Jessem Clear Cut TS Stock Guides--pretty much convinced now...

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Forum topic by DrTebi posted 10-01-2019 08:35 PM 1165 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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397 posts in 4152 days

10-01-2019 08:35 PM

After drooling over these guides for quite a bit, I finally bought them from Woodcraft (where there are priced $50 cheaper than anywhere else for some reason). Installed them on my SawStop fence and made a few test cuts.

Now here is what I don’t quite get: In all the videos and comments I read, people keep mentioning how the stock guides keep your work piece tight against he fence. Well, either I am doing something wrong, or I have a different understanding of what “tight” is…

So my observation is this:
- The guides keep the board flat on the table → yes
- The guides prevent the board from being kicked back → yes
- The guides steer the wood towards the fence → yes

But: If I have a long board, 6 feet or longer, that I want to rip, it still takes only a small “user error” when feeding the board to guide it off the fence.

My impression (from the videos etc.) was, that these guides basically replace the function of a featherboard. A featherboard will make it easy for me to not have to concentrate hard to keep a long board tight against the fence. But the rollers on the Jessem guides don’t seem to have much power to do that.

My main reason for getting these was, that I have a bunch of 6-8 feet ash that I need to rip. Only one side is straight. Therefore, a standard featherboard is often not usable, because if the non-straight edge is off by more than 1/2” or so, the board gets stuck. I thought the Jessem guides would be the ticket…

Don’t get me wrong, these guides are very well made, they are great at keeping the board down on the table, prevent kick-back. But I just cannot see how they can replace a featherboard.

I can easily shift a board with my hands while a board is under the rollers. Sure, it’s a question of technique, but I am sure you all know that it is difficult to prevent that shifting when you deal with a 8 foot long board, standing some 6 feet behind the table saw.

So what is it, did I expect too much, or am I doing something wrong?

So far, not convinced. I was using some fence-mounted featherboards to keep my boards down before I bought this gadget… while not as easy to use and not as super-safe as the Jessems, it was considerably cheaper and worked pretty much just as good.

9 replies so far

View Rich's profile


6000 posts in 1475 days

#1 posted 10-01-2019 10:30 PM

I’ve drooled over that myself. Sorry it didn’t work out for you, and thanks for posting since I can now take it off my wish list. Since you got it at Woodcraft, returning it shouldn’t be a problem if you choose to.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Andybb's profile


2884 posts in 1489 days

#2 posted 10-01-2019 10:33 PM

So my observation is this:
- The guides keep the board flat on the table → yes
- The guides prevent the board from being kicked back → yes
- The guides steer the wood towards the fence → yes

- DrTebi

I too have them and have noticed the same issue at times, but I love them and consider them the best safety investment I’ve made in my shop. For me the 3 reasons you mentioned were worth the price of admission. But I have noticed a few things that might be helpful.

It’s almost impossible to influence what happens on the far end of the saw from where you are standing. For long boards spread the front (far) roller as far forward as possible. Also, the more downward pressure on the board the better. As I recall, the owners manual says to set the height based on the side of the roller mechanism. That seems to work for smaller and lighter boards but on heavier longer stuff I set it a little lower so there is more pressure from the springs for the rollers.

Also. really crank down on the top black knobs. Sometimes you will find that the roller arm bars are moving instead of just the roller springs. If you can pull up an the rollers and they rotate in the slot before the springs reach the top of their throw then they aren’t tight enough. (if that makes sense) Lower the blade and see how tight you can set the rollers and still can push the board through. Make sure the fence and saw are slippery (wax or dry lube or whatever you use). Then when the roller springs are tight it will still slide.

I haven’t done it but in thinking about it you might use a featherboard on the near side of the blade and space both rollers forward of the blade. Then for a long board you can move to the front of the saw and pull and keep the board against the fence.

YMMV but doing some of the above might help.

I ve drooled over that myself. Sorry it didn t work out for you, and thanks for posting since I can now take it off my wish list. Since you got it at Woodcraft, returning it shouldn t be a problem if you choose to.

- Rich

They work great if used and tuned properly. Mine will hold a long 8/4 board tightly against the fence. As I said, just eliminating (although nothing is absolute) the chance of a kickback was worth the price.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View pottz's profile


11735 posts in 1870 days

#3 posted 10-01-2019 11:56 PM

i have the ones for my router table and i love em they hold the stock down firmly and tight to the fence,so im thing of getting the ones for my table saw too.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View mski's profile


442 posts in 4866 days

#4 posted 10-02-2019 12:30 AM

I love mine, do make sure BOTH wheels are angled towards fence, mine had one opposite and didn’t work well .Also make sure you have enough tesion on the wheels.
I have run 15’ boards through and no problems.


View Andybb's profile


2884 posts in 1489 days

#5 posted 10-02-2019 12:38 AM

mine had one opposite and didn t work well

- mski


-- Andy - Seattle USA

View kajunkraft's profile


191 posts in 3096 days

#6 posted 10-02-2019 01:03 AM

I belong to a woodworkers club with over 80 members. All know that I have this setup. Nobody else has purchased it. Sure, it is not cheap, and I am not wealthy, but in my opinion it is well worth it. There are some cuts where it is not appropriate. In some cases it is difficult to use any sort of pushing devise. In the case of long boards I think that you have to help it out a little. In the case of a full sheet of plywood you still have to guide it against the fence. Physics, especially in the area of leverage should be considered. If they would hold any board against the fence, it would probably be difficult to push it through. So, I don’t think that you’re doing anything wrong. Just don’t expect it to do it all. I don’t in any way regret purchasing it.

View John_'s profile


251 posts in 2592 days

#7 posted 10-02-2019 02:04 AM

I have the version for a router table and about a week ago I pulled them out of the drawer where I keep them when not in use, and saw that two of the ‘tires’ had stretched and where no longer tight on the wheel. I thought it was unusual that only 2 of the 4 tires looked like this, but in any case, I jumped on the Jessem website to order some replacements – $7 for two which wasn’t too bad, but then when I added on shipping, the price was now $20 for basically two o-rings that could have easily been dropped in an envelope and mailed to me. I had also noted in a google search that other people have had issues with these o-rings. I went ahead and placed an order but ended up emailing them about it and Jessem stood up to the plate and refunded me the shipping charges which I really appreciated

I really like Jessem products and it was nice to see that they stood by their work

View DrTebi's profile


397 posts in 4152 days

#8 posted 10-02-2019 02:29 AM

Thanks for all your responses.

I went into the shop this afternoon, but started by doing some TLC on trusty my old Atlas drill press first :) ‘worked out really well, and I went on to try out he Jessem Clear Cut guides a bit more… keeping a positive attitude…

I got much better results now. I think one mistake I made was, that I had the two guides spread too far apart. The manual is a bit confusing by saying “make sure to stay clear of the blade.” I actually understood that they shouldn’t even be next to the blade (on the side). I have them now much closer together.

A nice push stick was also in order, so I quickly made one from a 1/4” piece of oak, about 30” long. I cut a “birds mouth” into one and, and made the other fit my hand.

When I went on to cut the first stack of my ash boards, all between 4 and 6 feet long, I felt a lot more confident about pushing them through. What I realized is, that one needs to push forward and a bit towards the fence. So I grab the boards by their left corner and side, pushing forward but also slightly into the fence. To finish the cut, I use the push stick and push from the left end of the board, so that I get a forward motion and slight push against the fence.

This worked out really well. I also measured the pieces and they were all exactly where expected.

So after all, I think I will keep them. They are definitely easier to use than the fence-mounted featherboards I used previously. As long as I remember to keep moving the board forward and a bit towards the fence, they seem to work just great.

A featherboard (on the left side of the board) will still make feeding even easier though. That however requires to have both edges parallel, which is usually not the case when buying raw lumber. However, what I can do is to use the Jessem guides with the first cut, only trimming off the uneven edge, and then add a featherboard and cut the board to the desired width.

In conclusion, these guides are really great, once you get a bit of practice at least. You can make rip cuts without featherboards with these, as long as you pay close attention to feed the board forward and a bit against the fence. With longer boards it will be more difficult, because, as kajunkraft mentioned, you will have to consider that you will have a lot more leverage, which may lead to accidentally shifting the board. In that case, an additional featherboard will prevent that possible error.

View DrTebi's profile


397 posts in 4152 days

#9 posted 10-02-2019 07:58 AM

Updated the topic so that it reflects my current opinion and not misguides anyone :)

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