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Items mentioned in this video:
Miter slot expandable jig kit: https://amzn.to/3tdSzHd
Magnetic hold-downs: https://amzn.to/2Re5Uls
Rip fence clamps: https://amzn.to/3uetayq
One of the fundamentals of getting good, accurate cuts is keeping your workpiece stable as you’re running it through a tablesaw or a router table.
And the key concept to always keep in mind is applying three directions of support for every cut. A board needs to be pressed down to the table, forward through the saw, and against a fence. A wandering, unstable board can lead to poor, inaccurate cuts, or worse, pose a safety issue. And all of this needs to be done with your fingers out of the way of spinning blades.
Usually, a push stick and a push block can provide sufficient pressure and support. But sometimes, it’s not possible to provide pressure against the fence or against the table. This is where a featherboard comes in.
For instance, if I want to rip a long board, I might not be able to reach the table in order to apply pressure against the fence as I feed the board through the saw.
Lock a featherboard in place to provide constant pressure where it’s needed, just in front of the blade.
The way a featherboard works is that it has a bunch of flexible teeth that allow a board to slide in one direction only.
There’s just one rule to keep in mind when using a featherboard on a tablesaw. Always position it in front of the blade, before the cut. If you position it even with the blade or behind it, it won’t be applying pressure against the fence, but rather the saw blade itself. This will do nothing to improve your cut and can cause the board to pinch the blade, making it an unsafe cut.
On a router table, you can position the featherboard directly toward the bit, since it doesn’t cut all the way through the wood.
Once you have a featherboard, you’ll find specific uses on a case-by-case basis as the need arises. Use it any time you think the board might not be fully supported.
Naturally, there are all kinds of featherboards you can buy, but making your own is simple, inexpensive and fun.
0:00 Why you need a featherboard
2:25 What wood to use
2:57 Making a simple featherboard
5:08 Miter slot options
10:28 The fancy version
12:22 Using the featherboard vertically
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