|A New (old) Splitter|
But I'll bet that 90% of all small shops will not use the guard or splitter that comes with the machine. When I taught there was a type of guard called a Brett Guard and it worked in a school shop situation but still wasn't ideal. The technology of the SawStop is very good but also pretty pricey and a one-man shop isn't likely to invest in that upgrade, especially in these economic times. I will confess that I've had my Jet cabinet saw for over 12 years and after using the factory guard for a week, took it off and it's never been back on since. The splitter is a necessity, especially when doing a lot of ripping and I'd use that if I felt like taking the time to mess with three bolts and alignment issues. I found that a good solution was to make a zero clearance throat plate and install a micro jig splitter.
|Splitters & Test Boards|
Well, that sounded easy enough but unfortunately it wasn't! No matter how I tried to configure the two splitters I had left they just didn't line up with the saw kerf. Since I didn't want to spend more money and time to re-order them I finally did what I had thought of doing years ago --- made my own darn splitter! Did a bit of web searching and found several possibilities but most required gluing a wooden splitter into the throat plate. I took the stock splitter, drew out a piece that would protrude about an inch above the table. This piece is quite sturdy and is bolted to the trunnion bracket with one bolt only. It'll be easy enough to remove for dado work and will tilt with the blade for angled cuts -- nice! The only thing to figure out was how to cut the back of the plate so it would clear. Here's the solution:
I found that if I clamped an extension to the miter gauge I could then securely clamp the plate upright to pass it over the blade.
What made it more secure can be seen in the back view. The bottom of the leveling screws hooked over the top of the extension and kept the throat plate square to the blade. It took two passes to make a slot wide enough for the splitter.
So that's it, what started out to be a frustrating experience in trying to use the used and abused MicroJig pieces on the new throat plate inspired me to re-visit my original thought of years ago and repurpose the factory splitter to suit my work habits. A little head scratching, hack sawing, filing, and painting and now I believe I have a splitter that will last a long time.