All Replies on Table saw question, I need answers, opinions are fine, information is better

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View 30yearluthier's profile

Table saw question, I need answers, opinions are fine, information is better

by 30yearluthier
posted 11-19-2018 05:45 PM

9 replies so far

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2386 days

#1 posted 11-19-2018 06:02 PM

Most any information you get will be offset with information that differs.
Such is woodworking.

My own information for you is this:
- First, you are most likely overthinking this topic, but sometimes that is how most all people operate, including me of course.

- Then, with the fence on the right side of the blade, the splitter should contact the left side of the kerf slot.

You will get opposing info that provides you one of these propositions:
a) the splitter should press the work to the right, and thus maintain its contact with the fence.
b) the splitter is to keep the kerf from closing and should thus be in contact with the left side of the kerf slot
c) the splitter is to keep the kerf from closing, and you don’t know which side of the kerf cut is most likely to close, the most, so it is okay in the middle.

As you can see, the info that I offered, based on a few decades of table saw use, is aligned with the b) option. However I also have plenty of in-use evidence that the c) option is most often correct. And the c) option suggests that it doesn’t matter where the splitter sits in the kerf.

Further, for the last ten years or so, I have chosen to work with no splitter or riving knife at all, and am very content and happy with the way this works, FOR ME.

Good luck with your table saw adventures.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5860 posts in 3111 days

#2 posted 11-19-2018 06:15 PM

I have two saws. One has a riving knife that is the right width for the blade so I don’t worry about it. My other saw has no knife so I don’t have to worry about it on that one either.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View jonah's profile


2123 posts in 4100 days

#3 posted 11-19-2018 06:51 PM

The riving knife or splitter should be towards the fence side (the right, 99% of the time), but not necessarily directly in line with the right side of the blade. You always want to allow for the wood to pass by the splitter without hitting it. If you hit the splitter, it could bump the wood into the back of the blade and cause the very thing you’re trying to avoid.

I’d put it close to the middle, but closer to the right than the left side of the saw blade kerf.

Most importantly, I’d be sure to use a sharp blade, align the fence parallel with the blade and miter slot, and be sure to check those things regularly.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


14498 posts in 1940 days

#4 posted 11-19-2018 07:17 PM

I put my splitters (which I make and install in ZCIs which I also make) on the right side which is next to the fence. I do this because that’s where the arbor sits and is a constant. I use full kerf blades in some situations and narrow kerf in others. By locating the splitter adjacent to the arbor, I know I’m good regardless of blade. If I located it to the off-side of a full kerf blade then put a narrow kerf blade on, it would want to pull the work away from the fence.

Just my $.02.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2386 days

#5 posted 11-19-2018 07:19 PM

HokieKen has made an excellent point.
This is a very logical idea about the topic.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5294 posts in 4762 days

#6 posted 11-19-2018 11:30 PM

Right side of blade. Close to fence.

-- [email protected]

View Bill_Steele's profile


714 posts in 2533 days

#7 posted 11-20-2018 03:14 PM

I agree with the others—it should be positioned so that it is within the kerf.

I have an old contractor saw and I don’t like to use the supplied splitter/blade guard—but I do see the value in using a splitter—so I made a splitter from one of those thin shelf brackets.

It is thin enough that it will fit in the kerf of a thin kerf blade. I cut it down to a decent size and smoothed all the sharp edges. I attach it with a single bolt through the same hole used to secure the factory supplied splitter. I’ve found that I can adjust the spacing of the splitter with washers.

When this saw dies I’ll buy a proper table saw with a splitter that follows the blade when making blade height adjustments.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5860 posts in 3111 days

#8 posted 11-20-2018 09:47 PM

I don’t know for this post if you can call a riving knife, splitter, spreader are all the same or not. What I’ve always read is a riving knife should be thicker than the blade plate but thinner than the saw kerf. Centered on the blade you should be able to cut from either side. I cut from both sides on my saw with a riving knife and don’‘t adjust anything.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1305 days

#9 posted 11-20-2018 10:02 PM

If I had deadlines that had to be met “soon” and I needed answers to this question asap…....I’d take the damn thing off and move on with the immediate program!!! Then worry about trivialities like where in the kerf the riving knife should lie when I had time. I mean, in 57 years I have done 99.9% of my table-sawing on a saw that was completely devoid of any riving knife and I really don’t remember ever being stopped from working.
All that said, I have never gave it a second thought…my Powermatic PM2000 has a riving knife and it works great, so I will now have to go and look and see exactly what the stupid thing is doing…....this is interesting.

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