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Good splitter solution for saws without a riving knife

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Review by Mike_D_S posted 01-02-2019 06:54 PM 1904 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Good splitter solution for saws without a riving knife No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve actually had this for about over a year new in the package, but shortly after I got this I also picked up a Betterley Tru Cut insert which has an aluminum body and a pre cut slot for a splitter preventing the use of the Micro Jig system, so the MJ Splitter got put in a drawer.

Recently I was cutting some white oak and was getting some binding. I have a Steel City cabinet saw and it uses a bulky splitter/blade guard. For a couple of reasons, I don’t use the factory splitter and the mounting on this saw really doesn’t allow for fitting a smaller splitter plate. I wasn’t really getting kickback, but I was burning the white oak and getting some sawdust over the top due to blade contact on the back. The amount of remedial sanding was starting to add up, so I decided to figure something out.

Remembering I had the MJ Splitter, I cut a new insert plate out of HDPE plastic and installed the splitter system. The installation was relatively straight forward, especially with the HDPE insert which drills easily. The ergonomics of drilling the holes was a bit rough as you have to lean over the saw and drill behind the blade, so keeping it straight was a challenge. For my plastic insert it was not that big of a deal due to the easy drilling, but trying to do this with a phenolic insert plate could represent an issue. I could easily see wallowing out the plastic guide before getting the hole drilled in the phenolic plate. I’d probably only drill enough to get a little bit of a pilot and then transfer to the drill press to finish drilling through.

The splitters fit tightly in the holes and slipped in with just a little pressure. After a few test cuts I settled on the no offset splitter on the fence side and the ++ offset on the off cut side. I went back to the white oak and had significantly less burning and over the top dust.

Only negative impression I have was something small in the instructions. When you are preparing the templates for installation the instructions has a note about making sure the back edge of the template is 90 deg to the side. Because the installation jig registers against the back of the template, this is critical, but the instructions don’t really emphasize it.

All in all, it worked as advertised. Give the advantage of a splitter for those of us who for whatever reason don’t use the factory splitter. Overall I give it 4 stars and would recommend it someone like me who is not using the factory splitter and doesn’t have a riving knife option.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......




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Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2698 days



13 comments so far

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Ocelot

2323 posts in 3122 days


#1 posted 01-02-2019 08:06 PM

I’ve got one of those I bought last spring that I still haven’t installed. Thanks for the reminder.

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splintergroup

2830 posts in 1706 days


#2 posted 01-02-2019 08:10 PM

Heh, we are (were) in the same boat. I have that kit still sitting in my TS accessory drawer from 5 years ago. I keep thinking about installing it but always find something “more fun” to do 8^)

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fivecodys

1470 posts in 2120 days


#3 posted 01-02-2019 11:26 PM

I have been using one for a while now but I just got a new Shark Guard for Christmas and I am in the process of installing it.
I liked my MJ Splitter but I also wanted some dust collection options. For now I will use both and maybe in the future too.

My factory guard was junky at best and didn’t last a week before I tossed it in the shed.
I still won’t have a riving knife but I will have multiple splitters and better dust collection.

Thank you for your review.

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

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Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2698 days


#4 posted 01-03-2019 01:18 AM

I’d be interested to know how you like the shark guard when you get it installed.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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Artie623

105 posts in 344 days


#5 posted 01-03-2019 07:55 PM

I returned the MJ splitter…. The instructions could throw a snag or two at you (I write instructions for a living…sorry)... and it just wasn’t the “dream solution” it was touted to be. The answer to tablesaw safety ?... I just ordered a SawStop…. it’s not worth screwing around with my physical well being… hopefully the thing will never kick-in !

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Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2698 days


#6 posted 01-03-2019 08:23 PM

I’m not sure anyone would say this is the be all end all of table saw safety. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction if you started out not running a splitter at all.

I would point out that there is nothing magical about a Sawstop from a binding/kickback point of view. The Sawstop magic is in reducing injuries from contacting the blade with a part of your body. It’s not going to be better or worse than any other splitter/riving knife saw in terms of kickback and you still need to be aware and follow normal precautions to avoid a kickback related injury even if you don’t have to worry so much about the blade itself.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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fivecodys

1470 posts in 2120 days


#7 posted 01-03-2019 09:15 PM



I m not sure anyone would say this is the be all end all of table saw safety. But it s definitely a step in the right direction if you started out not running a splitter at all.

I would point out that there is nothing magical about a Sawstop from a binding/kickback point of view. The Sawstop magic is in reducing injuries from contacting the blade with a part of your body. It s not going to be better or worse than any other splitter/riving knife saw in terms of kickback and you still need to be aware and follow normal precautions to avoid a kickback related injury even if you don t have to worry so much about the blade itself.

Mike

- MikeDS

That’s a good point Mike. I would buy a Saw-Stop if I could afford one but even as great as that machine appears to be, if you set it up wrong, it can and will kick a board back at you. I have had two 8 quarter planks display internal stress when ripping that caused me to stop the saw and finish ripping them on the band saw instead. That is a spooky thing when it happens.
After ripping on the BS and then letting the boards rest, I was able to rip them to final size safely on the table saw.

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

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Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2698 days


#8 posted 01-03-2019 09:29 PM

I keep a couple of T’s from oak scrap on my TS fence. They are about 2 inches long and with a 1/4 top on the T and the leg of the T is about 3/32. When I ‘m ripping and see a piece starting to close up a bit, I drop one of those in the kerf 5 or 6” behind the blade and it helps keep the kerf open. It gets me through those cuts where it’s not binding the blade, but it is scoring the back of the cut and throwing extra sawdust over the top.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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fivecodys

1470 posts in 2120 days


#9 posted 01-03-2019 11:05 PM



I keep a couple of T s from oak scrap on my TS fence. They are about 2 inches long and with a 1/4 top on the T and the leg of the T is about 3/32. When I m ripping and see a piece starting to close up a bit, I drop one of those in the kerf 5 or 6” behind the blade and it helps keep the kerf open. It gets me through those cuts where it s not binding the blade, but it is scoring the back of the cut and throwing extra sawdust over the top.

- MikeDS


That’s very clever. I’m going to have to try that. Thanks!

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

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michelletwo

2783 posts in 3499 days


#10 posted 01-04-2019 12:56 AM

Mike: I installed a sharguard “riving knife” on my 35 yr old delta contractor saw. VAST improvement. I also got the cover and hooked up dust collection. Wish I had done it yrs ago. love it.

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Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2698 days


#11 posted 01-04-2019 02:24 AM

Maybe I had never really read the instructions, but I assumed the Sharkguard installed like the stock splitter and with my table saw/outfeed bench setup I cant really use the stock setup.

But going back over the instructions last night it looks like it replaces the spring clip in the front, so I may be rethinking a Sharkguard for myself.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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pottz

6016 posts in 1468 days


#12 posted 01-08-2019 11:25 PM

ive had one on my saw for a couple years now,works great and is easy to use.if you dont need it they pop out.i found setting it up to be no problem at all,they even give you the bit to drill the holes.for saws that dont have riving knives this is a great solution.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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jimintx

921 posts in 2068 days


#13 posted 01-09-2019 03:09 AM


I keep a couple of T s from oak scrap on my TS fence. They are about 2 inches long and with a 1/4 top on the T and the leg of the T is about 3/32. When I m ripping and see a piece starting to close up a bit, I drop one of those in the kerf 5 or 6” behind the blade and it helps keep the kerf open. It gets me through those cuts where it s not binding the blade, but it is scoring the back of the cut and throwing extra sawdust over the top.
- MikeDS

I do the same with a couple of wedge-shaped shims. Works great for me.

I think it is really important for t-saw users to realize that the sawstop system does not prevent kickbacks, as fivecodys stated. Many people write about it as if that threat is removed, and thinking that to be true is a potential danger in itself.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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