Walnut Coffee Table #3: First Shop Day & a Riving Knife Works

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Blog entry by Lifesaver2000 posted 12-30-2011 05:17 PM 1443 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: We (finally) Have a Plan Part 3 of Walnut Coffee Table series Part 4: Base Section Complete (with pics) »

I managed to get a few hours in the shop earlier this week, and have the lumber for the main base of the table cut to rough size. I cut everything a little long and a little wide to allow for any movement and fine tuning that I need to do, and I can already see that it was a good thing I did. After it sits for a few days, I will be ready to cut and plane to the final dimensions.

For now I am dividing the project into different sections; the main base, the top, the interior drawer supports and finally the drawers themselves. I think this division makes sense, and will also allow me to do some of the finishing more easily. If things go really, really well, I might have the base glued up this weekend, and be ready to start cutting boards for the top.

I thought I would relay one interesting experience. My table saw has a riving knife, and I keep it in place pretty much anytime I can. While cutting one of the longer boards (about 48”) I noticed that the board was becoming quite difficult to push even though the blade and motor were not bogging down any. I looked up and saw that the far end of the board had bowed back together. I can only assume that the board had internal stresses that wanted to cause it to squeeze back together after passing through the blade. The board was pinching down onto the riving knife, making it impossible to push the board through. I can just imagine what would have happened without the knife when the back of that board had pinched the back of the blade!

I stopped the saw, used a screwdriver to spread the end of the board and inserted an appropriately sized wedge of wood. When I started the saw back up, the cut was easily completed without further incident. I guess I have to chalk one up for this particular safety feature on my saw. I am just glad that I am in the habit of using it whenever the cut permits.

2 comments so far

View sras's profile


5155 posts in 3609 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 06:23 PM

Nice story on the riving knife! I have a version of one that I need to install – I am now motivated to do that.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3579 days

#2 posted 12-31-2011 12:41 AM

I have had that happen also. I keep a deck of playing cards in the shop and use them for shims in situations like that and many others. They don’t mar the wood.

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