Safer rips with a roller
Board Buddies is a useful antikickback and hold-down fence accessory
• Manufactured by Woodstock International
• 800-840-8420; www.woodstockint.com
• Cost of complete set (rollers and track): about $80
While shopping to replace the portable tablesaw and featherboards that I’d lost in a Hurricane Katrina “complication,” I stumbled on a fantastic antikickback and hold-down fence accessory called Board Buddies. This tablesaw safety accessory relies on two spring-loaded, single-direction (clockwise) urethane rollers that lock into a fence-mounted carriage. The yellow rollers apply pressure to the surface of a board as it’s ripped, holding it firmly against the saw table and fence to prevent kickback. Each roller has a lift lever, which allows me to remove the wood in either direction.
If I’m ripping a long board with the Board Buddies, I have no qualms about letting go of the stock, walking to the rear of the saw, and pulling it through to finish the cut. On shorter pieces, I use a push stick to get the trailing end of the board past the blade. The rear roller then holds the board securely in place so that I can retrieve it from the outfeed side of the saw.
Although they’re not a bargain and aren’t industrial grade, the setup is sturdy and more than adequate for a job-site saw. Discovering the Board Buddies was a pleasant surprise.
Photo by: Chris Ermides