Jigs 1: Table Saw Feather Board

A feather board is a handy jig, something you can make yourself or purchase ready made.

Feather boards are used for two purposes. First to hold your work when ripping tight against the table and tight against the table saw fence. Second, they are used to prevent kickbacks when ripping small pieces, if the piece twists between the blade and the table saw fence. There are feather boards out there that you can buy that will do this very well, they either clamp on the table saw fence to hold the work tight to the table or clamp in the miter slot of the table saw to hold the work against the fence. There are other feather boards out there that actually are magnetic and hold securely anywhere on the table. That's the problem of a home made feather board, how to fasten it to the table to hold the work against the table saw fence. Here is a table saw feather board I designed:

Diagram of a featherboard jig showing how it is used on a table saw.Cut a piece of 3/4" plywood to length the width of your saw table and rip it 7" wide, for now. Lay it in position against the table saw blade and flush on the table ends. Mark out the position of the front of the table saw blade. The feathers should be positioned as shown, with the feathers a bit ahead of the blade. Layout a 3" swath of feathers at a 45 degree angle as shown. Cut the feathers as shown by using your miter fence with the blade set at 45 degrees and about 1 1/2" high.

The cuts for the feathers are about 1 1/2" deep and spaced about 1/8" apart leaving the feathers about 1/8" thick. Push the plywood slowly to avoid breaking up the veneer, use a sharp blade with about a 1/8" kerf.

Make sure there is a 1/8" slot before the first and the last feather. Rip the jig to 6" wide and leave the feathers sticking out on the one side as shown. Be careful coming close to the feathers on each side, finish the rip with a handsaw or jig saw. You should have the finished jig as shown in the sketch. Clamp it to the table as shown, with just a bit of pressure against the work piece. The work piece should only be able to move forward and binds when pulled backwards.

Make a similar model for the table saw fence. This one will be as wide as the table saw fence and long enough to allow two clamps, as well.

Watch those fingers, use our table saw push stick.


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