Do I need a THICK or THIN kerf splitter/riving knife for my table saw blade?

Do I need a THICK or THIN kerf splitter/riving knife for my table saw blade?

A lot of folks are confused about this!
More links to help you►
Video about blade tooth features:
Video about specialty joinery blades:
Video about dado sets:
Video about setting blade height:
Video about thin kerf vs. full kerf:
Video about aligning a table saw:
Video about the 3 Blades you need:
Video about Blade guard myths:
Video about thin vs. Full kerf blades:
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  1. stan Ottersbach on May 11, 2023 at 10:56 am

    What about blades with anti kick back and expansion slots

  2. Sam Rose on May 11, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Just wanted to say thank you! I learn a lot from your videos. This one answered my question and gave me the information I was looking for before running out to purchase a think-kerf blade for my Sawstop. (Going to go buy that blade now). Hope I can return the favor sometime. Thank you-Chef Sam in Minneapolis:)

  3. Kerry Schoolfield on May 11, 2023 at 10:59 am

    I’m curious how you are able to use one riving knife for all blades. I have a sawstop and have found that when I use the riving knife with a thin kerf blade for ripping, it is difficult to push the wood through the cut. I’m told that this is because the thin kerf blade is not aligned with the center of the riving knife. In other words the blade is further left than the center of the riving knife so the kerf is rubbing the right side of the rivingknife as it travels through the cut. I would live to use my thin kerf blade more so what am ai missing here?

  4. bare nekid on May 11, 2023 at 10:59 am

    Geee … obsessing the 1/32 " difference in kerf width is Really gonna keep ME up nights.

  5. David Deitrick on May 11, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Great information & explanation, Thanks for the effort to get this right.

  6. Jack Thomas on May 11, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Hi – can I use feud blade 2.1mm kerf thickness and I.4mm blade thickness – with a Dewalt table saw riving knife of 2.2mm – I am here in London UK – Many Thanks – Keep Up The Wonderful Work

  7. Don F on May 11, 2023 at 11:04 am

    I found that I can make a rip cut with a thin kerf blade using my full kerf riving knife, under two conditions: 1. The fence is on the left side of the blade, since that’s the side that stays flush with that side of the knife. 2. The material on the side away from the fence is flexible enough to be slightly spread out by the knife.
    The fence could be used on the right, if the knife has a lateral adjustment that allows flushing it up with the right side with the blade

  8. Cristófano Varacolaci on May 11, 2023 at 11:04 am

    Hello, thank you for all the info and great details. I do have a question tho. I like amana tools saw blades and I usually get full kerf blades with my 1.75hp saw but recently I returned a glue line ripping saw model 610301C ’cause on arrival I immediatly notice that it was substancially thicker, both in kerf (0.145 or 3.6mm) as well as plate (0.95 or 2.4mm) wich is on my opinion a lot for my saw to push. And also a very akward kerf size to work with. But now, watching your video got me thinking – that plate is thicker that most spliters and riving knifes… would it be safe to use it with standard spliters like yours?

  9. matthew santmire on May 11, 2023 at 11:05 am

    "thin" kerf – not "think" kerf….typo

  10. Bogusław Smalec on May 11, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for shading some light on the issue

  11. Wolfman on May 11, 2023 at 11:06 am

    Thank You For The Info!!!! 👊👍😎

  12. Daniel on May 11, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Worthy to mentions is that not all riving knives are equal, not are all blade bodies/plates. My stock riving knife comes in at a thickness of 2.8 mm (just over 7/64 inches), which is way thicker than a general thin kerf blade. While my full kerf blade’s bodies comes in at 2.2 to 2.5mm thick, some of them are thicker than the mentioned ‘full-kerf’ riving knife.

  13. fernando urrutia on May 11, 2023 at 11:07 am

    I just got my first table saw and it’s truly scarier compared with most of my other woodworking tools because of the size of the blade, and honestly the amount of material to read and watch about how to use it, safety and dangerous mistakes that can happen on the machine is overwhelming… Thanks to your clear videos I feel a little more at ease knowing that I’m setting my table on the right way with all the proper safety features as should be, plus now I understand how that features and accessories will help when I’m cutting a board from 4" width to just 3", doing a rabbet or cutting centered grooves in a piece!

  14. ernesto villarreal on May 11, 2023 at 11:10 am

    I enjoy learning a lot from your videos thank you so much….safety first

  15. Robert Herald on May 11, 2023 at 11:10 am

    the blades i have for my table saw have a kerf range of .098 to .126. i am trying to install a Shark Guard blade guard so i have riving knives from .090 to .125. What riving knife should i use to cover my blades? thanks

  16. Philippe Rostin on May 11, 2023 at 11:11 am

    It is almost impossible to find different thickness knives than the one you purchase the saw with

  17. Ron Williams on May 11, 2023 at 11:11 am

    2 types people that ride motorcycles: those that have been down and those that are going down!
    2 types of people that operate table saws with just the blade: those that have been hit by high speed objects and those that are going to be hit.
    All of us who use machinery are going to be subject to the consequences of operation without the recommended safety devices. If you are so fortunate to escape injury and you pass on to the next life then consider yourself rather blessed!
    My old First Sergeant told me when I was just a young buck private in regards to acting like fools while doing rather dangerous work: "The Lord takes care of babies and fools." I’m not a baby but I have at times been injured and some of those times it was attributed to acting foolish especially when I had been briefed on safety. My reply to my First Sergeant was, "how do we square that with our job as being paratroopers" to which he replied, "we’re in the latter group I believe because jumping from a perfectly good airplane most regular folks view as rather insane." I replied, "I choose to believe we’re just not regular folks!"

  18. Dusan Milenkovic on May 11, 2023 at 11:12 am

    Also, if the thickness of the splitter and the kerf was the same or splitter was thicker even, wouldn’t that prevent the piece from going past the splitter, but would just hit the splitter since the kerf isn’t wide enough for the splitter ?

  19. Jasper Janssen on May 11, 2023 at 11:13 am

    With the riving knife being so much smaller than the splitter, it may benefit from being thick, when it can be, to make it stronger.

  20. Bryan Moir on May 11, 2023 at 11:15 am

    If I heard you correctly, that splitters/blade guards are used with full through cuts, where a raving knife is used for partial cuts like dates and rabbet cuts. Is my understanding correct. So if I am doing a rip cut to produce strips the my splitter blade guard is the safety equipment I should be using? Thanks.

  21. ernesto villarreal on May 11, 2023 at 11:15 am

    So I made a zero clearance throatplate for my portable table saw (dewalt 10 in., full kerf blade) since I am using the riving knife with it is safe to use without a spacer at the backend of the throatplate? Some videos show where they glue a small piece of wood at the backend, as to maintain the gap of the plate? I was thinking as long as your using the riving knife this minor detail won’t matter…any comments, thanks

  22. M Hs on May 11, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Please I want you to nominate me a thin metric saw blade suitable for final cutting

  23. MAFIA on May 11, 2023 at 11:17 am

    so i cant use a .83 riving knive with a .94 body plate?

  24. Ryan Riley on May 11, 2023 at 11:18 am

    If we use thin kerf blade with wider riving, should that extra thickness stick out to one side or evenly spaced?

    My knife is wider, boards will hit it on the right side of blade. Should I adjust so that the right side is flush with the blade and the extra width of riving is on the left?

  25. IvanTheUndertaker on May 11, 2023 at 11:20 am

    Hello from England! I thought they were purely a European thing; riving knives and crown guards are absent most American woodworking videos I’ve seen…

  26. Bill K. on May 11, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Excellent discussion James, thanks for taking the time and initiative to share it.

  27. David Hawley on May 11, 2023 at 11:22 am

    Excellent explanation.

  28. Mark Murdocca on May 11, 2023 at 11:25 am

    I can only repeat what I’ve said in the past; that you are one really smart woodworking dude. I continue to be impressed with how well you compact and explain really important info. I have a new-found respect for the riving knife!

  29. michael jeffries on May 11, 2023 at 11:26 am


  30. Rob James on May 11, 2023 at 11:27 am

    If the riving knife is thinner than the blade, what side should the riving knife be aligned to? the side near the fence or the side where wood is being cut off?

  31. William Fitzer on May 11, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Question Stumpy…is that vest u r wearing a dedicated woodworking vest? Does anyone make A vest that would do what an apron does? I do not like the aprons and a vest would be the perfect solution.

  32. XDIY with Itzik on May 11, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for the great info! I want to prepare a riving knife for my saw which doesn’t have one. My blade body is ~1.8mm & kerf is ~2.7. I found only a metal plate of 2mm for making the knife. Sounds good? Is it enough thicker than the body? Isn’t it too thinner than the kerf? Thanks!

  33. Brian Janine Heffner on May 11, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Come see us at The Tool Haus of Gladwin MI

  34. cld cstn on May 11, 2023 at 11:36 am

    Best insider tips in the industry, God sent!

  35. Michael Reed on May 11, 2023 at 11:36 am

    This great woodworking channel is on my speed dial for the great information when I need it……

  36. Patrick Bink on May 11, 2023 at 11:37 am

    Why does anyone thumbs-down excellent videos such as this? Another great and useful video, James. Thank you.

  37. Rouzbahan Rashidi-Tabrizi on May 11, 2023 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for the video. Very informative! I still have one question. I am using a job site table saw (can’t afford proper table saw yet), which comes with thin kerf blade and riving knife. If I want to replace the blade with full kerf, almost all of the blades that I check have body thicker than riving knife thickness. Can I safely use full kerf blade in my case? Would it be risky regarding kick backs?

    Riving knife info:
    Thickness: 0.087
    Blade Min kerf: 0.094
    Blade max body thickness: 0.079

  38. Andy Hastings on May 11, 2023 at 11:39 am

    My Great Grandfather was killed by a kickback in the early 20th Century.
    Thus, I remember this when I approach a rip cut.

  39. chip582002 on May 11, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Hey Stumpy, I can’t find the video that had the hand crank disc sander and the sliding table saw with no motor. It had a fixed blade and you move the table sled back and forth over the blade to cut the wood. So have you seen either in a DIY build?

  40. Chris Lambert on May 11, 2023 at 11:46 am

    I had this same question after changing my table saw blade recently. Half way through the cut it jammed tight and I couldn’t push the piece through. My first thought was the Riving knife was too thick for the blade. It looked thicker than my narrow kerf blade. Fortunately I adjusted my fence slightly. It’s just an 8 foot piece of timber and I was able to carry on. Thanks for this video.

  41. matthew santmire on May 11, 2023 at 11:46 am

    I have watched your videos for years on and off – really appreciate you! Liked this video a lot. I have had a saw stop for years, and I only use the riving knife. The splitter just seemed to be awkward and designed for more dust collection which I don’t have, so I never used it. I am not making an argument, just explaining where I am at. My problem is that when I put big sheets of ply on my saw – it binds on the riving knife. It is very frustrating. I am pretty sure my saw is aligned properly – so I was thinking a think kerf riving knife must be the solution – but you said you did not get a think kerf riving knife for your sawstop and you are doing fine…do you have problems with binding on large sheet goods with your factory riving knife on your saw stop?



  42. Night Cat on May 11, 2023 at 11:47 am

    In my experience, worrying about the two sides of the cut pinching together is not worthwhile (at least in dry woods), so the most important thing is that the fence side of the riving knife lines up as well as possible with the fence side of the teeth. A few thin shims or washers (I’ve used those little hole punch reinforcement stickers before) on the open side can help to push a thinner knife over to make sure it’s biased towards the fence instead of away from it if there’s a larger discrepancy. When it comes to green wood though, I’d imagine the pinching would be more of a concern.

  43. LewHarriman on May 11, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Such a useful clarification, namely: the riving knife thickness does NOT need to equal the full width of the teeth to be usefully protective. It just needs to be thicker than the body of the saw blade. Your explanation as to WHY that is true is so logical. Another excellent, key detail, clearly and succinctly presented by James.

  44. Richard Keith on May 11, 2023 at 11:48 am

    James, what are your thoughts on shorter, European stye fences ? I’ve always understood that the fence is only needed up to the front teeth, or possibly the front gullet. These front to back fences are more likely to push the wood onto the back of the blade, particularly on fresh timber. If timber shakes, its more likely to move away from the cut, rather than into it. I appreciate that a fence fastened at both the front and the back of the table is mechanically superior, but I’m always surprised not to see more secondary fences, finishing at the front teeth.

  45. Stumptown Woodworks on May 11, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Another well done video. No matter how many times you talk about table saw safety, I watch them every time. Any chance I get to point a new woodworker in your direction, I take it. They don’t always appreciate the advice since their youtube degree and the fact they haven’t had an accident yet means they must be doing it right…uhhg.

  46. 760raduran on May 11, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Good presentation. Thanks

  47. Thomas Vogt on May 11, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Your explaination of kick back and the options to prevent that dangereous event from happening were greatly appreciated. Thank you

  48. watchman1969 on May 11, 2023 at 11:53 am

    long story short: my opinion is, use a thinner splitter but try to aline perfectly to the parallel guide side, not centered with your blade kerf

  49. Dale Oderkirk on May 11, 2023 at 11:54 am

    I noted that early in the video you mentioned the use of a riving knife was usually for non thru cuts as the sw blade is always higher than the knife. However, near the end of the video, you show through cutting with the riving knife attached.. Please clarify.. Regards.

  50. Al Smith on May 11, 2023 at 11:55 am

    James. I guess you do not run any full kerf blades on that saw? I do not know of any full kerf blades that have a plate thickness under .083". Or, have you run them and not had any issues? I am asking as I am having a terrible time looking for new blades for my Delta 36-725T2 based on what the Delta manual says and based on the fact that the splitter is 3/32 wide. (manual says it us supposed to be 2.2mm,, but they changed the splitter on the newer model and it is 3/32. I have ordered the splitter from the previous version, it is 2.2mm thick. I hope it fits when I get it next week.