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Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard
Tough, easy-to-use safety device
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 1-24-2013
Featherboards in various forms have been around since shortly after the table saw came on the scene. It didn’t take long for those early operators to realize the benefit of keeping the stock tight against the fence and helping to reduce the chances of the stock backing up. Though a featherboard looks very simple there are lots of physics going on all at the same time. Today with modern engineering, materials and manufacturing featherboards are easier to use and more effective than ever.
The Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard (#53677) is made from a durable black plastic and comes with quality hardware. Designed to fit a standard 3/8" x 3/4" miter slot the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard can be used on most table-based machines in your shop. A pair of 4-3/4”-long expandable miter track bars provides maximum holding power and stability. These metal miter bars are locked in the slot with a pair of star knobs that provide the leverage to make tightening the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard easy. The knobs thread onto a pair of special 5/16" x 18tpi tapered-head bolts that expand the miter bars when under tension. While the knobs have plenty of diameter to reduce the effort of locking the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard in the slot they are low in profile to stay out of the way while you are making the cut.
The featherboard body has long adjustment slots on either side that give the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard a 5” range of adjustment. The contact area of the fingers is just over 4-1/2”-long and ¾”-tall which distributes the pressure over a large area for maximum stability of the wood.
In the Shop
During this evaluation I used the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard on my SawStop Cabinet Saw and my Kreg Precision Router table. The Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard fit both miter slots fine and tightened up in both easily. The range of adjustment is more than adequate on my machines as I suspect it will on yours as well. For those who cut their own miter slot the minimum spacing the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard will work in is about 1-1/2”.
The fingers on the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard have a good balance between stiffness and flexibility. That means that you don’t have to lean on this featherboard when setting it up to be sure it will lock up should the workpiece start to back up. The wood moves smoothly through the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard yet it bites immediately when I tried to back the board up.
I have been using featherboards, store bought and shop made for around 40 years and the Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard makes it clear that making my own is just a waste of time. This is an easy to use tool that is also durable so we can depend on it over the long haul. I also like that it can be used on any machine with a standard miter slot, further extending its usefulness to the average woodworker.
The Rockler Adjustable Table Featherboard has a price of $19.99 (1-24-2013) which is not going to kill even modest tool budgets. If you are not using a good featherboard on your table saw or router table you are not working as safely as you could be.
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