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I am considering the JessEm Clear-Cut hold-downs for my table saw. Anyone had a chance to play with them yet?

I have a set of the yellow wheel hold-downs that are beveled and only roll one way. They work well for pulling the stock into the fence and down to the table. However, they aren't quick to set up, so they get ignored or forgotten 99% of the time. The JessEm's look like they would easily and quickly move out of the way, or be set up again.

One of the biggest reasons I don't use my current hold-downs is, I can't use push/hold-down shoes and I, except in certain situations, HATE push sticks.

Using a splitter and push shoes, I haven't had a serious kick-back in years.
 

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I have a set of board buddies, they come off in seconds. I trade them between my two saws all the time, and pull them off when it gets too tight and they block my push block. I bought the track mount kit. That Might be the difference?

I have no advice on the Jess-ems, I havn't used them. Just reading your feed back.. and it seems contrary to my experience with the product.
 

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I was just looking at those yellow rollers last night in anticipation of my upcoming cabinet build…I really want to rip stock to final thickness on my TS, and I don't want to adjust featherboards all day.

I like the design of this better, but I don't see how it's any less in your way than the yellow rollers. You'd need to make a special push stick that has a long flat nose on it to slide in behind your stock.
 

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I have looked at the Jessem hold downs and have used the board buddies. In both cases, there is some interference if you are using a push stick when getting the end of the board through them. The board buddies were good for larger boards and wider rips. If I needed to rip narrow stock like under 1", I think the Jessem would work well. For larger or wider, I would use the board buddies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Board Buddies. That's the name. Wasn't going to bother going out to the shop to look, since it's 108 at 3:00 p.m. and I knew there weren't too many yellow hold downs out there.

Joey, for the benefit of others, which part of my experience was contrary to yours?

Mine are used on a Unifence, so require an extra board on the back side of the fence, to install them. For those not aware, this is because the top of the fence is narrow, since the fence is designed to be flipped over, to give you a low fence for trimming laminate and such.

The big advantage of the JessEm seems to be that the hold-downs push out of the way, when not used, so wouldn't interfere with a push shoe.

The Buddies have to be completely removed to use a push shoe. As they are currently set up on my saw, this means sliding them forward or back. Adding a track might be a good idea. Obviously, it would be far less expensive.

In use, there is a reason I am on my second set of Buddies - they work well. And, if the stock is wide, a push shoe can still be used.
 

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My Board Buddies were bought ages ago and did not come with tracks, or anything else. The responses here prompted me to look into what was available and it looks like the few buck (thirty or so) for T tracks might be well worth the experiment. So, I think I'll order some 24" tracks from Hartville or Grizzly and see how they do.

Thanks all.
 

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Joey, for the benefit of others, which part of my experience was contrary to yours?
The quick removal part. It may be this. I purchased the t-track kit with mine. It allows me to mount the bases to the fence without the extra board on the back. They just mount in the track with the fence laying down. I now also have a peach tree replacement fence for my unifence, and on that fence they also just slide right in the t-track slot. I tapped holes in the top of my pm-66's beismeyer fence, and it is a screw driver and a few seconds to move from one saw to the other. So for my experience, when ripping thinner rips (thinner than 6" say) I just pull them off the bases, and pop on my magnetic feather board. If I want the bases off, I just slide them out of the t-track. The one thing I can see is the uni-fence standing up. I really didn't think about that, because of the aftermarket fence. (which is awesome, btw) and I never tried mounting them on my traditional uni fence standing up. I just seemed like a pita. Which I can now see why you made that point.



Edit: BTW that fence is on amazon for $89.99. Little more than T-Track, but it has a lot more versatility than just that. With the t slot on the face, it is easy to mount other accesories as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Joey, the T fence works great. Thanks

I used some Corian to mount the board buddies and they are a breeze to install and remove. I did have to fuss with making some better knobs that would allow me to still use a push stick when the Buddies were removed from their mounts.
 

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That is great to hear. I have been happy with my fence as well. Even though I was such an advocate, I got another pair of buddies… so i didn't have to keep moving them from my pm66 over to my unisaw. I also modified the mounting of the bases to be a little further apart . It has been working great. I have been comfortably ripping down to 2 1/2" before I am pulling them off and throwing on the mag feather boards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've been playing with the [for me] much hated push sticks of yester year. I haven't used them much, except in unique circumstances, for a few decades.

I probably need to make a push stick which just pushes from the back, between the buddies and the fence. If memory serves, it seems the buddies I bought MANY years ago just had you pushing another piece of wood through to get the job done.

The push shoes will still hover around my table, because of their stable foot print, for dados and so forth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Joey, that's the animal I normally use, but it doesn't work with the Buddies, when they are used to pull the work to the fence.

When the work pulls hard to the fence, I, often, even generally, don't have to run it through the jointer.
 
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