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Q: I always read about them in table saw reviews, but I never seem to see them in my friends’ shops. An adjustable riving knife like this moves with with your table saw blade to help eliminate kickback. Many experts feel that a riving knife is the single most important piece of safety equipment a table saw can sport. While the riving knife has been popular on European table saws, it has recently moved to the U.S.

Riving knives have been standard equipment in Europe for decades but have been largely and inexplicably absent from U.S. Its job is to prevent kickback that results from stock distortion — a not uncommon event that can occur during ripping operations. A properly used riving knife alone will eliminate nearly all ripping kickback — one of the primary causes of table saw injuries. When it’s used in conjunction with proper technique (blade height, stance, push sticks, etc.) and blade guards, nearly 100 percent of table saw mishaps can be avoided.
Recently, a group of power tool industry manufacturers joined together to create a new standard for table saw safety equipment that includes quality riving knives (as well as easy-to-operate top guards), even on small portable saws.

Some within the industry contend that this new focus on safety was sparked by SawStop’s table saw with its high-tech saw blade brake — an important new player in this market. The top of the riving knife is held just below the top of the saw blade, so it does not interfere with cuts or grooves formed by the blade. But here is the most important characteristic: It is mounted in such a way that it will rise and lower with the blade as it is adjusted for various cuts.

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