes at the end of the throat plate.

   At the right is the final installation.  Again, the instructions are pretty clear but what you have is a perfectly flat, stable, and slick throat plate.  There are two fins that are inserted into the four holes you drilled in the plate.  If you look closely you'll notice that the first fin from the saw blade is set towards the fence side of the kerf this blade creates.  The second fin is set to the waste side of the kerf which prevents the wood from ever pinching together, binding, and heaving it right back at you! The system came with four different fins so you can fine tune it to match your blades kerf perfectly.  I added a small screw at the far end of the throat plate to prevent any kick back there.
   I've only made a few trial cuts to set this up but am really impressed with how it works.  Should you need to make partial cuts into a board the fins remove easily.  This system is much better than cramming a 16d nail into the kerf if it started to bind like I did when working construction!

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