ShopBot, Riving Knives and the Metric Morass

ShopBot, Riving Knives and the Metric Morass


“Love the new look. I am writing because I own a ShopBot, It is one of the older models, but I love it. I bought mine used about a year ago, and it runs great. Being a member of the online forum is great. You can talk to them about problems, questions, ideas or just show off your work. The ShopBot staff read and post, too.” – Gerald Wilson

“I like the typo page and think that you have a very interesting eZine. I started to read the article on the ShopBot but quit when I saw the huge price. Even though the Shopsmith is also as expensive, I would buy it as it is about a thousand less than the ShopBot.” – Richard Boll

Riving Knife

“I was disappointed to note that the responses leaned towards the pronunciation, rather than its purpose. Only Richard noted, ‘Its purpose is to reduce the chance of kickback,’ but didn’t give the important reason of
how and why. Given that most American tables don’t come with a riving knife as standard, I would hope you’ll offer up this additional information, so that woodworkers can make an informed decision as to whether to fit one or not.” – Robert Atkinson

It does the same job as the splitter which comes on most American saws and reduces kickback in the same way. A riving knife is a unique type of splitter that goes no higher than the blade but rides with it as the blade is raised and lowered or tilted. Both keep the kerf open during the cut to prevent wood pressing against the back side of the spinning blade, which could throw it toward the operator. As for fitting a riving knife to an existing saw, you rarely have that choice. Either the saw is designed to accept one or it is not, and most American saws are not. – Editor

Keep it Simple

“I am 65 years and enjoy the eZine and want to thank you for the free wall shelf plans. Until a short time ago, I was never interested in making anything but what was necessary. You might say that I am a beginner. The point I want to make is I have no idea how I would build most of the plans you give away, so don’t just cater to the folks that can build anything. We beginners like to be out in our sheds or shops as well.” – Robert W. Reed

Duly noted. We will certainly try to keep some variety in the complexity of our plans so that we can keep all our readers happy as much as possible. – Editor

Good Advice

A reader complained that he got notches in the corners when he tried to cut the lid off a box on a table saw, and a reader named John Hanlon offered the suggestion to use a crosscut sled, much to this reader’s delight. – Editor

“I had the same problem removing the lid part from boxes with my table saw. The suggestion by one of your readers to use a crosscut sled worked.” – Gene Nurse

Metric Morass 

After we told a reader could not print future plans with metric measurements at the present, a few metric fans responded. – Editor

“It really isn’t that hard: one inch (2.54cm), one foot (0.3048 meters), one kilometer (0.62 miles), one mile (1,609 meters or 1.6 kilometers). In fact, the “official” definition of the inch has been exactly 25.4 mm for many years now. There are also lots of free unit conversion tools out there.” – J Dougherty

See? Easy as pie. So, eleven and thirteen sixteenths in metric would be… Um, on second thought, maybe we do need those conversion tools. Fortunately, the next writer suggested two. – Editor

“There are several great free online conversion sites. The one I use most is World Wide Metric that converts just about every measurement known to man. My other suggestion is buy a combination tape measure. I have one with both standard and metric on the same tape. It sure simplified my life.” – William Grider

Typo Corner

Here’s where we celebrate the humor that emerges from our complex language and our propensity to garble it via the keyboard. – Editor

“It’s a dark expresso colored wood.”

We assume that’s the color of Italian instant coffee. – Editor

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