Better Vertical Cuts with the Rockler Double Featherboard
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Featherboards are an essential part of many router table and table saw operations.  If you've never used one, the concept is simple.  A shop-made featherboard is usually cut from a piece of 1 x 6 (or so) stock.  One end of the stock is beveled at a 22-1/2 or 30 degree angle, and has 2 - 3 inch "fingers" cut into it at intervals of roughly 1/8".  The featherboard is clamped to the surface of the router table or table saw to hold stock up against the fence during a cut.  The featherboard fingers are, in effect "spring loaded," and the pressure of the featherboard's hold on the stock up is set during the clamping process: you press the featherboard gently against the edge of a piece of the stock you are planning to cut while you are clamping it in place.

Shop-made featherboards have a few advantages: they work pretty well, they're inexpensive, and since you can never really have too many featherboards, making a new one provides an excellent way of keeping yourself legitimately occupied for a while when you would otherwise be stuck sanding a huge stack of doors or doing some really hard math. They also have a drawback: To keep them in the right position while you clamp them down, you either have to use a one hand "quick clamp" - which may or may not exert enough force to hold the featherboard in place - or you have to do some pretty fancy one-handed maneuvering with a C-clamp or other two-handed clamping device.

Rockler Table Featherboards are designed to eliminate the awkward, ungainly, and sometime down right maddening ritual of setting up a featherboard so that the pressure is just right (meaning that it holds the stock up firmly against the fence, but doesn't make it hard to get the stock through in a smooth easy motion). The unique design feature that allows this is the expanding miter slot bars that clamp the featherboard securely into the table saw or router table's miter slot at the same time that the featherboard tension is secured - all with the turn of two easy-to-grip knobs.

But one featherboard isn't always enough;  occasionally, you need "stacked" featherboards.  When you're running stock vertically along the fence - as in the case of cutting raised panels with a vertical panel-raising bit - you need the extra support of a second featherboard up near the top of the fence. The second featherboard ensures that the entire face of the stock will stay in contact with the fence, and not just the part near the bottom.

Now, you can take care of the even more complicated double-featherboard set up quickly easily with the Rockler Double Featherboard Kit.  This recently introduced system uses the same expanding miter slot bars to secure one featherboard at the surface of the table and one three inches up the fence. And the great thing is, you can set both featherboards at the same time as easily as you can one. Already own Rockler Table Featherboards? No problem. You can get the same system and save money with the Rockler Retrofit Double Featherboard Kit.

posted on October 25, 2006 by Rockler
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